Monthly Archives: August 2017

Peace In Uncertainty

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.


Have you ever noticed that the in depth weather report is at the end of the news? They might bring them out early to give you a tease about the weather, but they won’t give specifics until later in the broadcast. I’ve read many times that the weather is the most watched part of the news. I’ve always wondered why. They’re rarely right. The rest of the news is a presentation of facts that have happened and the weather is a prediction of what will happen. We are intrigued with possibilities and predictions more than the past.

I also think it’s interesting that the opposite is true when it comes to the Bible. We are more concerned with what’s happened than with what will happen. I would venture to say that Revelation is probably the least read book in the Bible. We care about the future of the weather, but not the future of mankind. I understand it’s very cryptic and hard to follow at times because a man two thousand years ago was trying to describe the world of technology and advancement like what we live in. 

Another reason I think people steer clear of it is fear. We fear what we don’t understand.we fear the wars and plagues that are coming. I’m convinced that God did not give John the Revelation to make us afraid, but to inspire hope and to give us peace. As believers, the book of Revelation reveals the final steps before spending eternity with Jesus. It is a reminder that no matter how bad things get in the world or in your life, God knows ahead of time what’s going to happen and that He and those with Him will be victorious.

I get hope in knowing that no matter what comes my way, God knew it in advance and has prepared me for it. He is not like the weather reporter who guesses at the future. He knows with certainty what will happen. We can trust His promise in Deuteronomy 31:8 that says, “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” (NLT) He knew we would be afraid of what the future holds. He knew that we would need Him right there with us so he made us that promise.

Another promise I hold onto when the future is uncertain is Isaiah 43:2. It says, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Jesus even told us that in this world we would have trouble. He told us that hard times were coming. He then said, “I have told you all this (the future) so that you may have peace in me.” We don’t have to be afraid of the uncertainties ahead. Pray that God will give you peace and courage to move ahead

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Rescued


Hurricane Harvey did a number on Houston. It dumped over 40 inches of rain in just a few days, which stranded many people. It’s been incredible to watch all the people with boats locally and from afar coming to rescue people who were trapped in their homes and cars by the rising waters. The news would show people standing on their roofs, or hanging out their windows, waving white flags indicating they wanted to be rescued. Thousands of lives have been saved through the generosity of others. 

As I’ve watched it happen, I can’t help but draw a parallel between it and the spiritual application. Because sin entered the world, every one of us needs to be spiritually rescued. We are all stranded and in need of being taken out of the rising waters. All it takes is for us to raise the white flag of surrender, and Christ will come to our rescue. Some look to be rescued at the first sin of the rising water, and others will stay put and never raise that flag hoping to wait it out.

I saw a man on the local news last night being taken to a shelter. He said, “All these people are crying over their lost possessions, but I look at it as a fresh start. I get a second chance to wipe the slate clean and be who I could have been.” For those of us being rescued, it should be the same way. Our old life has passed away in the flood of sin, and Jesus has given us a new life. He has given us the opportunity to be who we were created to be. We shouldn’t lament the life we once had that was in need of being rescued. 

Jeremiah 17:14 says, “Lord, heal me and I will be completely well; rescue me and I will be perfectly safe. You are the one I praise!” (GNT) If you have been rescued, your spirit is healed and safe. If you’re still in your old house, don’t wait until it’s too late to raise the white flag. Jesus is looking for you, hoping to rescue you so He can give you new life. Call out to Him. Ask Him to rescue you and to give you a new life, and help will be there immediately. We all need to be rescued, but we have to want to be rescued first. 

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Praying Persistently 


I’ve been known to be persistent. When I owned my own business, I had a government agency owe me a lot of money. They were taking their time to pay it, and it was making it difficult to pay my staff and bills. I started calling them once a day leaving messages. After a week, I decided to kick things into a different gear. I started calling every hour. I told them that I would keep calling every hour, and would even do it more frequently until they took my call and paid me. After I did that, they called me back and sent the check. 

