Archive for the ‘Spread the Word’ Category

What Does Scripture Say?

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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

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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

You’ve Got a Friend

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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?

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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,



Will they tell your story?

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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.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem

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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

A planting of the Lord

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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.


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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

The Wonders of His Love

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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

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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?

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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

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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?

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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

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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


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My eyes are open,
But it’s so dark I cannot see.
Weary, empty, thirsty,
I only feel the rolling of the waves.

The current moves me further from
Where I thought I’d be
Where I need to be
Where I should be.

I am drifting
My feet hang over the depths of the abyss
My failures surround me like a vast ocean
I am immersed in a sea of regret.

Yet I am strangely content.
I deserve this.
Unfit for the land of the living
Unworthy of the safety of dry ground.

Preserved by only an old wooden beam,
Unsure how I continue to cling.

“You are not alone.
I am near — here.
That beam is stronger than you know,
And it bears more weight than your own.

Feel the power of My grip
Making sure you never let go.
My love is far deeper than any abyss,
My grace much stronger than any current.

You are Mine and your life is in My hands.
I am your Rock and your Redeemer.
Though you cannot see shore, I can.

If the Lord had not been my help,
My soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
When I thought, “My foot is slipping,”
Your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
Psalm 94:17-18

Holy Ground

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Lord, You alone are my portion and my cup; You make my lot secure.  The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. Psalm 16:5-6 NIV/ESV

As David hikes up to a higher vantage point and looks out on the landscape of his life, he compares the many blessings he has received from the Lord to a choice piece of land with spacious boundaries – the sight of which he warmly describes as a beautiful inheritance.  With the eyes of his heart, he sees God as both his portion (present) and his lot (future).

Lands, whether an entire nation or your own home-sweet-home, are almost always fixed – limited in size and clearly defined.  But the wonders of God’s love and abundance of His blessings are boundless and without borders – something graciously given as a present possession, yet something we expectantly long for as a future inheritance.  There is both joy now and joy to come for “in His Presence, there is always fullness of joy” Psalm 16:11.

And it seems rather fitting that David’s son, Solomon, is the one who writes a song about another kind of inheritance from the Lord: “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward” Psalm 127:3 ESV.  As parents, we tend to think about leaving our children an inheritance, but God says that, in Him and through Him, they are our inheritance.  As the lines of His love intersect in marriage, our boundaries branch out into an acreage of endless possibilities and infinite impact through His giving of children.

Since I recently celebrated a fairly significant birthday, both David and Solomon encouraged me to rejoice in the Lord as my portion and my lot, to give thanks for the blessings of a faithful and godly wife, and to gaze upon our beautiful inheritance of children and grandchildren.  Indeed, the lines have fallen in pleasant places and I have no greater joy than to see my children walking with the Lord.  For as they faithfully follow the Lamb wherever He goes, the lines expand exponentially and the borders of the property entrusted to us ever increases.

I guess I’m writing this to tell my children, including my favorite son-in-law and favorite daughter-in-law, and my grandchildren how much I love them, believe in them, value them and long to see God’s plan continue to unfold in their lives.  You are my inheritance from the Lord.  As we keep our hands to the plow by the power of the Spirit, may our land be fertile ground for the seed of His Word, be marked by the well-worn paths of His love and bear much fruit for His glory.

Perhaps today is a good day to value your priceless inheritance?

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me.  Psalm 13:6 NIV

From Recovery to Revival

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The rains have stopped for now, but many are afraid and living in uncertainty about what is to come.  We have all seen – and some of us have actually become – those heroes risking their own lives to save others.  Dramatic rescues.  Emotional reunions.  People leaving almost everything behind having only gratitude as they stand on dry ground.

So as blue skies appear overhead this morning and we slowly begin to move from rescue to recovery, there will be so much opportunity for the body of Christ to unite and come alongside to help in the coming months.  The recovery process in Houston will be monumental.  Many of us will take people in, care for those in shelters, help with the clean up or pick up a hammer to rebuild.

But we must not forget that our God “sits enthroned – sits as King – over the flood” (Psalm 29:10) and that He is “mightier than the thunders of many waters” (Psalm 93:4).  We must not forget that even in disaster, He has purpose.  The challenge for us now is to fully embrace that purpose.

Can you see God’s mercy even in this catastrophe?  People have been rescued literally from death, yet in His sovereignty, He granted them another day of life.  They could have perished in the flood, but they did not.  That’s mercy!   His mercy.  Can you see it?

And now that they are safe from the floodwaters of Harvey, are they truly safe?  They may have been rescued by a boat, but are they in the ark?  Jesus is our ark.  Our only place of safety.  Our only mighty refuge from the storm.  And the good news is, the Door is still open!

The body of Christ now has a tremendous opportunity to continue to lovingly meet physical needs while seeking to turn fear into faith and despair into hope.  Recovery can lead to revival!  Can you see it?

Oh Lord, by the power of Your Spirit, help us to convert the current momentum of physical rescue and provision into spiritual rescue and revival.  You are still the God of this city.  Unite the body of Christ like never before and use us to bring people to the Door of the Ark.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Psalm 46:1





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Music is a universal language that we all speak fluently.  It makes us feel and move and sing.  We turn up the volume and sing along even if our voices are not ready for prime-time or we can’t actually hit all the notes.  And those of us who cannot play a real instrument are virtual all-stars on air guitar, drums and keyboard.

Music resonates deeply within us, easily sways our emotions and can instantly transport us to other times and places.  It’s so captivating, we unconsciously memorize lyrics and can sing-along perfectly with songs we have not heard in years.

But there is a singular type of music that is set apart above all others.  Only one that supernaturally unites heart, mind and soul.  Only one that penetrates to the very core of our being and yet resonates within the throne room of heaven.  Only one that joins the song of our heart with the song of all creation.

The praise of God.

Songs of praise – especially when they incorporate the words of Scripture – create a spiritual symphony that both honors the only One worthy of such praise and aligns our hearts to beat with His.  Orchestrated by the Spirit of God, praise produces a harmony like no earthly composition.  It is simultaneously a passionate chord, a liberating Word and a piercing sword.  Does it not cause your lips to sing, your soul to agree and your life to move in the key of God?

I’m going to venture a guess that one of your favorite parts of the Bible – a place you return to time and time again – is the Psalms.  Ever wonder why?  They are songs!  Supernatural songs!  Songs of salvation and praise.  Hymns of hope and deliverance.  Anthems of thanksgiving and joy.  And while we don’t have the original musical score, the Spirit of God supplies a worthy accompaniment as we “sing” them.

On a family trip earlier this month, our 2-year-old grandson, Graham, picked up a silent wireless speaker, shook it and kept saying “Hallelujah!”  He knew where praise usually came from and he wanted to hear it.  What’s crazy is almost no song we play has that word in it!  Think about it: he could have shaken it and said, “Music!” or “Sing!” or many other things, but he said “Hallelujah!”

Go shake your speaker today!

From the lips of children and infants You have ordained praise because of Your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name – that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Come, let us sing to the Lord!  Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.  Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!  Psalm 8:2, 103:1, 30:12, 95:1, 98:4

Spread the Word!

If you want to have a powerful worship experience in the Psalms, try Shane and Shane’s “Psalms Vol 2.”  



The Lord of Hosts

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You and I seek stability.  Stable foundations.  Stable relationships.  Stable employment.  Stable finances.  Stable health.  Most of us work very hard to establish and maintain a reasonable level of predictable outcomes and a future that unfolds according to our plan.  We like calm seas, sure footing and world peace.

But in spite our best efforts, we live and learn that life is inherently unstable and this is unsettling.  For those who like control, there is simply so much beyond our control.  The earth gives way.  Things crumble.  Mountains quake.  Oceans roar.  Enemies rise up.  Fear grips us.

Yet amid all of life’s uncertainty and turmoil, we are invited to find refuge – a stronghold – a place of safety – in God.  Not in some distant, impersonal heavenly being, but the One who is “a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).  Near.  Aware.  Available.  Able.

For He is “The Lord of Hosts” – “Jehovah Sabaoth” – “The God of Heaven’s Armies.”  Able to change the face of the earth or subdue raging enemies by His Word alone, He is also Supreme Commander-in-Chief over multitudes of angels ready to execute His command.  Everything in all creation bows the knee to His divine authority.  And from His unshakable and immovable throne in heaven, this Sovereign of the Universe tenderly speaks to our hearts: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

There’s only one problem with accepting this amazing invitation, we must “be still” – literally “cease striving.”  Ha!  You know very well that we excel at striving.  And striving means we trust in our plan and our ways rather than His.  Admit it.  We’d rather act than wait.  We’d rather worry than rest.  We’d rather fear than trust.  The crazy thing is that as we seek refuge in Him, a peace that passes all understanding comes even though nothing else may yet have changed.

For the kind of ceasing commanded here is not passive, but calls forth a faith that actively clings to God and His Word just as you would cling to a rock in a storm.  It’s the kind of faith that rests in both His Power and His Presence.  In the God who is able to deliver and able to protect.  In the God who rules nations and melts mountains, but also knows the ever-diminishing number of hairs on my head.  The God of unlimited power and unfathomable, intimate love.

Who is this King of Glory?  The Lord of Hosts is His Name.

“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord of Hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold.  Psalm 46:10-11

Spread the Word!

© 2017 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries



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Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls” – Jeremiah 6:16

As we travel the road of life, we pass through many intersections.  The most significant one is located at Broad Way and Narrow Way –  the way of life and the way of death – the way of joy everlasting and the way of eternal separation.  Since these roads lead in opposite directions, an intentional decision must be made – we must choose which way to turn.

You and I flew by this intersection time after time like it wasn’t even there (Proverbs 14:12).  We continued cruising down the many, spacious lanes of the Broad Way not even noticing that narrow, one-lane road. Then Jesus opened our eyes and we saw the street sign for the first time.  Now we see – it’s not a man-made road, but a divine one – one bought and paid for by Jesus Himself and paved with His precious blood.  This is no mere intersection, but a Crossroad.

Having seen His sign and made that turn, we head down a new road – His Road – and that road ultimately leads to heaven in the Presence of our Savior.  Until that day, our journey is filled with both great opportunities and great challenges – divine purpose and earthly temptation – the upward call of heaven and the alluring sound of the Broad Way.

Although we have a heavenly destination in our eternal GPS, we still come to various intersections and we still have choices to make.  Some intersections are clearly marked by Scripture that we must not turn down that road, but others reveal the gracious choices God sovereignly allows us to make while on the journey.  But how and when do we turn?  How do we know which way is best?  What if we make the “wrong” choice and have a head-on collision with failure or hardship?     

Here are few key points to remember from the Owner’s Manual:

  1. Stay on God’s path – sin is a dead-end street; confess it and turn around quickly – 1 John 1:9
  2. Ask for directions – God is listening and ready to answer our prayers for wisdom – James 1:5
  3. Look for signs – God’s will is often marked by visible signs both to guide and to warn – Matt 7:7
  4. Fasten your seatbelt – it’s a cross country trip so expect ups and downs – John 16:33
  5. Keep your eyes on the road – comparing yourself to others leads to envy or pride – Gal 1:10
  6. God knows the way – He is not only with you, but goes before you – Psalm 139:5
  7. Drive friendly – watch for those with car trouble, flat tires or who are out of gas – John 13:34
  8. Fill up with premium – you can’t be both full of yourself and the Holy Spirit – Gal 5:16
  9. Don’t speed – God numbers our days and has plenty for us to do along the way – Psalm 90:12
  10. Enjoy the drive – God makes known to us the path of life and it’s full of joy! – Psalm 16:11

I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you”  – Psalm 32:8

Spread the Word!

© 2017 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries

The Lion King

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While I’ve never been in the wild and heard a lion roar, I know I couldn’t sleep through it – unmistakable and terrifying, I would be wide-eyed with my heart pounding.  The scriptures warn us, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” 1 Peter 5:8.

A lion usually does not roar when stalking because that would warn the unsuspecting prey of its whereabouts.  (“Does a lion roar in the forest when he has no prey?” Amos 3:4).  Lions roar to communicate a message – especially at night – to intimidate and lay claim over their territory and their victims.

Satan is no different.  He seeks to drive us into the darkness of doubt by fear and intimidation – fear of missing out, fear of not getting what we want or think we deserve, fear that God is holding out on us, fear of loss or pain or unhappiness, fear of the future, fear of rejection, fear of ________.   These fears exploit “the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life” 1 John 2:16.  And like a lion, “sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you” Genesis 4:7.

I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t want to be eaten by a lion – especially if he ate me one bite at a time.  But that’s how I think the devil feeds on most of us.  It’s usually not one big bite and it’s over – it’s more like one bite at a time as he comes to devour our hearts and minds.  Slowly, but surely, we are consumed.  So, when we retreat into these fears, we lose life, joy and relationship one bite at a time as we are pulled into the grip of our adversary.

But there is another Lion in the jungle who has “overcome.”  He is the Lamb who bore our sin on the cross, triumphed over Satan, conquered death, and rose in victory as the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5).  And this Lion is greater than the one who is prowling around seeking to devour you (1 John 4:4).

The question is not which lion is greater; the question is whose roar do you hear?

The devil roars to drive you into sin –  to steal, kill and destroy.  The Lion of the tribe of Judah roars to proclaim His victory over sin and call you to walk with Him by faith in strength, security and fullness of joy.  And as the Lover of our soul, His mighty roar drives the enemy of our soul back into the darkness of defeat empty-handed.

Straying from Jesus’ side, we are vulnerable, but staying near Him, we are invincible – for He is both the Lamb of God and the Lion King.

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
– Isaiah 41:10

Spread the Word!

© 2017 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries

Stepping on the scale

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The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is, as the song says, the most wonderful time of the year, but it is also fraught with peril.  Having been buried alive by a blizzard of endless food and tasty treats, many of us begin to dig out with a New Year’s resolution to drop a few pounds.  Although we tried our best to ignore the tighter-fitting clothes and the last notch we’d moved to on our belts, our worst fears were confirmed when we finally stepped on the scale.  Sadly, the numbers don’t lie.

