Tag Archives: faith

Staying On Course


When I was a teenager, I was very involved in a camping program through my church. One of the badges I had to earn was for orienteering. I had to learn how to use a compass, read a map and plot courses on a map. I also had to go on a several mile hike through a dense forest using my compass. They handed me a topographical map of the area, gave me several coordinates and told me where to start. 

I took my first coordinate, set my compass and started walking. I had to measure my steps because my next turn was two hundred yards in. The deeper I got into the woods, the harder it was to find the markers I was looking for. It was also more difficult to look ahead several hundred yards. I had to go to a tree in my path, walk around it and reset my path. If I was barely off at all, I could be twenty yards or so from the hidden marker in the woods that I needed to write down.

I made it through the course and earned my badge. As I think back on that experience, it reminds me of what it’s like to follow God’s plan for my life. There’s no real trail, I just know the direction I’m supposed to go and I’m not sure where the markers are hidden. There have been many obstacles in my way that have tried to knock me off course, but I’ve kept at it. I’m sure you’ve experienced the same thing in your life.

Psalm 119:1-2 says, “You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by GOD. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him” (MSG). God has set a course for each one of us to run. He’s given us the compass of His Word to help us navigate, and the Holy Spirit to help us measure our steps. It’s up to each one of us to utilize the tools He’s given us to do what He’s called us to do. If you’re off course right now or stuck, go back to the Bible and seek the Holy Spirit’s help. You can get back on course and finish your race well. 

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The Hope We Have

Throwback Thursday is a new 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.


I was recently at the viewing for a friend I’d known for over 20 years. As I went around hugging necks and catching up on where everyone was in life, I decided to stop and take a moment. I sat down on one of the pews and watched the crowd as they interacted. There were a group of young men standing near the coffin silently staring at the body. I then noticed there were huddles throughout the sanctuary around the family members left behind. They were hugging and offering condolences. Then there was everyone else affected by this person’s life. They weren’t stationary like the others. They moved around making their way up front and then around and that’s when I noticed something out of the ordinary.

There were smiles on their faces. I checked another roaming group and they were smiling as well. I gazed back to the family huddles to look at their demeanor and it was the same. The atmosphere was not one of sadness, but of joy. It was then that I was reminded of I Thessalonians 4:13. Paul wrote, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope” (NLT).   Here was living proof of this scripture. I was in a crowd of people smiling and enjoying themselves, while mourning the loss of a friend, because we have hope beyond the grave.

Yes, it hurts to lose someone who impacted our lives and there’s a big, gaping void in us that only they could fill. But we don’t have to carry on like those who have no hope. We don’t see this as the end of life, but rather that person’s birth into eternal life. Their spirit has been set free from the cocoon of the human body, and they have been released into the heavens. We know that one day we will cross from death to life as well and be reunited with them and a host of others who knew Jesus as their savior. That’s how we can smile in midst of such a great loss. It seems foreign to those who have no hope, but it’s natural to those of us who do.

I Thessalonians 4 concludes with these words, “Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words.” We have comfort in sorrow and courage in despair because our loss is Heaven’s gain and we know that we will be reunited. Hope is a powerful force that can light up our darkness and give us strength to smile in the pain. It keeps us from the pit of despair and points us to better days. I’ll finish this post with the words from I Corinthians 13:12-13 that I think are fitting. “We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. (MSG)”

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Joy Returns


Lamentations 4 and 5 are two of the saddest chapters in the Bible. Jeremiah was so descriptive of what life was like living under the control of their enemy. The people who were once wealthy were digging through the trash to find food. The kids were forced to do manual labor that was too hard for them. Anyone caught looking for food outside the city walls was killed. Confidence was replaced with desperation, and joy was replaced with a deep depression. 

People no longer gathered to talk. No one sang any songs. The population was dwindling down because people were dying of starvation. It was a very dark period in Israel’s history. Jeremiah knew they were living under the enemy’s control because they had turned their back on God. He cried out in repentance and asked God how long would they suffer. Then he remembered that suffering is temporary, but God is eternal.

You may be going through a dark time in your life right now as well. It may feel like God has abandoned you and that you are living under the enemy’s control. I know what it’s like to live through that. I know what it feels like to lose everything and wonder if you should still try to keep going. I can let you know that the suffering is only temporary. It does end and the sun comes out again. God has not abandoned you no matter how alone you feel.

I pray Jeremiah’s prayer in Lamentations 5:21 over you today. It says, “Restore us, O Lord, and bring us back to you again! Give us back the joys we once had!” (GNT) I’m living proof that God restores what the enemy stole, and that joy returns. When God restores you, He will rebuild everything better than it was. When He gives your joy back, it will be greater than before. What feels like forever is only a season. Restoration is coming. 

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The Power To Bless


There have bee several times in my life where others have blessed me. When I was in my late teens, my car died and I didn’t have the money to get another one. The next day, a couple at church came up to me and said while they were praying, God spoke to them and told them to bless me with a car. Another time, my second mom was on her death bed. She pulled each of her kids into the room one by one and gave us a verbal blessing just before she passed away.

It’s good to be blessed, but there is power in being able to bless. Ever since I got that car, I have always wanted to be the person who blesses rather than the one who receives the blessing. Whether it is the ability to give a gift as a blessing, or it’s the ability to speak a blessing to someone, it is a great thing to be able to bless others. In today’s world, where people are quick to destroy each other, we need the power to bless more than ever. 

Here are some blessings from the Bible.

1. May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.
Numbers 6:24-26 NLT

2. For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy.
Colossians 1:9-11 HCSB

3. I ask God from the wealth of his glory to give you power through his Spirit to be strong in your inner selves, and I pray that Christ will make his home in your hearts through faith. I pray that you may have your roots and foundation in love, so that you, together with all God’s people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is Christ’s love. Yes, may you come to know his love—although it can never be fully known—and so be completely filled with the very nature of God.
Ephesians 3:16-19 GNT

4. From the dew of heaven and the richness of the earth, may God always give you abundant harvests of grain and bountiful new wine. May many nations become your servants, and may they bow down to you. May you be the master over your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. All who curse you will be cursed, and all who bless you will be blessed.
Genesis 27:28-29 NLT

5. Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would indeed bless me and enlarge my border [property], and that Your hand would be with me, and You would keep me from evil so that it does not hurt me!” And God granted his request.

1 CHRONICLES 4:10 AMP

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Flawed Failure

Throwback Thursday is a new 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.


If you are perfect, then you don’t have to read this today. If you are a flawed failure like me, you can keep reading. The good news is that you are just who God is looking for to use. He rarely picks anyone perfect to carry out His plan. If you look at the list of people God has used to do great things through, it’s full of flawed failures. It’s full of people who you probably wouldn’t want to work with. 

Moses knew his own flaws and tried to use them as an excuse to not do what God was asking him to do. He stuttered. He murdered. He ran away from his responsibilities. He was orphaned as a baby. He had excuses, but God sees our excuses as opportunities to connect with others. He sees our flaws as ways to build dependence on Him. He’s ok with you not measuring up to what you think He wants. You actually already have what He wants. That’s why He chose you to do His will.

Each of us have a purpose to fulfill. God has a desire to use you despite your flaws and excuses. He has a purpose for your life that only you can fulfill. God is not concerned with your past if you’ve gone to Him for forgiveness. He’s taken your past into account when He planned your future. He knew the struggles you were going to face. He knew where and how you were going to fail and still planned to use you. It’s hard for us to understand because what disqualifies us humanly somehow qualifies us spiritually.

God’s ways are higher than our ways. What we consider wise is foolishness to Him. When we point to the scars, disappointment, failures and sin, He points to the cross. It’s in our weakness that He can truly work. If we rely on our strengths and abilities, we get in His way. When we think we can’t or shouldn’t be used by Him, we are ready to be used by Him. If we had the ability to do it on our own, we wouldn’t rely on Him.

God can and will use our strengths, but He’s really interested in our flaws and failures. He uses those to bring healing to others and to show them that He can use them too. Be open about your past. Tell others about your scars. Your story (testimony) brings hope and healing to others. When you hide who you were, you hide the grace that God bestowed on you. Others need to see that God can forgive a past that’s dark and full of sin. Others need to see that God can and still uses someone as flawed as us.

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The Anchor That Endures


Did you know that the United States doesn’t have a federal law that requires boats to have an anchor? I know that’s a random question to start your day with, but go with me on this for a minute. I’ve been on a boat many times to fish. We used the anchor to hold us in position over the fishing hole, but anchors are mainly needed if your motor dies or if you run out of gas. When that happens, your boat is simply adrift at the whim of the water without an anchor. That’s not a good situation to be in. 

Like boats, many people don’t have an anchor – something that can steady them. When bad times come or when they burn out, they have nothing to hold onto. Their life goes out of control and they begin drifting away. That’s a helpless feeling, but it’s something that all of us face at one point. It’s why we need an anchor in our lives. We need a truth that we can hold onto snd believe in when don’t have the strength to move forward. 

As Christians, we have an anchor. In Hebrews 6:19, it says, “We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure” (HCSB). The whole world around us can be crumbling, but our anchor holds us in place. We don’t have to be at the mercy of our circumstances. We don’t have to succumb to the pressures around us. We don’t have to worry when we can’t see the future. Our hope in Jesus is secure and provides us with stability in unstable times.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you’ — this is the Lord’s declaration — ‘plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” God gives hope because He knows it is essential to life. He has a plan for you, and He often uses hard times to mold us, shape us, and to correct our course. When we are in those times, we can hold on to the hope that He gives and it will not fail us because it is an anchor that endures. 

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Focus On The Good


It was 14 years ago today that I hit rock bottom in life. I had endured five months of everything going wrong in my life, and on September 25th, I lost my job to top it off. Every time I thought things couldn’t get worse, they did. It was almost a daily occurrence. I laid down on the floor of my living room and told God, “If one more thing happens, I give up. I refuse to go down any further.” I went to my calendar and wrote, “The Bottom,” on today’s date. I vowed to climb out if that hole until I saw daylight again.

I didn’t know it would take about a decade before I got out of the hole that those five months created. I suffered some set backs through those years, but I never went further down than I had been that night. I was on the edge of ending my life because I couldn’t take the failure and the pain anymore. I was embarrassed of where my life was, and I knew I was going to have to make some changes to how I was living if I was going to get out of the hole. For starters, I was going to give control of the rebuild to God.

Clearly my way didn’t work. My life had been life a block tower that a kid built. It got to a point that it could no longer sustain itself, and it all came crashing down. I knew if I gave God control it would be built the right way and would be more stable. Fourteen years later, I can tell you that was the best decision I made. God has been good to me and has restored the years that were stolen. He has taken me farther than I dreamed I could go, and has given me more joy than I could have imagined. 

Today, instead of focusing on the bottom, I like to focus on the good things He’s done for me. It’s no longer about where I was. It’s not about where I’m going, and it’s all because of who God is. Psalm 103:3 says, “Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me” (NLT). We need to all make the decision to quit reflecting on past failures and pains, and instead focus on the good things God does for us. I can tell you it made a difference in my life, and I’m sure it will make a difference in yours. 

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