Friday, December 11, 2009

Oh my selfish ways!

Three weeks ago I wrote this entry and for three weeks it sat.  Why? At first I wasn’t sure, but I know why. It hits too close to home.  I have written on many subjects, the things God has shared with me through His word and counsel. When I wrote this one, I tried to write it with immunity from its implications, as if it was no longer an issue for me.  The truth is, I am not as strong as I think I am.  I am still weak.  I still fail.  I still sin, I struggle. I need Jesus more than ever.

If you ever had the notion through my entries that I have risen above the rest, been enlightened, or “have arrived”...that would be ridiculous. I’m still nothing. I am a mess as a matter of fact and Know also that I am still a selfish man, fighting against myself daily.  It looks like this, what Brian wants vs. what God wants.  It’s one thing to be shown the truth, it’s another to live it out fully isn’t it?  I just pray for the strength, fortitude and faith to willingly choose God’s way over my own.  Sometimes it is much harder to do in reality than on paper.    I sin with my thoughts, I sin with my choices.  My flesh betrays me.  Being bluntly honest, some days I don’t even have much desire to put up a fight.  Heaven help me on those days!
The opposite of Love- Love of Self
Last entry we visited the subject of love, the unconditional love of God being shown to others.  In this way we love and worship God, we give Him our lives.  So what is the opposite of living in this fashion... the love of self.  What does that look like?  Well, we’d like to believe that it is something that only OTHER people do, but if we search deeper and take an honest look at our lives and our hearts…we may not like what we see. (If you haven’t read the last entry, read it first please)

There is a big difference between struggling with temptation; fighting against the desire of our flesh and just giving in to the temptation and doing whatever it is we desire. When we do life our way, meeting our own selfish desires…we show that we love this world and what Satan has to offer us, not God.

“Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love these things you show that you do not really love God; for all these worldly things, these evil desires--the lust for physical pleasure, the ambition to buy everything that appeals to you, and the pride that comes from wealth and importance--these are not from God. They are from this evil world itself.”
 (1 John 2:15-16)

The Warning
Are we in danger of becoming one of those people who act religious, but in reality we reject the Spirit in our lives? We reject Jesus. If we don’t evaluate our lives it might be easy to simply think that we are just fine, when in reality we are acting like the very person described in 2nd Timothy 3:2-7.  “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—  They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.”

The action we should take
So I urge you, as outcasts in this world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.  Live such good lives among those who are not Christians that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God when He returns. We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. If you don’t believe that, then you are already deceived and defeated.
1Peter 2:11-12
Eph. 6:12-13

We are told in the Bible that our old life is dead, it is a former life. We have a new life in Christ, we should act like it. “And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That's a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It's because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn't long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it's all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.”  Colossians 3:5-8 (The Message)

When we are weak, He is strong. We must remember that Jesus went before us, showing us the way to live.  “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” Hebrews 12:2-3 (The Message)
The result of our poor choice
We have free will and with it comes the responsibility to CHOOSE His way because the troubling part is if we deliberately continue to sin...we trample on the cross.  We make light of the sacrifice Jesus made for us. “Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us.” Hebrews 10:26-29 (New Living Translation)

The Way
“Then He said to all, Anyone who wants to follow me must put aside his own desires and conveniences and carry his cross with him every day and keep close to Me!” (Luke 9:23 TLB) He made it pretty clear what NOT to do.  It is also pretty clear what we should do. The final verdict: Put away self and live for Him.  In this way we are truly free.  In this way we find the abundant life!

Easier said than done, I know.  I’ve witnessed some amazing things over the past few months...oh the stories I could tell. Even then, after seeing His greatness and glory, reading the Bible accounts from the eyes of witnesses...I still struggle with self.  I think of Peter, who got out of the boat to walk on the water with Jesus.  Where were the other the boat.  Did they not see his miraculous ways too?  Watching Jesus heal the blind, feed thousands with a few loaves of bread, raise the dead!  Yet they too struggled to have faith; to follow Him.  But let us not be complacent to give in to ourselves and to Satan.  May we fight with all that is in us to live for Him! To get out of the boat and walk on the water.

Today's song- We are not as strong as we think we are - Rich Mullins
(I posted a youtube video of the song below for you.)

Well, it took the hand of God Almighty
To part the waters of the sea
But it only took one little lie
To separate you and me
Oh, we are not as strong as we think we are

And they say that one day Joshua
Made the sun stand still in the sky
But I can't even keep these thoughts
Of you from passing by
Oh, we are not as strong as we think we are

We are frail
We are fearfully and wonderfully made
Forged in the fires of human passion
Choking on the fumes of selfish rage
And with these our hells and our heavens
So few inches apart
We must be awfully small
And not as strong as we think we are

And the Master said their faith was
Gonna make them mountains move
But me, I tremble like a hill on a fault line
Just at the thought of how I lost you
Oh, we are not as strong as we think we are

And if you make me laugh well I know
I could make you like me
Cause when I laugh I can be a lot of fun
But we can't do that I know that it is frightening
What I don't know is why we can't hold on
We can't hold on

When you love you walk on the water
Just don't stumble on the waves
We all want to go there somethin' awful
But to stand there it takes some grace
'Cause oh, we are not as strong
As we think we are

Thursday, November 19, 2009

And you will know we are Christians by our Anger…

No, that’s not how the phrase goes does it?  By our bitterness, our resentment, our hatred, our selfishness, our pride, our envy…still no.  What was it then, oh yes, by our love!

“Be on your guard; stand firm in faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.”
1 John 2:9

“A new command I give you; Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

“…Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28

If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them. If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we have not seen?

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?   Let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.

This is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.

But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.

Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.

What is written above is challenging, it begs of us to look internally and examine our lives.  Today’s entry; every word is from scripture except the first paragraph and what I am writing to you now.  We are called to be different than the rest of this world…we are called to love.  If not, do we have the love of the Father in us?  What did the scripture have to say?

For some of us it means recognizing that we have yet to truly be transformed in the Spirit and live according to His purpose for ourselves and not by our own path. We have yet to die of self.  Maybe today will be the first day that you say, "I'm not who I was."

The body of today’s entry is from:
1 John 3:14-24 NLT
1 John 4:20 NLT
Galatians 5:22-26 The Message

Today's song by Matthew West - I'm Not Who I Was

I wish you could see me now
I wish I could show you how
I'm not who I was
I used to be mad at you
A little on the hurt side too
But I'm not who I was

I found my way around
To forgiving you
Some time ago
But I never got to tell you so

I found us in a photograph
I saw me and I had to laugh
You know, I'm not who I was
You were there, you were right above me
And I wonder if you ever loved me
Just for who I was

When the pain came back again
Like a bitter friend
It was all that I could do
To keep myself from blaming you

I reckon it's a funny thing
I figured out I can sing
Now I'm not who I was
I write about love and such
Maybe 'cause I want it so much
I'm not who I was

I was thinking maybe I
I should let you know
I am not the same
But I never did forget your name

Well the thing I find most amazing
In amazing grace
Is the chance to give it out
Maybe that's what love is all about

I wish you could see me now
I wish I could show you how
I'm not who I was

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Want to join a miracle in the making?

Dear Servant,
God put it on our hearts to start a Christian orphanage/foster home for kids (that we affectionately call The Lodge) on the west side of Indianapolis. We have grant writers, social workers, volunteers, construction companies, attorneys, etc. starting to line up behind this amazing thing that God is doing!
We met with the master builder on a Wednesday and asked him what it would take for him to understand that God is moving in miraculous ways, not just luck or coincidences, but miracles. We specifically asked him, “Mike, what do you need to see so that you will surrender to God on this project and do it His way and drop all of our silly logic?” He said he would need to see property in hand and $250,000 in the bank. That was Wednesday, and by that Saturday we were offered 22 acres of land that has already been zoned for an orphanage and counseling center in which to build on. You tell us…is God in this?
Now it is time to raise the $250k. Will you help us somehow? Will you be a part of the miracle that God wants to deliver? Go to and search for the video under “Dynamis Mission”, it is the first hit. Take a look. Then go to the web site at Let us know where God is leading you. Spread the word far and wide! He still moves mountains!
In Christ,

Dynamis Ministries
The Power of the Spirit in Motion

Today's Song Kutless- That's what Faith can do

Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes and make a new beginning
Anyone can feel the ache
You think it’s more than you can take
But you are stronger, stronger than you know
Don’t you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard
Impossible is not a word
It’s just a reason for someone not to try
Everybody’s scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It’ll be alright
Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

Overcome the odds
You don't have a chance
(That’s what faith can do)
When the world says you can’t
It’ll tell you that you can!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The hardest lesson I ever had to learn

What do you value most? Your job, your car, your house. Maybe your values go much deeper, you would say your family, your kids, your health, your spouse. Those things are good and it would only seem right to place a high value on them, but we would be wrong in doing so. For years I placed great value in my wife and my relationship with her. I pretty much worshiped her, held her up on a peddle stool in my eyes. I remember I used to tell her that if she snapped at me in the morning I was crushed and useless for the rest of the day. It was true and I thought it was a good thing that I placed so much importance on her. I found my identity in her, my self worth (value), because I valued her so much. Do you know what I’m talking about? Of course you do.

What if you lost what you valued most? Would it destroy you, crush you? It almost did for me, until I learned the hardest truth I ever had to face. The values that I had were all misplaced. My marriage, it would be gone one day, in death at the very least. My kids, on loan from God entrusted into my care. My house, my car, my money, my job, my time…it is all His from the beginning. I simply had to admit that truth to myself. It isn’t mine, it is all His.

My identity was misplaced as well because of my flawed value system. Bluntly honest, I found my worth in her, in my job, in being a father, a friend etc. Because of this I was in bondage to this identity and value system. When things fell apart Satan exploited it to cause me great pain and agony. To keep me in fear and panic, to spend a lot of time asking “what if” questions regarding the past, present and future. When something threatened my “values” my world came crashing down and I couldn’t even function sometimes, the pain and anxiety was paralyzing. Can you relate?

So what changed? Beginning to understand that it all truly belongs to the Lord and that my value, self worth and identity should come from Him alone. Again, in all honesty, that was a bitter pill to swallow at first, but it soon became the most liberating fact of my life outside of salvation. As I rebuilt my identity squarely on my life in Christ, creating a value system solidly on valuing the things of God’s heart, on pleasing Him and living in His will for my life; Satan suddenly lost all power over me. His strongholds in me were torn down and the chains that weighed me down were broken and stripped away!

Now I have a new identity in Christ, He is my value and I have much value in Him. So as the storms rage around me I do not fear, I do not fret. There is no pain or anxiety and there is no sorrow; only joy and peace. I worship Him alone, to Him all my praise and adoration is given.

My wife may never come home, but I will rejoice in the Lord still. More calamities may come my way, but they will not injure me or cause me to stumble. “There is no fear in (His) love. But perfect love drives out fear...” 1 John 4:18 Please don’t misunderstand me. I love my wife dearly, more than she will ever understand. I would love nothing more than for her to come home, but it does not define me, the marriage is not what I live for anymore, it is not my purpose.

Satan can no longer exploit those values for pain because the value is not there to be exploited. Also, I’m not saying they are of no value, but in comparison to His glory, they are mere shrinking shadows of what they were previously.

This also allows us to live out 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 with greater ease and clarity. If our value was perfectly in Him alone then it would be impossible to threaten our values, which means that jealousy, envy, pride, selfishness, etc. could not exist. Take a look for yourself: “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love never fails.” For example, if we value His love instead of the love from others, what is there to be demanding of?

Like I said, the hardest lesson I ever had to learn, but also the most liberating and instantaneous in its effects on me. This is the freedom we have in Jesus Christ. I fully believe this is the beginning of understanding that has the potential to free you from all kinds of grief and medication.  It will also make for better relationships, better marriages and release us to live the way we were designed to live.

So what is it that you value? Where is your identity found? Is any of it misplaced, holding you back from an abundant life?

Here’s to freedom!

Today’s song

This may throw some of you completely off, but I think it is interesting how secular music has some great worship lyrics sometimes. They just miss out on who the object of our praise, worship, adoration and affection should go to. Here is a perfect example.

Halo by Beyonce

Remember those walls I built
Well, baby they're tumbling down
And they didn't even put up a fight
They didn't even make up a sound

I found a way to let you in
But I never really had a doubt
Standing in the light of your halo
I got my angel now

It's like I've been awakened
Every rule I had you breakin'
It's the risk that I'm takin'
I ain't never gonna shut you out

Everywhere I'm looking now
I'm surrounded by your embrace
Baby I can see your halo
You know you're my saving grace

You're everything I need and more
It's written all over your face
Baby I can feel your halo
Pray it won't fade away

I can feel your halo halo halo
I can see your halo halo halo
I can feel your halo halo halo
I can see your halo halo halo

Hit me like a ray of sun
Burning through my darkest night
You're the only one that I want
Think I'm addicted to your light

I swore I'd never fall again
But this don't even feel like falling
Gravity can't forget
To pull me back to the ground again

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Surrender and exposing the lies

So how is life? Are you tired of the rut? Is it just a series of events?  Christian or not, do you ever wander if this is as good as it gets? If you are feeling this way you should know there is another path, an infinitely more amazing path.  I know that I give you glimpses into my life through this blog.  If I wrote everything down, every encounter, every would not believe me and probably think I was out of my mind!  For that matter, I have no desire to boast except to say how AWESOME our God really is.