After swearing to never do that again, we stepped off the scales promising to do better.  Establishing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is certainly a worthy pursuit.  After all, carrying around too much extra baggage is not only frustrating, but can also put unnecessary stress on your body.  So, if you’ve taken a 2017 “do better” oath, please don’t overdo it, but stick with it.

However, there’s another weight that cannot be measured by our waistline, seen in a mirror or captured as a number on a scale, but is far more deadly.  It is the weight of sin – a burden we were never designed to bear.  When we do, we ultimately cry out like David, “my guilt overwhelms me — it is a burden too heavy to bear.  I am exhausted and completely crushed” (Psalm 38:4 NLT).  All of us can identify with David’s diagnosis.  And right now, some of us may also be enduring the heavy burden of sin.  We’ve been avoiding the spiritual scales, but we know it’s true.

But I have good news – there is a cure!  Jesus “bore our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4 ESV).  “He was pierced through for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5 NASB).  “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24 NASB).

If you are tired of carrying around this oppressive weight, listen to Jesus calling, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 NIV).  That’s the voice of the sin-bearer – the Lamb of God who takes away all our sins (John 1:29) – past, present and future – those sins that once eternally separated us from Him and those which ensnare us each day.

All we must do is come to Him.  And because of His great love for us, “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 ESV).  Then your cry will not be one of weariness or despair, but a testimony of glory and praise, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation!” (Psalm 68:19 NASB).  This is the joyful shout of renewed fellowship with Jesus.

And when our hearts are lighter, we are free to fulfill the law of Christ and “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2 NASB).  You see, when we are weighted down with sins, we lose our Holy Spirit-given capacity to help others – to lighten their load – to share their burdens – to not allow them to be crushed by a hostile world – to put our arms around them and bring them to the healing arms of Jesus.  Jesus stretched out on a cross and laid down His life to show us that loving means bearing.  After all, “love bears all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7).  Now go lose some weight.

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

Spread the Word!

© 2017 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries

The Challenge Flag

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“Yep, he just threw out the red flag so he’s definitely challenging the call” is a familiar soundbite heard during NFL games when the head coach wants to question the ruling made on the field by the officiating crew.  In the crew’s defense, these full-speed, split-second decisions can be very difficult and they do seem to get it right most of the time.

But once the red flag is deployed, the game screeches to a halt while the lead official watches various replays from many different angles in super slow motion to determine if the original call was accurate (“stands” or “is confirmed”) or needs to be completely reversed.  The moment of truth arrives as the official emerges from the hood, faces the camera, and declares the verdict, “Upon further review…”

We know our culture is refusing to accept more and more of God’s calls, but have you ever thrown out the challenge flag on the Lord?  Guilty.  “God, you really missed that one.”  “That’s not what I expected.”  “I don’t believe that’s true.”  “That’s not fair and I won’t accept it.”  And so out comes the red flag.

Statistics show, on average, coaches win their challenges just about 50% of the time.  How often have you won your challenges against God? Thought so.  Oh, God’s calls are frequently disputed by us on the playing field, but they cannot be reversed because they need not be reversed. We can view them from any angle we wish, argue until we have no more words left to say and replay them over and over in our minds, but God’s rulings are always perfect.

Job didn’t like several of God’s calls and threw out the red flag, “I wish there was an umpire between us, who could lay his hand upon us both!” (Job 9:33).  Been there.  But like each one of us who has questioned the Lord’s accuracy or fairness, He asks, “Will you discredit My justice and condemn Me just to prove you are right?” (Job 40:8 NLT).

Even when we don’t fully understand, we must believe and accept God’s calls as the infallible, indisputable, perfect, good and wise Word and Will for our lives. “I [now] know that You can do all things; no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions My wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?  I put my hand over my mouth” (Job 42:1-3; 40:4). Like brother Job, perhaps we aren’t nearly as brilliant as we think we are.

Some of us expend far too much energy challenging God’s calls when we’d be way better off simply obeying His call.  Perhaps a worthy 2017 resolution might be to keep the red flag in our pockets because, upon further review, God’s Word and Will are confirmed.

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.  Psalm 19:7-11 NIV

© 2016 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries

The Shadow of the Almighty

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Every Christmas, choirs of angels call us to kneel once again in worship at the manger in Bethlehem and behold His glory.  It is a journey we should never grow tired of making.  For the birth of Jesus is a story so simple children love to hear it, yet one so profound wise men cannot fathom it.  Such is the miracle of the incarnation of Christ.

In foretelling this glorious event 700 years in advance, Isaiah proclaims both Jesus’ divinity and humanity: “For unto us a child is born and unto us a son is given.”  Notice the child is “born” at a moment in time (His humanity), but the son is “given” because He has existed for all eternity with the Father (His divinity).  Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

And Dr. Luke gives us a glimpse of this wonder of all wonders as Gabriel addresses Mary’s bewilderment (“How can this be since I am a virgin?”), “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God” (Luke 1:35 ESV).  Incredible.

The Spirit will “overshadow” her (this is the same Greek word used as the bright cloud covers those with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration).  Yet this metaphor is deeply rooted in the Old Testament as we are often invited to find rest, to abide, to dwell, and to take refuge in the “shadow of the Almighty” as we are hidden beneath His “wings” (Psa 91:1-6).

It is the same picture found in creation as we witness the Spirit of God “hovering” over the darkness of the earth (Gen 1:2).  That Hebrew word is also used to describe an eagle “hovering” over the young in her nest (Deut 32:11).  How beautiful is the work of the Trinity in creation as God speaks everything into existence through His Word (the Son – John 1:1-3) in divine partnership with the gentle moving of the Holy Spirit!

Now this God of all creation, sends His Spirit to move over the womb of a virgin to divinely implant the holy Child – His only begotten Son – Immanuel – Jesus.  Fully God.  Fully man.  Great is the mystery of godliness!  And to encourage Mary (as well as us) before he departs, Gabriel reminds her that “nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1: 37).

This Christmas, as we celebrate the Christ-child, may our worship and wonder at the manager compel us to arise and abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  And if we listen carefully as we go, we will hear a voice reassuring us that with God, all things are possible.  Cling to Jesus – our Blessed Hope – and fear not.

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.

1 Timothy 3:16 NASB

© 2016 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries


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As you look forward to opening yours or maybe heading back that way for Thanksgiving, I know “home” is a place that stirs up a variety of emotions and expectations.  More than a location, a collection of possessions or a structure, it is a unique place of safety, identity and belonging – it’s family.  Sitting at the crossroads of cozy familiarity and sweet memory, it tugs on our heart to always draw us back to that intersection.  It has an uncanny ability to overcome time and distance and bend all roads so that they gently slope toward its front door.  It is both the launching pad for incredible possibility and a welcome sanctuary for renewal.

