Monthly Archives: May 2019

Greater Things Ahead

Have you ever looked at someone and thought, “Man, they have it all. I wish I had their…”? So many times we look at what people have and identify with the end result without stopping to think about what they went through to get there. We want the reward without the work or the struggle. There’s a saying, “The greatest overnight successes were twenty years in the making.” Most of us face our battles and struggles in obscurity. Others don’t see that part of our story. They see us years later after we’ve endured and are enjoying the fruits of our labor. What we forget is that without the struggle, there is no success.

God wanted to promote David from shepherd boy to king, but he wasn’t ready. David faced years of struggles between being anointed king and taking the throne. He was chased by the current king. There were people he knew that betrayed him. He lived in a cave in an inhospitable desert. He fought several battles with very little rest. He had a lot of struggles because God uses them to prepare us for our future. We can choose to complain about the things we face or we can lay them at the feet of Jesus and push through them knowing there is something more ahead.

In Psalm 55:22 David wrote, “So here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Leave all your cares and anxieties at the feet of the Lord, and measureless grace will strengthen you” (TPT). Our struggles are meant to strengthen our faith in God so we are prepared for what’s next. We can either get lost in the pain, bitter in the disappointment or we can find strength to keep going by giving it to God knowing He’s with us through each battle. The greater things God has for you, the greater the struggle you will go through, The great news is you’re not alone and you don’t have to do it in your strength. Lay down your worries and trust that God is at work and in control.

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Life Of Integrity

It used to be that Christians and non Christians held the Bible in high esteem. Just about everyone could agree that its principles for living were good. It became the standard of what was right and wrong even by people who didn’t trust or believe in Jesus. Today, it is no longer regarded that way in society. Each person or people group is now believed to have their own standard of what right and wrong is. Our world has moved from a place of absolute truth to one where truth is relative to the person looking at it.

Integrity is not just about being honest. It’s also about holding yourself to a higher standard. As Christians, it’s important that we don’t lower the bar of what truth is just because the world has. The truth of God’s Word and the principles in it are not relative to how you’re feeling or want to interpret them. Our lives must be lived by the integrity of the Bible. Its truth has endured thousands of years and will continue to. If we want to live lives of integrity, we do it by building them on the Word of God.

Here are some Bible verses on living a life of integrity.

1. Above all, set yourself apart as a model of a life nobly lived. With dignity, demonstrate integrity in all that you teach.

Titus 2:7 TPT

2. The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.

Proverbs 20:7 NLT

3. O LORD, who may lodge [as a guest] in Your tent? Who may dwell [continually] on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity and strength of character, and works righteousness, And speaks and holds truth in his heart.

PSALMS 15:1-2 AMP

4. The evil of bad people leaves them out in the cold; the integrity of good people creates a safe place for living.

Proverbs 14:32 MSG

5. Integrity will lead you to success and happiness, but treachery will destroy your dreams.

Proverbs 11:3 TPT

Photo by Kiwihug on Unsplash

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

What’s In Your Heart?

I don’t know why, but when I’m flipping channels and see “The Green Mile” being replayed on TV, I stop and watch for a while. It’s a sad movie, but there are a lot of parts that I like to watch. There’s one scene toward the end of the movie that caught my attention the last time I saw it. John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) is talking to Paul (Tom Hanks) about said, “You can’t hide what’s in the heart.” There’s truth in that statement. Several scriptures came to mind as soon as I heard him say it.

The first one I thought of was what Jesus said Luke 6:45. He said, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” You can hide who you are for a little while, but sooner or later, your mouth let’s others know what’s on the inside. Most of us have filters we use when we speak, but even with them on, we let out some of what we really think. You can’t hide what’s in your heart when you do a lot of talking. Proverbs 12:23 says that a wise man keeps his mouth shut, but a fool utters everything in his mind. What comes out of our mouths says a lot about who we are.

The next scripture I thought of was Proverbs 23:7. It says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” We are what we think about. We become like the thoughts that dominate our minds. Our thoughts create our feelings. Our feelings create our behaviors. Our behaviors create our actions. Our actions show what’s on the inside. You can’t hide what’s in the heart. Not only will your words give you away, but your life will too. What you do on the outside is a reflection of who you are on the inside.

What’s in your heart? Only you and God really know. Your words and actions are good indicators. You might be able to fool some people, but you’ll never fool God because He doesn’t look at the outward expressions of it. He looks directly into your heart. He knows what you think and who you are when no one else is around. He loves you no matter what and if your heart isn’t pure before Him, He offers to do a heart transplant free of charge. He’ll take out your heart of stone and put in a heart of flesh. All you have to do is ask. That heart transplant will change how you talk and act because it changes how you think. When you have Jesus in your heart, He’s going to come out through your words and actions.

Photo by Bart LaRue on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a 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.

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Putting Out Fires

When I was a young boy, I learned how to build a fire. I was so excited that I wanted to show my friend. We went into the woods behind his house, gathered wood up and then I built a magnificent fire. What I didn’t know yet was how to put a fire out. We decided to smother it…with hay. That worked great…for a few seconds. Before too long, the fire was getting out of hand. We ran back into his house, past his mom, to get his brother who was two years older than us. We tried again to put it out, but couldn’t. A neighbor saw the smoke and called the fire department. They showed up and got it under control, but not before about an acre was burned.

I tell you that story because so many times we’ve set fire to things in our lives and things are being consumed by it. Every time we try to put it out, it only makes things worse. From the time we are little, we are taught to be independent, to suck it up and to handle our own business. What we forget is that we have a helper who can put out the fires in our lives, but we’re too busy trying to put them out ourselves. Like scared children, we don’t go to the One who can truly help. We go to others to help us, but they can’t resolve the problems we’re facing. All the while, God is there waiting on us to cry out to Him for help.