I can honestly tell you that my daily life is FULL of ADVENTURE, packed with PURPOSE and MEANING and any movie script or novel pales in comparison at this point. Not because of what I’ve done, but because of who He is and what He accomplishes through people like you and me.  Do you crave adventure?  Do you desire purpose, meaning and deep relationship? Of coarse you do, we were designed by God for it!

Starting in December, I am going to teach a Sunday school class at Kingsway on everything that I have come to understand, the things that have brought me to this place.  I want to see EVERYONE out of bondage and living a daily miracle filled life! Yes, it does exist!!!  If you are hurting, emotionally scarred, trapped, depressed, full of anxiety, feeling empty, addicted, afflicted, stuck in coping through life, haven’t figured it all out, stressed, tired, lonely, broken, messed up, want more of life...come.  If you think you have it all figured out (I haven’t), don’t bother, He can’t help you right now.

You have to be in the place where you are willing to SURRENDER. Say I quit, I give up.  I can’t do it my way anymore, my way stinks.  I give it ALL to you Lord!  You have to really want it.  I admit that I am a failure on my own accord.  I screw it up every time I do it MY WAY.  Now that I’ve given up and surrendered, let’s do it your way.  I give you my schedule, my preferences, my time, my talent, my money, my job, my spouse, my kids, my problems, my pains, my life.  It belongs to you.  It was really yours to begin with, but I’m just now admitting that. I am finally broken of my selfishness, now please Lord, build me into what you wanted me to be.

The question now is, how do I go forward?  I don’t even know what that looks like.  I’ve been doing it my way for so long.  Me too.  We are going to build on surrender in class.  He is going to show you the path, in practical application, of how to live life in full surrender and bring you to a place of joy, peace, adventure and purpose like you never thought possible.

Why didn’t you think it was possible?  Because there is a liar among us.  He is the father of lies and he steals away God’s truth in our hearts and replaces it will lies and half truths.  Satan has been busy lying to you and me, keeping you away from the life God desires and you desire.  He tells you, promises you that you can fill up that pain, that emptiness through stuff, movies, relationships, whatever.  The truth is it just makes it worse.  He is a liar!  Even now you have probably thought that what you are reading can’t be had for you, or “Brian’s really stretching it this time, I don’t deserve what Brian is talking about, my life is ok the way it is, I have time to fix my life later.” I don’t know what he said to you, but he is LYING TO YOU. STOP LISTENING and call him what he is, a liar!

He feeds me lies everyday.  Who are you Brian, to be helping people?  Who are you to write a blog on such subjects?  Who are you to teach Sunday school?  People will turn on you for writing such pointed stuff.  I will tell you who I am, nothing, but are missing the point with your lies.  HE, JESUS, my savior is EVERYTHING.  Through HIM alone I can accomplish such things, be empowered to speak the truth, be bold for Him and expose your lies Satan.  You have lost this battle!  YOU LOOSE now go away, flee from me!

Tell Satan you are aware now of his lies he tells you.  You know what they are.  You know what he says to you.  You are not good enough.  Lie! You have to fix your own life, before getting right with God. Lie!  You’ve done too much wrong, too much damage and there is no going back. Lie! Lie! Lie!  You are not someone who can make a difference. Lie!  Your problems are too big to be dealt with.  Lie!  Everything is hopeless. LIE!!!  You don’t have time for church or Sunday school. Lie!  That you are going to "find happiness" by some other means than God Himself.  What a HUGE lie!!! What crap is he feeding you?  Think about it, identify it, then tell him he’s been busted!  You’ve caught a thief stealing away your life.  NO MORE!

He will give you a million reasons why NOT to come to Sunday school.  Why to even stop reading this blog.  He is squirming in his seat, desperate and will do anything to pull you back into the box where you are controlled, managed. If you aren’t struggling with Satan at all it’s probably because you gave up; you are defeated.  He doesn’t need to bother you.  You have been disabled and taken out of the fight.  WAKE UP CHRISTIAN!!! Know who your enemy is.  Know that he is real, know that he wants to destroy you, your family, your friends, your marriage...everything!

What will you do now?  Satan has no power over you.  What are you waiting for? Take him head on and tell him exactly where to go, back to hell!  Fight for your life in Christ!  Break free from any bondage that his lies have caused, the lies that weigh you down.  This is one HUGE step towards your complete freedom in Christ.  His burden is light for you, I know. I rarely talk about my personal storms directly because they are just noise. It is ALL in His hands and when we focus on him and cast aside the liar everything else fades away.

Will you join me?

I love you more than you know, but He loves you so much more than you can understand!

P.S. If you can't get to class because you live outside of Indy or whatever, then I will send you a book, but it is only half of the equation for what we will be learning.  Send me an email with your name and address at and I will mail it to you.  If you are coming to class, don't worry, you will have a copy of the book too! :)

P.P.S. If this is your first time on the blog take a look at past entries.  It will shine some light on what's going on.

P.P.P.S. My next post will be on how God is moving through people right now in Avon, Indiana.  Check out our newly established Charity caring for Orphans/Foster kids, families and single moms at We are also connected to a sister organization that focuses on broken marriages at If you need help, this is the place to start.

"Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)"

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love, Amazing grace

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below
Will be forever mine
Will be forever mine
You are forever mine

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The words you may not want to hear

They say that philosophy teaches us and confronts us with what we already know. It brings subconscious knowledge to the conscious level. “Self knowledge is like a lost innocence, however unsettling, it can never be un-thought or unknown.” Michael Sandel, Professor at Harvard University. Simply put, once we become aware of the truths that are deep inside us, in our moral compass given by God, we are confronted with the truth at a conscious level. We can’t go back, once we know, we know. This is my warning to you today before we proceed. If you choose to read on there is no going back. It will force you to confront some difficult truths.

What goes into a decision or choices we make? There are different internal forces that pull at us aren’t there?

In one corner we have our emotions: anger, sadness, happiness, excitement, etc. How well do our emotions serve us? When we are angry, for example, and we allow our anger to direct our actions…do we feel good about those actions when we self judge ourselves after the fact? If we were honest we’d have to say usually not.

What about when something “forbidden” comes along and it makes us feel so good, it makes us happy…are our emotions leading us in the right direction? The Bible tells us that “The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I know! I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives.” Jeremiah 17:9 NLT

How many times have we heard or said something along these lines:

“If it makes you happy (or insert feel good)”
“Go and find happiness”
“I feel at peace with my decision”
“I feel like it is the right thing to do if…(or it’s best if...)”

These common statements seem to indicate that if we simply follow our emotions we are in good shape, but the Bible indicates otherwise. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16 NASB Where you read the word “flesh” you can plug in the words “desires” or “human nature”…i.e. emotions, feelings or wantings. There are times when it might feel really right and still be so really wrong. Where does that come from? “…even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” 2 Corinthians 11:14 NASB He is the greatest deceiver is he not?

