Category Archives: Uncategorized

Change = Growth

I once heard the story of a newly wed couple who were hosting all of their family in their home for the first time. The young lady was so excited to be cooking for her mom and grandmother. While she was preparing the meal, her husband noticed she cut off about a third of the roast and put it away before starting. Her husband asked her why she did that. She replied, “I don’t know. That’s how my mom always did it.” They found the mom and asked her why they cut off a third of the roast. She replied, “I don’t know. That’s how my mom always did it.” All of them went to where the grandmother was and asked her why she cut off a third of the roast. She replied, “Because I never had a pot big enough for an entire roast.”

For over 40 years, the next two generations had been doing what was previously done just because it had always been done that way. They didn’t even know why. How many things do we do in life without knowing why and just because that’s how it’s always been done? How much have we wasted because we were so resistant to change that we never questioned the way we do things? That’s really what the problem is. We don’t like change so we never question why things are done a certain way.

God isn’t opposed to change. In fact, He’s all for it. In Isaiah 43:18-19, God said, “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand new” (MSG). God understands that change is how we grow. He wants to do something brand new in our lives, but we’re too busy going over the past and how things have always been. God said to get your mind out of the past and into the present. He understands that change is a part of creation. He just wants us to be willing to go through that change so He can do something new in our life.

What changes has God been trying to make in your life, but you’ve been too caught up in the past to allow Him to do it? Why have you really been opposed to the changes He wants to make in your life? Change is His way of keeping you close to Him. When you get caught up in doing things the way you’ve always done them, you remove yourself from a life of walking by faith. Instead, you are walking by routine. God wants to challenge you and to grow you. He can only do that through change. He can only get you to walk by faith if He can get you out of the past. What can you do today to embrace the change God wants to do in your life?

Photo by Peggy Sue Zinn on Unsplash

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Deep Roots

Where I live, there are lots of trees. Two of the most common ones are pine trees and oak trees. Pine trees are evergreens and oaks are deciduous. When it comes to burning wood, lines are considered a soft wood and oaks are hard. Another important fact is that the roots of pine trees go down deep while the roots of the oak stay near the surface. It’s a common sight to see a large, strong oak tumbled on its side after a storm. It doesn’t matter how healthy it is, if it’s roots aren’t very deep, it can’t stand during a strong windstorm. Christians are a lot like these two trees.

There are a lot of believers who stay true to their profession of faith in all areas of life, while there are others who are good at it on Sundays, but change around non-believers. They haven’t yet reconciled their private faith with their public life. There are some believers that no matter what they go through, their hearts remain soft before God. Others go through difficult seasons and their hearts harden towards God blaming Him for their struggles. Some believers realize that Jesus is their source of righteousness. They learn to depend on Him for everything. Others feel like it’s their works that create righteousness. They spend more time focused on doing rather than learning and growing. This mentality creates a shallow root system.

In Colossians 2:7, Paul reminds us, “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). We need to be like that first person who builds their life on Christ letting out roots dig deeper into Him. Our lives should be aiming for maturity in faith and a deeper relationship with Him. When that happens, our hearts will remain soft and no matter what storms come, we won’t be blown over. The depth of your roots in Him matters. Focus on building your faith and trust in Him and His grace will be sufficient for whatever you face.

Photo by Freddy Kearney on Unsplash

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Symbiotic Encouragement

There are at least three types of relationships we need to have in our lives. If you don’t have these, you need to make them. The first one is where I’m the encourager. There are certain people in my life that need encouragement when they call or want to meet. Then there are the people who encourage me when I need it. Finally, the most important one is the one where you mutually encourage each other. These relationships are symbiotic and benefit both parties involved. It’s important that you identify who fit into these categories in your life. We all need to both encourage others and to be encouraged.

David and Jonathan had the symbiotic type relationship. They loved each other dearly, looked out for each other and encouraged one another. They learned to put the other’s needs ahead of their own, thereby bringing value to each other. In 1 Samuel 23, Jonathan’s father Saul was chasing David to kill him. Saul wanted Jonathan to succeed him as king, nut Jonathan valued David more than the position. In verse 16 it says, “Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God” (NLT). They then renewed their pact of encouragement to each other and Jonathan went home.

Who is that person in your life? Who is the one who comes running in your time of need? Who is it that when you both walk away from conversations you feel better? Chances are the two of you are intentional about your conversations and meetings. In Romans 1:12, Paul was looking forward to going to Rome to meet with the believers. He wrote, “When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.” Encouragement is born from intentionality. It doesn’t just happen. Be praying that you would be an encourager, that there would be someone in your life who encourages you and most importantly that you would find a person to share symbiotic encouragement with.

Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Dirty Laundry

Have you ever got a stain in your clothes? Did you try to get it out immediately or let it sit until you washed it? I’ve done both. I’ve also sat at the washing machine with it trying every combination known to man to trust it so it would come out. There have been stains that no matter what I tried, I couldn’t get them out. I finally have to give up, throw it in the washer and hope it comes out. Doing that is often how we approach sin in our lives. We see the stain and try everything to remove the consequences it leaves on our lives. They’re like stains that everyone can see. No matter what you or I do though, we can’t remove the guilt from it. Only God has that ability.

In 2 Samuel 11, it says that the annual time for kings to go to war had come around. Instead of going with the army, King David stayed home. He sent someone else to fight his battles. While he was home, he saw a beautiful woman and sent for her knowing she was married. She became pregnant after their encounter. David tried every combination known to man to remove the stain, but nothing worked. He then had her husband murdered to try to cover it up. God wasn’t pleased and sent the prophet Nathan to call him out and to bring judgement. Immediately 2 Samuel 12:13-14 says, “Then David confessed to Nathan, ‘I’ve sinned against God.’ Nathan pronounced, ‘Yes, but that’s not the last word. God forgives your sin’” (MSG). Nathan continued to tell him he would still face consequences.

In his repentance, David wrote Psalm 51. In verses 1-3 he prayed, “Generous in love—God, give grace! Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record. Scrub away my guilt, soak out my sins in your laundry. I know how bad I’ve been; my sins are staring me down.” Confession and repentance are the keys to removing the stains sin leaves behind. Forgiveness is admitting you’ve done wrong and repentance is changing your way in order to not do it again. While God doesn’t always remove the consequences of our actions, He does forgive them. No matter how stained your life is, it’ll wash clean with God’s forgiveness. Quit trying to remove the guilt and stains yourself. Give your dirty laundry to God.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Seeking Understanding

What I’ve learned is that most of us seek to be understood, but only a few of us seek to understand. That holds true in our relationship with God. How many times have we used our prayers to try to convince God of something so He’d understand our need. Matthew 6:8 says God knows our need before we even ask. What if we spent our time in prayer seeking to understand God more and His will. His ways are definitely higher than ours, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek to understand them. We can ask God to increase our understanding of Him, our situation and others. In the process we will grow and become more like Him.

Here are some Bible verses on seeking understanding.

1. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.

Proverbs 2:3 NLT

2. The beginning of wisdom is: Get [skillful and godly] wisdom [it is preeminent]! And with all your acquiring, get understanding [actively seek spiritual discernment, mature comprehension, and logical interpretation].

Proverbs 4:7 AMP

3. Wisdom is enshrined in an understanding heart; wisdom is not found among fools.

Proverbs 14:33 NLT

4. Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.

Daniel 10:12 NLT

5. Now may the Lord move your hearts into a greater understanding of God’s pure love for you and into Christ’s steadfast endurance.

2 Thessalonians 3:5 TPT

Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Plumb Line Of Truth

One of the classes I train has me ask the group, “Is this your truth,” at the end of each section. If someone says it’s not their truth, I’m to engage them to find out why they don’t believe what I just taught. I’m looking for their objection to the truth I’ve presented. My goal is to not just get them to accept the truth, but to go back and implement that truth into their life and job. Our actions are always based on what we believe, so it’s important to know what the truth is before we act.

We live in a world where the lines of truth are constantly being blurred. Over the last two generations, Truth has gone from something we all accepted as a whole to what each of us believes individually. What I’ve learned is that truth is truth no matter what I believe personally. I can choose to not believe in gravity, but that doesn’t stop me from coming back to the ground when I jump. There are still universal truths in our world whether people choose to believe them or not.

I was talking with a man recently about truth, and I brought up Jesus in Pilate’s court in John 18. When Jesus said that He came to testify to the truth, Pilate asked, “What is truth?” (GNT) I wish the Bible would have recorded Jesus’ answer. However, we know from John 14:6 that Jesus said He was the way, the truth and the life. Also in John 1, we read that Jesus is the Word Of God made flesh. He, and the Bible, are our absolute truth in this world. They are the plumb line in a world that has lost its direction.

The reason you use a plumb line in construction is because your eyes can deceive you. In the same way, the Word of God is our plumb line in this world. Our eyes can deceive us, and it can be difficult to determine what the truth is. Psalm 33:4 says, “The words of the Lord are true, and all his works are dependable.” We must know God’s Word if we are going to depend on it and use it as a plumb line to build our lives. Otherwise, we will be like the foolish man who built his house on the shifting sands of what culture believes at the moment. Take time today to hold your life up against God’s plumb line of truth to make sure your life isn’t leaning.

Photo by alexey turenkov on Unsplash

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.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Fighting Bitterness

I’m fascinated by body language and micro expression experts. They look at what’s going on outside the body to determine what’s going on inside the mind. I had always heard that your outside will reveal what’s going on Inside. It’s important for us to control our self talk, which is that voice in our head that’s constantly talking to us. It repeats things it’s heard from others. It tells us how we should be feeling. It also helps us make decisions. I believe this voice is what 2 Corinthians 2:5 is talking about when it tells us to take every thought captive. This voice controls how you see yourself and ultimately your actions.

The story of Ruth is one that draws so many of us in. Naomi, her husband and two boys had to move out of their home to a foreign land because of a famine. Some time after they moved away, her husband died. Her sons married foreign women and about ten years later they died. After a while, she decided to go home with Ruth choosing to go with her. When she arrived back in town, the people were excited to see here and called out her name which means sweetness. She told them to quit calling her that and to instead call her Marah which means bitter. She had allowed her self talk to change her self image to the point that she had become a bitter person. Thankfully God didn’t leave her in that bitter state.

Psalm 73:21-23 says, “When my thoughts were bitter and my feelings were hurt, I was as stupid as an animal; I did not understand you. Yet I always stay close to you, and you hold me by the hand” (GNT). God didn’t leave the author of this psalm in their bitterness either. In verse 26 he penned, “My mind and my body may grow weak, but God is my strength; he is all I ever need.” Your mind may wander and convince you that you’re something other than God created, but He will still woo you and try to pull you from that place. He is your strength to get out of the hole you’re in. He is your strength to fight the negative self talk. And He is your strength to get to where He’s leading you. Your current season is not your destination. Don’t let your self talk convince you that it is. There are greater days ahead.

Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Being Successful

Sometimes when I’m teaching a sales skills class I’ll ask people to share their undisputed secret to success in sales. Everyone has a different answer it seems. Some tell me how they never give up. Some say it’s their personal skills. Others talk of determination, relentlessness or positioning. Books have been written, classes have been taught and lectures have been given on the subject, but there’s no one answer really. Because of that people keep looking for it hoping it will make them rich in the process. Yet, some of you reading are thinking, “If I had to make a living in sales, I’d starve!” It’s a good thing there are other ways to make a living.

We typically equate money or winning with success, but that’s not always the case. In Judges 20, eleven of the tribes went to fight the tribe of Benjamin because of an evil they had allowed. The eleven prayed asking God which tribe should lead the fight. God told them Judah should. They marched 400,000 men out to battle and we’re quickly beaten by 26,000. They went back to camp, cried and prayed again asking God if they should fight again. God told them yes, and the same thing happened. A third time they prayed and asked God if they should fight or stop. God told them to fight. They were successful this time, but only after taking some devastating losses in the process.

In Philippians 4:12 Paul wrote, “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little” (NLT). His secret of living was to be content with whatever season God brought him to. Whether he was winning and had all his needs met or was losing and didn’t have anything, he trusted God through it all. Success in life isn’t defined by wins or losses or even your bank account. It’s found in trusting God to be your source no matter what you’re going through. Can you keep going back to Him daily asking if you’re doing the thing He wants you to? Can you trust Him when you don’t have much? Can you recognize Him as your provider when you do? Can you be content with what you have?

Photo by Dingzeyu Li on Unsplash

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Choose Peace

Have you ever given a gift to someone that was supposed to make their life easier only to find out they never used it? I came from a family that gave functional gifts rather than luxury gifts. We got each other something that was needed rather than what was wanted. I was always on the look out to see if there was a kitchen gadget, yard equipment or something like that that could make a family member’s life easier. It would have been frustrating to see them struggling to do something while my gift was still sitting in the box. They would have had to make the choice to continue doing it the old way not using the gift.

In 2 Kings 6, Elisha had been supernaturally given the plans of the enemy several times.Elisha sent word to the king of Israel each time to thwart the attack. The king of Aram, who was trying to attack Israel, got word that Elisha was messing up his plans, so he decided to go after Elisha. Overnight they encamped around Elisha. When Elisha’s servant went outside he saw the army surrounding them. He panicked and ran inside to tell his master saying, “Oh no! What are we to do?” Elisha told him to not be afraid because there were more with them than against them. He the prayed, “Lord, please, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servants eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha. (AMP).

Jesus told us that we were going to face trouble in this world. It shouldn’t come as a surprise when we’re surrounded. He also said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. 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]” (emphasis is added by me) His peace is a gift that we need to choose to use. We use it when we decide to trust what He’s. said over what we’re seeing. We need our eyes opened to know that there are more with us than against us. We need to look beyond the physical aspect of whatever we’re facing in order to trust God allowing His peace to calm us in every circumstance. Choose His peace instead of fear today.

Photo by Will van Wingerden on Unsplash

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Tenth Anniversary – Applying God’s Word

This week I’m reflecting on ten years of writing devotions. The most important thing that has happened to me through this process is that I have grown to know God more deeply through His Word. It’s something that each of us as believers need to do. Our daily reading shouldn’t be about quantity, but quality. I’ve learned to read it until I hear from God and see how something applies to my life and yours. The Bible was given to us to train us, to correct us, to real God to us and so much more. The more we dig into it, meditate on it and apply it, the more like Christ we will be.

Here are some Bible verses on the benefits of reading and applying God’s Word.

1. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.

Joshua 1:8 NLT

2. Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example], Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit [down to rest] in the seat of scoffers (ridiculers). But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And on His law [His precepts and teachings] he [habitually] meditates day and night.

Psalms 1:1-2 AMP

3. Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 NET

4. “God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one can resist God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.

Hebrews 4:12-13 MSG

5. Yahweh’s Word is perfect in every way; how it revives our souls! Yahweh’s laws lead us to truth, and his ways change the simple into wise. Yahweh’s teachings are right and make us joyful; his precepts are so pure! Yahweh’s commands challenge us to keep close to his heart! The revelation-light of his Word makes my spirit shine radiant.

Psalms 19:7-8 TPT

Photo by Amy Tran on Unsplash

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized