Monthly Archives: July 2017

Revoking God’s Calling


Many years ago, I went through a divorce. Along with all of the other baggage that comes with it, I struggled with its affect on God’s call on my life. I had been raised in a denomination that did not allow people who were divorced to minister. As the reality of my divorce set in, so did the reality that I would never be able to minister to others. I was devastated all over again. I had felt the call of God on my life since I was young, and now I felt like I couldn’t fulfill it. 

As I was lamenting to a friend about it, he gave me one of those verbal, snap out of it slaps across the face. He said, “Do you really think that you can do anything to revoke the call of God on your life? Who has more authority, man or God?” The more I thought about it, the more I realized he was right. Man does not have the authority or ability to revoke God’s call, yet our enemy lies to us to make us ineffective. 

I believe this was something the apostle Paul struggled with. I’m sure the enemy tormented him with thoughts like, “How can you be a minister when you’ve murdered so many Christians?” I believe the churches also must have struggled with it because he had to bring it up in a lot of his letters. In Galatians 1:15 he reminded them, “But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace” (NLT). Even his years of persecuting the Church couldn’t revoke God’s calling.

If Paul’s murders and persecution of the Church couldn’t revoke God’s call on his life, then nothing you or I have done has revoked it on ours. If you’ve been believing the lie that your past sin or circumstances have prevented you from fulfilling your calling, today is your day of freedom. Before you were born, God called you and there’s nothing you or anyone else can do to revoke it. If you’re in sin, repent and fulfill your calling. If you’re a Christian, but haven’t been walking in your calling because of your past, today’s your day to start walking in it. 

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Embracing Our Weaknesses


I was speaking with a friend the other day, and I asked how his shoulder was recovering after his replacement surgery. He said it was improving, but now he was being treated for Tennis Elbow in the other arm. It turns out that while he was having trouble with his shoulder, he was overcompensating with his other arm to make up for it. Now it has created a whole new problem that will require more work to correct.

Each of us have strengths and weaknesses. Like my friend, we try to overcompensate for our weaknesses. That’s not God’s plan for us. Our weaknesses remind us of our need to rely on Him in our lives. When we try to bypass Him no do things on our own, we create more problems in our life. We need to learn to embrace our weaknesses, and allow them to push us to rely on God more in our lives. 

Here are some Bible verses about trusting God through our weaknesses.

1. We don’t just put up with our limitations; we celebrate them.
2 Corinthians 13:9 MSG

2. If I must boast, I will boast of the things that reveal my weakness [the things by which I am made weak in the eyes of my opponents].
2 CORINTHIANS 11:30 AMP

3. God purposely chose what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise, and he chose what the world considers weak in order to shame the powerful.
1 Corinthians 1:27 GNT

4. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NLT

5. And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
Hebrews 11:32-34 ESV

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Peace Through Trust

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.


Life is unpredictable. It’s full of uncertainties, crossroads, and unknowns. When we are facing these things in life, our minds get consumed looking for answers and wondering what tomorrow holds. It can suck the energy right out of you if you let it. I think that’s why Jesus told us in Matthew 6:34, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries” (NLT). He knew that with all of life’s uncertainties, we could easily get wrapped up in all the what if’s of life.

The truth is that even though you and I don’t know what tomorrow holds, God does. And He’s not worried. What is unknown to us is history to Him. He knows how it all plays out and He is in control. No matter what each day brings, we can trust that He has a plan for our lives and a path for us to walk down. Psalm 37:23 says, “The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” Not only does He direct our lives, He knows all the details that are unknown to us.

Trusting Him in those times is paramount to our peace of mind. Where worry consumes us, His peace frees us. We get peace in uncertainty when we trust that God is in control, that He has a plan for this season, and that He is directing our path. Stress and worry come from thinking we are in control, that God doesn’t care, or that He doesn’t have a plan. He gives you and I the ability to choose in this situation. Do we want to stress or do we want peace through trust? 

I’m reminded of Proverbs 3:5-6 when it comes to trusting God in uncertainty. It says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way” (GNB). The word “trust”, in the original language for this verse, means to feel safe, be careless. In our most difficult times, we can feel safe and be carefree by trusting God. He will direct our path and show us the right way when the time is right. 

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The Empty Gym


A couple of years ago, I read about a high school basketball team that went to play another school. When the game started, they noticed that the other team had no fans. The gym was empty. It didn’t feel right. The next time they played this team was going to be in their own gym, so the boys put a plan together. They asked all of their fans to show up and cheer for the other team. When the other team showed up, they were surprised to find signs encouraging them and fans who rooted loudly for them to win.

I’ve loved that story from the moment I read it, and I’m proud that it took place in my home state of Texas. I love it because there are times where all of us feel like that other team. It can feel like there is no one on our side. No one to cheer us on. Oh what we would give to have someone encourage us. It’s a difficult thing to be in a position where no one is on your side. It’s tough to keep going to be honest. 

I’m sure all of us have felt that way at one point or another. I know I have. David felt that way too. He had been anointed king, but Saul was still on the throne and was out to kill him. Instead of being in the palace, David was hiding for his life in a cave in one of the most inhospitable places on earth. But then, in Psalm 56:9, he reminded himself of something important. He wrote, “I know this: God is on my side” (NLT). When it feels like no one else is on your side, remind yourself that God is. 

As Romans 8:31 puts it, if God is for you, who can be against you? No matter what you’re going through in this life, no matter how badly things look, know that God is on your side. He’s cheering for you to succeed. He’s giving you the tools you need to make it through. Even if no one is there to help, God is. I’ve always heard that you plus God equals a majority. You have the King of the universe in your corner rooting for you. This too shall pass, and you will be victorious. 

If you’d like to read about the story I referenced, here’s the link.

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Releasing Burdens


My son thinks he can do anything I can do. I was moving some heavy bags recently, and he wanted to move one. He struggled with it as he pulled and pushed on it. I offered my help, but he refused. “He said, “I got it, Dada. I can do it.” I replied, “I know you can, but I can do it more easily.” He still refused. He wanted to do it. He wore himself out trying to do it. I don’t know if it was my stubbornness or my pride that he got that compelled him to keep doing it alone. Either way, he refused my help.

As I watched him, I couldn’t help but think how often I am that way towards God. I often carry these heavy burdens. They’re not necessarily ones that God gave me. They’re just ones that I’ve picked up and have tried to carry. I’ve tried pulling them and pushing them, all the while wearing myself out. God whispers, “Let me take that,” but I refuse. “I can do it, God,” i say. I can imagine him shaking His head like I do.

It could be my stubbornness or my pride that keeps me from handing my burdens over to the Lord, but either way it’s wrong. When I refuse to give my burdens to the Lord, I’m telling Him that I don’t need Him. I’m telling Him that I can do anything He can do, and that’s a problem. We can’t do what God can do, but we’ve been trying to since Adam and Eve. We’ve got to let go of the things that weigh us down, wear us down and hold us back.

Psalm 55:22 says, “Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you” (NLT). One version says to release them. We have to be the ones who let go. God isn’t going to take them from us forcefully. He has already made the offer for us to cast them on Him. It’s now up to us to let go and to trust Him. Let God do what He does and quit trying to do His work for Him. Trust me, your life will be a lot better.

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Pick Me


When someone on stage asks for a volunteer, are you quick to raise your hand? Not me. Maybe because I ask for volunteers in my job, and it usually involves that person having to do a role play in front of a room full of people. In several cases, the volunteer is used as a deficit learning exercise to show that they are lacking the skill I’m about to train. Yet, when I ask for a volunteer, people usually raise their hands. 

Of course, if no one raises their hand, I say, “If I don’t have any volunteers, someone is going to get volun-told!” That’ll usually get at least someone, but they’re pretty skeptical. For me, I don’t like to volunteer unless I know what I’m volunteering for. If I know, I don’t mind raising my hand usually. I just like to know what I’m getting into. But if someone is just looking for a volunteer, and there’s no reason given, I’m not your guy. 

In Isaiah 6, he describes being in Heaven and realizing how small and sinful he is. After an angel touches his lips with coal to purify him, God starts talking to the assembly of heavenly beings. In verse 8 he hears the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” Then he said, “Here I am. Send me” (NLT). Can you imagine it? God was looking across Heaven for a volunteer, and Isaiah speaks up.

I believe God is still looking for volunteers. Sometimes, like Isaiah, it’s to carry His message. Other times it may be just to encourage someone. Sometimes it’s to buy a meal for someone. Even if you don’t know what you’re volunteering for, I believe we should all be willing to pray, “Lord, I know you need volunteers today to make yourself known. I want you to know I am here and available. Pick me.” 

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Think About Your Thoughts


When I was a kid, and was wrong about something, I would start off my sentence with, “But I thought…” My dad would always be quick to say. “That’s what you get for thinking!” He was being humorous of course, because thinking is all we do. Sometimes we over think things, and other times we don’t put much thought into what we are doing. Either way, thinking is not just what we do, it creates who we become. 

The way we think is so powerful that few of us grasp it. I love how Henry Ford described the power of thought. He said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Our thoughts control our belief system, and our belief system controls our actions. That’s why I would always start my sentence with, “But I thought…” It’s so important that you and I control what we think about, and thereby control what we believe. How we live and who we are is a result of the sum of our thoughts. 

The Bible has a lot to say about our thoughts. Here are a few verses. 

1. The weapons we use in our fight are not the world’s weapons but God’s powerful weapons, which we use to destroy strongholds. We destroy false arguments; we pull down every proud obstacle that is raised against the knowledge of God; we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 GNT

2. Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].
PHILIPPIANS 4:8 AMP

3. Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.
Romans 8:5 NLT

4. Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.
Proverbs 4:23 GNT

5. Therefore if you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, sharing in His resurrection from the dead], keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value].
COLOSSIANS 3:1-2 AMP

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Turbulence Is Good

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.


On a recent flight, the pilot said there was turbulence ahead and that he was going to try a different altitude. We lowered several thousand feet and hit turbulence there. He lowered some more and we hit turbulence there too. He went up some and we started hitting turbulence there. On our whole flight, he was readjusting trying to miss the turbulence, but he was unsuccessful. No matter what we did, we kept hitting these bumps in our path. He finally came over the intercom and said, “As you can see, we are not going to have a smooth flight today. I’ve tried everything and we’re still finding these pockets. We won’t be able to go as fast as we wanted.”

The pilot, like many of us, tried to avoid disturbances in his path. He tried different things to get around them and couldn’t. Our first instinct when there’s a disturbance or turbulence in our path is to try to find a way around it, but is that really God’s desire for us? Are we to avoid problems and things that slow us down? I don’t think so. I dislike them as much as anyone, but I’ve learned they serve a purpose. I may not always see the purpose right away, but I’ve found that God uses them to shape who we are and to change our course. The path God has for us isn’t an easy one.

Jesus was preaching in Matthew 7:14 when He was talking about the path you and I should be on. He said, “But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it” (NLT). The Amplified version said it is “contracted by pressure”. That doesn’t sound like we are going to be able to avoid the bumps and have a smooth ride into Heaven. In John 16:33, Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.” Jesus was pretty open to us about what life will bring as Christians. He said we would struggle, suffer and have tribulation, and also that He would not leave us in those times.

My nephew likes to say, “No pressure, no diamond.” He’s learning at an early age that pressure can be a good thing. It’s what brings out the best in us. God uses pressure pockets in our life to develop qualities that won’t develop any other way. He has us change altitude and course so we can be put into the path of someone who needs our help. There is a purpose and a plan for the turbulence in your life. To avoid it is to avoid what God wants to do in you and through you.

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The Perfectionist’s Problem


One of the first lessons I learned in writing is that it’s ok to send out a devotion with typos. I apologize to you for them, but it’s partly on purpose. I’m a perfectionist at heart. I like things to be a certain way. I don’t want you distracted by words that have been autocorrected into something I didn’t intend. I also want these devotions to be polished and have the finishing touches put on them so that it’s easy for you to read. However, if I wait until they’re perfect, I’d never put one on the website. 

“Perfect” is an illusion that creates procrastination. I can hide behind that word all I want, but really my perfectionism is my fear keeping me from hitting the publish button. I will never have this devotion or any other one perfect because I’m imperfect. I’ll never have all the words just right, the grammatical pieces in place or the setting just right. I can tweak them over and over again, but if I never hit the publish button, what good is it? 

I like how Ecclesiastes 11:4 puts this dilemma. It says, “If you wait until the wind and the weather are just right, you will never plant anything and never harvest anything” (GNT). That verse is a huge gut check to my perfectionism. Not hitting the publish button is akin to not planting anything. If I wait until everything is perfect and just right, I’ll never do what God called me to do. It’s a trap that many of us fall into.

As I was wresting with it early on, I was reading a book by Mark Batterson. He wrote that we get “ready, set, go” backwards. We should be more like “go, set, ready”. If God has asked you to do something, start doing it. You’ll never have everything just right or perfect. If you wait until the conditions are right, you’re going to still be standing on the starting line when you die. I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to let my perfectionism keep me procrastinating my whole life. I’m sorry if these aren’t perfect, but neither am I. 

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Because I Said So


Because I said so. I have never liked that phrase. Has anyone ever given that to you as an answer when you wanted to know why? I got it all the time as a kid, and it drive me nuts. I’m a person who needs to know why, and that doesn’t give me sufficient information. I probably got a lot of spankings over it too. Eventually I learned to obey my parents without understand why, even if I didn’t like it. 

As an adult, not much has changed I still like to know why. When God asks me to do something I don’t understand or if something happens that I don’t like, I still want to know why. I don’t always get an answer though. I guess that’s better than, “Because I said so,” but at least I don’t get whipped for asking. God is big enough to handle my questions, my frustrations over not understanding and my emotional outbursts. 

Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 says, “Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked? Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life” (NLT). It’s taken me a while to learn to accept not always knowing why. On those times where I don’t understand, I let my trust lie in the fact that God is good and sees a bigger picture than I ever could.

We may not always get the answers we seek from God. When He’s silent, I try to recall all the times in my life when I didn’t understand His plan. When I look back, I can see that He’s always had a plan, and that what He does in my life is bigger than me. If I’ve surrendered my life to Him, then I’ve given Him permission to use it in any way that He sees fit. That includes good things and bad things that I don’t understand. I’m still learning to accept the way He does things, even if He says, “Because I said so.”

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