Logic & common knowledge
So if our emotions tend to lead us down the wrong path, then what? Logic, common knowledge…that must be the answer! Statistics are easy to get or hear from someone as to what happens in most circumstances, how people react or feel about any situation; the final outcome. The stats are supposed to indicate “normal” or “common” behaviors in our society; what most people do. They tell us what to expect and therefore we should act accordingly.

This goes right along with “just part of life” arguments that should go down like a spoon full of medicine that makes it all o.k. Have you heard this one, “it’s only natural to…” Fill in the blank. The word natural comes from the word nature, remember, meaning flesh. (see above) Chalk one statement of common knowledge up to being derived directly from our emotions. Brilliant. This is where our logic stems from.

There is a double standard for us adults isn’t there? We tell it to our children like this, “Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t make it right” or “if everyone jumps off a bridge does that mean you should?” Perhaps this is one of the reasons Jesus tells us to be like children. We’re just too grown up for our own good; can’t even make out simple black and white truth. We try to complicate it, justify our ways and make it NOT apply to us somehow.

So where does this leave us then? What is left to help us make good, intelligible decisions that are in our best interest? The kind of decisions that see past our own short sightedness; the tough ones that are good for us in the long run. Turn not to our emotions or our faulty logic, turn instead to spiritual truth. It is timeless, perfect in all matters of the heart, unfailing to steer us in the right direction AND it always has our best interest in mind.

Spiritual Truth
The more we read and learn spiritual truth from the Bible, the easier it is to apply in our lives cutting through the clutter of opinion, emotion and dangerous statistics that are only heading us toward the cliff. I’m frankly tired of being told the “odds” of things going a certain way or how things “most likely” turn out usually so as to influence my decisions and behavior. Listening to such nonsense only leads to my own destruction. Destruction of hope, destruction of my faith, destruction of my resolve in Christ and in character, destruction of ministry, destruction of opportunities to let God show me His plan and watch it carried out. That is a lot of bad stuff! I feel sorry for the ones who speak in such terms because I know they have already been defeated, surrendered, given up.

I have yet to run into a scenario that I can’t find an answer to in scripture and I don’t expect I will.  It was right in front of me all along! All my life I’ve been told that the Bible is an “instruction” manual for life, but just like any manual for a complex project to assemble; it’s no good, useless actually, if we don’t read it and the result is a messed up, half way assembled something or other. In this case our very lives; mine, yours and all the people we love. So I stopped trying to “assemble” (read-solve problems, find answers, make important decisions) on my own and started to dig in. The results are staggering!

The Harmony of the three
Emotions and logic do serve good purposes. Emotions, for example, are a good early warning system in danger and troubles just for starters. There are also times when the Bible says we can have “righteous anger.” Logic and common knowledge help us to use our God given brains. All of these come from God to work in harmony together. The problem arises when our emotions and knowledge are void of spiritual and scriptural guidance as the foundation for their employment.

Now we have brought to the conscious level what may have been suppressed or hidden in our hearts. I remember that day for myself. A little unsettling isn’t it, to face such stark truth? The question is what to do with it. When we self judge ourselves for our decisions, made in full understanding of the truth, what will our judgment be? You’re in the driver’s seat. Hopefully the answer is that we make better decisions rooted in spiritual truth, which will yield great things for us in our lives. It is a breath of fresh air to refocus our compass and head straight for the narrow gate.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Feel like you're climbing an impossible mountain at times?

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me -watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 The Message

How many times have you wanted to give up on something? Sometimes it seems the mountain is too high, the task too big, the trouble to great. There is too much history against you. A mounting pile of “evidence and logic” that speaks against your deep heart felt convictions. You know what is right, what is Holy, but it feels hopeless. Other times it even feels impossible, as if there is a great opposition against you. The world and all the people in it tell you that it can’t be done; the statistics are not in your favor. You know what I mean, you’ve been there. What do you do in those times?

When faced with problems, conflict or difficulty we have the urge to cower in fear, to throw up our hands in surrender. Sometimes we seek to build our own consensus of people to side with us; which only leaves us feeling justified perhaps, but very angry and frustrated. So we may talk about it all the time, at an obsessive level…still no resolution. Maybe we just try to forget about it, ignore it…guess what, it keeps coming back. Triggered by words, a song, a picture; it’s fresh again isn’t it? Like a wound that won’t go away; especially if what we’re dealing with includes physical and/or emotional injury.

These options eventually make us bitter, resentful, defeated people. We might strike out and attack in our pride, in our hurt, in our anger or in our bitterness. What becomes of this…more injury…more retaliation. Not resolution and far removed from our original intent that was good, that was righteous, full of grace and mercy; Holy. So how then, how do we proceed? Is there a way to overcome, to climb the mountain, resolve the conflict, make the impossible possible? “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 This is the beginning of finding resolution, the first building block. Gently confronting the issue is the only way.

Choose to persevere, stand alone if we must. “…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” Romans 5:3-5 Did you catch that? Perseverance causes a chain reaction that leads to HOPE! Who would have thought? And what… hope does not disappoint us!

Yes, we will stand alone at times “as aliens and strangers in the world” (1 Peter 2:11) but we are not truly alone as we face the mountain before us. Go back to Matthew 11:28-30 and get away with Jesus. Rest in Him, walk with Him and learn the unforced rhythms of grace. Keep company with Him and we’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

"…with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
“…everything is possible for him who believes.” Mark 9:23
“I can do all things through Christ who give me strength” Philippians 4:13

Do we really, really believe or is it just a warm fuzzy thought? Something to put on the wall that sounds too good to be true. Believe in Him, believe in His promises. Keep them in our hearts. Stand up and climb the mountain with Him at our side.

Have I oversimplified the picture or could it possibly be this simple? Maybe not easy, requires a lot of work…giving up seems a heck of a lot easier. To just give in to the crowd, go quietly in the night. Allow our emotions and passions to rule over us. To become numb inside as we cower in our circumstance. I say no! What are we made of? I’ll tell you what…we’re made by a loving creator, in His image with His Spirit living in us! Stand for what is right and good, what is in the best interest of others instead of self.
Persevere. Hope. Believe.

Please read the lyrics today or listen to the song. Let's stop doubting and listening to the lies. Believe…fully.

Jimmy Needham - Dearly Loved

Please lay down your arrows
For they're sure to pierce the skin
And water from a broken well
Will make you thirst again
When all things you've acquired
Are tested by the flames
And you can see them melting
Then will you call his name

It's worth it brothers
It's worth it friends
To know your maker
To lose your sin

Did you know that you are dearly loved

To the slaughter you are being led
Being told that it's a party
That this God is in your head
And every single lie
Sounds just like the greatest truth
But the one truth you're not hearing
Is that he died for you

No greater joy
No greater peace
No greater love than this

It's worth it brothers
It's worth it friends
To know your maker
To lose your sin

Did you know that you are dearly loved

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Story of Candice

I prayed for a month that God would help me come up with a great gift from the heart for my wife’s 30th birthday; something that required effort, time, talent and showed my love. It’s the opposite of what I had done in the past, usually I would buy something expense or exactly what she had asked for. This one was going to come from the heart. Finally God helped me figure out what I could do for her, make a fused glass piece of art. I have no reference point for where the idea came from except what was put on my heart and mind. I had zero experience with fused glass, I was clueless. It was going to require research, learning a new skill, a lot of time, much effort and talent: Perfect.

I’ll save you all the details because this is not the account of a birthday present in the making, but what happened AFTER that. After researching the right place to make it, I went to talk to the local artist and teacher (Greg) at his studio on a day that I didn’t have the kids. Greg is a wonderful Christian man, we had many great conversations. We discussed his studio and how people come in from all over to learn the skills of glass work and actually rent time in his studio making pieces to sell for a living. I shared with him my current trial and he shared what he has been through in his life. We had a wonderful time and agreed I should come back to make the piece at his studio.

As I was driving home that afternoon, pulling up the exit ramp to Rockville Road, I noticed a girl standing on the side of the road. She couldn’t have been much over twenty three. She was holding an all too familiar sign; please help. Except the sign indicated she had a three year old and a six month old baby. I rolled down my window and asked her if she needed food because I knew better than to give her money. It’s usually not spent on wholesome things. No, someone had already provided her a meal. Well, I guess that’s it then, what more can anyone do for her. I pulled onto Rockville Road heading home. A hundred times an encounter such as this had ended the same way; ask, and then move on with life.

I suddenly felt overwhelmed with the feeling that I should turn around and help her. How? I don’t know, but I’m certain I should try. I went to a convenient store close by and grabbed some flavored waters and drove to the nearest parking lot to the intersection. I hopped a fence and waded through the high grassy field that separated the parking lot from the off ramp. She saw me coming and was looked quite confused; this must not be a normal event for her. Me neither.

“Raspberry or pomegranate,” I inquired harmlessly. “I’m sure me being here is not good for business, but I’ll only keep you a few minutes if it’s o.k. with you.” Thankfully she obliged. Her name is Candice. She has a three year old daughter, Sophia, and a six month old son, Ricky. I drilled down to make sure she wasn’t just making this stuff up. Sure enough, it’s a heart breaking tale. Her husband had abandoned her when she told him she was pregnant again. Her brother-in-law had compassion on her and watches the kids sometimes while she begs for money or does odd jobs, like mowing a lawn, to get by. She can’t seem to find employment and besides she has a great big chip on her shoulder of bitterness that she wears on her sleeve. I can’t blame her, but it would be difficult to make a good impression to be hired by anyone.

I’m at a loss at this point. What am I doing here Lord? How can I help her? I’m in way over my head. So I pray silently, quickly. Lord what would you have me do? What would Jesus do? That’s when it hits me. He would teach! Jesus doesn’t usually give someone a meal for the sake of a meal. He would teach them how to live, the skills to prosper. “Give a person a fish and they will eat for a day. Teach a person to fish and they will eat for a lifetime.” Where do I go with this one?

“Candice, if you could start all over, do anything you want for a living, what would it be?” She looks at me bewildered. This in NOT reality she seems to have written on her face. “Look, just indulge me for a minute. If you didn’t have the life you have now. What did you love in high school? Math, Music, Art, Science, English, what?” I’m grasping for a connection. “I hated Math!” she says. “O.k. now we are getting somewhere. So math is out. What are you truly passionate about? What would you love to do? Anything.” There is a long pause and she seems to dig deep for an answer that really means something to her. For the moment she has escaped her surroundings; the cardboard sign, the glaring judgmental eyes of passing strangers, her humbling, pride swallowing life to simply survive. I can see an answer formulating on her face.

I will NEVER forget her answer.  I was frozen where I stood in awe of the connection that I had just made in my mind.  It was as if time stood still for a moment, everything was silent...a moment of extreme clarity.  The very reason God had sent me down a certain path and had implored me to talk to her.  "If I could do anything, anything...I would take broken pieces of something and mold them together into a piece of art." I was stunned.  How could this be?  The only words I could get out were, "like glass? Could glass be the pieces you put together?" She confirms my question, "Yes, but could I really make a living doing something like that, something I love?"

The rest of the account is mine alone, just as all of the other amazing moments over the last few months are.  I made mention of them in my entry entitled, "Would you believe me."  I only share a part of this recent story to pull all of the pieces together from my other entries.  I give God all the glory and credit for what He does through my life and the blessings from it.  This is not about me, which is one of the reasons I am cautious to share other accounts.  I want you to see how everything is intertwined as I wrote about in "God's Incredible Economy."  We only need to listen for His leading, have enough margin in our lives and be obedient to follow Him on these paths.

Was it simply an incredible coincidence that my answer to a prayer request was to make a fused glass piece of art as a present?  Was it simply an incredible coincidence on that very day of being in the studio, being informed people can and do make a living from being taught this skill... I run into a person, the very person in need and a begger no less...the one thing they would love more than anything was to make art?  You do the math. Not just improbable, impossible!

What will become of Candice? Can people change? Only God knows the whole picture, but I believe He is working in the lives of people to do just that.  He wants to work through you too.  What's that you say, "but I'm not worthy, I fail every day, I have evil thoughts, do evil deeds, I'm selfish, a sinner, a reject, I feel like I can't even get my own life in order."    ...Me too. We all fall short.  We all feel less than capable or qualified at times.  That is why we need Jesus.  Don't let Satan fool you, lie to you, keep you beat down.  You are precious in His sight, always will be...No matter what you do.  Go be His hands and feet, I know you can.

Jesus is very fond of you and so am I,

Today's song touches my heart for so many reasons, please take time to read the lyrics or bettter yet listen to the song & video on youtube
I can't get through this video without crying.

Does anybody hear her by Casting Crowns

She is running
A hundred miles an hour in the wrong direction
She is trying
But the canyon is ever widening in the depths of her cold heart
So she sets out on another misadventure just to find
She's another two years older
And she's three more steps behind

Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?
Or does anybody even know she's going down today
Under the shadow of our steeple
With all the lost and lonely people
Searching for the hope that's tucked away in you and me
Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?

She is yearning
For a shelter and affection
That she never found at home
She is searching
For a hero to ride in
To ride in and save the day
And in walks her prince charming
And he knows just what to say
Momentary lapse of reason
And she gives herself away


If judgment looms under every steeple
If lofty glances form lofty people
Can't see past her scarlet letter
And we never even met her

He is running
A hundred miles an hour in the wrong direction

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Are you drowning? Need some air?

Have you ever felt like you were drowning? Like life seems to hand you one upset after another, you know “when it rains, it pours.” It can be an awful retched sensation full of despair and worry. Your nerves get the best of you and perhaps you have the added feeling of being punched in the stomach. There is one solution that seems to melt it all away in one fail swoop! Imagine going from the sensation of drowning in one moment to breathing a deep sigh of relief.

It works so well and never seems to fail. What is it you ask? It’s like the air we breathe. Once you begin to breathe air as a newborn you simply can’t do without it. The living words written in the Bible are like the air and to put them aside is like trying to hold our breath, which you can only do for so long! “Hold tightly to the word of life” says Philippians 2:16. “Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise.” Colossians 3:16 and in Hebrews 4:12 it says “For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires.”

In Ephesians chapter 6 we read about the whole armor of God “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil.” The word of God is referred to as the sword of the Spirit going on the offense against thoughts that tear us down and give us the drowning sensation.

The Word is so full of God’s provision for our lives and promises that never fail. For example God tells us that He will never give us more troubles than we can handle. I was recently discussing this with my son. He was becoming gloomy and despondent with the thoughts that mommy may never come home for us to be a family again. I understand his concern and it pained me to see him being held captive to these thoughts and emotions.

We talked about how God provides for us, has our best interest at heart and makes the sun to shine again after the storm. I asked him a fundamental question that we all have to ask ourselves from time to time. If we know God will take care of us and everything will be great in the end because of His promise…if we already know how the story ends, do we need to worry about what happens in the middle? My son understood this, it’s like watching a movie and someone’s already given us the spoiler. We know everything turns out roses for the hero and the damsel in distress so we don’t have to “sit on edge” when he’s hanging on for dear life wondering if he’s going to make it or not. We already know the truth; we can rest assuredly in it. Some might say, the truth will set you free! That’s John 8:32 by the way.

My son now tries to rest on this promise. He believes, as I do, that in the end it will all be better than ok. We now look forward with sweet anticipation for that time. That’s a great place to be, full of peace and comfort. It comes from daily living in the words spoken by our Savior and we stay near to it. As if it were the very air we breathe.

Today’s song appropriately - Breathe by Michael W. Smith

This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me
This is my daily bread
This is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me

And I, I'm desperate for you
And I, I'm lost without you

Friday, September 4, 2009

Can people change?

What a controversial question. Can people really change? I’ve talked with many that seem to think that real lasting change is just not possible. “People are who they are” or “you can’t change their nature” or “it’s just the way they are and always will be.” Have you heard this before? I understand where the statements come from; it is the voice of experience.

“If you only knew my ex-husband, you’d understand. He’s been this way his whole life. That’s not going to change. Oh he’s made efforts over the years, but he always goes back to center. He may even find someone to make him truly happy, it just won’t be me.” I personally know a lot of people that either believe this line of thought wholeheartedly or they fit into the camp that is being spoken about.

I also know of several people who defy this logic to the highest degree. A certain despised tax collector named Matthew who was probably living quite high on the hog from his job in biblical days. Another is named Paul; he persecuted Christians with great fervor and pride at one time. Then suddenly these men came face to face with Jesus. At that moment they were different, changed men from then on. You can read about their accounts in the Bible, they became two of Jesus’ closest friends, disciples who spread the message of Christ and ultimately gave their lives for the very cause they once stood against and tried to stamp out.

I also personally know of couples who lived sinful selfish destructive lives. One such couple, a wife was sleeping around while the husband was drinking himself into a stupor on a regular basis. Another couple was heading quickly into oblivion together for a time getting drunk on a regular basis, and then it turned into affairs etc. A third couple were both thought to be solid in their faith until the husband allowed sin to slowly creep into his heart and his growing lust for the “greener grass” that would surely make him happy overtook him. Neither of them saw it coming, nor did he recognize that his heart was hardening. It was too late.

I have encountered numerous couples who all share a similar story line. I believe God put them in my path to encourage me and open my eyes to the truth. Every single one of those couples has been redeemed from the pit of despair, sometimes neither one even wanting to work it out! All of them said they believed change wasn’t possible at one point. Then there was a moment for each of them, they came face to face with Jesus. He transformed their hearts and healed their marriages when the world around them said it just wasn’t possible. They now sing in chorus that they have twice the marriage as before!

If we don’t believe change is possible, we don’t leave room for God’s grace and mercy, his unfailing love. You say, “But they are already Christians! Wouldn’t they have changed already?” I have been a Christian since I was young, I knew I was saved and going to heaven. I even felt like I was a good Christian, doing good deeds, going on mission trips, etc. Let me tell you something though, for as good as I thought I was, perhaps even book smart in the Bible, I was “sucking up the field” in reality. (Pardon the crass language.) There are those who have faith in Christ who are saved. They live BECAUSE of him; they have the promise of eternal life. There is also discipleship. They live FOR him; they have all of his promises written on their hearts and take him up on them.

The truth is I was a becauser…I wasn’t the husband I was called to be, I thought I was a good guy with a good heart doing good things for good reasons. I wasn’t the father I was called to be, I thought I was a fairly involved dad who deeply loved his children. I wasn’t the leader I was called to be, my ego would have told you otherwise. I wasn’t even the friend I was called to be, although I would have given you the shirt off my back.

No, it wasn’t until this storm hit and I came face to face with a living God who held on tight to me. It wasn’t until I was willing to step out of the proverbial boat in the middle of my personal storm to meet Jesus walking on the water, to keep him in my focus so I wouldn’t sink; only then did I begin to transform into the man he called me to be. To die of self daily and live for him; all those words he spoke in the Bible began to come alive in my heart. I am my own best example of people being able to change. So you can challenge me on this one if you want, but the proof is in the changed lives that I have come into contact with, one of them stares at me in the mirror every day.

In Christ we can be husbands that desire to be servant leaders, having our spouse’s best interest at heart in every decision. We can create a warm and safe environment for our wives to flourish and help develop their walk with God, together as one. In Christ we can truly understand how to cherish our children who are on loan from God. We can raise them in the fruits of the Spirit and draw them closer to God as well. In Christ we can put our ego aside and our own ambitions and ask God what his will is for our lives, in ministry and work. In Christ we can reach out to strangers, call them our neighbor and love them as Christ loves us.

People can change, just not on their own accord. They need to come face to face with Jesus and be willing to follow him instead of just using him as a life vest for salvation. This is the path to an abundant life, amazing, full of joy and contentment. “I pray that you…may have power…to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” Ephesians 3:17-18 (NIV) He wants it for all of us. He’s waiting for us to take him up on the offer.

Jesus is very fond of you and so am I,

Today's song: Among The Thirsty - I'd Need A Savior
The video isn't great, but you can hear the song

How many names can I use to explain the love of my Jesus,
the life that he gave and so many times will I praise you today.
I lift up my life ‘cause you’re always the same
And my offering to you I bring

Your name is Jesus. Your name is Jesus.
You’re the Wonderful, Counselor, my Friend.
You’re what I hold on to; I know that you brought me through
All the days of loss, to the cross you knew
I’d need a Savior.

How many songs can I sing to proclaim your wondrous love and beauty so great?
What would I say if you brought down the rain and everyday
I walk through the pain my heart would still say…


You’re what I hold on to; I know that you brought me through
All the days of loss, to the cross you knew
I’d need a Savior.
I’d need a Savior
I need you, Savior

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Just for you

I am aware there are people reading this blog who are in a similar situation to my own and there will be more who will come. Your spouse has left or perhaps you are the one who left. You feel lost and confused, hurt deeply and you don’t know how to go on or what is to come. This entry is for you. There is hope. Some of you who have found your way here are hurting from some other injury or trial in your life. There is peace, comfort, forgiveness and rest for you.

God wants to take you on a journey to draw you close to him. This is my experience. You can see it in my words, start at the beginning. It was all about me and my troubles. Somewhere along the road God transformed my heart and made it all about him. You may not even understand this from where you sit now, but he can and will bring you to this place as well, if you let him. This is a place of overwhelming peace and joy regardless of the storm. I hope I may be able to help guide you in some way, to encourage you, to be a resource. Let’s start by getting you on solid ground.

You have a decision to make. Will you choose to love (or continue to love) or will you not? This decision, I believe, is paramount to your future. Yes, the Bible says there are a few exceptions when divorce is acceptable, but Jesus had something to say about that. In Mark chapter 10 the Pharisees where testing Jesus and said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.” Jesus replied, “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote this law, but at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

Then we could refer to 1st Corinthians chapter 13 on how we are to love (a passage I cling to daily.) I recommend reading the whole chapter, but verse seven sums it up nicely. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. The choice is yours to make, but I think it’s pretty clear the path that God honors.

Dear friend I am presuming one thing first, that you know Jesus as your savior. If you do not, this is where you start. You must desire a relationship with him; make him the Lord of your life. After that, we are working to deepen our relationship with him and understand his truth. Many will claim to know his name; few will have him written on their hearts.

Now you must decide to commune with him. Spend time in his word, in prayer and in worship. This is an area that I am now painfully aware that I was lacking in for a long time. You have today, the past is the past and God tells us not to worry about tomorrow. Pick up your bible, it may seem silly at first, but pick it up daily. Perhaps even multiple times a day; make relationship with him your top concern over all else. If you are already familiar with the gospel accounts of Jesus I highly recommend you start with the book of James in the New Testament and keep working your way forward. If not start with Matthew, come to know your savior for who he is.

Next, stay in his will, follow his direction; stay pure. When you are in darkness, you can not also be in the light at the same time. If you are struggling to draw close to him, ask yourself where you are selfish in your life, where you willingly sin and continue to. Stop and turn from the sin, repent of it, ask for forgiveness. You will find further help on this subject in another entry of this blog as you read through it.

Find ways to keep your focus on him throughout your day. I find and listen to a lot of Christian music all day to be in constant worship and keep his message and truth close to my heart. I not only read the Bible, but I read several other books on marriage, separation, divorce, love and other subject that help me to understand how God wants me to live. I will post my favorite reads at the bottom of this post for your reference.

Be careful and mindful of what you let into your heart through your eyes and ears. What you take in becomes you over time. For me that meant turning away from certain movies that I wanted to watch or some secular music that did not have a wholesome message. That may seem over the top to you now, but you will find this to be another truth directly from the Bible. You can choose your way with all of its self serving purposes or you can choose the way to an abundant life that Jesus laid out for us. You see, he ALWAYS has our best interest at heart. The Bible is not meant to weigh us down it brings about true freedom!

Pray, talk with God constantly. Tell him your thoughts, hurts, feelings, fears…cry out to him and ask of him what you need. He understands completely and wants healing for you to a level that you can’t even comprehend at the moment. If you seek, you will find him. He loves you more than you can ever imagine. You are his precious creation. Let him repair you from what may seem to be a shattered life and make you whole again.

Finally, there will be many opinions and people who offer you advice. Most of them will be full of anger behind their words, full of revenge or judgement. If you choose love, you will stand alone at times. It is not a popular path, not even an accepted path by many I am sorry to say. So in the midst of your storm you will also face great adversity from the naysayers who may even have good intentions. You must persevere!

Rely on his strength to get you through and not your own. Listen to his voice and shut out those that would extinguish your hope. Seek out those who will support you whole heartedly in your cause. Do not give up and try to see the bigger picture! Live out 1st Corinthians 13 with everything in you and everything from the Lord! I hope the words that were written on this blog bring you encouragement and understanding.

My heart aches with you, yet I rejoice for what he has in store for you!
Jesus is very fond of you and so am I,

Favorite Christian Music Groups
Hillsong (lots and lots of Hillsong!)
Mercy Me
Casting Crowns
Chris Tomlin
(Most of the songs that speak to my heart are posted after a blog entry)

Non-fiction Books
Hope for the Separated – Dr. Gary Chapman (my favorite)
How to Save Your Marriage Alone – Ed Wheat (short read and VERY useful)
Yes, Your Marriage Can Be Saved – Joe & Michelle Williams
From Anger to Intimacy – Dr. Gary Smalley
I Do, Again – Cheryl & Jeff Scruggs (incredible true story)
The Love Dare – Kendrick
The Five Love Languages – Gary Chapman
Brave Hearts – Sharon Hersh

Fiction books with great spiritual messages
The Shack – WM. Paul Young (One of my favorites of all times, a MUST read)
The Ultimate Gift – Jim Stovall
The Ultimate Life – Jim Stovall
Showdown – Ted Dekker
The Saint- Ted Dekker

Amazing Grace
End of the Spear

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

God's incredible economy

God weaves such a wonderful tapestry in our lives. Our lives intersect and meet in ways that can only be described as divine appointments. We don’t always recognize them for what they are. Have you ever thought about the impact you have on another life through a simple gesture or word of encouragement? Have you ever stopped to consider how grand God’s economy is? How his love and truth impacts a life and is then spread through that person to another and on and on. How big is the ripple? How far reaching are its effects? Even from a ten thousand foot view I doubt we would see the full scope. The impact of God’s touch as it spreads across one life to many in a sea of faces; individual lives in need of help, healing from hurt.

When that still small voice speaks to you, it asks you to reach out a hand, step out in faith, to be there for someone else; to be selfless in the moment…what will you do? Allow yourself to flash through the grandeur of what God may be asking you to set into motion. Planting a seed that you may never see as fruitful this side of heaven is one possibility. You may, however, see a wellspring of new life burst forth in vibrant color that saturates the very life that needed it most and spill over into the lives of others. What will you do the next time you feel that gentle nudging, prodding you to do something as simple as offering a smile or fantastic as calling you to do the seemingly impossible? What will you do?

Father God, we don’t understand your ways, they are not our ways. We see a glimpse of your glory, your majesty, your sovereignty. You breathe life into us and sustain us. What Satan intends for ill you use for your good. Your will is done; the sun, moon and stars are at your command. May we be so humble and blessed as to be vessels to carry out your will, to shine your light through us, to spread your love through word and deed.

What if a trial is allowed in our lives to bring stronger faith and healing not to one person, but to many? Wouldn’t that be just like God! To bring about His purpose in an immeasurable number of ways through one common thread...that is His awesome economy of scale. Wouldn’t that be an interesting way of approaching it? It wouldn’t be about you at all would it? It’s not really about your problem, your difficulty, your struggle. It’s all about Him. What does He want to accomplish? How can you be an instrument of faith in this time, an instrument of healing for others by the understanding that comes through trial? What would that mean for your life? What would that look like? A greater purpose than your own…wouldn’t that be just like….Jesus.

Scripture Reference
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The other side of grace

So you read the last blog on grace and thought, “That’s nice, but I’m on the other side of this equation. I’m in need of someone extending grace to me! The weight of my failures burdens me down. The shame and guilt of my sins, past and present, are like chains around my neck, choking the life out of me.” Good news! There is someone who can identify with you in every way. His name is Jesus. Yes, you know Him already, but have you REALLY thought through the full implications of it all.

Even though he never sinned he bore the weight of sin, experienced the condemnation that we all have felt at times, whether brought on by someone else or simply from our own internal struggle. We may lock our shame and guilt deep within us so that no one will know or we wear it on our sleeve. Either way it can be crushing, seemingly inescapable.

Jesus EXPERIENCED all of these condemnations. He UNDERSTANDS the feelings you have. He can IDENTIFY will you. He again FULFILLS the justice requirement on your behalf. All you have to do is REPENT from your sin; to turn away from it. Then, with a sincere heart, ask God to forgive you and he will. You may not be shown grace by men, but you will be shown a much greater grace, God’s. His is healing, peace, and a deep satisfying relationship that will overflow in you. God is love. He heals all wounds.

In the Bible it says that Jesus was despised by many, have you felt this way? He was stalked, conspired and plotted against. The Pharisees and Sadducees sought to trap him at every turn. They wanted him defeated, found guilty. Have you felt this way? He was forsaken, betrayed, deserted, disowned, unwanted, unloved, and we esteemed him not.

You feel alone in your sin, rejected, unloved and maybe even unworthy of redemption. Jesus knows how you feel. He understands what you are going through. He cares deeply about you and wants you to share your burden with him, lay it at his feet. “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28:30

He is enough. Whether you are the offended or offender, He is enough. His grace covers it all. If you are lonely, sad, depressed, angry, bitter, feel stressed, anxious, panicked, worried, unloved, unaccepted, condemned or even when all hope is gone; He is enough. Friend, I don’t know where you are and I don’t know where you’ve been. Maybe you’re fighting for your life or just about to throw the towel in, but if you’re crying out for mercy, if there’s no hope left at all.
If you’ve given everything you’ve got and you’re still about to fall, well hold on! All of these things can be resolved through Him. Some may take a deeper road of understanding to make you whole again, but He is enough.

If you need help, getting to a deeper understanding on any of these road blocks, I would be more than glad to help you. We can sit down together or talk on the phone and I will share with you all that I have learned, everything I know to be true. There is a way, there is resolution. All I ask and all the He asks for is an open heart, a sincere heart. Email me at if you feel compelled to. Call if you like; my cell is 317-652-8411. If I am available at any hour I will answer. If not, leave a message and I WILL call you back. I’ve taken up cooking lately and I enjoy it greatly. I’ll even cook you a meal if you like. I can also point you to the person who has counseled and mentored me if you would feel more comfortable. Just reach out and you will find what you are searching for.

Jesus is very fond of you and so am I,

Scripture references
Isaiah 53:3-11
Matthew 12:1-14; 26:62-68; 27:15-26
John 15:18
1 Peter 5:7

Always by Building 429 - I absolutely love this song and its message
The offical video

I was standing in the pouring rain one dark November night
Fighting off the bitter cold when she caught my eye
Her face was taught and her eyes were filled, and to my surprise
She pulled out a photograph and my heart just stopped inside
She said, “He would’ve been three today
I miss his smile, I miss his face”
What was I supposed to say, but

I believe always, always
Our Savior never fails
Even when all hope is gone
God knows our pain and his promise remains
He will be with you always

He was living in a broken world, dreaming of a home
His heart was barely keeping pace when I found him all alone
Remembering the way he felt when his daddy said goodbye
Fighting just to keep the tears and the anger locked inside
He’s barely holding onto faith
But deliverance is on its way, cause


Friend, I don’t know where you are and I don’t know where you’ve been
Maybe you’re fighting for your life or just about to throw the towel in
But if you’re crying out for mercy, if there’s no hope left at all
If you’ve given everything you’ve got and you’re still about to fall
Well hold on, hold on, hold on, cause


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My weakness

The storms rolled in today and seemingly into my heart. It's just amazing how, after all that I have witnessed, His goodness and miraculous ways, that I can STILL be so weak in the flesh! I read about Job and think, wow, this guy lost everything and here I am starting into my complaining over much less. The Lord said to Satan for a second time "Have you considered my servant Job?" At this moment I'm thinking, Lord, please consider me no longer! I am so selfish and weak! I just want my wife back in my arms.

All that seems to cloud my mind, is how can be I strong, and how do I move on? You ask me to let her go into your care, to be still, as you work in her! How I struggle with this, I wrestle with it. How long must I wait? How long Lord? I want to be like Hosea and wait patiently for your calling to restore my wife, YET I DO NOT WANT TO WAIT!!!

I think of the passage in Romans where Paul says "I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate.” I see how majestic your ways are, how awesome your timing is, how beautiful are the encounters you have put in my path. Yet I ask for this "burden" to be taken from me?! I am like Elijah, who after following your commands (calling down fire from heaven mind you!) fled in fear and cried out “I have had enough Lord!” I have SEEN your ways, yet I am impatient, saddened to not be with her; my bride that I love so dearly.

Father, forgive my weakness. Bring me peace once again, resolved to your will. Hide me in your pavilion, give me rest. I run, I fall into the arms of my Father, into a love like no other. I walk, I crawl; it doesn't matter how I get here, only that I can be here at all.

Scripture References:
1 Kings 18 - 19
Job 2:3-10
Hosea 3:1
Romans 7:14-20

Today’s song: I Run by Forty Days

I've never had a day like this,
when things become so clear & I can feel you here

I've never had to pray like this;
it's all that I can do to see me through the fear

But when my faith begins to fail me,
and I can't find my way

I run, I fall into the arms of my Father,
into a Love like no other

I walk, I crawl; it doesn't matter how I get here only that I can be here at all

All that seems to cloud my mind,
is how can be I strong, and how do I move on

But I know You will never fail me,
You will be my way


I will call upon You,
Lord You are worthy to be praised, so shall I be saved