Monthly Archives: May 2016

Be Generous


Every time I read a story about someone going above and beyond to help someone, I always read the comments. Without fail someone will write something like this, “People like this restore my faith in humanity.” It’s upsetting to me that we have gotten to the point that being selfless and generous is a rare thing in today’s world. It’s so rare that people have lost faith in humanity over it, and when it does happen, the story goes viral. That bothers me.

You and I, as Christians should be the most generous people the world has. If we truly believe that God is our source and everything we have has been given to us by Him, then we should be generous with what we have. In Matthew 10:8, Jesus said, “Freely you have received; freely give” (NIV). Our generosity of love, time, money, kindness, selflessness, and goodness should be evident to all around. In a world where it’s the exception and not the rule, our generosity will help show the love of Jesus to the world and point them to Him.

Here are some verses in the Bible on generosity.

1. Be generous, and you will be prosperous. Help others, and you will be helped.

Proverbs 11:25 GNT

2. The smooth tricks of scoundrels are evil. They plot crooked schemes. They lie to convict the poor, even when the cause of the poor is just. But generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity.

Isaiah 32:7-8 NLT

3. Generous hands are blessed hands because they give bread to the poor.

Proverbs 22:9 MSG

4. [Charge them] to do good, to be rich in good works, to be liberal and generous of heart, ready to share [with others], In this way laying up for themselves [the riches that endure forever as] a good foundation for the future, so that they may grasp that which is life indeed.

1 Timothy 6:18-19 AMP

5. He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

2 Corinthians 9:10-11 ESV

6. Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the LORD your God will bless you in everything you do.

Deuteronomy 15:10 NLT

7. Be generous: Invest in acts of charity. Charity yields high returns.

Ecclesiastes 11:1 MSG

8. Do not forget or neglect or refuse to extend hospitality to strangers [in the brotherhood–being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for through it some have entertained angels without knowing it.

Hebrews 13:2 AMP

9. Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

Proverbs 19:17 ESV

10. Give to others, and God will give to you. Indeed, you will receive a full measure, a generous helping, poured into your hands—all that you can hold. The measure you use for others is the one that God will use for you.

Luke 6:38 GNT

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Pride And Correction


I went to small, Christian, high school with a graduating class of 16 students. During my senior year, as I would walk down the hall, I would jokingly yell out, “Out of the way, underclassmen! There’s a senior coming through.” It got to the point I had one of the underclassmen walk in front of me and do it for me. We would laugh and I would tell him, “Thanks for showing your proper respect.” We would then go to our classes and do it again after the next bell.

One afternoon a teacher pulled me aside and said, “I’ve been hearing you call out for people to get out of your way and I don’t like it or think it’s funny. In fact, I believe it’s the sin of pride.” I was shocked and embarrassed. I started to push back and said, “It’s just a joke.” He told me, “It’s not really a joke. I’ve watched you over the years and this isn’t you. You’re losing the respect of others, including myself. Pride is serious.”

I had a choice to make. I could tell him he was overreacting and keep on doing it or I could listen to his correction in love and change. I thought about it all night before I prayed, “God, if by doing this I’m committing the sin of pride, I ask you to forgive me and help me to be humble.” I didn’t do it again, and I even stopped the underclassman from doing it for me. I explained I was wrong, that I asked God to forgive me, and that I was sorry I got him involved. It was humbling to be corrected so boldly, but it was necessary to my future.

It’s not fun being corrected by someone else, especially when you’re on the wrong. Everything in you wants to fight back, justify your actions, and to keep doing it out of spite. That’s not God’s plan though. Proverbs 10:17 says, “People who listen when they are corrected will live, but those who will not admit that they are wrong are in danger” (GNT). We all are in need of correction from time to time. What really important is how we respond to it. I may not like it when I’m corrected, but if I’m wise, I’ll listen to it and correct my ways. That’s God’s plan for each of us. None of us are above correction, but all of us have a choice in how we respond to it.

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Be Someone Awesome


One of my favorite quotes is from Henry Ford. He said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.” Our thoughts are so powerful that they literally control our ability to accomplish things. It doesn’t matter if everyone tells you that you can’t do it, if your mind says you can, you’ll do it. Conversely, if everyone tells you that you can, but you don’t think you can, you never will. It’s not what others think that makes us believe. It’s what we think.