However powerful the attraction in this life, we who are in Christ, know that this world is not our home.  What began in the heart of God will, one day, see the safe return of His sons and daughters to their eternal home in heaven.  If we are honest, this present reality and our future hope creates a holy tension between our deep sense of belonging here and the knowledge that “here” is only the starting point, not our final destination.  The beauty is found when we see the divine purpose and eternal significance God bestows on our earthly homes and families which heaven makes possible.

Perhaps we can all benefit from the apostle Paul wrestling in the Spirit with this same tension and writing down his convictions for us:

For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live. Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith” (Philippians 1:21-25 NLT).

Shouldn’t this be both our heartbeat and that of our homes?  Shouldn’t we choose to live for Jesus for all the days He gives us here in our earthly home and yet be driven by a holy homesickness to see Jesus face to face?  Shouldn’t we no longer live for ourselves, but for Jesus, and by His design, help others flourish in faith and joy?!

Yes, one glorious day, we will open our eyes to a sight we’ve never seen and yet one that will be more familiar than any place we’ve ever known.  Listen to the voice of hope growing clearer day by day and you’ll hear Jesus saying, “Welcome home!  Come and see the place I’ve prepared for you!”  But for now, as we open the door of our home, may all those who enter be welcomed by Jesus in us and feel the embrace of a love with endless possibility.

Spread the Word!

© 2016 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries

Just pray

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Regardless of the place or your posture
whether kneeling or standing
walking or sinking
in a church or a cell
in a car or on a cross
in public or in secret
in the quiet of the morning
or the midst of a storm


With just a few words
or a whole chapter
with groans and tears
or praise and thanksgiving


With a whole heart
and a pure heart
and never lose heart
at all times
and in every place
keeping alert in it
with all perseverance


in faith believing
without doubting
and without ceasing
according to His will
and abiding in His Word


In the Spirit
for the glory of God
in Name of Jesus
knowing He alone is able.

“Be joyful in hope,
patient in affliction,
faithful in prayer.”

Romans 12:12 NIV

© 2016 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries

Let’s save the world

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One of today’s most prevailing mantras has to be the cry to “save the world.”  Impassioned campaigns are urgently championed across the globe to basically save the planet from ourselves.  People are frequently viewed as invasive parasites feeding off and injuring the host – a pandemic that must be neutralized.  Battle lines are drawn and aggressive agendas often consume more vital resources than the actual target of their alarmism.

But while it’s easy to point out examples of overreaching environmental extremism and faulty science, there are also many initiatives which clearly do help protect and preserve our home.  After all, it is God’s garden.  He did give mankind authority over it and charged us with a stewardship to cultivate it and keep it.  We definitely should be wise about such an amazing gift from God.

But God’s love for the planet He created cannot be compared to His passion for people.  In fact, His love could not be expressed through edicts or legislation.  The only way to fully implement His plan was to send Jesus on a personal mission to save the world.  There truly is a global pandemic to be eradicated, but it’s a pandemic of sin – waging war not on the environment, but on our very souls.

Jesus came as the Light of the World to show us the way out.  He spoke powerful words of truth to shine on our path, but words alone would never save us.  The magnitude of this kind of love bound Him to the agony of the cross to willingly bear our sins, but it also pierced the darkness of death and the grave with a victorious resurrection glory.

Like the bird we found in our garage that remained confused and trapped even when we fully opened the main door to let it escape.  It was as though it could not see how to get out when there was no distinct path.  However, after closing the main door and opening a smaller side door, we created a bold light shining into a dark place that clearly showed it the way to freedom.

Jesus boldly opened the door of eternal salvation into the darkness of our world.  As His light-bearers, we have both the power and the privilege to point the way to those trapped in sin.  No matter how dark, there is a path to freedom, and Jesus is The Door.  The best way to help save the world is to shine!

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).

Spread the Word!

© 2016 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries

The intolerance of tolerance

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Truth is never afraid of a challenge because it withstands the test, but today’s brand of tolerance has retreated into blatant censure and, paradoxically, intolerance.

For centuries, tolerance meant respect for other people who disagreed with you or vice-versa.  It was an attitude allowing freedom of expression and healthy, truth-seeking discussion.  However, the number of those who prefer to suppress conversation about truth in the name of tolerance is increasing exponentially.  Driven by fear, modern tolerance seeks to destroy disagreement by aggressively mischaracterizing any opposing view as “offensive” and then marginalizing those who hold to it – particularly God’s truth.

Even though our nation was founded on biblical principles and religious tolerance, increasingly and ironically, Christians are being targeted and mislabeled as intolerant bigots by a society intent on systematically silencing anyone and eliminating anything that questions its lifestyle or moral choices.  It grieves me deeply to witness this widespread mistreatment and aggression.

God’s truth is, by nature, offensive as it holds error up to the light and pierces deeply into the heart to convict and reveal.  But if we will allow it to work within us, God’s truth is also powerfully transformative as it rescues, corrects, changes and restores.  In spite of all the craziness we see around us, the firm foundation of the Lord stands.  God’s throne is set in heaven.  His Kingdom is unshakable.  His Word is alive.  His-story is not yet finished.

So what are we to do?  We stand firm on the eternal truth of God’s Word – even when ridiculed or persecuted.  We speak the truth in love – even in the face of hate.  We continue to be salt and light in a world becoming increasingly dark and distasteful.  We show grace and mercy.  We remember what it was like to be trapped in darkness.  We proclaim the Good News.  We love our enemies.  We go the second mile.  We pray for our leaders.  We seek to live in peace with everyone.  We fear God rather than man or the punishment of man.  We never ever forget that Jesus is the answer and, if we remain silent, the Enemy will gladly fill in the blanks.

“Violating God’s Word only ends up proving it, not destroying it; and those who have tried to bury it, find that the Bible always rises up to outlive her pallbearers” (Ravi Zacharias).

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8 NASB).

Spread the Word!

© 2016 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries

Stones of Remembrance

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There are some moments in life you can plan and others just take you by surprise.

While my wife was away on a mission trip with Family Legacy in Zambia earlier this month, two of our grandchildren, Noah and McKenzie, spent Saturday night with Poppa.  Noah, who is 5 years old and very observant, is also fascinated with rocks (among many other things).  He wants to search for them or show me some he’s found just about every time we get together.

After they woke up on Sunday morning, Noah asked, “What’s that rock for?”  I thought, “What rock?” as I turned to see what he was talking about.  And there, sitting on the dresser, was a rock my dad, their great grandfather, had given our family almost 20 years ago.  It was to be a stone of remembrance of a time when God had delivered us from great distress.  Now, I was hearing my grandson ask me about something God had obviously planned long before this day.

As I connected the dots, I was deeply moved in my spirit and practically speechless.  It was truly one of those moments that seemed timeless – one in which God gives us a glimpse of what He sees.

As he held the rock in his hand, I silently read the verses my father had written on it: “When your children ask, ’What do these stones mean?’ then you shall tell them…the Lord has helped us” (Joshua 4:6-7; 1 Samuel 7:12).  So I choked back the tears and said, “Your Papa gave us that rock a long time ago to remind us of how good God is and how He is always there to help us.”  They both smiled, nodded their heads in agreement, and said, “Poppa, let’s go get some donuts!”

