Monthly Archives: May 2016

Motivated To Change


What do you think is a more powerful motivator, pain or pleasure? If you think pleasure, let me ask you why you’re going to work today instead of going on vacation? It’s because the threat of the pain of losing your house, car, and belongings. The thought of that pain will motivate you to go to work instead of going to the beach. Pain has been proven to be a powerful motivator in humans, and it often causes us to do things differently.

At one point in my life, I wasn’t living how I knew God wanted me to. I did things that He considers evil, and I lived my way on my terms. I received several messages from God through scripture and from others, but I ignored them. I knew the things I was doing were wrong, but lacked the will power to stop. I kept pressing forward against God disregarding the consequences of my actions.

Then, one day, everything in my life started to crash down and implode. God started removing the things in my life to get my attention. If you don’t know, I’m a pretty stubborn person. I was a lot like Jonah. I kept going in the wrong direction despite the raging storm. I waited until all was lost before I decided to toss my selfishness overboard, admit I was wrong, and ask for forgiveness. It’s was very humbling, but effective in getting me to turn my life around.

Proverbs 20:30 says, “Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways” (GNT). For me, that’s what it took. God broke me by sending me through so much pain I wanted to end it all. In the end though, I changed paths and now listen when He speaks. I don’t wait for the painful experiences to change the parts of my life He wants changed. Each of us have a choice when God speaks. We can change or we can keep on doing what we are doing. Like a good parent though, He will use whatever is necessary to get us to change our ways depending on how much motivation we need.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Memorial Day Prayer


I heard a statistic that one third of all Americans don’t know that Memorial Day is the day we stop to remember those who gave their life in the line of duty. It was frustrating to hear that. If you have a loved one who died in service to this country, I say, “Thank you.” I may never understand the sacrifice they made for me and my family, but I’m eternally grateful.

Here is a Memorial Day prayer offered by my friend Michael Moak. You can follow him on twitter here.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I come to you this morning to invite your blessings, love, power, and presence to inhabit my home, my family, and my choices today.

However, before I continue I would like to take a moment to express the deep gratitude, humility and thankfulness that we feel for your many blessings upon this great nation.

Thank you for allowing we, the citizens of the United States of America, the privilege of living in the greatest nation on Earth. Thank you for empowering us with the knowledge and resources to build the most powerful democracy in the world and greatest military force on the face of the planet. As we celebrate Memorial Day, we pause to thank you for the brave and courageous men and women that have gone before us and laid down their lives as the foundational stones that support the freedom that we now enjoy!

We thank you for the committed men and women that currently serve with faithful and tireless dedication to uphold the liberty, justice and freedom for all that we call the “American dream” and ask you to be with them and their families today. And we thank you for the generation ahead of us that will heed the call and take up their duty to defend and serve the constitution of the United States of America!

It is those freedoms and privileges that allow us to worship in powerful religious expression. The Bible tells us in…(Psalm 37:23 NKJV) “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.”

Therefore, I know that you have ordered my steps and the steps of every other follower of Christ across planet Earth. I ask that you would grant your people favor in the areas of government offices, school campuses, and community events. Raise up a remnant that will continue to honor and proclaim your name and bring glory to your kingdom through powerful acts of service to those who need your love the most. Help us to not forget the widows, the poor, the orphans and the homeless as they are dear to your heart. Help us to raise this generation of children to love and obey your Word so they might fulfill your will for their lives!

So, once again I invite you to help me as a father to my children, a husband to my wife, and a pastor to represent your name with honor, integrity, and love. May this day be full of joy and laughter. We ask all these things in the mighty name of your son, Jesus Christ.

Amen.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Being Dedicated


“Dedicated” is a word we use a lot in Christianity. We dedicate our lives to God. We dedicate our children to the Lord. We dedicate songs, work, and other things to Him as well. I often think of it is giving something to Him, but it’s deeper than that. To dedicate our life to Him is to have a single-minded loyalty to Him. We can’t say we’ve truly dedicated our life to Him when we split our loyalty between what He wants and what we want.

