Monthly Archives: February 2022

A Personal Revival

About 4 years ago, I was given a Peace Lily plant. If you’ve ever had one, you know how hard they are to keep alive. I have rarely seen these closet plants live for long. So I put it in a corner hoping it would survive with indirect sunlight. Every once in a while, I walk into that room and see it drooping. I then have to stop what I’m doing, get a glass of water and pour it on it. It usually takes about 30 minutes and the plant revives. All the shoots and leaves stand back up and it’s good to go again until I forget about it. So far I have been able to revive this plant countless times over the last four years even when I think it’s dead.

We have the ability to revive things in our own lives. Seeds that have been planted long ago, shoots that sprung up and even roots that began to grow under the surface all have the ability to be revived. However, we often look at those things once promised or given by God to us as dead dreams or things of the past. We think of them as dead dreams or lost hopes, but if God gave them to you, there is still life in them waiting to be revived. They need to be watered through prayer, cultivated through use and grown with faith. When you look at them, you may see drooping leaves or deadness even, but God sees an unfulfilled promise He’s waiting to revive.

Psalms 85:6 says, “Revive us again, O God! I know you will! Give us a fresh start! Then all your people will taste your joy and gladness” (TPT). If you’ve felt like your calling, your gifts or even your God given promises are dead, it’s time to call out to God for a personal revival. It’s time to ask Him to revive you and His calling on you. Your circumstances, your choices, nor what’s been done to you can negate or kill God’s calling on your life. They may feel lifeless and gone, but one breathe from God and they will live again! It starts with you calling out in faith to God to revive and restore what the enemy has tried to steal, kill and destroy. Those parts of your life and not dead and gone. They’re waiting for revival!

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A Changed Heart

It always bothers me when I hear someone say, “That’s just how I am.” That is one of the biggest lies that people believe about themselves. When you become a Christian, you become a new creation. A new person! The old you is gone. That means that you are able to change, and that it starts in your heart. Because God cleanses our heart and Jesus moves in, we are no longer bound to the lie of who we were. We can now become who we were created to be as long as we allow God to make those changes in our life. He wants to change your heart, transform your thinking and elevate your life so that you can help others to find Him and have changed hearts too. Don’t cling to who you were. Take hold of who you’re becoming.

Here are some Bible verses on having a changed heart.

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you, and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Ezekiel 36:26 AMP

2.  Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, and you must put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.

Ephesians 4:23-24 GNT

3. God, your God, will cut away the thick calluses on your heart and your children’s hearts, freeing you to love God, your God, with your whole heart and soul and live, really live.

Deuteronomy 30:6-7 MSG

4. Create a pure heart in me, O God, and put a new and loyal spirit in me.

Psalm 51:10 GNT

5. I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

Ezekiel 11:19-20 NLT

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An Elijah Moment

As I stood on top of Mount Carmel looking across the valley, I remembered the story of Elijah where the land hadn’t seen rain in three years. The now fertile valley was dry and bare then. King Ahab was looking for grass to save his horses from dying of starvation. Elijah, whom the king wanted dead, told him to gather all the prophets of Baal and to meet him on top of Mount Carmel. The prophets of Baal made an altar and so did Elijah. They were to pray and ask for fire to ignite the altar. The god who answered would be the real god. After the prophets of Baal had prayed all day with no fire, Elijah poured water on his altar three times then called down fire from Heaven. It consumed the altar from top to bottom drying up all the water as well.

In 1 Kings 18:21 Elijah addressed them, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” (NLT) When I read that, I can’t help but internalize it. Our lives are a constant battle between our flesh and our spirit. We waver between wanting to give into the desires of the flesh and doing what God requires. As long as we go between them, we are miserable as Paul described in Romans 7. Also, according to James 1:8, it also makes us unstable in all our ways. That’s not the way that God wants us to live. In order to live His way, we need to have an Elijah moment in our lives where we force ourselves to choose the way God wants us to live.

Colossians 3:5 says, “So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.” We need to put to death the things that we have put before God. Verse 10 tells us, “Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.” We all have this choice to make. Either we will continue to live unstable, idolatrous lives or we will put on the new nature that’s been given to us. It starts with calling down fire from Heaven into our lives consuming the things that are not of God. It’s a continuous process, but it starts with an Elijah moment.

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

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The Great Protector

In the last few weeks we’ve had some crazy things happen. Both of our cars have been in accidents to the point they have to be in the shop to get repaired. In between the accidents, we came home from dinner one night to find the center beam in our living room had fallen. In each of these cases, things could have been much worse than they were. A friend remarked, “Can you imagine if that beam had fallen a few days earlier at the birthday party?” Times like these can easily instill fear if we think about what could have happened. Instead, we have chosen to focus on the goodness of God in protecting us in each situation, preventing things from being worse.

When the Israelites left Egypt, they appeared defenseless. They had no walls or weapons really. They looked vulnerable as the wandered through the desert in between cities and countries. I’m sure there was the temptation to have fear as well. Moses kept his trust in the Lord though. He penned Psalm 91 during this time as a reassurance to himself and the people of God’s ability to protect. In the psalm, there are affirmations written by Moses and spoken by God that let them and us know how God is active in watching over us as a great protector. We don’t have to fear when bad things are happening.

In verse 15, God says, “I will answer your cry for help every time you pray, and you will feel my presence in your time of trouble. I will deliver you and bring you honor” (TPT). He doesn’t put us in a bubble so that trouble won’t come near us. Instead, He invites us to call on Him when danger is all around us. He promises us that we will feel His presence so we will know He is near us walking with us in those times. It’s easy to look at the danger and to focus on it, but God calls us to trust Him instead. He is our great protector keeping things from being worse than they could be, drawing us closer to Him and elevating us through the process.

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Living By God’s Code

When I was in my teens, I was introduced to what it meant to live by a code. I was taught that it was important to have a set of guiding principles by which to live your life. I didn’t know then how much they would shape my life and help me through making decisions. All these years later I still have the code memorized and think of the characteristics often. They are still the words I live by because they are so fundamental. These words apply to my mental, physical and spiritual life. They are: alert, clean, honest, courageous, loyal, courteous, obedient and spiritual. Each has its own saying that defines it and how I should live.

When the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt, they didn’t have a code to live by. After living in Egypt and slavery for so long, their guiding principles were what the Egyptians told them to do. So the first place God led them to was Mount Sinai to meet with them and to give them some principles to live by. Today, we call them the Ten Commandments. You can find them in Exodus 20. These commandments were a set of rules to live by to ensure that people did the right thing by God, themselves and others if only they would follow them. He further defined the Law through Leviticus, but these were the core ones to guide their lives.

Today, we have the entire Bible to show us how to live. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (NLT). The word “hidden” means to store up and treasure as your most valuable possession to the point that it governs your life. God’s Word is not just a mere set of morally good ideas and principles that we should just read. It’s inspired by God and is to be used for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). It is what we need to treasure above all other things in our heart because of the eternal impacts it has on us. When we value it and place it in a position in our life to govern our decisions, we will live the way God called us to. It is our Code for living.

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Chasing Bethel

I was born and raised in church. It seemed like we were there every day because if the doors were open, we were going to church. I spent most of my church time reading the hymnal, counting knots in the wooden beams or counting ceiling tiles. Then, when I was around twelve years old, I went to kids camp in Kerrville, Texas and had an encounter with God. Suddenly I felt His presence and He became real to me. Each night of camp, I was more excited for the services than the games. Camp became a place where I wanted to go each year so I could experience God like I had before.

In Genesis 28, Jacob was on the run. He had stolen his brother’s birthright, and Esau was looking to kill him. He camped near a city called Luz. That night, he had an experience with God. He saw a ladder descending from Heaven and the angels were going up and down it. He also saw the Lord standing beside him. Verse 16 says, “Jacob woke up and said, ‘The Lord is here! He is in this place, and I didn’t know it!’” (GNT) He changed the name of that city from Luz to Bethel, which means house of God. He returned there later and had another experience with God as well.

If you’ve been a believer for a while, you can probably point to your Bethel where you experienced God like never before. I know many people who are chasing Bethel. They’re looking to recapture it by going to all the conferences, worship concerts or certain churches. They’re looking for that place where they can experience God’s presence in a tangible way. What we forget though is that God’s presence is everywhere. We can experience Bethel wherever we are when we position our hearts, give God freedom to meet with us and wait on Him. We don’t have to chase Bethel by going to a certain place. God is ready to meet with you where you are so you can experience and encounter Him consistently. The Lord is in the place where you are today making it your Bethel.

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Honor God

Have you every known someone who threw their weight around to get something done? The word for honor in the Bible has the same connotation. When it tells us to honor the Lord, it’s telling us to give Him significant influence in our lives. His Word and will should carry weight with us. Also, almost every time the Bible tells us to honor God or someone, it has a promise attached to it. When we properly honor Him, we will receive the blessings He has in store for us. When we let Him have His rightful place in our life, things fall into place. It’s always good to examine your life to make sure you are truly and properly honoring God by giving Him full authority in your life.

Here are some Bible verses on honoring God.

1. Honor the Lord with your wealth And with the first fruits of all your crops (income); Then your barns will be abundantly filled And your vats will overflow with new wine.

Proverbs 3:9-10 AMP

2. He who offers a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving honors Me; And to him who orders his way rightly [who follows the way that I show him], I shall show the salvation of God.

Psalms 50:23 AMP

3. He supplies the needs of those who honor him; he hears their cries and saves them.

Psalm 145:19 GNT

4. He will bless everyone who honors him, the great and the small alike.

Psalm 115:13 GNT

5. Honor me by trusting in me in your day of trouble. Cry aloud to me, and I will be there to rescue you.

Psalms 50:15 TPT

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Peace In The Chaos

Do you ever get stressed out? When I do, it’s usually when I’m in a time crunch to get things done or when things are happening beyond my control. I used to get stressed out over many things and would let my mind run wild with all the possibilities of a situation. Then one day a friend noticed I was worked up and asked me, “Do you think this caught God by surprise or do you think He knew it would happen? If He knew it was going to happen then you don’t need to be worked up about it. Accept His peace, listen for His voice and let Him do in you what He wants to do.” Ever since then, when things start happening beyond my control, I remember those words and let His peace come in.

I’m reminded of when the disciples were in the boat and the storm blew in. There was chaos all around them, the boat was taking on water and they were considering abandoning ship. Jesus was asleep in the back while they were stressing out. When they finally went to Him, He spoke peace into the storm and it calmed down. Later, as Jesus was about to die on the cross, He was preparing them for the chaos and storm they were about to endure. In John 14:27 He said, “Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge]” (AMP).

Jesus knew we were going to have chaos in our lives and have challenging situations that would cause us to stress out. He commanded us to not let our minds run wild or to be afraid of the outcome. Instead, we are to remember that the one who spoke peace into the storm is not unaware of what you’re going through. Sometimes He calms the storm and other times He calms us. Knowing He’s in control and is aware of what’s going on should give you peace. He’s continually working in our lives and that means there will be uncomfortable moments and challenges. Let His peace calm you in those times and give you strength for the challenge.

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

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Being A Servant

A friend of mine sent me a passage from a book called “Celebration of Discipline, Special Anniversary Edition: The Path To Spiritual Growth” by Richard J. Foster. In it, the author discusses the difference between choosing to serve and choosing to be a servant. When I read that, my first thought was, “Isn’t that really the same thing?” However, as I read it, it’s clear they are two different things. A person who chooses to serve picks the person, the time and place. We are in charge during serving, but when we choose to be a servant, we give all that up. We give up the right to choose who, when, where and how. We don’t have a problem serving. We have a problem being servants.

In Isaiah 6, he says that in the year King Uzziah died, he saw the Lord. God was sitting on the throne and the train of His robes filled the Temple. When Isaiah saw that, he felt the holiness of God and immediately saw his sin. Am angel brought a piece of coal to cleanse his lips. Then God spoke up. Verse 8 says, “Then I heard the Lord asking, ‘Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?’ I said, ‘Here I am. Send me’” (NLT). God then sent Isaiah. He told him exactly what to say and who to tell it to. Isaiah chose to be a servant in this instance. He put himself in a place to be God’s servant.

When you look at the start of that chapter, it really helps us see how what the difference is between serving and being a servant. When we are a servant, God is on the throne of our life and we are at His mercy for what He wants to do. It’s the equivalent of getting out of the driver’s seat and letting Him drive. When we serve, we are still on the throne of our life and in the driver’s seat making the decisions. We may seek His guidance on where to serve, what to say and who to help, but we still have the option to decline. God is looking for people who will choose to be servants, submitting themselves to Him. Have you been serving God or have you truly given up your rights? If you’re looking to get to that next level in your walk with God, get off the throne and let God sit there. You will find true freedom, a closer relationship with God and fully fulfill your calling.

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Focus On Today

One of the pieces of advice that I give to people who have gone through something traumatic regarding a relationship is to stop trying to look into the future. Our minds are so preoccupied with what’s coming and planning for things that are to come. The problem with that in these situations is that it takes away precious energy that is needed for today. When you’ve gone through a divorce or have suddenly lost a spouse, the future you had been planning for years is gone. That is a tough pill to swallow on top of your other loss. So I tell them to focus on today. Sometimes you have to get so granular that you can’t focus on today, and you need to focus on this minute. Either way, anything future related is stealing they energy needed to survive the present.

As Jesus was giving the Sermon on the Mount, He told all of us to quit worrying about the future. He didn’t say not to plan. He said not to worry. He reminded them to look at the birds and the fields. God provides food for the birds and flowers for the fields. God cares for you more than those. If He takes care of them, He’ll take care of you. His message was to quit worrying about all the things that might or might not happen in the future. You’re robbing today of its energy and blessings. Then in Matthew 6:34 Jesus said, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” (MSG).

What has been stealing today’s energy from you? What has been distracting you to the point that you’re not even thinking about today? If you’re so preoccupied with what’s coming that you miss what God is doing today, you’re in the wrong. God wants you in the present and to focus on what He’s doing for you today. Worrying about what He will or won’t do tomorrow is robbing you of today’s blessings. When you focus on today’s blessings, it will give you the faith to trust God tomorrow for what is to come. No matter what happens, whether your fears and worries come true or not, God is going to provide you with what’s necessary to go through it. It won’t be the end of the world and you won’t be abandoned by God whatever comes your way. Ask God to have His will for what’s coming, then use today’s energy for today focusing on what God is doing in the present.

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