Monthly Archives: April 2016

Shine

Philippians 2:14, “Do everything without complaining or arguing,  so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.”

Complaining. It has become a common, everyday habit in America. We blow our horns if the person in front of us doesn’t accelerate simultaneously as the light turns green. We roll our eyes and huff when we have to wait in line for more than 3 to 5 minutes. We are easily frustrated when people do not understand and need direction. When our computers or Smart Phones do not respond in a rapid fashion, we become irritated. We need to go on a complain-free-environment campaign.

God does not like complaining. Remember the Israelites? 400 years in bondage; 400 years of oppression; the Lord delivers them and what does He receive from them – complaints! They are hungry. They are tired. They don’t like walking in the desert. They’d be better off back in Egypt. Hmmm….sounds a little like us, doesn’t it?

Years ago, I remember when I walked into a restaurant, I was given the option, “Smoking or Non-Smoking.” Now, there is no smoking in restaurants at all. What if we started a “Complaining or Non-complaining” section campaign? “Non-complaining, please!”

God detests complaining and arguing so much that He actually explains to us in Philippians, “…so that you may become blameless and pure…”

There isn’t a parent out there who does not understand how bickering can grate on one’s nerves. “He’s looking out my window! How much longer? I don’t want to watch this movie! Mom! David always gets to pick what we do.” The hairs on the back of my neck stand up just writing those words. But, imagine how God feels listening to us?

Today, focus on gratitude. Look at what you have instead of what you don’t have. Focus on tolerance. Realize the person up in front of you in line, may have just lost a loved one or his job. He may be hurting in ways you could never understand. Focus on achievements. Instead of accentuating the bad of your day, talk about the good. Find something positive and hang on to it.

I would love to shine like stars in the universe for my God, wouldn’t you?


Life to the Full

It is God’s wish for you that you enjoy life. John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” And we all know who the thief is; but, take a look at the second part of the scripture, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Another translation, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Those words to me mean “the most of” something. He isn’t talking about “just getting by” or “a little bit” of a part; no, God wants us to have it all!

Start your day the right way – with God. Experience first hand what it is like to feel His presence with you all day. This morning, take time to read His word and pray to Him. Ask Him for guidance today and listen throughout the day for His direction. While reading these devotionals are a great way to connect with God, don’t let it be the only way you reach out to Him. Diligently seek Him in His Word. I suggest you take the scripture that I am writing about and read further. See how God relates it to you and your life.

Most importantly, know that God will fill your heart and enlighten you. You will understand His peace and joy. Seek Him and allow Him to be with you all day. Once you experience the empowerment of His presence in your life, you will want to have Him with you every day. Don’t leave home without Him.


With renewed Hope

Everyone struggles with loneliness at some point. For some of you, you may feel totally isolated, abandoned, and unattached. When people are absent in our lives, we can feel despondent. When we lose people we love or suffer from a relational break-up, loneliness can creep in and consume us. Maybe your children have all grown-up and left the nest, and you feel you’ve lost your purpose. Maybe you are suffering from an illness which has left you feeling unable to be involved in activities. Maybe you just need someone to call your friend.

I want to share some scripture with you. Focus on His word and know God understands loneliness. It is the very reason He promises to never leave us.

Matthew 28:20, “…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)

Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (NIV)

Psalm 147:3, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (NIV)

Psalm 121:1 -2 “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” (KJV)

1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (NIV)

2 Timothy 4:16-17, “At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.” (NIV)

Psalm 68:6, “God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.”

May you feel the love of your Heavenly Father today. I pray He fills the voids in your life with a renewed hope.


Faith for Our Friends

Mark 2:5, “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.'”

Jesus was teaching in a house in Capernaum. The people wanted to hear him so much there was no room to get in and it appears the house was surrounded by people. Four friends of a paralytic man carried him on a stretcher to be healed by Jesus. When they got to the house, they realized there was no way they were going to get in through the front door because of the crowd.

Mark 2:4, “Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on.”

If you have ever cracked walnuts, you know how hard it is to get through the outer shell. We keep working at it because we know inside the hard shell is a wonderful tasting nut. We wouldn’t worry with it if we didn’t have the belief that the nut was inside.

This guy’s friends not only loved him and wanted for him to be healed, but they believed he could be healed. If I could make a YouTube video of the event, I would titled it “Faith in action.” When they realized they couldn’t get in the house, they climbed up on the roof and dug a hole large enough to then lower him down through the hole. Can you imagine what was involved in the doing so?

There are times when we have to carry the load. We have to have faith for our friends and family. Sometimes, a person cannot do it alone. Do you realize the faith of our friends can change our circumstances? Prayer is important – yes! But there are times when your friend needs more than your prayers, he needs to see your faith in action. Maybe he  needs you to fast for him. Maybe  she needs you to invest money in what  she is trying to do. Whatever the


Freely Surrender to Him

Galatians 2:20, “ I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Most of the original 12 disciples were crucified because of their ministries. But when Paul wrote this, he wasn’t suggesting the same for us obviously. He wanted us to realize that in order to have spiritual victory over the evil of this world; in order to live as Christ lived; in order to allow Him to move and work in and through our lives, we had to be crucified with Christ. No longer do we have the right to control our own lives. In being crucified with Christ, we find the power to live a life filled abundantly with the joy, power, and abilities of Him.

Christ left so that the Holy Spirit could fill us and live in us. This gives us the ability to do “what Jesus would do.”  Through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, whatever we encounter, we have the ability to conquer because Christ lives and works within us.

Today, in your prayer time, talk with God about living through you. Here are some guidelines to help start a dialogue with Christ:

1. Express to Him that you want very much to be a person of God. There are times when you feel defeated and inadequate. There are times when you do not know how to deal with certain people or do certain things. Admit to Him, you need Him.

2. Accept the authority of Christ to give you exactly what you need, whether it be in words or actions, believe you can overcome every obstacle because Christ is directing you.

3. Surrender to Him. Give Him express permission to live His life through you. Release the controls. Be crucified in Him.

You may have to pray this prayer on a daily basis until you can freely surrender to Him. Discipleship begins when we allow Christ to live in and through us.


Trust in God’s Power

Psalm 6:6-8, “I am weary with my sighing; Every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears.  My eye has wasted away with grief; It has become old because of all my adversaries.  Depart from me, all you who do iniquity, For the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping.”

All of us at some point or another feel this way. Life has overtaken us. Desperation has planted itself deep within our hearts. Despondency knocks at our door. Putting one foot in front of the other is difficult. Some of you may be waking up to such despair; but, the Lord has heard your weeping.

The enemy of our soul deceives us. Evilness wants us to doubt God’s ability to hear us; doubt His ability to pull us from the pit in which we find ourselves. Negative thought patterns begin to weigh us down and stress tempts us to do things we wouldn’t ordinarily consider.

No matter how many times you’ve cried out to Him; no matter how many times He has come to your rescue; He will hear you again. There isn’t a limit. He isn’t tired of you.

Today, do not allow the negative, hopeless, faithless attitude to steal the joy of the Lord from you. Trust in God’s power not only to help you resist the devil but also to overcome him.


It is I

Matthew 14:27-29, “But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’ 28 ‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’ 29 ‘Come,’ he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!'”

This scripture comes from the story so many of you know. To summarize, Jesus has just performed the miracle of feeding the 5000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish near the Sea of Galilee. He sends the disciples ahead of him by boat so He can have time alone to pray. A gigantic storm comes up and the disciples are in the boat, fighting for their lives against the waves and the wind and the rain. Jesus walks out on the water toward them and they think He is a ghost! He calls out to them not to be afraid, “It is I.” Peter realizes the miracle. He sees Jesus walking on the water and he calls out to Him, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”

Faith is a risk. We want to pretend it’s easy; but, we live in a world that tells us, “seeing is believing.” Jesus tells us differently, “Believing is seeing.” Faith takes courage. It is about stepping out when we have no idea of  the outcome. Some of us want to stay in the boat; even when Jesus is telling us to come, we are just fine in the boat – no thank you – but not Peter.

Jesus says to Peter, “Come.”

Peter steps out on the water. The winds are howling and blowing all around him. The rain is barreling down and the waves are rocking his body. He is in the middle of the storm. And when he notices that he is out of the boat, in the middle of the ocean, in a huge storm, he takes his eyes off His Master and looks at the wind.

This morning I’m writing a devotion, not about the 11 disciples that stayed in the boat. I’m writing a devotion about the 1 who got out of the boat.

As he begins to sink he cries out to the Lord and Jesus reaches His arm out and saves him. Understand, Peter didn’t just jump out of the boat, he asked Jesus. Jesus told him to “Come on!”

My question to you this morning is how many of you are sitting in your boats asking, “God, should I do this? Should I?” And God is saying, “Come on! Come on, Peter!”

I love that Peter was willing to do what no one else was willing to do. Yes, he sank; but he learned. He learned about keeping his eyes on God. He learned that faith is about concentration. The storms will always be around us. Our eyes have to stay fixed on Jesus. Peter became a bold and strong deliverer of the Word of God.

Matthew 14:31, “‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’”

Peter may have had little faith but far greater to have little faith than none.

How many of you are still sitting in your boat, watching Peter? It’s time to take that step out on the water despite the storm; despite the wind; despite the waves. It’s time to concentrate on the One who has called you.

On a final note, I’ve heard so many sermons and read many commentaries on how, why, when, and where Peter stepped out on the water. I’ve listen to people criticize and applaud him; but I’ve never heard the story of why John or Matthew or Andrew or James stayed in the boat.

It’s time to get out of your boat!