Monthly Archives: February 2017

God’s Best for ME!

It is time that you enjoy God’s best for your life. He wants to give you His favor. He wants to extend kindness to us even though none of us deserve it; but He wants to bless our lives and show us favor because we are His children.

Genesis 39:3-4, “And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight…”

Job 10:12, “You have granted me life and favor, and Your care has preserved my spirit.”

Psalm 5:12, “For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.”

Psalm 23, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Numbers 6:25-26, “The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. “

We have to find a way to believe what God’s Words say about us more than we believe what the world says about us. When the negative comments come our way; when failed businesses define us; when our grades don’t display our efforts; when people misunderstand us or exclude us; when our thoughts tell us we are worthless, God’s Word must hold true in our hearts. Self-doubt causes us to put stock in those around us and not God. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,    I know that full well.” – Psalm 139:14. You are no accident but designed and created uniquely. You are an incredible creation of God!

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” – Jeremiah 33:3

Today, realize who you are in Christ. Tell yourself that you walk in God’s favor; that you are the child of the King of kings; and you are loved more than you can imagine

Journal Question: What is God’s BEST for me? How can I do my part in obtaining it?


He loves you period.

Psalm 103:11-12, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to talk with a man who had made many wrong decisions in his life. His alcoholism had destroyed his marriage; he had no relationship with his children; his gambling addiction had cost him his business and home. And ten years after he had straightened his life out, he still uttered these words to me, “I can never forgive myself for the things I have done and the people I have hurt.”

My heart ached for him. Here was a man who devoted countless hours to helping men overcome addictions. He studied God’s word, prayed diligently, loved others and yet, he didn’t get it.

Do you know how high the heavens are above the earth? Neither do I. Do you know how far the east is from the west? Neither do I. But that is the depth of God’s love for us and that is the width for which He removes our transgressions.

God is not sitting on His throne with pen in hand reminiscing about my friend’s errors. He isn’t saying, “Oh yes. I remember those days. That man can’t do enough to make up for what he’s done.” Instead, the Bible tells us in Hebrews 10: 17-18, “Then He adds: Their sins and lawless acts, I will remember no more. And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.”  Not only is He not keeping a tally, He doesn’t even remember! He could remember but He chooses NOT to remember.

Past failures can prevent us from having future successes if we do not realize the depth of God’s love for us. When God forgives our sins, He forgets it and removes the guilt. It is our own inability to control our emotions or accept His forgiveness that leaves us feeling as this man does.

Today, recognize the goodness and love of our Heavenly Father. Set aside your past failures. Get control of the emotional turmoil associated with guilt. Choose to accept His redemption and grace.

Journal Question: Write today the failures in your life that are preventing you from receiving God’s LOVE. Tear that paper up. Rejoice that God has forgotten. Rejoice that He LOVES you. PERIOD.


Love like the Morning Mist?

I love the early morning dew. There is something about a dew covered ground as the early morning sun’s rays shine down and cause it to glisten. It reminds me of strings of white lights or diamonds shimmering or frothy milk. When I was a boy,  I used to try to see the sun soaking up the dew and drying off the grass.

I wrote a poem once to a little girl I liked in the fifth grade. She sat on the front row and had long brown hair which she braided down her back. I don’t remember the poem exactly except for a few lines, “I love you like grass loves dew or falling rain that beats against the windowpane.” Years later I realized the simile I used showed a huge lack of commitment  Realistically, dew is around less than 30 minutes and falling rain quickly hits the windowpane, bounces off and is gone. No wonder she never acknowledged my poem!

Even Hosea compares the morning dew in the Bible, “What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears.” -Hosea 6:4

Hosea was a prophet living in the northern kingdom of Israel. His wife was not committed to him and had an adulterous affair. Israel too was not committed to God. It was a time of little loyalty and Hosea longed to bring people back to their commitments. His own personal life reflected the lives of those around him in their relationship with God. Like the early morning dew is quickly soaked up by the sun, so was his wife’s devotion to him and so was Israel’s devotion to God.

How is your commitment to God? Are you like the morning dew? Where is He on your priority list?

Many of you may be quick to answer and insist God is number one; but let’s think on it for a moment. Do you give Him time every morning in prayer and study of the word? What about church? Is it a priority in your family or is soccer or baseball? What about around the office? Do you tiptoe around your political correctness and only speak of Him in safe, non-threatening environments? Maybe you are like the morning dew or the falling rain.

Some of us need to evaluate our relationships with God and get our priorities straight. He does not like anything half-way. Consider this, would you like for Him to be half-committed to you?

Take the time today to prioritize God in your life and reconnect with our Savior. Many people have good intentions – they desire to be Christian but only at an emotional level;  remember, it is not our intent but our action that make us Christian. You can intend to believe and love Christ all day long but until you actively walk in His way, you are only half-committed – He suffered and died for the ‘whole-hearted” Christian.  And nothing else will do.

Journal Question: How can you develop a stronger commitment to God?


A Broad Path

I have always enjoyed nature, particularly when I can incorporate sports with it. Hiking appeals greatly to me. Here in the Northeast Georgia mountains, where I am privileged to call “home,” the Appalachian Trail begins. About a 2000+mile trek from Georgia to Maine, enthusiasts have picked particular pieces along the way to have the bragging rights of hiking the AT (at least a portion of it). I am one such enthusiast. To hike the entire trip would take someone at least 5 months to a year and cash resources. It is a dream of mine but one I do not see fulfilling. It is just fun to imagine.

There is a particular stretch of trail that I like. It starts at Three Forks Stream Valley and ends at Springer Mountain. Approximately 8.6 miles, the variety of terrain and the beauty of the streams is indescribable.

Years ago, I found myself hiking alone to clear my head and pray. I hadn’t been on this particular trail before. I wasn’t certain what was ahead of me or for that matter behind me. The sounds of the rushing creeks were almost deafening as the trail changed from sure-footed to rocky paths. The scent of Mountain Laurel and the thickness of the rhododendron caused me to stop momentarily and take it all in…and I thought of David.

In Psalm 18, David is writing because God has delivered him from his enemies, particularly Saul.

As I stood in the midst of all the beauty, I started to quote the words I’d read so many times, “I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies. The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook;  they trembled because he was angry.”

God was angry because someone was messing with His son. Let me tell you, that same God who adored David, adores you. Don’t mess with His people. He will come down like a hurricane. When we call on Him, He will come down and rescue us. And not to stand around a campfire and be friends again kind of revenge…no, when the enemy messes with you and me, God’s precious children, He will swoop down with all His might. Be assured, children of God, you are His temple, and His temple will be protected.

Psalm 18:36, “You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.”

There are times when God asks us to take a certain path and the uncertainty of the direction causes us to fear the next step. David felt the same way; but God will not even allow us to turn our ankle on the rocky trail. He will broaden the path we are on. The terrains of life can be tough: rocky, steep, twisted, narrow, and dark. Life’s journeys can be overwhelming. But David’s words, filled with praise for our God, affirm for us, that even in the toughest of times, God is there.

Some of you may enjoy hiking as well; consider this the next time you are out walking and praise Him for His goodness. Every step you take, God is broadening the path, monitoring the roots, providing the safety net, and strengthening your steps. We can trust God to keep our feet from slipping.


Your Service Meter

Those of you who know me, know I love sports. I loved playing football and baseball, and I love watching any game the remote finds on our television. When I think about sports, I often think about marriage. My wife may not like the analogy; but, it is how I relate. Many people go through married life believing it is a 50-50 relationship. On the outside it sounds pretty good; however, when you dissect that 50%, it falls short.

Biblical love calls us to meet much more than 50% of our obligation in a marriage. It isn’t about you giving your 50 and your spouse giving his or her 50.

Have you ever heard a coach call out from the dugout, “Hey! Sanchez! Give me your 12% or I’m pulling you off the mound!” If you consider there are 9 members on the team, following the marriage model of 50-50, that’s what each player would contribute. 12%? I don’t think it would be a winning season, do you?

When we get into the “you do your part and I’ll do mine,” expectations are never met. You start thinking your 50% is tougher or you’re giving more than 50 and your spouse is giving less.

Biblical love asks, “How can I be what you need me to be?”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Now that sounds more like a team, doesn’t it? When such words as never and always are used, there is no other way except through 100% of self. Love is sacrificial; love is customer service at its very best; love begins with the question, “What can I do to make your life what you need it to be?”

Today, pray about your marriage. What percentage of yourself are you giving? It may be time to turn up the service meter inside you to 100%.


Fails?

” Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” 1 Corinthians 13:8

The other day I came across an old typewriter. Some of you may know what I’m talking about and some of you may not. Like a magnet, my hands were attracted to it. Images flashed through my head of Miss Whitlock, 4th period, just before lunch. That is where I learned to type on one. We didn’t have correct tape or backspaces or redoes. What we typed – stayed. I wasn’t a real fan of typing or Miss Whitlock, or 4th period for that matter. My hands were too big and my fingers awkward. It is amazing that something so important back then is now totally obsolete.

Paul is telling us in this scripture LOVE will never be obsolete. The word fails here means – to cease or stopping to exist. Even prophecies, once fulfilled, cease to exist. Tongues stop talking; knowledge fades…but LOVE…LOVE never leaves – it always, always exists.

I often think of the love it took for Jesus to carry the Cross. With every step He took, I believe He thought of you, and He thought of me. Possibly, He thought of His part in God’s story, and the meaning behind the sacrifice He was making. The power of Jesus’ love is it never stops; never diminishes; never fails.

Journal Question:

What does love like this mean in your life?


It Always…

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:7 Continue reading