However small, God planted a seed a faith that morning into the hearts of a 3 and 5-year-old.  That day, our loving heavenly Father called forth a testimony of praise from one generation to the next by taking an old rock and making it a living stone.

One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts (Psalm 145:4 NASB).

© 2016 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries


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As my wife and I watch our children have children, we are even more aware of the impact we have on our family – the ripple that moves across one generation to the next. We look upstream and see great faithfulness to one another and to the Lord – in my parents, who celebrate their 60th anniversary this year, and in my wife’s parents had been married 55 years when the Lord called her mother home. I look around and see my godly wife, and wonderful mother of three, who has been faithfully by my side throughout many blessings and trials for 35 years (as of June 6th). We glance downstream and see God’s plan unfolding in the lives of our three children, the blessing of an amazing son-in-law and daughter-in-law, and the incredible potential and promise in the eyes of our three grandchildren (with hopefully more on the way).

But as a father and grandfather, this verse forces me to look again at the ripple of my life with even a greater sense of accountability and urgency:

All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel (Judges 2:10 NASB).

How could that be?!  This was Joshua’s generation. This generation was borne out of the exodus whom God resurrected from the ashes of unbelief to enter the Land of Promise. This generation watched their parents die in the wilderness even as they ate miraculous manna from heaven. This generation walked through the waters of the Jordan River as God parted them at flood stage, saw the walls of Jericho fall, and rejoiced in the Lord giving them the land of milk and honey by the power of His hand. This was the generation that Joshua challenged to “choose this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15 ESV). How could this generation fail to speak of the mighty deeds of the Lord to their own sons and daughters and fail to proclaim His incredible love for His people?

Here is another sobering quote: “To our forefathers, their Christianity was an experience; to our fathers, it was an inheritance; if to us, it is a convenience; then to our children, it will be a nuisance.”

We must not remain silent! Though complacency begets contempt, it is not too late. As parents and grandparents and great-grandparents, we must boldly turn directly into the fierce headwind of a hostile culture that seeks to destroy the very definition of family as well as obliterate any remnant of godly legacy. We must, by the power of the Spirit, reject the love of self, the love of money and the love of pleasure and be lovers of God.

Oh yes, thankfully, God can redeem even those borne out of faithless generations, but that is not His calling on our lives. We are called to faithfulness. We are called to obedience. We are called to truth. We are called to embrace this promise, “From everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children’s children (Psalm 103:17 NIV).

Each of us has passed through some form of the Red Sea and been rescued by His mighty hand of deliverance. We have been supernaturally fed with His manna from heaven and seen walls fall. We have experienced wandering, unbelief, heartache and despair, but we also have seen the power of forgiveness, the splendor of hope, and given thanks as joy came in the morning. We have rejoiced in God’s faithfulness, seen His promises fulfilled, and been sustained day after day by His amazing grace in Jesus. We have been hidden in the cleft of the rock and seen His glory revealed so many times in our lives. Why would we – how could we remain silent?

Generations are in our hands. Go and tell.

But as for me, I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and of Your salvation all day long; for I do not know the sum of them. I will come with the mighty deeds of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, Yours alone. O God, You have taught me from my youth, and I still declare Your wondrous deeds. And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come (Psalm 71:14-18 NASB).

© 2016 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries


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“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them”
(Psalm 139:13-16 NASB).

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10 NASB).

I cannot think about one of these passages without being drawn to the other. The first speaks of creation – the first birth; the second, re-creation – the new birth. The first begins the Potter’s work; the second completes it in Christ Jesus. The days are inscribed in the first, but unfold in the second. But both proclaim the amazing truth that we are His masterpiece.

How beautifully this psalm of David describes the precious mystery of life as our Creator gently knits us together like a fine, colorful tapestry. Our souls should sing, “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:17 NASB).

All our translations fall incredibly short of describing the indescribable – of attempting to put such vast wonders to words. Perhaps the Greek word used here for “workmanship” captures it best: we are His “poiema” – in English, His “poem.”

We are all unique creations of God – handcrafted works of art – individual masterpieces. Like a beautifully written poem, we are not just casually thrown together, but something arising from deep within the heart of God – intimate and intricate; overflowing with purpose and brimming with promise.

We know that God’s Word always accomplishes its purposes. And since God never wastes words, then surely He has something significant to say in and through our lives. As living letters penned by God’s own hand, we are strategically composed to convey a message – His message. And when people read us, they should read a great poetic work to God’s glory and long to know more about our Author.

But what if you’re questioning your purpose, struggling with identity, living in regret or wondering if you are truly loved? Read over the letter of your life – start from the very beginning – remember what it says about you and about your Savior – refocus on why He created you and what He re-created you for — and rejoice.

You should find it to be a beautifully authentic work of how the threads of God’s amazing grace are tenderly woven into the fabric of a life that’s far from perfect, yet perfectly being perfected in Jesus. You are His Poiema. Now walk in the Spirit as He writes the next verse.

Spread the Word!

© 2016 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries

Dare to hope

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As the stone rolled over the tomb of Jesus, a deafening silence also rolled over Scripture. We are left to retreat into hiding with the disciples to only imagine the horror, grief and anguish they were experiencing. They had literally walked away from everything and followed this amazing man for the past three years. Although Jesus told them many times, the disciples did not understand that He would rise again (Luke 18:34; John 20:9).  Now, He was truly dead and so was their seemingly misplaced hope. Sunday was coming, but they did not see it. The fullness of life with Jesus suddenly collapsed around them into a dark, empty cavern. What now?

Most of us are familiar with this cavern, and some of us are in one right now. That in which you had placed your full weight has caved into despair. Your hopes have been crushed and you cannot see beyond the walls of disappointment surrounding you. It’s pretty dark down there and your earthly vision is incredibly restricted. What now?

The interesting thing about caverns is that while you are in them, there’s only one way out – there’s only one exit strategy – upward toward the light. The tricky part is to remember to look up.

Jeremiah knows something about these caverns. He was called by God to preach an urgent message of impending judgment to a nation immersed in sin, and yet a simultaneous word of hope of future restoration by God’s grace. He spoke over 40 years to a nation that ultimately would not listen and was greatly persecuted by those he came to save. He is known as the “weeping prophet” because of the tears he shed as he sought to remain true to his calling.

But like lowering a strong rope down to us, listen to the voice of experience and cling to these words, “I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this…” (Lam 3:20-21 NLT). Clearly, he is in a desolate cavern and yet his eye is somehow attracted upward toward the light. On one hand he feels as though he will never forget his pain and loss while on the other hand, he is strangely moved to “dare to hope.” Don’t you love that phrase?  In the Hebrew, it literally reads “make to return my heart to hope.”

Trust me, I realize how difficult it can be to “make your heart return to hope.” It’s way easier to allow your heart to be swiftly carried downstream by the prevailing current of disappointment and despair. It’s a struggle to resist the flow and turn back upstream toward hope. But it can be done – it must be done. Otherwise, where will your current course carry you? That journey does not end well. So what’s the secret? Surely, this is not an arbitrary “come on, you can do it” kind of hope?

Let’s read on: “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lam 3:22-23 NLT).

Perhaps we are being asked to see just where our hope really lies – in what we want or in God? You and I can and should hope again by trusting in God’s heart for us and the faithfulness of His Word. In fact, Jeremiah likens His unending love, His compassion, and His mercies to the morning dew which falls anew every day. Yes, “weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

If you believe that Life itself sprang forth from a sealed tomb as the angel of the Lord rolled away the stone to show us what was not there, then surely you can believe that God can resurrect your hope in Him? Search the Scriptures for fresh dew, recall what He has promised, and dare to hope. Then believe in His Word and cling to it. For it is strong and He is faithful. Everyday with Jesus is Sunday.

After Jesus was raised from the dead, His disciples recalled what He had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken (John 2:22 NIV).

Spread the Word!

© 2016 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries


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When you cut yourself, you bleed.  But in that same blood, there are antibodies and rebuilding materials already on location.  Sticky blood cells called platelets begin to clump together to form a clot and later a scab – the body’s built-in Band-Aid.  Bleeding is controlled and a fibrous framework of collagen is laid down in the wound.  Then, repair and rebuilding can begin around this miraculous scaffolding.  Once the wound is sealed by a scab, the actual healing occurs from the inside out.  That’s why a scab eventually falls off to reveal a new layer of skin beneath it.  Sometimes if a wound is deep enough or if the site keeps getting disturbed or reinjured, then a scar will form.

We all have scars.  Some are visible and some are not, but they all tell a story. The visible ones – particularly for men – are more like glorious medals of honor about the time when I….  You can look at any scar on your body right now and instantly talk about when whatever happened happened.  It’s the not so visible ones that seem to convey a different story.

Think about the scars you have in your spirit.  Perhaps some deep wounds of the past.  Painful memories that somehow can still seem so fresh.  If the body can quiet our cries, soothe our pain, close ours wounds, and rebuild the broken, why not the spirit?

“Heal me, Jesus!” is the physical cry He hears so often, but the Great Physician also sees the deeper wounds in us – the wounds of sin – both your sin and the sin of others inflicted on you.  Jesus bore your griefs and He carried your sorrows (Isaiah 53:4).  He was wounded so that our wounds might be healed (1 Peter 2:24).  He came to bind up the brokenhearted and save those who are crushed in spirit (Isaiah 61:1; Psalm 34:18).

Like the skin, spiritual wounds are healed from the inside out.  Your spiritual scars should not be sorrowful tales of self-woe, but powerful reminders about the time when God….  Not everlasting memorials to our pain, but declarations of His amazing grace.  Not tombstones for our failures, but stones of remembrance of His forgiveness.  Not the dirge of casualties, but the song of conquerors.

Since the Word assures us “by His wounds we are healed” (1 Peter 2:24), we must not allow the Enemy to repeatedly reopen our wounds.  Jesus died to bring complete healing – mind, body, and spirit – so we can get our eyes off ourselves and our bodies and our wounds and onto Him and His Body and His wounds – off our scars and onto His.  Otherwise, we remain spiritually bedridden when we should be on the battlefield.

Should there not be more of us who testify to the wholeness Jesus brought to our lives and less of us who are content just to talk about our wounds?  Jesus raises up victors, not victims.  And since God created your blood to be so inherently powerful, imagine the power of the blood of Jesus!

We need a holy transfusion – the power of His blood at work in our innermost being.  The joy of healing is truly far greater than the pain of the injury.  Bring your wounds to Jesus and let Him restore you from the inside out.

The Lord heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3 NASB).

Spread the Word!

© 2016 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries


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From the very beginning, God claimed the number 7 as His own – a number of completion and perfection – His number.  Creation, as detailed in Genesis, is not only the account of how God spoke everything into existence, but also how He created an entity called a “day” and packaged 7 of them into a week.  Interestingly, both of these are measurements of time by which all people on earth continue to shape their lives and mark their existence.

God set apart the 7th day as a holy day called the “Shabbath” (Sabbath) – a day “to cease and rest” and focus on the Lord.  Similarly, every 7 years, God decreed that there would be a Sabbath Year – a “shemitah” or “release” in which the land would be given rest and all outstanding debts would be forgiven (Deuteronomy 15:1-2; Leviticus 25:3-6).  Our very own Liberty Bell bears the words from Leviticus 25:5.  And up until 2005 when it was modified, our modern bankruptcy code was based on this principle and 7-year pattern.

Then God decreed after 7 cycles of 7 Sabbath Years (49 years), the very next year, the 50th year, would be called the “Yovel” or “Jubal” (also known as “The Favorable Year of the Lord”).  On the Day of Atonement, trumpets would blow and usher in the Year of Jubilee – a year when not only the land would be given rest and debts forgiven, but also in which any land or property offered as collateral would be returned to the original owner and all slaves would be set free (Leviticus 25:8-13).  A release.  A rest.  A return.  A restoration.

Keeping this in mind, let’s fast forward to a day, early in His ministry, when Jesus stood up in the temple to read from the Scriptures.  The book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him, and He read these words: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19 NASB).

Then Jesus made a most remarkable declaration: “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21 NABS).

The Year of Jubilee was celebrated every 50 years, and according to the Jewish calendar, it was not even time for this event.  You can’t just stand up and declare it, but Jesus did.  For the words of Isaiah looked to a time when this good news would not be fixed to the calendar, but to the Messiah (“Me”).  Jesus came as God’s only Son who was anointed to preach the gospel of the Kingdom, to set people free, and to open blind eyes to the Truth.  “This is the Year of Jubilee because I have come.”  “Every year is the Year of Jubilee because I have come – even 2016.”

And if you took a look at what Jesus read from Isaiah 61:1-2, you would note that He stopped short of reading the last part of verse 2: “…and the day of vengeance of our God.”  Why?  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17 NASB).  Oh, that last part of Isaiah 61:2 is very true and one day Jesus will come again as Judge – as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but today He comes as Savior – your Savior.

Right now, hear His voice speaking these words from Isaiah over you.  Cling to the knowledge that He alone has the power to fulfill them.  Listen to His good news, His words of hope and His promises of rest, release, return, and restoration.  How can He open your eyes?  What is holding you captive?  How are you living in oppression?  From what can He set you free?!

This is the Favorable Year of the Lord.  This is His Year.  And according to Jesus, it’s your Year of Jubilee in Him.  Rest in Him, receive, and rejoice.

Spread the Word!

© 2016 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries

The Way Out

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At his birth, a king tried to kill him, but he was hidden and protected by God. Though raised in Egypt for a season, he always knew his identity. He appeared as the long-awaited deliverer proclaiming, “Thus says the Lord, let My people go, that they may serve Me” (Exodus 8:1). After the final atoning act of God through the blood of the Passover lamb, he led God’s people out of slavery to freedom to know and serve Him, and then destroyed their enemies in the waters of the Red Sea. He was the instrument for the Law of God, talked face to face to God, reflected the glory of God, and shepherded God’s people to the land of Promise. Are we talking about Moses or Jesus? Yes.

Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, Jesus explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24: 27, 44 NASB).

To fully understand Exodus, we must see Jesus. And to fully understand Jesus, we must understand Exodus.

For at His birth, a king tried to kill Him, but He was hidden and protected by God. Though raised in Egypt for a season, He always knew His identity. He appeared as the long-awaited Deliverer proclaiming to the Enemy, “Thus says the Lord, let My people go, that they may serve Me.” As The Passover Lamb, He shed His precious blood as the perfect sacrifice on the cross, He rose from the dead, and He led His people out of slavery to sin, death, and hell to freedom to know and serve God.

For Jesus is our EXODUS, which literally means “the way out.” By His cross and empty tomb, He has parted the waters of judgment to show us the way out, and used those same waters to destroy the Enemy of our souls. He was the complete fulfillment of all the Law, prophecies and promises of God, talked to God face to face, and perfectly reflected the glory of God – a glory, unlike Moses, that will never fade. And as our Good Shepherd, He is leading us to the Land of Promise.

There are so many in our world crying for a way out – for a Deliverer who is already here. His Name is Jesus. Go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born!

She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21 NASB).

Merry Christmas! Spread the Word!

© 2015 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries

Jesus love me! This I know?

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“Jesus loves me! This I know…” – we’ve sung this simple song since childhood, but if we are honest, many of us are yet to truly believe it. Look around. What does experience teach us? Love is fleeting. Love is a feeling. Love must be earned. Love is conditional. Our résumé must be constantly updated. So we struggle to love ourselves, to love and to be loved.

Consider the prodigal son. After demanding his future inheritance be paid out immediately, he traveled abroad, partied like there was no tomorrow, and ended up destitute, desperate, hungry and alone. “But when he came to his senses…” (Luke 15:17 NASB), he remembered home, headed that direction and rehearsed the apology to his father ending with: “I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.” Sounds reasonable.

But the story takes an unexpected turn: “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20 NASB). For this to happen, it meant that the father was waiting at the window…and watching. He ran, embraced a filthy kid, interrupted his son’s speech halfway through, and, as the imperfect tense of the Greek word indicates, he “kept on kissing him.” Then the father called for the best robe, the finest ring, and the fattened calf to celebrate: “For this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found” (Luke 15:24 NASB).

Some of us are moved to tears at this scene, but some of us think – perhaps most of us think, “How can that be?! It doesn’t make any sense. That’s just not the way it works in real life. This guy owed his dad an apology. He was unworthy. He needed to re-earn his father’s trust. He deserved to work it off and repay his debt.”

And you know why we say that? Because we are the older brother. When he learned what just happened, he became angry and rebuked his father, “Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours, but you never gave me…” (Luke 15:29 NASB).

The truth is neither son understood their father’s love. One thought he must earn it, and the other thought he had earned it. One took the father’s goodness and wasted it. The other always had the father’s goodness and wasted it.

If you look up the definition of “prodigal,” it can either mean: 1) spending money or resources freely, recklessly or wastefully or 2) having or giving something on a lavish scale; extravagant.

We see a prodigal son when we are meant to see a Prodigal Father.

We are definition #1 – wasteful and wayward in one way or another, but our Father is #2 – lavish and extravagant in pouring out His love. We are sinful, but we are embraced and covered by the incomparable love of our Father. We may be Gomer, but God is Hosea – pursuing us with a steadfast love in spite of our unworthiness and unfaithfulness. We do not deserve nor could we ever earn His love, but He clothes us in the righteousness of His Son, showers us with His goodness and then celebrates with us.

This Thanksgiving, let’s rejoice and give thanks for God is good! Thank Him for a love so amazing words cannot describe it. Thank Him for a love in which the greatest dimensions of measurement fall woefully short (Ephesians 3:17-19). For His is a love that can only be shown, not spoken – a love that is only accurately measured by Jesus’ outstretched arms on a cross and only truly seen in a Prodigal Father running to embrace his wayward sons.

Yes! Jesus loves me!

In love, He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He LAVISHED on us (Ephesians 1:5-8 NASB).

Spread the Word!

© 2015 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries

The hand of God

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When you hear the phrase “the hand of God,” what comes to mind?

Many times people invoke that expression when they are referring to some terrible disaster or devastating turn of events.  There is no doubt that God is powerfully present in His creation, is actively judging the affairs of men, and is strategically orchestrating the movement of history toward the glorious return of His Son.  Still, we must be cautious in what we attribute to God, and yet not be blind either, “O Lord, Your hand is lifted up yet they do not see it” (Isaiah 26:11 NASB).

Others are unquestionably feeling the weight of God’s hand just like David, “When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat” (Psalm 32:3-4 NLT).  We can be certain that the love of God will not leave us alone to hide in our sin.  Unless your conscience has been seared and your heart is hardened against Him, the Spirit will relentlessly pursue you with a heavy and restless conviction until you move toward confession and cleansing.  Been there.

But focus on this aspect of His hands for a minute: “You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me” (Psalm 139:5 NASB).  I love the way the NLT phrases it, “You go before me and follow me. You place Your hand of blessing on my head.”  How amazing is this truth?!  Hands that powerfully sculpted the universe, tenderly hold you.  Hands that sovereignly move the very course of history, lovingly encompass the path of your life.  And where the Shepherd leads, goodness and lovingkindness surely follow (Psalm 23).

I believe the New Testament equivalent of this thought is found in Jesus’ words, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one” (John 10:27-30 ESV).  Do you see it?  You are twice blessed.  Encircled by both the hands of the Father and the Son!  What a vivid picture of God’s loving protection and eternal security!

In one of Israel’s darkest times, the Lord spoke these beautiful words of comfort and assurance to Zion (Jerusalem), “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands, your walls are ever before Me.”  Don’t you wish the Lord said that to you?!

Rather than simply saying it, He showed it.  Jesus literally inscribed us on the palms of His hands.  Not with a pen, but a nail.  Not with ink, but with blood.  For the hands that embrace your life, also bear your name.  And because it was written with His precious blood, Jesus will never let you go.

For You, O Lord, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands” (Psalm 92:4 NASB).


Matters of the heart

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About the size of your fist, weighing only 8-10 ounces, comprised of 4 chambers and 4 valves, with an inherently rhythmic electrical supply that is in continuous operation and constantly adjusts to the body’s ever-changing demands, this amazing organ automatically beats 100,000 times/day as it pumps 2,000 gallons of life-giving blood to the body’s 75 trillion cells through a vast network of 60,000 miles of blood vessels.

It first begins to beat about 4-5 weeks after conception.  Why it begins to beat remains a scientific mystery.  Doctors and researchers alike use words like “intrinsic,” “spontaneous,” “a biological question,” and “no definitive answer” to avoid giving praise and glory to the One whose “eyes saw our unformed substance” and “knitted us together in our mothers’ wombs” (Psalm 139:13-16 NASB).  The god of science reluctantly must bow and worship the God of all Creation and Giver of Life.  For God alone causes a heart to beat.

