Monthly Archives: September 2017

The Power To Bless


There have bee several times in my life where others have blessed me. When I was in my late teens, my car died and I didn’t have the money to get another one. The next day, a couple at church came up to me and said while they were praying, God spoke to them and told them to bless me with a car. Another time, my second mom was on her death bed. She pulled each of her kids into the room one by one and gave us a verbal blessing just before she passed away.

It’s good to be blessed, but there is power in being able to bless. Ever since I got that car, I have always wanted to be the person who blesses rather than the one who receives the blessing. Whether it is the ability to give a gift as a blessing, or it’s the ability to speak a blessing to someone, it is a great thing to be able to bless others. In today’s world, where people are quick to destroy each other, we need the power to bless more than ever. 

Here are some blessings from the Bible.

1. May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.
Numbers 6:24-26 NLT

2. For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy.
Colossians 1:9-11 HCSB

3. I ask God from the wealth of his glory to give you power through his Spirit to be strong in your inner selves, and I pray that Christ will make his home in your hearts through faith. I pray that you may have your roots and foundation in love, so that you, together with all God’s people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is Christ’s love. Yes, may you come to know his love—although it can never be fully known—and so be completely filled with the very nature of God.
Ephesians 3:16-19 GNT

4. From the dew of heaven and the richness of the earth, may God always give you abundant harvests of grain and bountiful new wine. May many nations become your servants, and may they bow down to you. May you be the master over your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. All who curse you will be cursed, and all who bless you will be blessed.
Genesis 27:28-29 NLT

5. Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would indeed bless me and enlarge my border [property], and that Your hand would be with me, and You would keep me from evil so that it does not hurt me!” And God granted his request.

1 CHRONICLES 4:10 AMP

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Flawed Failure

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.


If you are perfect, then you don’t have to read this today. If you are a flawed failure like me, you can keep reading. The good news is that you are just who God is looking for to use. He rarely picks anyone perfect to carry out His plan. If you look at the list of people God has used to do great things through, it’s full of flawed failures. It’s full of people who you probably wouldn’t want to work with. 

Moses knew his own flaws and tried to use them as an excuse to not do what God was asking him to do. He stuttered. He murdered. He ran away from his responsibilities. He was orphaned as a baby. He had excuses, but God sees our excuses as opportunities to connect with others. He sees our flaws as ways to build dependence on Him. He’s ok with you not measuring up to what you think He wants. You actually already have what He wants. That’s why He chose you to do His will.

Each of us have a purpose to fulfill. God has a desire to use you despite your flaws and excuses. He has a purpose for your life that only you can fulfill. God is not concerned with your past if you’ve gone to Him for forgiveness. He’s taken your past into account when He planned your future. He knew the struggles you were going to face. He knew where and how you were going to fail and still planned to use you. It’s hard for us to understand because what disqualifies us humanly somehow qualifies us spiritually.

God’s ways are higher than our ways. What we consider wise is foolishness to Him. When we point to the scars, disappointment, failures and sin, He points to the cross. It’s in our weakness that He can truly work. If we rely on our strengths and abilities, we get in His way. When we think we can’t or shouldn’t be used by Him, we are ready to be used by Him. If we had the ability to do it on our own, we wouldn’t rely on Him.

God can and will use our strengths, but He’s really interested in our flaws and failures. He uses those to bring healing to others and to show them that He can use them too. Be open about your past. Tell others about your scars. Your story (testimony) brings hope and healing to others. When you hide who you were, you hide the grace that God bestowed on you. Others need to see that God can forgive a past that’s dark and full of sin. Others need to see that God can and still uses someone as flawed as us.

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Creating A King


When I was a kid, there was a Richard Pryor movie called “Brewster’s Millions”. The plot of the movie was that Pryor’s character Brewster was down on his luck when he found out his great uncle died and left him 300 million dollars. The catch was that he had to spend $30 million in 30 days and have no assets to show for it or he got nothing. His uncle was testing him to make him to make sure he didn’t waste the full $300 million when he inherited it. 

When Joseph was a young man, he had a dream that his brothers would bow down to him. They hated him when he told them the dream. He then had another dream showing not only his brothers bowing to him, but also his father and mother. His brothers were so angry they wanted to kill him. Instead, they threw him into a pit, sold him as a slave, he was then falsely accused of raping his master’s wife, and he was thrown in prison. It was nearly 14 years between his dream and the time he left prison to become second in command of Egypt.

When David was a teenager, he was anointed as the next king of Israel. It was then that he faced Goliath, was banished by Saul, hid in the desert, lived on the run, forced out of the nation, and fought many battles. It was nearly 15 years between the time that he was anointed king and actually became king. He was tested, just like Joseph, so that God could convert him from a shepherd into a king. This pattern is found all throughout the Bible, and I believe God still does it today.

Psalm 105:19 says, “Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character” (NLT). When God puts a dream in our hearts, we undergo testing. The greater the dream, the greater the test. God uses those tests to prove our character to make sure we don’t waste the dream. He knows we aren’t ready to handle the fulfillment, so He tests us to help us become the person who will steward the dream well. If God has given you a dream, be prepared to be tested and to wait for the fulfillment of it. There is a king (or queen) inside of you waiting to come out, but it will take some perseverance to make that happen. 

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The Anchor That Endures


Did you know that the United States doesn’t have a federal law that requires boats to have an anchor? I know that’s a random question to start your day with, but go with me on this for a minute. I’ve been on a boat many times to fish. We used the anchor to hold us in position over the fishing hole, but anchors are mainly needed if your motor dies or if you run out of gas. When that happens, your boat is simply adrift at the whim of the water without an anchor. That’s not a good situation to be in. 

Like boats, many people don’t have an anchor – something that can steady them. When bad times come or when they burn out, they have nothing to hold onto. Their life goes out of control and they begin drifting away. That’s a helpless feeling, but it’s something that all of us face at one point. It’s why we need an anchor in our lives. We need a truth that we can hold onto snd believe in when don’t have the strength to move forward. 

As Christians, we have an anchor. In Hebrews 6:19, it says, “We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure” (HCSB). The whole world around us can be crumbling, but our anchor holds us in place. We don’t have to be at the mercy of our circumstances. We don’t have to succumb to the pressures around us. We don’t have to worry when we can’t see the future. Our hope in Jesus is secure and provides us with stability in unstable times.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you’ — this is the Lord’s declaration — ‘plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” God gives hope because He knows it is essential to life. He has a plan for you, and He often uses hard times to mold us, shape us, and to correct our course. When we are in those times, we can hold on to the hope that He gives and it will not fail us because it is an anchor that endures. 

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Focus On The Good


It was 14 years ago today that I hit rock bottom in life. I had endured five months of everything going wrong in my life, and on September 25th, I lost my job to top it off. Every time I thought things couldn’t get worse, they did. It was almost a daily occurrence. I laid down on the floor of my living room and told God, “If one more thing happens, I give up. I refuse to go down any further.” I went to my calendar and wrote, “The Bottom,” on today’s date. I vowed to climb out if that hole until I saw daylight again.

I didn’t know it would take about a decade before I got out of the hole that those five months created. I suffered some set backs through those years, but I never went further down than I had been that night. I was on the edge of ending my life because I couldn’t take the failure and the pain anymore. I was embarrassed of where my life was, and I knew I was going to have to make some changes to how I was living if I was going to get out of the hole. For starters, I was going to give control of the rebuild to God.

Clearly my way didn’t work. My life had been life a block tower that a kid built. It got to a point that it could no longer sustain itself, and it all came crashing down. I knew if I gave God control it would be built the right way and would be more stable. Fourteen years later, I can tell you that was the best decision I made. God has been good to me and has restored the years that were stolen. He has taken me farther than I dreamed I could go, and has given me more joy than I could have imagined. 

Today, instead of focusing on the bottom, I like to focus on the good things He’s done for me. It’s no longer about where I was. It’s not about where I’m going, and it’s all because of who God is. Psalm 103:3 says, “Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me” (NLT). We need to all make the decision to quit reflecting on past failures and pains, and instead focus on the good things God does for us. I can tell you it made a difference in my life, and I’m sure it will make a difference in yours. 

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Absolute Truth Exists


My parents bought a basketball goal for my birthday one year. Because it was the newest, all the kids on the street would come over to play ball in our driveway. We wanted to practice our free throws, so I measured out 15 feet by standing directly under the goal and put my feet end to end 15 times and marked a line. One of the neighbor kids said that wasn’t 15 feet, and he did the same thing and drew a different line. After several of us went and we were arguing over which was 15 feet, my dad came out with a tape measure and marked it.

Unfortunately in our world today, the argument for what is truth has become the same way we measured the free throw line. Each person tries to measure it for themselves and it gets all of us arguing. The problem with that is that there is a measuring tape to determine what is truth, and it’s the Word of God. Truth has not become relative to whomever holds it because there is still an absolute standard God’s Word. It has not changed, and we must remember to see it as such in today’s world. 

Here are some Bible verses about truth.

1. So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm.
Hebrews 2:1-2 NLT

2. So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace. At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One. And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you.
Ephesians 6:14-17 GNT

3. So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:31-32 HCSB

4. (Jesus praying for us) I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world.
John 17:15-18 NLT

5. Jesus said to him, “ I am the [only] Way [to God] and the [real] Truth and the [real] Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
JOHN 14:6 AMP

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Reset and Restore

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.


I remember as a kid trying to sell my parents on letting me get a puppy. I told them, “I will feed him, play with him, and care for him. You won’t have to do anything.” I brought Spike home and put him in our back yard. I did everything I told my parents I would do… for a while. As Spike got bigger, he got harder to care for. My parents had to pick up the slack. Before too long, I didn’t even look out the back window. Then one day when I did, and he was gone. I neglected my responsibilities, and as a result, my parents gave away my dog.

That was a hard lesson to learn as a kid. I did love that dog, but I didn’t comprehend the long term commitment to him I’d made. It’s like in the Old Testament when Nehemiah rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem. Soon afterwards, people moved back into the city for protection. Nehemiah called for a meeting at the Temple to read the law written by Moses. In Nehemiah 10, they promised to obey the law. When it came to the portion of the law regarding the temple in verse 39, they said, “We promise together not to neglect the Temple of our God” (NLT).

About 20 years later, and they fell into the same trap I did. They began to neglect the Temple when Nehemiah had gone back to his job in Babylon. But when he had now returned to Jerusalem in Nehemiah 13:11, it says, “I immediately confronted the leaders and demanded, ‘Why has the Temple of God been neglected?’ Then I called all the Levites back again and restored them to their proper duties.” Instead of getting rid of it like my parents did to Spike, he restored order and reset expectations.

I’ve found that his method is useful to all of us in the parts of our lives that we are neglecting. When we neglect our prayer time, our Bible reading, our service to others, our going to church, or any other area of our life, we need to confront the situation, reset expectations, and restore the things in our lives that helped us to do those things before. Over time, it’s easy to slip away from the positive things we were once doing. Having a Nehemiah in your life who can point out the areas you’re neglecting can help you to reset and to restore things to order. It’s not too late to begin again.

Today’s a good day to look in the mirror of your life and ask, “What have I been neglecting? What do I need to do to reset and restore?”

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