Where Will You Build Your Altar?

In ancient times, altars were often built to commemorate a divine action or deliverance. They were also used to offer sacrifices to God for remission of sins. Cain and Abel built altars for sacrifices; Noah built one to remember God’s deliverance; Abraham built altars to remember God’s promises. These altars were to help later generations remember how God had delivered them but were often times forgotten and new altars to other gods were built.

Now it came to pass when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had come back, they sent for him and called him to the congregation, and made him king over all Israel. There was none who followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only. I Kings 12:20

 When Solomon sinned against God, He declared that He would take the kingdom from Solomon’s son and so it was. Jereboam was made king of Israel according to God’s plan. However, Jereboam became afraid that if the Israelites traveled back to Jerusalem to worship, they would turn against him and follow Rehoboam. So what was his answer to this dilemma? He built two golden calf altars for the Israelites to worship at.

If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah.” Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!” I Kings 12:27-28

As I was reading how this story unfolded, it occurred to me that we too often times build our altars in the wrong place and for the wrong reason. Altars are an act of worship and remembrance so when something happens in your life, do you build an altar for your circumstances or because God delivered you? Are you fearful and build your altar to false gods? What type of altar is it?

We must also remember that our altars stand as a testimony to others. So when our altars are not of God, we lead people astray. Jereboam led the Israelites away from God when he told them to worship the false altars. I personally want my future generations to remember me as one that worshiped God alone. What testimony will you share?

An Altar of Pride

I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have laid something at the foot of the cross and then went back for it because I was impatient. I allowed my sinful pride to tell me that I could surely fix it myself only to find that I made it worse. Perhaps you are in a similar situation right now. Are you facing something in life that you are trying to fix alone? This is called the Altar of Pride. We build an altar to our achievements and to our abilities instead of giving God the opportunity to teach and bless us.

We get caught up in what the world expects us to be that we become prideful that we must deliver to meet their expectations. We take pills to lose weight, we seek out the wrong people to associate with, we look for status symbols to fill our lives and bring them meaning.

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.      I Peter 5:6-7

God calls us to Himself and tells us to be humble. How can I ever think that I know better than the God of all creation; the God that split the Red Sea; the God that created man from the dirt? This altar is easy to destroy if we simply humble ourselves and ask forgiveness for our prideful ways and allow God to have control of our lives.

An Altar of Fear

We all experience fear of one type of another. I know that often times I find myself fearing the future. It’s the “not knowing what God’s plan is for me” that makes me fearful sometimes. I find that I weigh myself down with worry and anxiety and soon I build an altar of fear which prevents me from allowing God to work.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. II Timothy 1:7

This is probably one of my favorite verses and one that I go to often in times of stress. I find myself becoming anxious about something that I may or may not have done and it prevents me from worshiping God. It is very easy to become a slave to fear and before you know it, there it stands. An altar built out of fear. God wants to tear down that altar of fear and replace it with His power and love.

 An Altar of False Happiness

 This is an altar which can creep into our lives without realizing it is there. We find ourselves in a situation where we are experiencing fear and anxiety so we turn to the things that give us temporary relief. I am talking about drug or alcohol addictions, pornography, adultery, lustful thoughts, and hateful thoughts. We seek out these things because the world makes them so easy to have. We believe that we will attain happiness from them but in reality they only take us farther from God. We are soon worshiping at the Altar of False Happiness. These altars take us away from true worship and the only One that can ultimately provide us happiness.

Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Most of us have heard the old song, “Looking for love in all the wrong places.” Well when we stray from the path of righteousness, we never truly experience happiness but only an empty promise from the enemy that we will find peace. Do not allow yourself to be drawn to the things of this world that only work to widen the gap between us and God. Drown yourself in the Word of God instead of alcohol; Feel the awesomeness of His presence instead of turning to drugs; Spend time in prayer with God building a relationship instead of looking for it in pornography, adultery, and lustful thinking. Those relationships will never last but the one that you have with God will last an eternity.

The altar also was split apart, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the Lord. I Kings 13:5

God sent a prophet to Jereboam and told him that God would spill out the bones and ashes from his altars because of his sin. Jereboam was caught up in his own fear and forgot about following the will of God. God destroyed his false altars just as God is willing to tear down all your altars to false gods and spill out the ashes.

Jereboam raised his hand and called for the prophet to be arrested but instead his hand shriveled. He asked the prophet to pray to God to restore his hand and God did just that. All you have to do is ask and God will be more than willing to tear down your altars and heal you. Jereboam became trapped in his own fear, anxiety and pride, but in the end all he found were empty altars. Where are your altars built?

Dear Father in Heaven, I want to thank You for placing this message on my heart. For showing me that I need only serve the one true God and worship Him alone to find the happiness You promised. I thank You for tearing down my altars and allowing only one to stand in Your presence. I ask that You be with every person that reads this today. Touch them in a special way and show them if they have erected any altars in the wrong places. I know that You are willing and able to tear down our altars if we only allow You to work in our lives. I ask that You continue to search my heart and show me any sin that remains so that I may not be distanced from You. I will continue to give You all the glory forever. Amen.


How Do You Spell God?

How many times have you turned something over to God expecting a miracle and yet nothing seems to happen? Does this frustrate you? Does it cause you worry whether God heard your cry or just has not acted upon it? Well, you can be sure that God heard your prayer and that, if properly motivated and is within His plan; He will answer your prayer in His time. But how often do we take it back and then start playing tug-of-war with God? We give it to Him only to take it back because He is not answering it fast enough for us or that we often times think we can do it better.

There is no “I” in God.

I wouldn’t normally put this out there for all to see but I cannot let my pride get in the way of making this point. I lost my job about two weeks ago. Of course, the first things that run through my mind were “How will I provide for my family?” and “How will I be able to feed them or pay rent or…?” and the list goes on and on. I became caught in a trap of “I’s.”

I was in prayer one morning when He spoke to me and told me that I cannot feed my family and I cannot provide shelter for them and I cannot be the provider but only HE can do that. He provides for my family…HE provides us shelter…only HE is the Provider. I broke down and cried and turned it over to him and have not waivered in my faith since.

Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on.  Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.  Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?  And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?  If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest?  Luke 12:22-26 (NKJV)

So what prevents us from turning these things over to God? Why are we not able to see that He alone provides for us and allow Him to work the solution out in our lives? How is it that our faith does not outweigh the doubt in our lives?

  1. There is an “I” in sin.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23 (NKJV)

Sin separates us from God. Although we are all born into sin, from the age of accountability on it becomes a choice. You have seen me say before that “life is full of choices” and the reason being is that He gave us free will. He wants us to choose Him and to choose Him to abide within us. The Israelites were God’s chosen people and when they were given the law they had to make a choice between life and death. We are given the same choices today but when we choose sin over God we alienate Him from our lives and therefore prevent Him from working in us.

  1. There is an “I” in pride.

When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom. Proverbs 11:2 (NKJV)

Pride is probably the easiest trap to get caught in. It is so easy for us to say “I can take care of it” that we end up pushing out the One that actually can. My pride was getting in the way of Him providing for me. I became scared of how others might perceive me as a failure so I kept it to myself. I was so caught up on how I would make everything happen that I pushed Him out of the picture. I alienated myself from Him but thankfully He is full of grace and mercy.

Pride prevents us from experiencing God and allowing Him to reveal His nature to us. We live in a world of “instant” everything. Everything is at the swipe of a finger anymore. We can always find answers to our issues. Why do we need God? Because only through His redemptive grace can you ever experience life to its fullest. You may think that you are living it now, but believe me God has a lot more in store for you than anything this temporary residence which we call Earth can ever offer!

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:10 (NKJV)

When you begin to remove the “I” from the equation, you should prepare for a battle. I’m talking about a real spiritual battle with Satan himself. He will try to come at you from any angle and even sneak into your camp and attack you from within. He will use anything you allow him to. That is why we are called to put on the full armor of God. As with any battle, if you are not careful you can allow your shield to become damaged and all Satan needs is a crack to sneak in and attack.

Since I have become unemployed with only $594 a month income, Satan has tried to convince me that there is no way to provide for my family, he has attacked my dreams at night, he has attacked my family and tried to create doubt in me through them, and he has even tried to hit me with depression and despair. However, I am strong and rebuke him in the name of Jesus Christ whose blood was given for my life. He has nothing that can battle that and he loses every time!

Sometimes in the mornings when I feel a weight upon me and I just want to cry, he tries to make me believe that if I do, then I am not being faithful. The Lord spoke to me today and reminded me that even Jesus cried when He was saddened over the pain that His friends were feeling over Lazarus’ death even though He knew He would raise him back up. I believe I am human and that I will still experience sadness and fear, but I cast them upon Him and He reminds me that He is still on the throne. I sing praises to him throughout the day and continually thank Him for what He has given me.

I realize that this will probably get worse before it gets better and the Lord will allow that to bring me closer to Him or to possibly bring my family closer to Him. I am already seeing Him work this to His good through my wife. She has turned all her fear and doubt over to God and He has given her the “peace that surpasses all understanding.” I will praise His holy name and will continue to give Him all the praise and glory.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

Dear Father in Heaven. My Jehovah Jireh. I come before you today humbled to be in Your presence. I thank you for you incredible mercy and grace that before I was even born, you sent your Son to die for me so that I would not have to live in sin but I would be able to spend eternity in Your Glory. I ask that you continue to work with me to remove any remaining pride or sin in my life that would separate me from You. I thank you for continuing to reveal yourself to me daily. I ask that you be with each and every person that reads these words that they may continue to turn to you. I pray for every person that may not know you as their personal Savior, that you place someone in their path that can share a message of hope with them. I will continue to give you all the glory in all that I do. I pray in Your precious Son’s name. Amen.


Break Free From Your Prison

“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”  James 5:13-20 (NKJV)

We live in a world that is filled with heartache and strife. Everywhere you look you see poverty, war, disease, homelessness, starvation, and sin of every kind. It is easy to get caught up in all of it and lose our focus. James here is addressing the Christian Jews that had been scattered abroad according to God’s will. He knew that they were easily drawn away from the lord since they were living among sinners. They were persecuted, made to live in poverty, and sometimes even killed for their beliefs. They had been through so much already and he wanted to reassure them that they should not lose sight of God. Let’s take a look at what James was referring to here.

The original Greek word for trouble used here is kak-o-pa-theo which means to “endure or suffer hardships.” Here he is referring to hardships such as bereavement, disappointment, persecution, unemployment, financial troubles–all the things that we face daily. Later James will deal with sickness but for now he is referring to the hardships that you and I face everyday.

Everyone has trouble of some sort in their lives. Perhaps you are facing financial crisis or loss of a job. Perhaps you have recently lost a loved one or you’re facing a bully at school that is teasing you. Sometimes we suffer because of our own sins. Those things that happen when we stray from the presence of the lord and lose our way. The hurt, anger, confusion, and hopelessness that can plague us when we are not right with God.  Look at the parable of the prodigal son. He had to endure much because of his sin. Christians suffer for righteousness sake and sometimes our suffering just has no apparent reason. Whatever the case may be, there is one to whom you can turn in time of need and he will deliver you.

“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” I John 4:4 (NKJV)

How are we to handle suffering? Well, some turn to drugs or alcohol to try and drown out the sorrow. Some turn their rage outward and persecute those around them while still others can turn it inward and become trapped in a world of despair. Most of us just complain about it and hope that it goes away. We complain that “God did this” or “God didn’t do this” or we simply blame it on other people. This only works to feed the cycle of sin.

The Word tells us that we are to rejoice about it.

“but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:13 (NKJV)

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” James 1:2-3 (NKJV)

We are also instructed to be patient.

Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord! Psalms 27:14 (NKJV)

So, we are called to rejoice and be patient but also to pray for our sufferings. James tells us to pray for the removal of the suffering if it be God’s will. Paul pleaded with God three times to remove the thorn in his flesh but it was God’s will that he should endure it so that, as Paul writes,”…that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9b (NKJV). Prayer is our open line of communication with the creator. He desires for us to draw closer to Him and to know of His great love through an intimate relationship with him. He wants to heal us and deliver us from the evil in the world but He can’t do that unless we offer up our prayers in faith.

James uses the example of Elijah to drive this point home. He states in verse 17 that “Elijah was a man with a nature like us.” Elijah was no different from any other man on earth, except Christ of course, but he was prone to the same temptations that we are. Yet he prayed to God “earnestly” it says. Not half-way or sometimes, but earnestly that it would not rain and it did not for three and a half years. Then, it says, he prayed again and the heavens poured rain.

So, what keeps us from praying faithfully like Elijah?

As we experience difficulties whether it be physical or emotional, we begin to build walls. We feel ridiculed, so we build a wall. We feel rejected, so we build up a wall—we think we should have it our way and when we don’t, we build a wall. Before you know it, we have built ourselves into a personal prison that prevents us from praying faithfully. These prisons can take on many forms. Each one drawing us farther away from our Father. The first of these is the Prison of Depression.

It is far too easy to get caught in this prison today. The economy is in the dumps, military conflicts are all over the globe, divorce rates are skyrocketing, and our children are faced with situations that challenge their beliefs everyday at school. This prison challenges our faithfulness. When we are depressed we become self-loathing and regretful. When we throw up our hands and say “Its just not worth it” God says…

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

When we become overwhelmed with everything happening in our lives and say “I can’t manage anymore”, God says…

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (NKJV)

And when we reach our wits end and say  “I just can’t go on anymore” God says….

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)

Made perfect in weakness—that point of brokenness at which God meets us, wraps His loving arms around us, and clothes us in His love. God most definitely can work in our lives if we only allow Him to do His work. So, the prison of depression can keep us from praying with faith.

Then there’s the prison of shame.

We will never be worthy of God’s grace. No matter what you do, you will never earn it. It is a free gift from God because of His great love.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8 (NKJV)

Satan knows this truth and tries to guilt us by shame and then we become trapped in this prison of shame. He reminds us of our past and tries to convince us that we are beyond saving. Satan will use every opportunity we give him to make us feel disgraced and ashamed. He says, “you’re not worthy” I heard a preacher say once, “If God had a refrigerator, you’re picture would be right in front.” We are ALL worthy!

God never reminds us of our sin. When we confess our sins and are forgiven, he throws them into the sea of forgetfulness.

He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19 (NKJV)

It is only the evil one that reminds us of our past mistakes and tries to draw us away from the Lord with them. We all carry regrets with us. Whether from childhood or yesterday, we can easily become trapped in the prison of shame but thankfully God gives us a way out through the cross. Only faith will allow us to break free from this prison. We must have faith and not doubt.

It is so easy for Satan to convince us that we belong in the prison of doubt. We seek answers from God in prayer and when we do not get it right away, the seed is planted. We want to believe but we are trapped in this prison of doubt because we cannot see all that God is doing for us.

How many times have you prayed for something and when God didn’t answer right away you became doubtful that he would give it to you or that he even heard you at all? This is when our faith is truly tested. We live in an “instant world” today. We have the internet, and as my kids always remind me, the internet is never wrong. We have satellite television with video on demand, even our cell phones can give us up-to-date weather information. We cannot however expect our prayers to be answered in the same instant fashion. And this can cause doubt. We are told to not doubt when we pray.

For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. Mark 11:23-24 (NKJV)

The prison of pride is probably the most common one.

When sin entered the world, so did pride. We have all dealt with it in one way or another at some time in our lives. Some of you may still struggle with it even today.

We tell ourselves that we know better than God and therefore do not completely let go and allow God to work in our lives. This prevents us from having a true prayer of faith because in our hearts we think we know how to handle it.

Or perhaps we become impatient and take it back from God. When we lay it at the cross it should stay there. Christ cannot work in our lives unless we allow him to. We must open ourselves up and begin to pray again with faith.

Know that God will supply all your needs. It has been promised in the Holy Word of God! When we try to do it ourselves, we rob ourselves of the opportunity to draw closer to God and reveal Himself to us.

We can’t offer up a prayer and then prescribe to Him how it should be answered. It’s presumptuous for us to think that we know better than the One that created the heavens and the earth.

God often has to humble us in order to draw us closer to him. We should seek that humbleness and welcome it when God brings it to us.

It is never easy to be humble because it goes against our grain, but in order to give over complete control to God, we have to be able to submit all. This allows God to work in our lives.

“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)

Pride is probably the most common way that we create distance between us and God. We do not confess our sins to one another because we are afraid that someone may find out and judge us for what we have done.

Oh my—how embarrassing that would be!

Don’t you think Christ was embarrassed to be stripped, beaten, and nailed to a cross for everyone to see? They spit on him, laughed at him, and called him names all while he hung there naked so that you and I may be free. If he didn’t care what others thought, than why should we?

So what are we to pray for?

We are to pray that the suffering may be taken from us if—and here’s the important part—if it is God’s will to do so. I think we lose track of that sometimes and expect God to give us everything we ask for.

Things happen. It is simply part of living in a sinful world. But God can take anything bad and turn it to good for His kingdom.

He sometimes allows us to suffer because he desires for us to be closer to him, to bring us into a right relationship with Him, but he also desires for us to be happy. He calls us to endure hardships with patience for His name sake.

So we are to pray for patience as well but James also tells us to lift our prayers in praise. Our Father inhabits the praise of His people. We should never forget that everything we have comes from the Lord. Thank him for the air you breathe, the food on your table, the roof over your head. Remember to thank him for his saving grace and for saving us from the eternal flames.

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. James 5:14 (NKJV)

Imagine what would happen if there were more prayer in medicine. God gave man medicine to help him, but he also gave us the power of prayer. Prayer can become medicine and that’s one prescription that you don’t have to stand in a long line for.

I believe that God created the community of believers because He wanted us to fellowship together, worship together, laugh and cry together, and pray together.

He didn’t intend for us to be alone. In the Garden, God created woman so that man did not have to be alone. We are to be a communal people; Lifting one another up in prayer.

James is calling us to action. We are to pray for one another and sing praises to God for His many blessings. We are to pray for the lost that they may be found and we are to pray for one another that we may be strengthened in the Lord. It is our responsibility as children of God to pray for the lost.

There is only one way to break free from your prison and you cannot do it by yourself, but thankfully God has given us a way out. Ready for this?

Christ went to the cross, bled, died, and rose again that you may be free from your prison. Let me say that again—Christ went to the cross and died that you may never again be imprisoned by sin.

God sent His Son so that you and I no longer had to live in our prisons. He unlocked the cell and has paid the price. All we have to do is step out of our prisons and come closer to Him.

God gave us one another to help us accomplish this. What would you do for your family? Would you lay hands on them if they were sick, Would you praise them? Do you pray for them? Then why should the Family of God be any different?

Deaf Father, I think you for your undeserving mercy and grace. I think you that you have compassion on a sinner such as I and while I was still a sinner, your Son died upon the cross for me so that I did not have to live in sin. I pray that you would use these words to perhaps reach someone that is trapped in a prison today. Reach out and touch their lives in a way that will leave no doubt that You are on the throne! Lord, you are the great healer so I humbly ask that you touch all those that are afflicted either emotionally or physically today who are reading this. Wrap your loving arms around them that they may begin to experience what you desire for us to be. I will continue to give your son all the glory forever. Amen and Amen!

We are Commissioned

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”          (Matthew 28:19-20)

I want to take a few moments today to look at the Great Commission. I think that most of us know this and probably many by heart. This is when Jesus commanded His disciples to go out into the world and make disciples. So what does that look like in today’s world?

First I think we need to look at a very key word, “GO.” Jesus did not tell His disciples to just “kick back here, sit in the shade of a camel and wait for them to come to you.” No He told them to “go and make disciples.” It is much easier today than it was 2000 years ago. We don’t have to track miles across the desert to the next town. Instead we can simply post on social media and…voila…done. But there is something to be said about the journey and not just the destination.

I have seen many churches over the years that have either lost sight of this or were not sure how to make it happen. I mean no judgment. Please do not misunderstand me. This is simply my impression after long talks with boards, pastors, deacons, and laypeople. I think that many interpret this as a call to go out and make new Christians. Although that is what we are called to do, this goes beyond that. We pay our tithe so that someone else can go do it. Missions is a very important part of ministry, but we were not called to be timid.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline (II Timothy 1:7)

We do indeed need to seek out the lost and show them that their lives need not be so empty. That there is more for them than what this world can offer. We lead others to know the love that we ourselves know and experience everyday in our lives. We lead by example and by the Word of the Spirit through us. We do not lead others to know Christ as their personal savior so that we can have the recognition, but rather so that God can be glorified!

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Discipleship is such a key part of Christianity. I remember when I first became a Christian. I thought to myself, “now what?” What was expected of me? What tools was I going to need in order to make this stick? Discipleship is more than just leading someone to Christ, giving them a bible, and then saying “Read this. Tylenol for headaches–Mydol for any cramps. Let me know if you have any questions.” We are expected to pull that new Christian along side of us and journey with them through the darkness to find the Light.

In a book entitled, One Conversation at a Time, D. Michael Henderson reminds me that we just need to follow the example of Jesus. How did He do it? “…one discussion, one conversation, one heart-to-heart discussion at a time” (Henderson, 6). Jesus walked across the land during His ministry on earth and spread the Good News one conversation at a time. Think about how many people He came in contact with on a daily basis. How many posts do we make on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? How many of those reflect the true nature of God in our lives?

What are we willing to do for those that have come to know Christ? How do we lead them? We are all responsible for them. A word of encouragement or even praying for them daily. Being a new Christian in today’s world is not easy. We are bombarded daily by ads and pop-ups that tell us we can have more. Remember when Jesus was tempted three times? Was He not offered the world by one that could not deliver? We have to protect those that are in our lives from this same temptation.

“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”   (John 17:15)

You need only to look to the news to see how twisted the world is. Satan may be loose now, but we know in the end he will be thrown into the lake of fire and he is trying to take as many with him as he can. The question is, what are we willing to do about it? Why do you think Christ sent the twelve out into the world to make disciples? How did they know how to do that? They watched Jesus Himself do it with them. They had an awesome example. What example will you set today?

Dear Father, I thank you for your awesome mercy and grace. I thank you for all that you have protected me from over the years and for all those that you have set in my path to guide me where I needed to be. I ask now that you use Your words here today to touch someone’s life in a profound way. In a way that they may have no denying the power of the Cross. I humbly ask that you use me how You may so that your kingdom may be glorified! Be with each person that reads these words that they may be encouraged as I was in writing them. I will continue to give you all the glory! Amen.

Keeping the Faith When You Feel Lost

Each morning I get up, shower and shave, feed the dogs, the fish, and Taz , our guinea pig. I try to remove all distractions that get in my way of communing with God. I read my devotional, spend time in prayer and meditation and then the madness begins. Getting the kid dressed and off to school on-time, fighting traffic to get to work, dealing with subordinates that are challenging, and yet I still manage to keep my head above water. All the while battling the growing impatience in my life.

The truth is I fight with the same things everyone else does daily. I fight the urge to have road rage, to yell my head off because someone did not use a turn signal, to get frustrated with someone that I have shown the correct way to do things at least a dozen times, and the list goes on. Let’s face it. It is difficult to keep your sanity in today’s world.