The heart is the universal symbol of love, compassion, and emotion.  We use words like heartbroken, tender-hearted, heartache, big-hearted, half-hearted, whole-hearted, hard-hearted, lighthearted, cold-hearted, kind-hearted, and sweetheart.

The Bible has much to say about the heart. It uses that word about 900 times to describe how the heart can be comforted, filled, troubled, hardened, anxious, joyful, fearful, evil, dull, grieved, pure, foolish, strengthened, divided, steadfast, courageous, sinful, sincere, deceitful, or broken.  It speaks of how it can love, reason, doubt, believe, be made whole, and be made new.

We are told repeatedly to “take heart” and “not lose heart.” Jesus said that out of the heart’s vast resources, the mouth makes withdrawals (Matthew 12:34-35).  “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).  Since the heart has “eyes” that must keep us focused on the right things (Ephesians 1:18-19), we are instructed to “hide God’s Word in our hearts that we might not sin against Him” (Psalm 119:11).

Even greater than the circulatory reach and significance of its biological namesake, the biblical heart is truly the center of life.  It connects our whole being in word, intent, character, thought, emotion, desire, passion, will, and belief.  God has also “set eternity in our hearts” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).  No wonder we are told to “watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23 NASB).

When your biological heart is healthy, your whole body benefits and rejoices.  Most of us at least annually, visit a doctor who uses a stethoscope to listen to the beating of your heart to diagnose, prevent, and correct problems.

What would a spiritual stethoscope reveal?  For what or who does your heart beat? “The word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword…able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 NASB).  “Search me, O God, and know my heart, try me and know my anxious thoughts.  And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way” (Psalm 139:23-24 NASB).

Whether your heart remains tender from daily check-ups or you need divine CPR to revive your heart of stone, God is able to “create in you a clean heart” (Psalm 51:10) – a “heart that believes unto righteousness” (Romans 10:9-10), and then “pour His love out within your heart through the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5) so that you will be able to “love Him with all of your heart” (Matt 22:37).

How miraculous is it that God makes all this possible through the precious blood of Jesus!  Blood, the very life-giving force of our natural existence, is also the supernatural means by which we truly live the abundant life to the glory of God throughout all eternity.  Make sure your heart still beats for Him.

“I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and will glorify Your name forever” (Psalm 86:12 NASB).

Spread the Word!

© 2015 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries

“I believe in you”

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“I believe in you.”

Those might just be the most powerful words you can say to someone.

Belief is an amazing thing.  When you believe in someone, you actually believe in something that hasn’t happened – something yet to be.  You see it whether they do or not. You see not only their potential (for we all have potential), but you see the end result of that potential.  You are far less an idealist and much more a realist. And the certainty of your hope helps instill the courage necessary for them to step into that reality. To achieve.  To realize.  To become.

When hope becomes belief, belief drives you toward destiny.  For when we believe in a future expectation, we are motivated to act on it in the present.

Oftentimes, you will believe in someone more than they believe in themselves.  Perhaps their vision is clouded by doubt or past failures, but you see what God sees. He knows what He has planned for our lives and is excited about who we are becoming in His Son.  “For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…” (Romans 8:29a). God believes in us. And His belief is not only the basis, but also the catalyst to move us steadily into His plans for us.

Both to assure and ensure, He has deposited His Spirit within us. The Spirit anchors us in one sense and propels us in another.  We simultaneously stand firmly in Him and yet are carried along by Him. For the Holy Spirit is The Encourager.

Jesus spoke belief into almost every person He encountered, but it sounded like this, “Go and sin no more,” “Feed my sheep,” “Follow Me.” A challenge. A call. An invitation. But each with a promise of things yet to be – of someone yet to be.

Jesus says to us, “I believe in you!” so that we can echo His words into the lives of others. Those words make a difference. They boldly declare, “I’m on your team.” Think about the impact words like that have had on you. You truly never forget them for they are woven into the fabric of your being and your becoming.

By the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we can partner with the Spirit in this holy pursuit by simply encouraging one another. Who needs to hear you say, “I believe in you”?

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV).

© 2015 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries

Sweet dreams

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So how did you sleep last night?
  Apparently, about 40% of us don’t usually sleep that well.  There are many reasons why ranging from an uncomfortable bed, to medical issues, to taking care of kids, to noise or light.  Sometimes it’s just beyond our control, but often it’s because we can’t unplug from technology, life or work.  Our minds are being constantly stimulated.  We wake up in the middle of the night and our to-do list begins to scroll in our heads.  Our hearts begin beating faster.  We stress.  We fear.  We worry.  We plan.  Our sleep deficit leads to decreased concentration, less creativity, lower energy, decreased effectiveness, moodiness, illness, depression, and more accidents, to name a few of the unhealthy byproducts.

God designed sleep for us to unplug and allow our bodies to rest, restore, repair, replenish and reenergize.  We need sleep.  Although not often enough, we say we “slept like a baby.”  Why?  Because a baby doesn’t have a worry or a smartphone or a to-do list.  We wish our children and grandchildren “sweet dreams,” and our prayers with them almost always include a request that God give them a good night’s sleep.  Seems like we should pursue God for the same thing?  After all, sleep is a gift from God.  Our Good Shepherd is the one who “makes us lie down” (Psalm 23:2).

God designed us to put our hands to good work, but He never intended for work to dominate our lives and push Him to the side.  “It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for God gives to His beloved even in his sleep” (Psalm 127:2 NASB).  God lovingly blesses us with sleep as we rest in Him – as we “cast our cares upon Him” (1 Peter 5:7).  Pray before you close your eyes at night, give Him praise for the day, mediate upon all His faithful promises, and put your needs and cares in His loving hands.  A grateful heart is like a supernatural sleeping pill.

God gives sleep as a blessing, but He sometimes withholds sleep to get our attention.  As David testifies, “When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer” (Psalm 32:3-4 NASB).  If you’re experiencing restless nights, maybe it’s the hand of God.  Ask Him to create in you a clean heart.  Try confessing your sins to Him.  A clear conscience is way better than counting sheep.

Fear attacks like a predator to torment our hearts and minds, but it is God alone who stands watch to defend us while we sleep.  You may lose consciousness, but God thinks about you all night long.  “In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8 NASB).  “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet” (Proverbs 3:24 NASB).  We fear so many other things, when “the fear of the Lord leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil” (Proverbs 19:23 NASB).  Walk with the Lord, obey Him, trust Him and fear not!  A calm assurance in our Rock is like a soft pillow.

While some of us may truly need to seek counsel from a medical doctor, the majority of us can get a great night’s sleep from regular visits with the Great Physician.  So tomorrow morning, I pray the words of Jeremiah become your waking testimony: “At this, I woke up and looked around. My sleep had been very sweet” (Jeremiah 31:26 NLT).

© 2015 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries