Thursday, May 30, 2013


Every one of us, in our Christian walk, have and will face times of discouragement. How do you stay “up” - how do you stay on top? When we face discouraging times it's important to rebound quickly. We're all human. We face discouragement and even depression at times. It's important that we know how to get back up. It's not a sin or a sign of weakness for a you to be discouraged. It is, however, a sign of weakness for you not to know how to get out it. I'm going to give you a Formula to Rebound

And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the 1 Samuel 30:6Lord his God.”

There are two important statements in this Scripture: David was greatly distressed and
David encouraged himself in the Lord.

When you get discouraged about he future, look and see how good God has been in the past! Moses knew this secret. Nearing the end of his life Moses reviewed with Israel the things God had done for them (Deuteronomy 8:1-6).

For example, let's look at Deut 8:2, “And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years...” Moses reminded them of God's faithfulness. Remember how he fed you with manna? – cannot God feed you now? Remember how your clothes never wore out? – cannot God clothe you now? Remember how your shoes never wore out? - cannot God provide for you now? Cannot the God that used Moses when he was in his 80's still use you? Cannot the God of the past take care of the future?

What Moses was saying was “Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come, 'Tis grace hath brought me safe this far, And grace will lead me home” We must realize that God hasn't aged a bit! He doesn't have Alzheimers – He hasn't forgotten about you! He's getting along real well. And that same God is still alive! The great God who spoke the world into existence is still on the throne today. Can not that God take care of you in the future? We serve a living God today! Cannot the God who provided for and fed you back when times were tough take care of you now? Is God limited? Can He bless older men and women as well as He blesses younger ones? The God of the Bible is your God!

Cannot the God who led you through battle after battle lead you now? Cannot the God who sustained you through heartache sustain you now? Has His glory dimmed? Is He not the same yesterday, today and forever? Can He not do today what He did 40, 50 or even 60 years ago?

As a child of God you have no right to be discouraged! God is your Father. Your sins have been forgiven. The Holy Spirit lives inside you. Your name is in the Book of Life – and there is nothing recorded! Your name is written in heaven. God will not hold confessed sins against you. I'm not saying you will never get discouraged but you don't have to stay discouraged. With the Creator of the universe as your Best Friend how can you stay discouraged? God still rules from heaven. He still owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He's still the Healer. Cheer up! The God that raised Lazarus from the dead is your God! The eye opening and ear unstopping God is your God! The God of Mt Carmel – that sent fire for Elijah – is your God! The God who's preparing a place for you in heaven is your God! Moses' God is your God! Joshua's God is your God! Gideon's God is your God! Elijah's God is your God! HE'S YOUR GOD!!!!!!

Every promise in the Book is mine and every promise in the Book is yours! He's MY God! The God who fed the 5000 is my God! The God of Pentecost is my God! God hasn't gotten old and tired – He's the same! Remember the prophet Joel? He prophesied that in the last days God would pour out His Spirit on all flesh and old men would dream dreams and young men will see visions. There's still some dreams to dream. There's still some mountains to climb. There's still some rivers to cross. There's still some battles to win. There's still some victories to obtain. There's still some people to be saved. There's still some things to do!

The God of yesterday is today's God. The God of today is tomorrow's God. The God of the past is the God of the present. The God of the present is the God of tomorrow. He's the same yesterday, today forever. That God who led you yesterday can lead you tomorrow. That same God will lead you home. Determine, “I'm going to push on – I'm going to go on anyway!”

You can't keep discouragement from coming – but you ought to have a way to get out of it. Learn to encourage yourself. Look back and see what God has done – not just for you, but for everybody.

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Friday, May 24, 2013


It is a wonderful thing to see a new Christian grow. When one is born again they are like a baby. Babies are unstable. Babies really can't do a lot of work. However, they do bring a lot of excitement into a church family. As they grow, it is also exciting to watch them learn to do things for God. If they continue to study and practice the basics of the Christian life, they will eventually get mature and settled in their walk with the Lord.

However, a Christian who has been saved for a long time is not necessarily a GOOD Christian, because a GOOD Christian is a GROWING Christian. A Christian who has been saved for a long while can feel that he has "arrived". That is, he has a routine of serving the Lord, and he sticks to it. He knows basically where he stands doctrinally. He's a giver – he gives offerings and even gives of his time and abilities. However, it is possible for an older Christian to become stagnate. He can get into a RUT. When he does, oftentimes he will eventually backslide, even if it's in ways that no one notices.  You see, many people backslide while sitting on a church pew.