Solomon understood this principle. In Proverbs 4:23 he wrote, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” (GNT). You and I can control what thoughts we entertain, and what thoughts we dismiss. The ones we replay over and over in our heads and become our reality. They determine whether or not we apply for that job, write that proposal, take that class, put on those running shoes, or you fill in the blank. Think about that for a minute and replay the voices in your head when you tried to do whatever you filled in the blank.

If your whole life is shaped by what you think, wouldn’t it be important to you to think the right things? Changing your thought cycle is difficult, but not impossible. In most cases, you’ve told yourself a certain thing so many times that you actually believe it to be true without question. You say, “I can’t do that because that just who I am.” When you say that, you’re proving Henry Ford right. You don’t think you can, so you don’t. You rationaLIES that it’s just who you are. Yes, I spelled that with “lies” because that’s what those thoughts are.

In order to change the lies, you have to challenge them just like you would challenge anyone else telling you lies. You ask, “Where’s the proof?” When there is no proof (“because I said so” isn’t proof), you then insert what the truth is. You begin to think the new thought over and over (remember “The Little Engine That Could”) until it is true. This is hard work, but you can reshape your life and what you do by what you think. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (AMP). It’s time we quit believing the lies. Whatever you think in your heart and mind is who you will become. Be someone awesome since you get to choose.

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1,000th Devotion


It’s hard to believe, but this is my 1,000th post. I started this journey four years ago not knowing what to expect, but having grand ideas in my head. I wanted to learn how to improve my writing, and to have a better understanding of direction, and how to promote my writing so I went to the Re:Write Conference soon after I started. One of the speakers there was Mary DeMuth, who has written over 30 books and has blogged for many years. She said a couple of things that really stood out to me, and I still reflect on them to this day.

The first thing that stuck out to me was that she said she wrote in obscurity for seven years before anyone noticed her. She talked about the struggles of continuing to write when very few are reading. I remember thinking, “That’s not going to be me!” In my mind, I had a message to share and the world wanted to hear it. All I had to do was write, and people would flock to my site. Four years later, I’m still writing in obscurity. I’ve struggled with that because my results haven’t met my expectations.

That leads me to the other thing she said that stood out to me. She said, “Writing is not so we can fill a hole in our heart; it’s so we can give away what God has given us.” That phrase (along with my wife) has kept me grounded throughout these years of writing in obscurity. They both remind me that anything I do for God is not about me. It’s about God. If what I’m doing is about Him, then I need to learn to be ok with obscurity. As my wife tells me, “If what you wrote was for one person and God sent them to read it, you are successful.”

In our world, I’ve learned that God defines success differently than we do. We think of book deals, thousands of followers, and fame as being successful. But God defines it as our obedience to Him. In this journey of writing, I’ve learned that it’s not the quantity of lives that I touch that makes me successful or gives me worth: it’s the quality with which I touch lives. If I’m doing what God has called me to whether it is for one person or one thousand, then I am successful in His eyes and those are the only ones that matter.

For those of you who have been on this journey with me, I’d like to say, “Thank you.” For those of you who have let me know that a particular post has touched your life and been exactly what you needed at that moment, you will never know what that has done for me. Your words have encouraged me as I’ve struggled in obscurity and reminded me that I’m being successful in God’s eyes even when I don’t feel like I’m being successful.

I hope that with this post, you can look at your life and see where you’ve defined success differently than God has. I hope that you can see that your success doesn’t depend on how many people you reach. It simply depends on your obedience to what God has called you to do. If you’re struggling with not feeling successful in what God has called you to, take heart. If you’re being obedient, you are successful in God’s eyes, and He’s the one who ultimately matters.

Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:3‬ ‭AMP‬‬

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Come Back Tomorrow


Have you ever had a craving, drove across town to get to the restaurant, walk in, and have them tell you the kitchen us closed? I hate it when that happens. It’s worse if you’ve pulled into the parking lot, are walking up to the door, and they flip the sign to “closed” while looking at you. You just want one thing. It won’t take long, but they tell you to come back tomorrow. How does that make you feel? Angry? Disappointed? Frustrated? Sad? Lots of emotions come to mind.

The problem is, that person had the ability to satisfy your craving, but not the will. They could have gone above and beyond for a good customer like yourself, and just let you run in and get it. But they didn’t. They withheld it from you and you have to wait. When that happens, I almost want to do a personal boycott because I let my emotions get the better of me. But at the be of the day, it was just a food item I wanted. It wasn’t life or death. It won’t make or break me if I don’t get it.

Imagine someone who needs something that really will make or break them. Imagine that they need this thing to keep afloat, and you have what they need. Imagine you told them to come back tomorrow because you were busy. This isn’t a craving they’re trying to get a fix for. This is a real life, make or break situation, and you were as aloof to them as that person who looked at you and flipped the sign to close. Remember how you were feeling when they did that for a craving? Multiply that feeling for that person.

God puts people in our path each day who desperately need our help, but we are too busy to see them or too nonchalant to care. We have the opportunity daily to be God’s hands, but we rarely open them. Proverbs 3:27-28 says, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, ‘Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you’” (NLT). God’s desire is that we keep our sign turned to “open” when it comes to helping others.

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Your Guide to Life


If you were to look up “Guide” in the dictionary, it would tell you that it’s a person who advises or shows the way to others. Throughout history God has given us things to show the way to Him and to direct our lives on how to live. God knows that we all feel lost in this world, are looking for answers, and have no sense of direction. When we follow anything other than something or someone God has given us as a guide, it’s the blind leading the blind.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opened my Bible when I’ve needed direction and found my path. There have been times that I’ve prayed for an answer and God placed someone in my path to give it to me. Then have also been times when the Holy Spirit has caused me to remember something from the Bible just when I needed it. God didn’t leave us fumbling around in the darkness. He gave us guides to show us the way.

Here are several verses from the Bible that talk about the Guides He has given us.

1. Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.

Psalms 119:105 NLT

2. And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.

Isaiah 42:16 ESV

3. For the Lamb Who is in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to the springs of the waters of life; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

Revelation 7:17 AMP

4. We beg you, our friends, to pay proper respect to those who work among you, who guide and instruct you in the Christian life.

1 Thessalonians 5:12 GNT

5. I write this, dear children, to guide you out of sin. But if anyone does sin, we have a Priest-Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus. When he served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good—not only ours, but the whole world’s. I write this, dear children, to guide you out of sin. But if anyone does sin, we have a Priest-Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus. When he served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good—not only ours, but the whole world’s. Here’s how we can be sure that we know God in the right way: Keep his commandments.

1 John 2:1-2 MSG

6. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.

John 16:13 NLT

7. So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.

Galatians 5:16 NLT

8. You in Your mercy and loving-kindness have led forth the people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation.

Exodus 15:13 AMP

9. The peace that Christ gives is to guide you in the decisions you make; for it is to this peace that God has called you together in the one body. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:15 GNT

10. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Isaiah 58:11 ESV

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The Real Question


Have you ever wished God would tell you, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you”? Think about that. What would your answer be? How much time would you take to answer that question? Would your answer benefit just you or would it benefit others? If God promised to give you anything you wanted, that would be a big deal. Personally, I’d be afraid of giving the wrong answer, but in this situation, there really isn’t one.

I asked you that question, because that’s exactly what God asked Solomon in I Kings 3:5. Solomon had just sacrificed 1,000 burnt offerings to the Lord and God visited him that night with that question and promise. The Bible doesn’t say how long Solomon took with his answer. What he asked for has stayed with me my whole life. The final part of his answer in verse 9 was, “Give me the wisdom I need to rule your people with justice and to know the difference between good and evil. Otherwise, how would I ever be able to rule this great people of yours?” (GNT)

Solomon had some big shoes to fill being king after David. He recognized that he needed help in ruling the people, so he asked for wisdom. One of the biggest things that stands out to me is that God asked him what he wanted and he answered with what he needed. There’s a big difference there. Our wants are usually different from our needs. I may want a Lamborghini, but what I need is a reliable car to get from A to B.

Let’s go back to your answer to the question. Was it a want or a need? What about your normal prayer time? Is it a list of needs or wants? I think it’s ok to ask God for the wants, but when people ask for their needs, God goes above and beyond. II Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others” (NLT). When God gives what we need, it’s enough to share. So the real question is, do you want what you need or need what you want?

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