Psalm 50:15 says, “Honor me by trusting in me in your day of trouble. Cry aloud to me, and I will be there to rescue you” (TPT). God should not be our last resort when things aren’t going right. He deserves and wants to be our first call. He’s more than able to resolve whatever you’re going through, but you must call out to Him and trust Him. If you’re so caught up in what’s going wrong and you don’t have the strength to pray yourself, call on a friend to pray for you. You don’t have to fight the fires in your life by yourself. You have a Heavenly Father who loves you and wants to rescue you.

Photo by Neil Thomas on Unsplash

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Seasons Of Life

Did you know that there are four seasons to farming? In the Spring, it’s the time of planting. The soil is tilled and seeds are placed at the right depth and spacing. In the Summer, it’s critical to make sure the crops are getting the right amount of water, fertilizer and sunlight. With the Fall comes the harvest. It’s about gathering in the produce at the peak of ripeness and then ripping out the old stalks so the ground can be infused with organic matter. Then, when the winter comes, the land has an opportunity to rest. You also spend this time repairing your tools and getting ready for the next Spring.

As I read that, I can’t help but think of the seasons of our life. Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us there is a time and a season for everything. That includes our lives. Some of us are in a season of planting and preparing for what’s coming. Some of us are in a season of working on growing what we’ve planted. Some of us are in a season of harvest where we are reaping the benefits of what we’ve done. Others are in a season of rest where things in your life have been ripped up and it’s time to make repairs so you can plant again. Have you ever considered what season you’re in and the responsibilities God has given you for that season?

Proverbs 10:4 says, “Know the importance of the season you’re in and a wise son you will be. But what a waste when an incompetent son sleeps through his day of opportunity!” (TPT) God has you in this season for a purpose. In every season you find yourself in, there are things you should be doing for that season as well as things to prepare for the next season. Ask God to give you wisdom to know the things you should be doing in your season. Every season comes and goes. You will not be in this season forever, so make the most of it. Don’t let the opportunity of what God is trying to do in your life during this season pass by.

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Pushing Through To Victory

One of the things I love about sports is the struggle. In each game, the teams are trying to build up momentum to score and keep things moving in their favor. You can almost always see when something happens that either takes momentum away from a team or gives it to a team. The fight is not just about winning. It’s about getting momentum to keep winning. There are some teams, despite not having much momentum, that somehow will their way to victory against the odds. There’s something in them that won’t let them quit and they push through to win. Those are the games you walk away from wondering how they did it.

In life, all of us face battles. All of us go through struggles. Inside each one of us there is a constant battle between our flesh and our spirit. There’s the struggle between doing what’s right and what we want to do. There are also battles with addiction that many of us go through. In each case, we’re looking for momentum and victory. If we’re honest, there are days where we know we want to win, but we just don’t have the strength to push through. Momentum often feels like it’s against us and it’s easier to just give in. On those days, we have to learn to psych ourselves up, put our rally cap on and find a way to push through.

Psalm 44:5 says, “Through your glorious name and your awesome power we can push through to any victory and defeat every enemy” (TPT). We have victory in the name of Jesus, but you and I still have to show up and fight. David didn’t defeat Goliath because he picked up five stones and stood on the battlefield. He won it because he ran towards his enemy and slung the stone. You and I must face our giants head on and attack them through the name of Jesus. Victory is possible. You can defeat your adversary, but you have to fight. God is for you and has given you the weapons and armor you need to win. You’ve got to put them on, use them and push through in the name of Jesus and you will find victory.

Photo by Pietro Rampazzo on Unsplash

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Possessing The Promises

How do you react when God doesn’t answer right away and you’re in desperate need for Him to answer? Do you take the Abraham approach and try to be the answer yourself? I know that’s what I’m tempted to do. Waiting on God and His timing is very difficult. He loves to wait until the last minute. Even though I know how He operates, I still try to preempt Him just in case this one time He doesn’t show up. The longer I have to wait for Him to intervene, the smaller my faith seems to get. I think that’s just our human nature, but I also think that’s what God is trying to get us to fight against.

Like a parent teaching their kid to ride a bike, there are times God lets go and it feels like He’s no where near you as you come crashing down. In that process, we learn how to trust Him, how to get back up and how to ride. God uses process to get us to the promise. You and I must learn to be patient and to trust His process. Patience is the key. We must learn to let God do what He needs to do in our lives so He can produce what He needs to produce. If you’re in that place where you’re waiting, fight impatience. God is at work in ways you can not see. It takes time and endurance to get us to the greatest promises.

Here are some verses on waiting for God.

1. I waited and waited and waited some more, patiently, knowing God would come through for me. Then, at last, he bent down and listened to my cry.

Psalms 40:1 TPT

2. Here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Don’t give up; don’t be impatient; be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep on waiting—for he will never disappoint you!

Psalms 27:14 TPT

3. Enthusiasm without knowledge is not good; impatience will get you into trouble.

Proverbs 19:2 GNT

4. So don’t be impatient for the Lord to act; keep moving forward steadily in his ways, and he will exalt you at the right time. And when he does, you will possess every promise, including your full inheritance. You’ll watch with your own eyes and see the wicked lose everything.

Psalms 37:34 TPT

5. But that’s not all! Even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. And patient endurance will refine our character, and proven character leads us back to hope.

Romans 5:3-4 TPT

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized