Monthly Archives: November 2014

10 Scriptures On Praise

1. I WILL bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. (Psalm 34:1 AMP)

2. Give thanks to GOD —he is good and his love never quits. Say, “Save us, Savior God, round us up and get us out of these godless places, So we can give thanks to your holy Name, and bask in your life of praise.” Blessed be GOD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Then everybody said, “Yes! Amen!” and “Praise GOD!” (1 Chronicles 16:34-36 MSG)

3. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; meditate on and talk of all His wondrous works and devoutly praise them! (1 Chronicles 16:9 AMP)

4. “The LORD lives! Praise to my Rock! May God, the Rock of my salvation, be exalted! (2 Samuel 22:47 NLT)

5. “Sing praise-songs to GOD. He’s done it all! Let the whole earth know what he’s done! Raise the roof! Sing your hearts out, O Zion! The Greatest lives among you: The Holy of Israel.” (Isaiah 12:5-6 MSG)

6. The Lord lives! Praise my defender! Proclaim the greatness of the strong God who saves me! (2 Samuel 22:47 GNB)

7. Sing to the LORD! Praise the LORD! For though I was poor and needy, he rescued me from my oppressors. (Jeremiah 20:13 NLT)

8. Speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices [and instruments] and making melody with all your heart to the Lord, (Ephesians 5:19 AMP)

9. Praise the LORD! How good to sing praises to our God! How delightful and how fitting! (Psalms 147:1 NLT)

10. There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! (Romans 5:3-5 MSG)

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Changing Your Pity Part Perspective

As things in my life went downhill over ten years ago, my brother helped me to keep things in perspective. Over the course of a few months an employee of mine died in a crash with her husband and one of their children, I got pulled into the legal fight for the remaining child, my now ex-wife had an affair while I was distracted by the legal battle, she then left me for another man, my business went under and I filed bankruptcy. While I was having a pity party one day, my brother looked me in the eye and said, “Believe it or not, someone else has it worse than you do. You can be thankful you’re not them.”

No sooner than his words hit my ear, they pierced my heart. I had been feeling like my life was worse than what Job had experienced and the truth was that my life wasn’t as bad as it could have been. When my thoughts of pity changed, my perspective changed. I quit trying to find others to feel sorry for me and started to find reasons to be thankful. When I started doing that, my situation didn’t change. In fact, it continued to get worse. What did change was how I saw myself in the storm and the purpose of the storm.

Instead of asking, “Why me, God”, I began to ask, “What am I to learn from this?” Being thankful changed me from being a victim to a student. Even in my darkest hour, God had something to show me. It turns out He was desperately trying to get my attention. I had been stubbornly ignoring His call and not living how He wanted me to. I had ignored His gentle warnings and signs to change and now He was getting louder and louder in His attempts to get my attention. God wasn’t content to let me live my life my way. He wanted me to live it His way. I’m thankful now that He didn’t leave me in the life I was living.

The theologian Albert Barnes said, “We can always find something to be thankful for, and there may be reasons why we ought to be thankful for even those dispensations which appear dark and frowning.” In my life I’ve always remembered that someone always has it worse than anything I will ever face. I can always be thankful for that. When times are tough and life isn’t going the way I think it should or I feel I’ve been dealt a bad hand, I no longer pretend I’m the victim. I now know that even when things appear bad or that they can’t get worse, God is there in the storm with me. He hasn’t left me or forsaken me. He’s there enduring it with me and wants to use the experience for His glory.

If you’re in the middle of a storm in your life where you feel like things can’t get worse, I challenge you to find something to be thankful for. Are you still breathing? Then you have something to be thankful for. Your life isn’t over and God can rebuild your life from the ruins of where you are now. Lose the victim mentality and become a student of what God wants to show you. To change your perspective, you have to change your mindset. A changed mindset begins with a thankful heart. Things may not get better right away, but being thankful will give you a purpose in hard times. That purpose, combined with a thankful heart, will pull you through.


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Three Things To Help Transitions

Times of transition in life can be difficult. There’s the fear of the unknown and the excitement of a new beginning mixed up with the stress of change. Each one of us goes through these times in our lives. They usually aren’t easy to walk through because you don’t know how long the transitional period will be, you don’t know how much life will really change and You doubt that your making the right decision. I’ve learned there are things we can do to help these times go by more smoothly.

The first thing you can do is to be patient. David’s transition from shepherd to King took years. He had to learn to be patient during that transition time. He didn’t quite have all the skills necessary to be a successful King. There were still lessons to be learned in the pasture and on the battlefield before he was ready. God knows what you need in order be successful in the next step He has for you. Don’t rush into the next phase. Let Him continue to work in you and through you as He moves you into your next phase.

The next thing I’ve learned is to be obedient. When Queen Esther was faced with having to make a transition in her relationship with the king, she was scared. She decided she would rather procrastinate than to face him and save her people. In Esther 4:14, her uncle Mordecai said, “Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” God has you in this time of transition for a purpose. Your obedience still matters. Perhaps your transition is not for your benefit, but for that of others. Listen intently to what God is saying and do what He asks.

The last thing you can do is to trust God in the process. He sees the overall plan for your life. He knows what changes need to be made and when so that you will be where He needs you when He needs you. Don’t panic because things aren’t happening according to your timeline. Allow them to happen in His. We only see a part, but He sees the whole. He will not leave you alone in this process. He will not abandon you to the no man’s land of transition forever. It will come to a close and your next chapter will begin. In the meantime, trust His plan for your life and trust in the process He uses to move you.

These three things are easily said, but much more difficult to live out. I’ve found that in times of transition, it’s easy to get out of your routine of spending time with God. You’re going to have to make time for Him. Whatever it takes, you need to make sure you are staying in His Word and spending time in prayer. Don’t lose sight of Him in the process. He’s there to guide you and has placed people in your path to help you. When you stay close to Him in times of change, those times go by a lot more smoothly.

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You Can Change Their World

There’s a viral video on YouTube of a blind man with a sign asking for change. A few people give him change as they pass by. A woman walks up, flips his sign over and writes on it before she walks off. Soon after, everyone walking by starts to give money. When the lady returns, he asks her what she wrote. She replied, “I wrote the same, but different words.” A message then pops up and says, “Change your words. Change your world.” It’s a great message of just how powerful words are.

If you’re like me, you grew up singing, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I think back on that saying and wonder why that lie exists. Words often hurt worse than sticks or stones and they cut a lot deeper. The words you and I speak can be used for good or bad. Proverbs 18:21 says, “What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words. (GNB)” We hold the power of life and death in our words.

As believers, we must be cognizant of the words we use. While according to James 3:8, no man can tame the tongue, we can be more purposeful in the words we choose to use. Proverbs 12:14 says, “Wise words bring many benefits.” The opposite is true as well. Poorly chosen words bring problems. There’s not one of who can’t attest to that. We’ve all used the wrong words at one time or another and have had to live with the consequences. Personally. I’d rather live with benefits than consequences.

When we use our words to bring life and benefits, we change our world and the world of those around us. In the video, the words she used changed how others saw a blind man. How will your words change how others see that person at work, at the park, at your kids game or at church? You may never know how much your words can affect someone else’s life because even if that person never hears you, others do. Their actions toward that person based on your words can make that change.

What words will you choose today? How can you change the invisible sign that others are holding up? Everyone wants to feel important and the words you say can go a long way to helping someone who is down and feeling insignificant. Find one person today that you can change their sign by the words you use. Find one person who you can use wise words with to bring benefits and life. When you do, you won’t just change their world, you’ll change yours too.

If you’d like to watch that video, you can click here.


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God The Giver

When I was involved with a scouting program, I used to take groups camping. One of the things I would do for the kids is give them a checklist of everything they needed for the camp out. I figured the list would make it easy for them and their parents to decide what they needed. Inevitably, some would bring more than what was on the list and others would bring very little from it. I typically packed extras of the things that really mattered in case anyone forgot theirs. I just wanted them to have everything they needed to have a successful weekend.

II Peter 1:3 tells us that God has done the same thing for us. It says, “By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.” He not only knows what we need, but He’s given it to us already. I like that because He wants us to be prepared for the life He has called us to live. So many times, we think we can’t do it. We know our weaknesses and want to give up trying, but God has given you everything you need to be successful at living out your faith.

In the next verse of that chapter, Peter says that God has given us His precious promises as a means of helping us. He said, “These are the precious promises that enable you to share in His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” God is an enabler. He is not a restrictor as many see Him. His goal is not to hold you back or pin you down, but to truly set you free. It requires faith to walk in that freedom.

I also like that He helps us escape the world’s corruption caused by our desires. When we let God have free reign in our lives, He begins to get rid of our desires and He replaces them with His desires. Our desires are selfish in nature and are contrary to what He wants from us. They keep us from serving Him because we are focused on serving ourselves. The scriptures says that when we accept Christ, we become a new creation. Old things (habits and desires) pass away. All things (habits and desires) become new.

You have the power within you to live a life that pleases God. He has given you new life and new desires. Don’t revert to your old way of living. Accept the promise God gives that you are a new creation. Trust that He is working out His will in your life. I’ve learned that I can’t see the overall plan for my life, but He can. I may not understand what He’s doing or why. I have to trust that He is working in me to fulfill His plan for me. He has given me the tools I need to be successful. I just need to pay attention to what He’s given and then to put it into practice. He’s not asking me to pack anything for this trip. He’s got it all planned out. We just have to trust.


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10 Scriptures On Being Thankful

1. Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words! (2 Corinthians 9:15 NLT)

2. O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever! (1 Chronicles 16:34 AMP)

3. We thank you, God, we thank you— your Name is our favorite word; your mighty works are all we talk about. (Psalm 75:1 MSG)

4. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name! (Psalm 100:4 AMP)

5. At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. (Ephesians 5:20 AMP)

6. Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. (Colossians 4:2 NLT)

7. Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 MSG)

8. Sing praise to the Lord, all his faithful people! Remember what the Holy One has done, and give him thanks! (Psalms 30:4 GNB)

9. IT IS a good and delightful thing to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises [with musical accompaniment] to Your name, O Most High, (Psalm 92:1 AMP)

10. Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. (1 Chronicles 16:8 NLT)

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Active Faith

I’ve always enjoyed reading the miracles that Jesus performed. There are a lot of similarities in them. A lot of the times Jesus tells the person, “Your faith has made you whole.” That phrase has always stood out to me because it puts the power of the miracle in the hands of the one receiving it. Other times, Jesus tells the person to go and do something and as they turn away to do it, they receive their healing. Again, it was their action that triggered the healing. In the miracles that I can think of, it’s always a partnership between the person in need and Jesus.

The disciples found five loaves and two fish and jesus fed 5,000. The blind man at the Pool of Siloam had to go wash his eyes for sight. The invalid lowered through the roof by his friends had to pick up his mat. Peter had to cast his nets on the other side. The woman with the issue of blood had to touch the hem of His garment. The ten lepers had to go show themselves to the priest. Each of these required action on the person’s part. They had to act in faith to receive their miracle.

At work, I study Brian Tracy philosophies in sales. One of the things he talks about is the Law of Belief. It says that your beliefs become your realities. He adds to it that people always act in a manner consistent with their beliefs. I immediately translate that to a life of faith. Peter believed if he got out of the boat, he would walk on water. No one else got out of the boat. It makes me think that he was the only one who truly believed he could do it. Each person in that boat acted on their belief. I quickly realized that my beliefs are not what I say they are, but rather what I act on.

There’s a difference in saying I believe in something and in acting on that belief. My actions speak louder than words. James put it this way: faith without works is dead. You could also say, “Faith without action is dead.” The Bible is full of miracles and promises of God that require action on our part. You and I are part of the equation that God uses to solve problems. When we truly believe that He can use us, we start acting in a manner consistent with that belief. We actively become His hands and feet. Until that point, as James put it, our faith is dead.

What has God asked you to do that you’ve been holding back on? Where has He asked you to go, but you still haven’t moved? Put your actions where your words are. Step out in faith and act on what you believe. Peter did and he’s the only disciple that can say he walked on water. It’s time we got out of our boats and started trusting God to do the impossible. If we truly believe that all things are possible with Him, we’ll act in that manner. Believe what God tells you, trust in His Word and put your faith into action. Your life will forever change at that moment.

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Down On Your Luck

Have you ever said, “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all”? There are times in life when nothing seems to go your way. The odds are stacked against you. Your burdens seem heavier than you can bear. The thought of quitting or giving up can seem like the best option during those times. I understand what it’s like to wonder what did you ever do to make the world be against you. If you’re living in that moment right now, there is hope.

Psalm 145:14 says, “God gives a hand to those who are down on their luck, gives a fresh start to those ready to quit. (MSG)” Sometimes that fresh start is really what we need. God knows that. But a fresh start usually means an end to the last start. We want the fresh start, but we also don’t like to go through the closing of the previous one. It can often be painful. Walking through those difficult times is what helps create the new beginning though.

I like to tell people that the height of joy I know now is in direct proportion to the depths of sorrow I have faced. I can only experience as much joy that is equal to the suffering I’ve endured. It’s kind of like when jesus asked Peter which person loved Him more. Peter replied, “The one who has been forgiven most.” I believe the one who has experienced the most trouble can experience the greatest freedom. The one who has been forgiven the most is the most free. That person understands more than anyone where they were and what God has set them free of.

When we are under a heavy load or the world seems to be against us, we are in the prime spot to experience a greater depth of God’s grace. He does not want you to stay in the valley. He wants to help you up the mountain, but He understands that the valley is where we learn to appreciate the mountain top experiences. The valley is a dark place that blocks your view of the horizon. Without having been there, you cannot appreciate the light or view from the top of the mountain. There is purpose in the hard times. There are lessons to be learned when we are down on our luck.

God is not content to leave you down on your luck or without hope. His desire is to give you a hand, a nudge or push to get you where He wants you. He needs to close the last chapter before He opens the next. A fresh start is what God offers. Giving us a clean slate from our past is His specialty. He is there for you to help pull you out from under the load that weighs you down so you can experience freedom like never before. He wants you to experience joy like you’ve never known. He wants to take you from the place where you can’t see tomorrow to the mountain top where you have 360 degree views of the horizon. Trust Him to be faithful to His promise in Psalm 145.


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A Time And A Season

Most of us are familiar with Ecclesiastes 3 either from hearing it read at church or from The Byrds 1965 song “Turn! Turn! Turn!” featuring its text. It says that there’s a time for everything in life. There’s time to tear down and time to build. There’s a time to laugh and a time to cry. A time to speak and a time to keep quiet. Solomon was essentially telling us that no matter what we are facing right now, we can expect change to come. The good times won’t last forever. That also means that neither will the bad times.

Solomon was very frank in the verses that follow the famous portion of this chapter. He says that it’s hard for us to know what God is up to. We can never see the full picture of what God is doing in our lives. That leaves us with a choice to make: we can be miserable in the circumstances we’ve been placed in or we can choose to be happy knowing that God is in control of our lives. Solomon chose the latter and we should be too.

He understood that there are things in life that are beyond our control. Life comes in waves. There are good times and bad times. I’m reminded of my visits to the beach. I like to wade out about waist deep where the waves are crashing and try to lean into them. Inevitably a big wave comes and knocks me off my feet. I go under, struggle for a bit and then remember to stand up. Then I go at it again. In life, we can choose to stand there and lean into the waves with our shoulders hoping we don’t get knocked down or we can ride the waves the way surfers do.

I’ve never been on a surf board, but my understanding is that the trick is having a good balance. I think that’s true in life too. We have to find that balance knowing that there will be times of joy and times of pain. To offset the difficult times in my life, I choose to look at the positive side of bad things. I know that God is working on my behalf even in tough times. I know that He is using them to shape me into the person He wants me to be. He uses them to push me to the places He wants me to go.

Romans 8:28 says, “All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” I like the way the Amplified Version takes it a bit farther. It says, “All things work together and are fitting into a plan for good to and for those who love God.” There is a plan for your life. What you experience today is part of that plan. It may be a time of sorrow, but those times don’t last forever. Whatever you are facing, it fits into God’s plan for you. It will change soon enough. You can be upset about it or happy. You can try to fight the wave or ride it. Ultimately, it’s your choice.


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3 Reasons To Be Thankful

When is the last time that you stopped what you were doing and truly thanked God for all he’s done for you? In I Thessalonians 5:18, it tells us that no matter what your circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks. Even if nothing seems to be going your way right now, there is reason to give thanks.

Having a thankful heart is a mindset that you have to create. We are not naturally thankful creatures. You need to practice being thankful with others and with God. When you truly make being thankful a part of your life, you will find that your attitude, your outlook and your perspective will change for the better.

Here are some reasons I have found to give thanks.

1. For salvation

Each of us should be eternally grateful for what Jesus did on the cross for us. There is nothing that we could ever do to earn our way to Heaven. It is only because God loved us so much that He sent His son to die for our sins that we have that ability. I don’t have to spend my life hoping and trying to be good enough one day. The price for my sin was paid for by Jesus.

I love how 2 Corinthians 9:15 says it: “Now thanks be to God for His gift, precious beyond telling, His indescribable, inexpressible, free gift!” We have a very good reason to be thankful today. You do not have to spend eternity separated from God if receive His son into your life.

2. For God’s faithfulness

I’m thankful every day that God’s faithfulness doesn’t rely on my own faithfulness. 2 Timothy says that even if we are faithless or are untrue to Him, He remains faithful and true because He cannot deny Himself. What God has promised He will do, He will do no matter what.

One of my favorite promises in scripture is found in Philippians 4:19. I remind myself of this scripture when things aren’t going my way. It says that God will supply all of my needs according to His riches. I often want Him to supply all of my wants, but He has promised to take care of my needs. I have air in my lungs, a place to sleep and food to eat. That is something to be thankful for.

3. For what He has done

How many times have we prayed and asked God for something and He’s done it? Too many to count I’m sure. I often thank Him for the big things when He does them, but what about the little things? Have we thanked Him for a good night’s sleep, help on a test, safe travels or for food to eat? We constantly petition God in prayer and rarely thank Him.

When He healed the 10 lepers in Luke 17, only one came back to thank Him. Jesus asked him where the other 9 were. How was it that only one came back for something as big as a life giving healing? I want to live my life like that one who came back and worshipped Him and thanked Him.

I know it’s hard to do sometimes. I’ve been at points in my life where it seemed I had nothing to be thankful for. The truth is that I had a lot to be thankful for, but I wasn’t looking for it. Wherever you are today, stop and give thanks to God. You will find that it will change you when you live with a grateful heart.


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