Monthly Archives: April 2023

God’s Guides

There have been a few times in my life where I traveled to somewhere new and didn’t know much about how to get around. In those instances I hired a guide to help navigate the unknown, to show me the ropes and to help me find things I didn’t know existed. For those same reasons, God has provided several guides to help us navigate this life and our spiritual walk. The problem is that many of us try to figure things out on our own without using the guides He has provided. You don’t have to do things the hard way or learn from the school of hard knocks. Take time each day to listen to the guides He provides.

Here are some Bible verses on God’s guides.

1. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

John 16:13 ESV

2. And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will guide you with knowledge and understanding.

Jeremiah 3:15 NLT

3. Wherever I go, your hand will guide me; your strength will empower me.

Psalms 139:10 TPT

4. Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil.

Psalms 119:133 NLT

5. If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him.

James 1:5 AMP

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Breaking Spiritual Dormancy

I was helping my son prepare for a science test recently. His class was learning about seeds, germination, the parts of a flower and roots. I was going down the study guide asking him questions and he was doing pretty good. I then read a question that said, “What is dormant?” He replied word for word what the study guide said. It was, “Alive, but not growing.” I kept reading the other questions on the guide, but my mind kept going back to that definition. I asked him to define it again. I started thinking how so many of us live dormant Christian lives. We’re alive in Christ, but we’re not growing. Then I started to think about areas in my life that are dormant according to that definition. I believe God wants to wake us up from dormancy and begin the germination process in each of us where our roots grow.

I researched how to wake a seed up from dormancy. I found that the process is called breaking dormancy. I believe it’s pretty similar to how we break out of spiritual dormancy too. The first thing you have to do is soak the seed in water. The water has to penetrate the seed coat that is keeping the seed dormant. For you and I that means we need to saturate ourselves in the water of God’s Word. We have to let it penetrate into every area of our lives removing the things that so easily beset us. We can’t just read the Bible for content. We have to read it to connect with a God, to hear what He has to say and to declare it over the dormant parts of our lives. God is faithful to complete the work He began in you (Philippians 1:6).

In order to break dormancy, a seed also needs oxygen. I can’t help but think of Adam, having been fully formed laying on the ground. He had everything he needed to sustain life, but was laying there. It was then that God breathed the breath of life in him and man came alive. I believe God wants to breathe His breath of life into the parts of our lives that are dormant and bring them to life. Like Ezekiel had to prophesy to the valley of dry bones for breath to come in them, you may need to speak to those dormant areas of your life and speak life back into them. Once we do that, the germination process can begin and the primary root will come out and begin the growth process. Colossians 2:7 says, “Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness” (NLT). Growth is around the corner. You can break out of spiritual dormancy.

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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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Receiving God’s Mercy

When I was in high school, my English teacher had our class read “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The main character, Hester Prynne, had a baby out of wedlock in Puritan New England. She was shunned by the town and was forced to wear a scarlet letter “A” on her clothing for “adulteress”. No matter how much they pressed her, she would not reveal the father. It wasn’t until the end that it was the town reverend, Arthur Dimmesdale, who fathered her child. His guilt was eating him up inside and killing him. As he lay dying, he opened his shirt to reveal to all that he had a scarlet “A” on his chest. He lived with an unconfessed, hidden sin that destroyed him, his life and the life he could have lived.

Not long after Israel defeated Jericho, they headed for the city of Ai. They were feeling confident in God and themselves. They only sent a few thousand mento fight this battle. What they didn’t know was that Achan had kept something from Jericho that God had said to set apart for Himself. The men were defeated and ran back afraid. A Hans hidden sun had kept them from victory. When Joshua went to the Lord, he was led to Achan’s tent where he had buried the object. While no one else knew about his hidden sin, God did. Once it was brought to light and handled, the Israelites went back to Ai and won the victory.

Proverbs 28:13 says, “People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy” (NLT). Since sin entered the world, it has tried to get us to hide it from others and God. As long as it is hidden, it has power and control over us. Revealing it to God and others breaks that power and we receive forgiveness. Don’t listen to the lie that you will never be forgiven for it or that no one will accept you. Those lies are to hold you back in fear and away from all that God has for you. Like Arthur Dimmesdale, it will eat you up,inside. Like the Israelites, it will keep you from victory. When you confess it, you will receive God’s mercy and His blessings will return.

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Shame Off You

One of the tricks the enemy uses against us is shame. It can be debilitating or hold us in a cycle of sin. In Genesis 3, we read the story of Adam and Eve. Satan came and tempted Eve to disobey God. She ate of the forbidden fruit and then gave some to Adam. Verse 7 says, “At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves” (NLT). Then when God came to meet with them, shame caused them to hide from Him. It does the same thing in our lives. It’s designed to break our relationship with God and others, keeping us from forgiveness and wholeness.

In Joshua 5, the Israelites had crossed over Jordan and were headed to Jericho. Before they went into battle, God wanted to renew their commitment to Him to be set apart, so He had Joshua circumcise all the men. In verse 9, after they were circumcised, God said, “Today I have rolled away the shame of your slavery in Egypt.” In the Bible, Egypt has been a reference to sin. Here God has led them out of the wilderness that shame had held them in and rolled it away. His plan for you and for me is to roll away the shame that holds us back from the Promised Land He is calling us to.

Isaiah 54:4 says, “Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood.” You no longer have to live in shame because God has cast it off you! When your sins have been forgiven, your disgrace is gone. Don’t continue to let shame have power over you once God has rolled it away. There is power in confession to God and healing in confession to people. You don’t have to shout your sin from the rooftops to everyone, but you do need someone to confide in if you’re going to get shame off you. Come out of the wilderness and into the land flowing with milk and honey that shame is keeping from you.

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Caring For Those In Need

I’ve been blessed to get to know some people through writing and church. One lady had a ministry where she feeds the homeless. They also look for ways to help them find housing to get off the streets. Another one goes to the remote areas of the Philippines to preach the Gospel to indigenous people who have never heard it. They love on the kids and families there while also feeding them. I also know of a man and his wife who travel up and down the Amazon river to preach to people who others won’t go to. They’ve been doing it for years and have seen many come to Christ because they take care of their physical needs first. They also get the Bible translated into their native tongue.

There a lady who is barely mentioned in the New Testament that had an incredible ministry to the poor. When she dies unexpectedly, the apostle Peter happened to be in a neighboring town. Acts 9:39 says that when Peter showed up, a bunch of widows showed him the clothes Dorcas had made. They explained that she also made coats for the poor who couldn’t afford them. Peter went into the room where her body was, knelt beside, prayed and then told her to get up. She opened her eyes and sat up. The Bible doesn’t say anymore about her, but I’m sure she went back to caring for those who had no way of paying her back.

Hebrews 13:16 says, “And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God” (NLT). It’s Biblical to do things to help those who have no way to return the favor. You may not be called to the Amazon, to the Philippines or to a bridge in your city where the homeless gather, but you are called to meet needs whenever and wherever you can with whatever you have. The Kingdom of Heaven will be full of the least of these from this world because of people who took time to recognize their condition and to help. The Gospel is for all people, and we all have a responsibility to do what we can where we are and to find ways to support those who are called to people we may not be called to.

If you’d like to see or support any of the ministries I’ve mentioned, you can find them below.

Second Mile Ministry

JJay Equips

National Bible Translators

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Don’t Forget

In Joshua 4, as the Israelites were crossing the Jordan, God told them to get 12 stones from the middle of the riverbed. He wanted them to set up a memorial that would remind them of what He did. You find several stories like this in the Bible. God knows we tend to forget what He’s done in the past for us. We don’t need to set up stones around town, but we do need to find a way to create something that will remind us of all God has done for us so we don’t forget. When troubles come, we can look at it and grow our faith knowing that God came through in the past and believe He will again. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. What He’s done before, He will do again. Don’t forget it.

Here are some Bible verses on never forgetting what God has done.

1. And this memorial pillar I have set up will become a place for worshiping God, and I will present to God a tenth of everything he gives me.

Genesis 28:22 NLT

2. Only pay attention and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your grandchildren [impressing these things on their mind and penetrating their heart with these truths].

Deuteronomy 4:9 AMP

3. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,

Psalm 103:2 ESV

4. For perpetuity God’s ways will be passed down from one generation to the next, even to those not yet born. In this way, every generation will set its hope in God and not forget his wonderful works but keep his commandments.

Psalms 78:6-7 TPT

5. But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today.

Deuteronomy 8:11 NLT

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The Promise Of Humility

Unless you’ve been to Israel, you may not know that Bethlehem is only about 6 miles south of the Old City in Jerusalem. It’s currently situated in the West Bank of Palestine and has been in existence for about 3,400 years. We know it mainly as the place of Jesus’ birth, but so much more in the Bible happened here. It is where Naomi returned with Ruth. It’s where Ruth worked in Boaz’ field until they were married. The had a son named Obed. He had a son named Jesse. Jesse’s youngest son David became the most famous king of Israel. The name of the city translates, “House of Bread”.

I find it amazing that God did so many things in this town generations beforehand to ensure that this would be the place Jesus would be born. If you think about it, Bethlehem is a story of how God exalts the humble. David wasn’t even considered by his dad as a possible candidate to be king. He was an humble shepherd. It was also the humble shepherds who were first given the news that the Messiah had been born. Even the manger was an humble place to house the King of Kings. There’s a pattern there that you and I can’t afford to miss. Humility preceded the favor of God.

In Luke 14:11 Jesus was teaching about humility when He said, “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (NLT). Humility is a mindset of understanding our position as the created being who is nothing without the Creator. That knowledge should keep us hungry to have a deeper relationship with Him. It should cause us to obey whatever God asks of us knowing He will equip us and partner us with those who will help us fulfill His will for our lives and further His kingdom. Great men and women don’t just have humble beginnings, they find a way to stay humble even in success.

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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Step Into The River

I live in a neighborhood that flooded during Hurricane Harvey. Thankfully our house was fine. After the hurricane passed, started seeing people post videos of their homes under water. One person rode a jet ski through the neighborhood and into their home. With no power to the house, we decided to walk through the area. The River at the front of the neighborhood had flooded several hundred yards. The waters were moving quickly and they were very dirty. We stood back at a distance just looking at it rush by. A River that is flooded is a dangerous thing.

I share that with you because in Joshua 3, Israel was preparing to leave the desert after 50 years. Just like the Red Sea once stood in their way, now the Jordan River blocked them. The Bible says that the river was flooded at the time and we’ll out of its banks. God told the people to consecrate themselves inside and out before heading across it. He then told them that twelve priests would accompany the Ark of the Covenant ahead of them. The instructions continued in verse 13. It says, “When the soles of the feet of the priests who carry the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, [come to] rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan flowing down from above will be cut off, and they will stand in one mass [of water]” (AMP). Before God would part these waters, the priests had to get in it. Before God would tear down walls, these men had to step into the mud.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way” (GNT). A humans understanding would have stayed away from those flood waters, but they trusted what God said anyway. Before you and I can receive our victory, we’re going to have to step into the waters. Before we see walls fall, we’re going to have to trust what God says over what we think we know. So many times we stay locked in the desert because we’re afraid to step into the waters that God has called us to. Don’t let fear hold you from the Promised Land. When we follow the paths God leads us down, we’re going to get a little muddy. However, it’s through our obedience, especially through things that don’t make sense to us, that God does great and mighty things. Quit standing there looking at your river. Obey what God has told you and step into it.

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Strong And Courageous

How do you respond to an impossible task or one that is pretty huge? There’s a few ways you can respond I think. The first is to be discouraged at the enormity of it. Most people in this category give up before they start or not long after starting. It looks too big to even try. Another response is to complain about it. If you complain to enough people, you’ll get sympathy rather than help. Having someone feel sorry for your situation feels better than attempting it. Finally, you can buckle up and eat the proverbial elephant one bite at a time. There’s still the potential to get discouraged or complain, but your mind is set to complete the task.

In the first chapter of Joshua, he is charged with going into an occupied land with fortified cities and taking it over. It was a large enough task to try to lead millions of people. Now he had to muster the troops for battle as well. It’s no wonder that God told him three different times in a row to, “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do” (Joshua 1:7 NLT). He needed to keep his eye on the mission, know that God was with him and to follow God’s Word. He could have been discouraged at what was being asked, but God told him over and over to be strong and courageous.

Galatians 6:9 says, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Paul had just reminded us to share each others burdens and to pay attention to the work God called us to. Harvests are great, but they’re only possible through planting seeds. It’s a tedious job, but a necessary part of God’s process. The task He has given you may seem too big for you. It’s easy to give up or complain, but be courageous. When the task is greater than your abilities, it is designed to get you to rely on His strength rather than yours. Put God’s Word in your heart, stand on His promises and begin the work one seed at a time. Be strong and courageous. God is with you. There’s a harvest coming if you don’t give up.

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Hearing The Word

Dr. Masaru Emoto was a Japanese scientist born in the 1940’s. Since the world is mostly water, he spent his life studying water to try to understand it better. He found that water has both energy and memory. In one of his experiments, he spoke a word over water and froze it. When he spoke the words, “I hate you. You’re a fool. You’re ugly,” and froze the water, it wormed crystalline structures that were non-symmetrical and plain. When he spoke the words, “You’re beautiful, I love you. Joy,” the water formed beautiful crystalline structures. What we know now is that not only is the earth made of mostly water, but so are our bodies. The words you say and the words you hear can have a profound impact on the molecular components of your body.

In 2 Kings 22, we read the story of King Josiah. He was just a boy when he became king. He was one of the ones who did what was right in God’s eyes. Eighteen years into his reign, he decided to make repairs to the Temple Solomon had built. During the repairs, someone found the Torah and brought it to him. As they read it out loud, he felt conviction from how the nation was living. They had been living from traditions rather than the Word of God and had been doing things that God opposed. He tore his clothes and sought forgiveness. He also made radical changes throughout the kingdom that brought the nation back to God like no other king. Hearing the Word of God changed him and the entire nation.

Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the [spoken] word of Christ have its home within you [dwelling in your heart and mind—permeating every aspect of your being] as you teach [spiritual things] and admonish and train one another with all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (AMP). When you hear the Word of God, it grows your faith and permeates every aspect of your being, changing you molecularly. Try listening to the audio version of the Bible or reading it out loud. Let is get into your heart and mind so that you are changed by it on every level. God’s Word is powerful. It’s able to divide the soul and spirit, as well as the bone and marrow (Hebrews 4:12). We must let it have its home in our lives to bring physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing so that it changes us and how we live.

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If you would like to see a video of Dr. Emoto’s work, click here.

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