I had to let them know I wasn’t going away and I was going to drive them nuts until they took care of my need. I took my inspiration from Luke 11 where Jesus told a parable of a person who had an unexpected guest show up in the night. He was out of food, so he went to his neighbor to ask for some. After the neighbor denied, he kept knocking until the neighbor gave in. Jesus then said we should be persistent like that in our prayers.

When it comes to prayer, I don’t ever want to be like a kid in a candy store throwing a tantrum for what he wants. They blindly throw themselves down, spin around, and make a scene until the parent gives in or disciplines them. I do, however, want to become persistent to the point that God knows that I’m not going away until He answers. Colossians 4:2 says, “Be persistent in prayer, and keep alert as you pray, giving thanks to God” (GNT).

I don’t know what you’re praying for today, but I know that you need to bombard Heaven with your request to the point that God knows you aren’t going away. Be thankful for all He has done in the past, and keep your mind focused on the need at hand. I can’t say that God has answered every prayer the way I’ve wanted Him to, but I can say that whatever His answer is, you an trust to be the right one. If you don’t have an answer yet, don’t stop praying; become more persistent in them.

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Guided By Peace


Many times in life we are faced with decisions where there seems to be no right answer. It’s tough to know what to do in those times. As I write this, many people in my neighborhood are trying to decide should they evacuate because of the flooding from Hurricane Harvey or if they should stay home and hope for the best. It’s tough to know what to do. Both are potentially dangerous answers. Both could be right answers, and both could be wrong depending on the timing.

When people reach out to me asking for prayer as they make any big decision in life, I typically pray one thing for sure. I pray that God would give them peace when they think about the answer He wants them to choose, and I pray that they would have inner turmoil as they think about the wrong choices. It’s a simple prayer, but to me, it’s the easiest way to know what God wants me to do in any given situation. 

I get that prayer from Colossians 3:15. It says, “The peace that Christ gives is to guide you in the decisions you make” (GNT). There is a peace that passes understanding when it comes to deciding what to do in life. There are times when what looks like the right decision on paper doesn’t give you peace. That’s God telling you that although everything looks right to you, in His will, it’s not the right decision. 

Whatever decisions you are trying to make today, whether they are life changing or not, stop and pray that prayer. Ask God to give you peace or turmoil. If you can’t find peace, then you may not have the right answer in your multiple choice of answers. In those times, I ask God to reveal what He wants me to do if it’s beyond what I’m thinking about. Big or small, I want the decisions in my life to keep me in God’s will. I want to be where He wants me, when He wants me there. To do that, I let His peace be my guide. 

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Finding Inner Peace


Have you ever noticed that there are some people who are never happy, no matter what? For whatever reason, something inside of them is keeping them from finding peace and happiness. To me, that’s gotta be a rough way to live. While I was on a mission trip, I saw a kid with a stick and a make shift wheel made out of trash. He was pushing that stick everywhere while he was running. He was grinning ear to ear having a good time. I thought, “I want to be like him. Happy and content with whatever I have, wherever I am.”

I think finding contentment is a big key to life. Whatever situation you’re in, whatever cards you’ve been dealt in life, find your way to contentment. If you’re not happy now, you’re not going to be happy when you’re out of it. They say money can’t buy happiness (contentment) because your inner peace is not dependent on outer things. Through Christ, accept where you are and what you’re going through right now, look for the lesson to learn, and find contentment (inner peace). That’s the secret to a happy life. 

Here are some verses in the Bible on being content. 

1. I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have more than enough. I have learned this secret, so that anywhere, at any time, I am content, whether I am full or hungry, whether I have too much or too little. I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.
Philippians 4:12-13 GNT

2. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5 ESV

3. You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
Matthew 5:5 MSG

4. Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.
1 Timothy 6:6 NLT

5. I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:10 GNT

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When It Rains

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.


A friend of mine, Jonas Woods, recently put out an independent CD called “Tales of the Bittersweet”. It chronicles his faith and struggles over the past couple of years as his wife battled cancer. As I’ve listened to it a couple of times now, I find there’s a lot of honesty in the lyrics he’s written. It’s very relatable to anyone who’s walking through difficult times. In the song “Walking The Line,” it starts off, “I’m trying to connect, trying to make sense of all this mess, trying to get back to a sense of harmony.” It’s normal for each of us to try to make sense of a mess when we are in it. I think it gives us hope if we feel we know the purpose, but rarely do we find out the purpose while we are in a struggle. 

God’s design for our lives is that we walk by faith. If we knew the purpose behind the struggle, we wouldn’t be walking by faith. God expects us to trust Him in the mess and to rely on Him for our strength and hope. However trusting in His plan when we can’t see the outcome is so hard. It’s very much like the way Jonas’ song “When It Rains” puts it, “When you’re running a million miles straight into nothingness, and you only find out the truth when you arrive.” The journey seems long and pointless. It’s hard to keep running when you won’t find the answers until later. It’s hard to keep your head up when it’s raining and few seem to care. 

The chorus of that song is how we should respond. It says, “If you lead me I will follow, you’ve been faithful and true, through all my fear and sorrow, I’ll fight through all the pain, to figure out the reasons that it rains.” God has been faithful throughout each of our lives. When you stop and reflect on the goodness of God, you will see how far He has brought you. You will see that He has never left you in a mess. He has been your sustainer, your provider, your healer, and your guide. It’s not in Him to abandon you in a struggle. It’s not in Him to allow rain in your life without purpose. 

He has given you the tools you need to survive any rain that comes into your life. He has given you the ability to trust Him. When you get more than you can handle (and that happens), it’s your opportunity to rely on His strength. If He only allowed things to come into your life that you could handle, you would never have an opportunity to trust Him. If you had the strength to face each struggle, you would never know what it’s like to fully trust His strength. God allows each of us to experience more than we can handle, and He closes doors without opening windows so that we can grow our faith and trust in Him.

We have to learn to trust in the sufficiency of His grace. The only way we learn that is when we come to the end of our rope and let go. When we give up trying to face struggles and situations in our own strength, we learn how strong He truly is. When we quit relying on our abilities to guide us through problems, we learn what walking by faith is. When you look into the future and can’t see the end to your struggle, learn to look at it from His perspective. There is a purpose to what you’re going through, but it may take years to get the perspective to see it. In the mean time, trust His strength in your weakness when it rains. 

To hear Jonas’ song “When it Rains”, click here

You can also check out more of his music here

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Under Construction 


Several years ago, we experienced a crash in the housing market. It was the perfect storm or rising interest rates, a sluggish economy, and low cost construction. I remember my friend’s neighborhood most vividly. As you drove through it, there were many incomplete houses in varying stages of construction scattered throughout. For years they sat there incomplete. They were a constant reminder of the recession we were in.

As I drive through, I couldn’t help but think how each of those houses represented someone’s broken dream and unfulfilled plan. People had gone through the process of buying a lot, designing a house, choosing elevations, selecting tile, picking out paint colors, and imagining what it was going to be like. Now it sat there incomplete with no hope of fulfilling its purpose. Where others saw incomplete houses, I saw unfulfilled dreams. 

I’ve always imagined that you and I were a lot like houses under construction. God has a great blueprint for each one of us that He’s designed specifically based on who He created us to be. Unfortunately, many of us feel incomplete and that God has stopped working on us or in us. The truth is that God is always at work in our lives trying to help us fulfill our calling. No matter what mistakes we make, God doesn’t walk away from the construction site or leave a house unfinished. 

Philippians 2:-13 says, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (NLT). God has not given up on what He started in your life. He hadn’t walked away from you, leaving you like an abandoned construction site. He is still working in you, helping you and putting the desire in you to want to fulfill your purpose. You are still under construction and God still has an amazing blueprint for your life. He will complete what He started in you. 

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