Being in a rut is so close to someone who is established in the truth that it forms the center of the word! If you add a “t” on the front, and an “h” on the end of rut, you get TRUTH! The older Christian must by all means avoid and escape being in a RUT.  Now on a rainy day, a rut may seem like a safe place to drive on a dirt road, because it has been packed down. However, a rut in a Christian's life must be AVOIDED. A rut may seem like a safe way to travel, but a rut can actually be a line of erosion that ends up in a DITCH or a PIT. If you get down too deep in a rut, it's hard to get back out of it again!

The answer to the problem of being in a rut is...

...NOT to Change Churches
...NOT change To More Contemporary Music
...NOT to Move From One Location To The Other
The answer to getting out of a rut is to get STIRRED up about things you already know, and to REMEMBER them! (2 Peter 1:12-13).  And I'm talking about getting stirred up the right way!  Stir yourself up!

Great coaches constantly review the fundamentals or the basics with their teams. We must not neglect the basics of our faith when we go on to study deeper truths. Just as an athlete needs constant practice on the basics of their sport, we need constant reminders of the basics of the Christian life. Peter thought it right to stir them up by helping them to REMEMBER. One of the main purposes of this epistle was to STIR UP the people of God. Two chapters later, the Bible says in 2 Peter 3:1 “This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance”. I want to STIR YOU UP today to avoid and escape being in a rut. I'm asking God to make me a spoon for HIM as you read this blog. A spoon: *Stirs *Serves *Shines

If you are in a rut you need to remember salvation (2 Peter 1:9). Remember the Body that was broken for you. Remember the blood that was shed for you. Remember the burial that did not last. Remember The blessings that resulted. What God starts He completes (Philippians 1:6). Let's not forget about the coming of the Holy Ghost (He leads, guides, comforts and empowers us). Then there's the convicting power of the the Holy Spirit. Something happened. You experienced something new, something exciting something real – a new life (2 Corinthians 5:17)!

If you are in a rut you need to remember seducers (2 Peter 2:1). There is a seducing spirit in the world today. Scripture tells us in 1 Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits...” They deny the Lord and His Word. They deceive multitudes. They damn gullible souls to hell thereby making them twofold more the child of hell themselves.

If you are in a rut you need to remember scoffers (2 Peter 3:1-4). While they laugh, let's keep on living for Jesus . While they laugh, let's keep on leading people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. While they laugh, let's keep on looking for the Lord to return. While they laugh, let's lay up treasures in heaven.

If you are in a rut you need to remember the rapture (2 Peter 3:9-10). Think about what lies ahead for the believer. The rapture, the glad reunion, the rewards. The future is bright for the Christian.

Are you in a rut? If so, get out of it! Change your thinking. Change the things you meditate on. If your spiritual flames are waning remember these things and STIR YOURSELF UP!

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Jesus said in John 13:34-35, A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

So, based on this Scripture, I ask WHERE'S THE LOVE?  Many of the professing Christians I come in contact with barely like other believers let alone love them.  Some professing Christians simply cannot stand one another for whatever reason.  Is this God?  Is this the work of the Holy Spirit?

The reality is the Christian is commanded to love other Christians in a special way (as Jesus has loved us) whether or not they are "members" of one's particular church or denomination.  (Most of you who have been reading my blog for any period of time know how I feel about denominational labels).

I believe its important to point out that loving all true Christians, including those who are not of our local assembly doesn't mean that we must compromise our particular beliefs or doctrinal differences.  Nor does it mean we must necessarily seek an organizational unity.  This is merely excess baggage that so many tend to haul around.  All this excess baggage does is weigh us down and make us weary.  We must always remain true to God's Word.

If we have the proper love for God, we'll have the proper love for one another.  Instead of being judgmental and critical, we'll show mercy and grace as we love our brothers and sisters with an unconditional God-kind of love.  We don't have to agree with one another on everything, but we are commanded by Jesus, Himself, to love one another as He has loved us.  By doing so, we show everyone we are His disciples.

This God-kind of love is a distinguishing mark of those who are disciples of Jesus.  By the way, there is a difference between being a follower and a disciple of Jesus.  Perhaps we'll get into that in a future blog post.  This agape love that we are to have for one another is a self-giving and sacrificial love which seeks the good of another.  Therefore, the relationship between all believers should be characterized by a devoted concern which seeks to promote the highest good of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Many have a hard time being selfless. 

If we have this love for others we will be there for one another during the tough times.   We'll be there for one another during the trials that come.  We'll be mindful of each other's feelings and reputations.  We'll even deny ourselves to promote another's welfare.

So again, I ask, WHERE'S THE LOVE?  Do you show this God-kind of love for others?  Is this love unconditional?  Just something to think about as we continue on our journey with Jesus.

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Thursday, May 9, 2013


It's been said, "The reason so many want nothing to do with Christianity is because they see so many poor specimens in our churches."  This is so applicable to the institutional church today.  You don't have to talk to very many people to find this this is a popular notion.  No wonder a Barna report found the fastest growing segment of Christianity is the "Out of church"  Christian.  

Believers are leaving organized religion by the droves.  Most of these folks are leaving organized religion for their own spiritual benefit.  Do you hear what I'm saying?  They thrive in their spiritual lives by getting away from the baggage of organized religion.

Think about it.  You won't find a more judgmental group of people than what you find in many organized churches today.  Where's the love, the grace, the mercy, the compassion that we should be showing?  What if Jesus treated us the way we treat others?  The reality is that's exactly what is going to happen.  Check out Matthew 7:1-2 and see what I'm talking about.  

Christians tend to kick each other when they are down.  You have this "holier than thou" crowd who goes around looking and even hoping for someone to stumble and fall in their spiritual journey so that can be there to kick them when they are down.  You often her this crowd say, "Uh, huh... I knew you would fall!  I knew you wouldn't make it!"  How despicable a display this is!  How God must be grieved by this attitude in those who profess to know Him.

Too often, Christians don't  know show gentleness or kindness to their brothers and sisters.   Let's face it, we are in this world.  We're not of it, but we are in it.  There may be times we stumble on this journey.  But there are specific guidelines as to who and how this should be handled.  Paul in writing to the church of Galatia deals with this.

Galatians 6:1-2  Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, let thou also be tempted.  Bear ye one one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Note it is the spiritual is is to help restore the weak.  Not the judgmental or gossiping one, but the spiritual.  He is to do in a spirit of meekness or gentleness being mindful of the temptations that could come his way.    These "holier than thous" could sure use this lesson, huh?

I want to encourage you to be an encourager.  It doesn't matter where you gather, how often you gather or how you gather.  Just be the church God wants you to be.  The best way I know to do that is by being the Christian God wants you to be.  If we all would be the Christian God wants us to be just the of the mighty church God would have!

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Scripture reading: Matthew 15:1-20

The Pharisees really had a lot of hang-ups. Most of them had nothing to do with the way religious acts were done. They had a rules for just about everything. Most of those rules had little or nothing to do with anything pertaining to God.

For some reason men appear to be attracted to rules. Probably because they make life easier and less complex. They know what is expected of them. Although mindful of the rules laid down by the Father (Ten Commandments), Jesus had little time for man-made rules. This particular exchange is quite instructive for us today.

The Pharisees, in essence, told Jesus, “Your boys don't play by the rules.” Specifically, “They don't do the ceremonial hand washing before they eat.” These rules came from reference to Scripture, but they were created and embellished by tradition.

Jesus response was something to the effect of, “You boys don't even know the rules!” He went on to say, “You transgress the commandments of God by your tradition.” Jesus points out the clever way that had been devised to get out of caring for their parents. We sure do figure out excuses for not doing the things we should, don't we?

The bottom line is the Pharisees were guilty of hardcore hypocrisy. They were confused. Jesus indicated to them, '”You think you have it all straight, but it really is completely backward.” He even uses the Scripture to point out their situation (Isaiah 29:13):
Vs 7-9 Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

The Pharisees knew a lot about God, but didn't know God. When we claim to honor God when our heart is far from Him, our worship means nothing. It's not enough to act religious. Our actions and attitudes must be sincere and from a true and right heart. If not, these words from Isaiah also describe us. It's not enough to study about religion or even to study the Bible. We must respond to God Himself!

So the question is raised, “Is it inside out or outside in? You see it's not what goes into the mouth but rather what comes out of the mouth that defiles the man (Vs 11). Things that go into the mouth pass through the body; things that are in the man make their way out of the mouth (Vs 16-20)

Take a look at the response of the Pharisees. Look at it. The Pharisees got upset? Jesus seems to say, “So what?”

Jesus even brought to their attention this list of sins. Let's look at each one of these and define what they mean:
Evil thoughts – all thinking out of accord with genuine truth
Murders – the malice that leads to murder
Adulteries and fornications – all forms of moral impurity
Thefts – taking away the goods of others without their knowledge or consent
False witness – concealing truth or giving false information
Blasphemies – speaking evil of, to injure by words
Covetousness – wanting what someone else has, and wanting it badly enough to take it
Wickedness – a desire to injure others
Deceit – the desire to benefit one's self by doing injustice to others
Lasciviousness – unbridled sexual sins
An evil eye – looking for opportunities to do evil or to hurt others
Pride – an improper estimate of one's own importance
Foolishness – choosing bad ends and/or bad means of achieving them

So it becomes a matter of focus. Internal versus external. Spirit verses flesh. Big versus little. It's important to note this list of sins we went over doesn't keep us from salvation or cause us to lose our salvation – they just indicate the lack of salvation. They demonstrate the absence of a right heart.

There seems to be so much of the Pharisee is most modern churches and Christians today. There is so much emphasis on external factors such as how we dress or look, where we go, what we do or don't do, and things of this nature. Although there is surely some importance to these external issues, they often obliterate the real spiritual issues
Biblical Christianity is not outside in, but rather inside out.

Until next time...enjoy the journey.


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Thursday, May 2, 2013


Scripture reading: Matthew 14:22-36

Faith is often a strange thing to us. Most of us have enough faith to trust Jesus to keep us out of hell and get us into heaven, but oftentimes we have a hard time mustering enough faith to trust God to keep us day by day and see us through the tough times we face. If He can save us, He can keep us!

It's important for us, as believers, to acknowledge that sometimes the storms we encounter on our journey are God's will. Now we don't like to hear that and some don't even like to entertain that thought as even a remote possibility. Let's think about it for a moment. The disciples had done what Jesus told them to do (Vs 22). They were in a boat headed to the other side per His instructions. So they were clearly in His will. Yet the storm came! They kept on going because they were told to do so (Vs 24). They most likely could have solved the problem by running with the wind and taking the path of least resistance. However, they wouldn't do so because they were headed to the other side. They were being obedient to what Jesus instructed them to do.

NEWSFLASH: We can be in the center of God's will and yet find ourselves in the midst of a storm.

A storm is no sure sign we are out of God's will. The will of God is likely to involve some storms along the way. It's better to stay in the storm and be in His will! The storm is no reason to change directions. Changing directions would have cost the disciples a blessing. Changing directions may well cost you a blessing, too.

The disciples were secure in His watchfulness. Jesus was not physically present with the disciples when the storm came. He had sent the multitudes away. Then He went up into a mountain to pray. Though He wasn't physically present, He knew their situation. He knows your situation, as well. His knowledge was not based on His physical presence then. Now His unlimited presence assures us of complete knowledge. Jesus went to them. His coming caused them fear (Vs 26). Sometimes in the storm the thing that causes us the most fear is the vehicle, or the means, of His coming. He'll often show up in an unexpected way. It sometimes catches us off guard.

Think about Peter and his excursion to walk on the water to Jesus. Peter's request to walk on the water wasn't a presumptuous or egotistical act. No command of God ever involves presumption or ego. If Peter's request had been wrong, Jesus would have responded differently. However, this act was marred by inadequate faith (Vs 30). Peter became centered on the circumstances surrounding him. He took his eyes off Jesus to look at the wind. This is something he did

This act, itself, was a demonstration of remarkable faith on behalf of Peter. Don't go criticizing Peter. Peter did something the other disciples wouldn't do. He got out of the boat in faith and literally walked on the water! Most of us have never been out of the boat! It was a classic example of obedient faith. When Jesus says, Come, we must go. So long as we are centered and focused on Him, we cannot fall!

Are you in a storm? Jesus knows where you are and will come to you. Have you failed to get out of the boat when He said, Come? Come on out of the boat and take the steps of faith . Jesus didn't let Peter down. He won't let you down.

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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