I am thankful that I serve a God of compassion, mercy, and grace. It is during these times that I try to let Him shine through me and my actions. I am not always able to do it, but that is when the God’s forgiveness and mercy comes in. He has promised time and time again that He would not allow me to go through this life alone. In Isaiah He said,

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2

Throughout all of this, perhaps like some of you, I still feel lost every day. I feel as though I am just wandering around aimlessly waiting for God to show me what He has in store for me. This is by far the greatest test of patience for me. Some days I feel as though I am going to explode with all that is in me. All the ideas I have for outreach, the overwhelming need to help others that are oppressed, the empathy that I must endure for those that are suffering, and the desire to disciple those that have come to know Jesus as their personal Savior so that they do not get lost again. When will God give me an outlet?

Each day I pray that He will use me to be a light in someone’s darkness, to show someone how Jesus can be the life preserver in their chaotic life. Even now as I sit here and write this, I am filled with sadness that I have no outlet. I try to fight back the tears that are welling up in my eyes thinking of all the lost opportunities. Does this mean I have lost my faith? Have I lost faith that God will use me or perhaps that He already has and I just do not know it? It makes my head hurt to think about it.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. I Corinthians 12:12

The good news is that God has a plan. Not a plan for me to fail, but rather one for me to prosper. That is a promise I can stand upon. One that all of us can stand upon. At those times when we are feeling the lowest and the devil has managed to give us a spirit of fear, anxiety, and timidity, we must remember that God does not make empty promises. He would not waste a gift of the Spirit on us without a plan to use it. That brings me joy to know that when the time is right, He will reveal to me what He would have me to do. Although I do not know His plan, I can believe that He has one and that we all work for the glorification of Christ in and through our actions and thoughts.

Dear Father, I thank you for the opportunity to come into your presence this morning. I think you for the opportunity to speak my heart in the hopes that it may give someone else the hope they need to continue on. I pray that you use this as you may and that you use me as you may…in Your time. When you are ready…so am I. Thank you dear Father for being my light in the darkness and for saving me from the world in which I lived. I give you all the praise and glory forever. Amen


God is not Dead

Look around you to see God’s work!

so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

I am not sure where to start so let me just say…GOD IS NOT DEAD! I was sitting alone in my office wondering what I would name this blog when Newsboys came on Pandora and God just spoke to me. Next thing you know; here I am.

I have been looking for an outlet for my thoughts for some time. I have been using Facebook but quite frankly, I am afraid that people will soon begin to click on “unfollow this person” and it will all be for nothing. All I want is for God to be able to use me in some small way to touch the life of someone, somewhere, sometime. I will probably never know whom I have touched or how it has impacted His kingdom, but impact His kingdom it will. I have faith that He will use me in some way to get His message out.

A little information about me…(my testimony will come in time) I am 51 years old and have a beautiful supportive wife named Merilee. We have been together now for 15 years and my only regret is that we did not meet earlier in life. We have five wonderful children; Jonathan who is 27, Curran is 24, Alex is 22, Lily is 19, and Faith is 10 going on 20. She has grown up in a house full of teenagers so let’s just say that she come fully equipped with attitude.

We are currently attending Grace Pointe church in Conway, AR. It is a wonderful church filled with more loving people than I could ever deserve. They never stifle the Spirit and I have seen wonderful things happen here in the short time that we have been attending. God is definitely moving there and I see a great revival on its way!!

I graduated from Nazarene Bible College in 2013 with a degree in Pastoral Ministries but have been struggling the last several years as to where and how to use it. This has been a real struggle for me since I know He called me to full-time ministry yet here I sit with no real direction as to how to use it for His kingdom. I can only continue to pray and believe that He will reveal himself to me in His time. For we all know that God is rarely early…never late…and always on-time.

Dear Father in Heaven. Thank you for this opportunity to be able to express your words through my thoughts here. I pray that you will bless these words and bless the receiver that they may find comfort in you and that Your will be done here. Amen.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,    (Ephesians 3:20)