Monthly Archives: October 2022

Helping Someone

When you see or know of someone who needs help, do you feel bad for them, and then go about your day? Or do you allow your schedule to be disrupted? I always think of two stories when I’m faced with that scenario. First I think of the Good Samaritan who disrupted his day to render aid while everyone else passed by. The other is in Matthew 25 when Jesus was telling the people about judgement day. He separated people into two groups. One group visited the sick, clothed the naked and ministered to prisoners, the others did not. He said that when we help the least, we’re helping Him. I can’t help but wonder what His response will be to me if I say I was too busy, too distracted or too apathetic to help someone in need. Who knows if God changes our path or someone else’s some days so that He can express His love through our help.

Here are some Bible verses on helping others.

1. And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Acts of the Apostles 20:35 NLT

2. And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.

Titus 3:14 ESV

3. Help carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2 GNT

4. If you think you are somebody too important to stoop down to help another (when really you are not), you are living in deception.

Galatians 6:3 TPT

5. Do not forget to do good and to help one another, because these are the sacrifices that please God.

Hebrews 13:16 GNT

Photo by Matthias Zomer:

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Learning From Lessons

Often times, at the end of a lesson, I like to ask the group, “What were your key take aways?” What I really want to know is what they learned and what they’ll implement once they leave. As we go around the room, several people will give the same one. It’s always cool for me when that happens because there was a moment when lots of lightbulbs came on at one moment. They had an epiphany that there is something they’re not doing that’s holding them back, and they need to make a change in that area. If we never have those moments, we’ll keep on doing what we’ve been doing, and there’s little growth in that.

When you and I go through something, I often wonder if God is asking us what our key take aways are. I believe God wants each one of us to learn and grow. We should be constantly moving in the direction He’s leading us into. Along the way, there will be lessons to learn so that we can accomplish something He has for us down the road. God has great plans for each one of us, so we must be ready to learn and adjust along the way. John the Baptist said, “I must decrease, and He must increase,” to explain the change that needs to happen.

David was another person that learned lessons as he transitioned from a shepherd to a king. Before he became king, he shared some key take aways all of us can learn from in Psalm 27:14. He said, “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!” (TPT) Because He was able to learn these things and implement them into His life, God was able to exalt him to king. Imagine what God can do in your life if you’re willing to learn what He’s teaching you right now.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko:

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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A Disciplined Life

Around the turn of the millennium, most Americans were following a sport we knew very little about or even cared about until that time. Lance Armstrong was dominating the Tour de France like no one else. All of a sudden people were wearing yellow “Live Strong” bracelets and watching cycling. His story was compelling since he had overcome cancer and found a way to dominate a sport we cared nothing about. People accused him of cheating, but that’s what losers do…we thought. When it came out he was, it was hard to take. We’re familiar with how strict athletes are with their diet, their exercise and discipline. We chalked his success up to that instead of him doing the unthinkable.

The Bible tells the stories of everyday people, their choices and the results. Samson was a man who had taken a Nazarite vow from birth. It was a very disciplined life. He couldn’t cut his hair, drink wine or be near a dead body. It was a life of abstinence from indulgence in order to honor God. Samson followed the vow, but found ways to indulge himself in other areas that cost him his life and reputation. However, he wasn’t the only one to be a Nazarite. Samuel was given the same vow as a kid. The difference was that he honored the commitment in all areas of his life. God honored him and the people respected him. His commitment to his vow resulted in a life that was distinguished. He had seen from his predecessor Eli what happens when people indulge in their fleshly desires over their commitment to God.

1 Corinthians 9:25 says, “A true athlete will be disciplined in every respect, practicing constant self-control in order to win a laurel wreath that quickly withers. But we run our race to win a victor’s crown that will last forever” (TPT). Paul compares us to an athlete here who is disciplined in all areas of their life. We all have the choice to honor God in all aspects of our lives or to honor Him in some areas and to indulge in others. It’s human nature to follow in the steps of Lance Armstrong and Samson. They’re examples of what happens when we give into our flesh. Samuel is an example of someone who is Spirit led. That’s the life we’ve been called to and the one we committed to when we accepted Christ. It’s not about being perfect or even trying to use our behavior to honor God. It’s understanding we’re called to a life of discipline with our eyes on eternity. We shouldn’t be trying to see what we can get away with and still get to Heaven. Instead, we should seek God and try to honor Him in all areas of our life.

Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash


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Character Building

Have you ever prayed for patience? What happened? You probably got hit with a bunch of things that tested your patience. Why? Because God doesn’t just give you character qualities. He builds them in you and refined them through His processes. When character is given, it isn’t appreciated. When it’s earned in a fiery trial, it is etched into your being. God knows what makes us tick and what we need to grow and develop. When God builds character in us, we forget that we prayed for it and usually start praying to get out of the refinement process. Both prayers have costly consequences, but only one elevates who we are. Only sticking it out through the hard times, even when you can’t see what God, is doing will build your character.

The story of Joseph has always intrigued me. He didn’t pray for a character trait, but he would need them to fulfill the dream he was given. He was excited about the dream, but didn’t know what it would cost to build and refine his character. He was betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused and put in prison where he was forgotten. We don’t read where he questioned God or asked Him to stop the troubles. What we see is a man of great character and wisdom on the other side of the process. He forgave his brothers and saved them in the famine. He would have forfeited his destiny had he exited the process.

Psalm 105:17-19 says, “He sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. His feet they hurt with shackles; he was put in chains of iron, until the time that his word [of prophecy regarding his brothers] came true, the word of the Lord tested and refined him” (AMP). He was tested and refined during a long season of unfulfilled hope. That’s the same process God uses with you and me. It’s not easy to keep going when you feel forgotten or when your world has fallen apart, but that’s what’s necessary. Character building and refinement are done in times when the promise is yet to be fulfilled. If you’re in one of those times, trust in God’s Word and in His process. He’s working in you and etching it into the very fiber of your being. You will be different when you come out the other side and will have what it takes to fulfill your destiny.

Thanks to Kelly Sikkema @kellysikkema for making this photo available freely on Unsplash

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Running Free

The book of Nehemiah takes place after Israel had been in captivity in Babylon for 70 years. Ezra had returned years earlier with a small group of people to rebuild the Temple, but did nothing to rebuild the walls. Nehemiah had asked about the rebuild situation and found out that the walls were in shambles. That’s when he wept over it and got the burden to rebuild the walls. It only took them a matter of a couple months to gather the stones and rebuild the walls. When they had finished, the people all gathered together in Jerusalem to hear to Law of Moses being read aloud. They began to weep over their sin, but Nehemiah stopped them. He reminded them that it was a day of celebration, not mourning.

A few weeks later they all returned to Jerusalem to for another gathering. This service was six hours long. They read the Law for three hours and then spent three hours confessing their sins and weeping before the Lord. When they had finished, they wrote out a pact to the Lord to say they would obey His Word. Toward the end of that pact, in Nehemiah 9:36 they wrote, “So now today we are slaves in the land of plenty that you gave our ancestors for their enjoyment! We are slaves here in this good land” (NLT). As I read that, I couldn’t help but think of how many Christians are in the same boat they were in. We are slaves to sin in a land of plenty that Jesus paid for.

Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (NKJV). All Christians have temptations and at one time or another can get entangled or enslaved to sin. The writer here calls us to freedom like Galatians 5:1 does. The way we get free is the same way the Israelites did in Nehemiah. We need to get into God’s Word and we must confess our sins. Don’t go another day living as a slave to your sin when God has set you free. It was for freedom that He set you free. Lay aside that sin and run your race in freedom.

Photo by Venti Views on Unsplash

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Giving God Thanks

I love the story of Jesus healing the ten lepers. As the men walked away excited about their healing, one turned around to come back and thank Jesus. It’s a great reminder to all of us that we need to stop and give thanks to God for the things He’s done for us. Our lives are more busy than ever, and we are constantly asking God for things. Sometimes we don’t even recognize when He’s answered a prayer. Don’t be like the nine who went on with their lives. Think about the last time you truly stopped everything to give God a proper thanks. Don’t let another moment pass. Take time right now to just thanks Him for all He’s done. The more you give Him thanks, the more you have to be thankful for.

Here are some Bible verses on giving God thanks.

1. Speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, [offering praise by] singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks to God the Father for all things, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; being subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Ephesians 5:19-21 AMP

2. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, And for His wonderful acts to the children of men!

Psalms 107:8 AMP

3. Lord, receive my grateful thanks and teach me more of how to please you.

Psalms 119:108 TPT

4. I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.

Psalms 139:14 AMP

5. Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

Psalms‬ ‭100:4-5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Photo by Jackson David on Unsplash

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The Habit Of Forgiveness

One of the hardest habits for us to adopt is the habit of forgiveness. When we’ve been wronged, we feel justified in holding anger and resentment against the one who wronged us. I’ve learned in my own life that anger, resentment and being hurt are all that’s needed to become bitter. That bitterness then becomes a prison that holds your thoughts captive and stops any progress in your life. It has the power to consume you and that kind of bitterness causes you to spread that poison to others.

God wants us to let go of the wrongs that have been done to us because He knows that’s where our freedom lies. You cannot be a productive Christian if you’re holding anger, resentment, or bitterness towards someone else. God’s desire is that we turn the other cheek, not so we can get hurt again, but so we can lead with our un-bruised side. He knows that we will be better witnesses for Him when we don’t lead with our hurts and bruises out front. He knows that we can be healed in time when we first learn the habit of forgiveness.

In Matthew 6, we find the Lord’s Prayer. I’m sure you’ve memorized it at one point in your life. What you may not have memorized are verses 14-15 which come immediately after it. Jesus followed up His prayer with, “If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in Heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father in Heaven will not forgive the wrongs you have done” (GNT). Your forgiveness from God is dependent on your ability to forgive others.

I like how the Amplified Bible describes what forgiving “wrongs” is and looks like. It says, “Their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up your resentment.” All of this is put on you, not the other person or God. Your own forgiveness starts with your ability to let go of what someone else has willfully done to wrong you. The life God has for you will be bright and fresh again once you choose to adopt the habit of forgiveness.

Photo by Maria Turkmani:

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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Stay Focused

Every one of us have a certain amount of energy for the day. Whether you feel like you have a little today or a lot, that is your 100% for the day. It’s given to you to use so you can get things done. However, there are unexpected things that pop up each day that steal some of that energy. There are also people and distractions that try to rob you of your energy to keep you from getting things done. If we allow them to distract us, they diffuse our energy and keep us from accomplishing all we have to do. Those distractions can last from a few minutes to days or weeks. To keep them from robbing us of our energy, we must remain focused on the job at hand, prioritize our time and refuse to be distracted.

Nehemiah was a man on a mission. Once he heard that the walls of Jerusalem were in shambles, God put it in his heart to rebuild them. Immediately worry came in and tried to rob his energy. How could he leave his job? Where would he get the resources? When the king asked what he needed, he responded and it was all given to him. While he had what he needed now, he needed workers. The people showed up to help build once they caught the vision. Their energy was being poured into the project when two men came to distract them from their work. They tried intimidation, uprisings and lies to diffuse the people’s energy. However, Nehemiah stayed focused and got the work done.

In Nehemiah 6:3 he responded to them, “I am doing important work and can’t go down there. I am not going to let the work stop just to go and see you” (GNT). It’s ok to tell people the word “no”. Even if it’s something worthwhile, good or even helpful. If it is robbing you of your energy to do what God has called you to, it’s a distraction. Use wisdom like Nehemiah did when distractions and intimidators showed up. He prayed, got wisdom from God and then stayed the course. Because of that, the walls of Jerusalem were built in a matter of weeks instead of years. Imagine what God could do through you if you would stay focused and concentrate your energy. Don’t let intimidators, distractions or worry rob you of the energy that God has given you to accomplish His will in your life. When you use godly wisdom and stay focused, God will do His part.

Photo by Paul Skorupskas on Unsplash


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Contradicting Yourself

How does it make you feel when someone tells you they’re going to do one thing, and then do another? Or when they say they support you to your face, but behind your back they are against you? I’ve had that happen to me at work. It not only hurts, it makes you not trust that person. I was nominated to be on a certain council, but because I didn’t fit the mold, it had to be approved. This person was my biggest advocate outside the voting room. However, behind closed doors, they were my biggest opponent. Ultimately I withdrew my name because I no longer trusted this person. They never knew I found out and they kept up appearances as long as I knew them. Their words to me said one thing, but their actions proved another.

In 1 Samuel 15, Saul was king, and he had been instructed to kill all the Amalekites and their animals. After the battle, Saul decided to capture the king and keep the best of the animals for he and the army. God was upset with King Saul and sent Samuel to address the problem. When he got to the king, Saul was happy and said, “I have carried out the Lord’s command.” Samuel gave one of my favorite replies in the Bible when he asked, “Then what is this bleating of sheep I hear?” Saul made an excuse saying they were going to sacrifice them to the Kord, but that wasn’t true. Because he rejected the Lord’s commands, the Lord rejected him as king.

In Isaiah 29:13, the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote” (NLT). God is not looking for lip service from us. He also not looking for us to go through the motions of serving Him. It’s easy to fall into that rut, and we all do at times, but God cares more about the condition of our heart than our outward actions. If you’ve been going through the motions lately, ask God to give you a heart of flesh and to renew a right spirit within you. You may be able to fool everyone else, but you can’t fool Him. Take some time today to check the condition of your heart. Does it line up with what you say? If they’re in contradiction, ask God to transform you from the inside out. His grace is sufficient to do it.

Photo by John Price on Unsplash

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