James 1:8 put it like this, “Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do” (NLT). Either we are dedicated to Him singular in purpose, or we live lives that are unstable. God’s desire is that we live our lives dedicated to Him with a single-minded mentality. He wants us to trust His plan for our lives and His way of living. Anything less allows instability and chaos.

I have been hearing God’s call to us as believers to truly dedicate our lives to Him. This week, I’m sharing scriptures on being dedicated.

1. Those who make themselves clean from all those evil things, will be used for special purposes, because they are dedicated and useful to their Master, ready to be used for every good deed.

2 Timothy 2:21 GNT

2. [Come] and, like living stones, be yourselves built [into] a spiritual house, for a holy (dedicated, consecrated) priesthood, to offer up [those] spiritual sacrifices [that are] acceptable and pleasing to God through Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:5 AMP

3. Think carefully before you promise an offering to God. You might regret it later.

Proverbs 20:25 GNT

4. One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.” So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way.

Acts of the Apostles 13:2-3 NLT

5. Dedicate them to yourself by means of the truth; your word is truth. I sent them into the world, just as you sent me into the world. And for their sake I dedicate myself to you, in order that they, too, may be truly dedicated to you.

John 17:17-19 GNT

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Last Word


A few years ago, my in-laws were on their way to Mexico to visit family. A few hours or so after leaving home, their check engine light came on. They stopped to get it checked out. A sensor had gone out and needed to be replaced. As soon as the repair was finished, they got on the road. An hour later, the check engine light came on again. They stopped to have the same problem repaired. When they arrived at the border, the light came on again so they had it checked out. The mechanic said the same sensor had gone out a third time. They were frustrated, but they replaced it again so they could continue.

An hour or so after they crossed the border into Mexico, the light came on again. Six times they had this sensor replaced within several hours. When it came on again, they decided to pull over and talk about their options. If they kept going and the truck broke down, the chances were high that they would be far from help without cell service. They wanted to deliver goods to their family who needed them and to visit family like they had planned, but they turned the truck around. As soon as they did, the light went off and never came back on.

When they arrived back at the border, they decided to get some food at the usual places. While there, my mother in law remembered she had gone to the doctor several months prior and never heard back. After eating, they went to the doctor, and he told her he had been trying to get ahold of her, but couldn’t. He was glad she came in because her test results showed she had cancer. She needed immediate surgery to remove it, which they did that day. They also needed a blood relative there with her in case of complications. Her sister happened to go with them on that trip. God changed their plans and they had the wherewithal to accept it.

Proverbs 16:1 says, “We may make our plans, but God has the last word” (GNT). Many of us are so fixated on our plans that we fail to hear what God is trying to tell us. We press on despite his attempts to turn us around. In some cases, it’s for our benefit, and other times, it’s for someone else. We need to pay attention to what God is trying to say to us throughout our days. It’s ok to make plans and to want to accomplish them, but not at the expense of ignoring what God us trying to get us to do. We need to give Him the right to have the last word in our lives.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Putting Out The Fire Of Anger


One of my favorite activities is camping, and one of the first things you have to know when camping is how to build a fire. Equally important is how to put out a fire. There are two ways to do that: quit putting logs on it or add water. By not putting logs on it, you let the fire burn to a slow death. Ive learned that even though there’s not a fire present, there are still embers below the ashes that can easily be ignited into a fire. To prove it, I like to go out in the morning, grab some small wood pieces, and start a fire with no matches. The “don’t feed the fire any logs” method isn’t the best way to put it out.

The best way is to apply water. Even though you add water and the flames die down, the same thing happens here as when you withhold logs. There are still embers beneath the surface that can be ignited. You must pour some water, stir the ashes, and pour more water until the fire is out. Putting out fires is a skill that we should learn. If you don’t do it right, you run the risk of starting a new fire and creating a lot of damage. Many of the most damaging forest fires were started by a small ember campers thought were put out.

The same way you put out a fire is the same way you help get rid of anger. You can choose to hide from the person who’s angry or you can calm the anger with words. Avoiding a person who is angry simply lets their anger boil under the surface. It can easily be reignited with the smallest things. All may look well on the surface, but underneath the ashes of the aftermath are embers waiting to be given fuel to grow. Yes, you may need to step away from the situation to allow both sides to cool down, but I don’t recommend this method for resolving situations.

Proverbs 15:1 gives us the real answer. It says, “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare” (NLT). Your response to someone’s anger determines whether the situation escalates or is put out. Arguing back is like putting another log on the fire. Offering a gentle response is like adding water to a fire. You’ll have to keep your composure and continue offering soft answers until it is resolved. One answer won’t repair the situation immediately. It requires continued patience, understanding, and gentleness to help calm the anger in others. If you leave it unresolved, you may create a fire that gets out of control and causes irreparable damage. 

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Run To The Poor


One of the most well known parables of Jesus comes from Luke 15:11-32. It’s the story of the Prodigal Son. Before you quit reading, I want to look at this story a little differently than before. As you know, he took his inheritance early, moved away, and wasted it on wild living and prostitutes. In verse 16, he was so broke and hungry that he had to feed pigs and even their slop looked appealing to him. The end of that verse tells us everything: “But no one gave him anything” (NLT).

Here’s a guy, who when he had money, was throwing it around. He was surrounded by people who enjoyed him buying their drinks, paying for their meals, and throwing parties they would attend. When he was broke, hungry, and homeless, those people were nowhere to be found. Why? Because we despise people who are poor. We enjoy being around people who have money and are generous with it, but we tend to hide from the poor, especially if we know them.

Think about it. Even his own brother despised him because he was poor. In verse 28, it says, “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in.” When his father asked why, part of his excuse was that his brother had squandered his money. When the chips are down, sometimes even your family avoids you. Most of us have been at this point in our lives. Broke. Hungry. Hurting. What happened? As the country song by Tracy Lawrence goes, “You find out who your friends are.”

Proverbs 14:20-21 rejects the kind of behavior that runs to the rich and hides from the poor. It says, “The poor are despised even by their neighbors, while the rich have many ‘friends.’ It is a sin to belittle one’s neighbor; blessed are those who help the poor.” To me, the parable of the Prodigal Son is as much about us running to the poor as it is about our Father running to us when we confess our sins. If you know someone who’s had a bad turn of events, quit avoiding them, and find a way to run to them in their time of need.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Word Choices


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten in trouble after saying something. The first question to me is usually, “Why would you say that?” My response is, “I don’t know. I wasn’t thinking.” I speak so much that sometimes I forget that I need to pay attention to them before I let them leave my lips. As a result, I’ve said some pretty hurtful things to people. Those words could have been chosen more wisely or better yet, left unsaid. Once words leave our lips, we can’t get them back again or undo the damage they cause.

On the other hand, I’ve had some people speak words to me that have brought healing to some of my deepest wounds. Their words have brought hope into my hopeless situations, lit up my dark paths, and built me up when I’ve been down. Their words were wisely spoken at just the right time. My prayer has been that I would be that type of person. I want to be someone who uses my words to bring healing instead of pain.

I’ve been reading Proverbs since I was a kid. I can tell you that Solomon understood the power of words. Over and over in that book, he tries to get us to see just how powerful they really are. One such example is in Proverbs 12:18. He wrote, “Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal” (GNT). Many of us can attest to how deep someone’s thoughtless words have hurt us. As they echo in our mind, the wound gets deeper and a root of bitterness can easily spring up in that environment.

It’s critical for each one of us to choose our words wisely. Whether we are responding to someone who has hurt us with their words or we are just having a conversation, our word choices matter. We can’t afford to speak without thinking. We can pray each day and ask God to help us to choose our words wisely so that we bring healing instead of pain. The power of life and death truly is in our words. Never take that lightly.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized