Category Archives: Devos
As you may know, our church has a Christian school. Today is the annual Jog-a-thon Fundraiser. This is where kids have gathered pledges for participation and/or laps run. Investment in this day is not only expected, but fun for all the participants and volunteers who help.
There’s something about running.
Running not only wears you out, but it makes you stronger — how does THAT work, right?
In the spiritual lifestyle, we MUST run! We MUST get stronger in order to make it to the end. And the big thing about running the spiritual life for God’s Kingdom is to keep Jesus in FOCUS. And to RUN!! And to NOT GIVE UP!
If you’ve been around this faith life, this is a FUNDAMENTAL — you already know this. But do you actually DO this? Do you actually have a dietary spiritual theme in YOUR life that includes this? It is truly a challenge for EVERY BELIEVER.
Prepare to RUN — get those special shoes on, get up early, discipline yourself, and by all means – DON’T BE LAZY — “Just Do It!”
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9
I love to plan, dream, and imagine what God can and will do through my gifts and influence in ministry. And He actually designed me to do this. I am prompted and sometimes mandated in scripture to “flow in my gifts.”
When I think back to the lives that have been changed as a result of being obedient to my gifts and callings, it is so humbling. TO GOD BE THE GLORY, right?
Note this: In EVERY CASE where I have helped someone see God more clearly — there is ALWAYS a point where HE DETERMINES what happens next. It’s a personal decision to move forward in faith — or not — and when one does move forward, it is GOD, not ME that thrusts them into the strong direction of HIS ULTIMATE PLAN.
Our responsibility, dreams, organization, and gifts — turn into GOD DIRECTED STEPS. Pray right now to get out of the way and listen to the Holy Spirit’s ultimate — and sometimes last minute (re)direction and then watch GOD astound — YOU.
The inconsistency of the NFL Referees has once again become the conversations of this week. (Pittsburg Steelers vs. Green Bay Packers) And though I’m those who are on the fields are trying to do their best, something is surely lacking.
We know what this feels like, right? If you have a chance, check out the first chapter of the Book of James in the Bible.
Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. ~ James 1:8
When we come together in the corporate sense to a church service, we must remember — It is not made up of AUDIENCE, PERFORMERS, and DIRECTORS. It is not a show and was never meant to be a show.
We get it wrong so often, WE are not the AUDIENCE, God is!
Here are a few bullet points from today’s talk on WORSHIP.
When I think about WHO GOD IS AND WHAT HE’s Done?
- I have only ONE RESPONSE.
- That response is not just 20 minutes of song, but my very life!
MY ONLY REASONABLE RESPONSE IS WORSHIP
Hebrews 12:28-29 …since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe . . .
Thoughts: When is the last time you’ve been speechless before the presence of God? When you have been overwhelmed by His presence — because He is so big and so good and so loving and so holy and so pure and so righteous?
Remember, God gives someone righteousness who is like filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6) He (GOD) is our AUDIENCE of ONE and we worship Him with REVERENCE AND AWE!
. . . for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28-29
Presidents promise hope. But so do school teachers, great explorers, and great speeches.
Throughout humanity, people bring us hope through their words. But hope without purpose is somewhat empty. You can accomplish many goals in life and it can still be meaningless. That’s why God gave us HIS WORD!
We can desire to win a race, raise good children, or move into our dream home. Ultimately TRUE HOPE in life can still be missed.
The most powerful message is out there. It is found in the SON OF GOD! Jesus came to RESTORE us to our heavenly Father — and that message comes very clear when you begin to explore the words found in the Bible.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus addressed this issue of the heart to a the woman at the well who had many questions about life, too.
John 4:13-14 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
I encourage any reader to find out what it means to pursue a “relationship” with Jesus.
I have personally found that living my life with these Bible teachings in place has changed my life’s goals. Hope is now woven into every day of my life!
I love this picture I took at Alcatraz. First, any operating table has so many stories. Then, you can add a multiple to this — it is at a maximum security prison. To have surgery here is to perhaps extend your life to what? For many more days in prison!
Plus, no family or friends would have been present here.
Plus, the sounds and smells of a prison are constantly in the background.
Plus, you must feel like just another number.
I thank God that no matter where we are — when we need surgery, physical or spiritual, he is THERE! And not only is our heavenly Father present (ever present), there is a love and security that brings us peace and hope.
So look at this picture, and then remember that YOU are AN IMPORTANT part of GOD’S PLAN.
Allow God to OPERATE on your SOUL and know that HE IS GOOD!
Come back to the place of safety,all you prisoners who still have hope!
I promise this very day that I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles. Zechariah 9:12 (NLT)
Two very different scenarios happened in NFL Football today. Did you watch the games?
Game ONE: San Francisco Giants vs. New Orleans Saints.
Game TWO: Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots.
Game one was exciting — a nail-biter, and VERY FUN to watch. Neither team gave up, and it required us to watch until the end.
Game two was boring — and I didn’t want to watch very much after the first half. It was truly one-sided.
When we are going through a WALK WITH GOD, the challenge is to NOT LOOK at the SCORE along the way. We must stay in the race, stay in the “competition” lest we fall.
Don’t get bored, God MAY be developing some very strong character in you. HE is on your side — UNTIL THE END! So stand firm, and don’t forget to keep fighting for YOUR VERY LIFE!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us . . . Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)
Got a promise God has given to you?
19 And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20 By his death,t Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. 21 And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Have you ever wanted to know God? I mean, really KNOW Him? If you do, it will take a lot of time. Knowing God is much more than a simple hike in the mountains, soaking in a sunset, or running in the rain. All those things are romantic, emotional, and refreshing. But there is so much more to it, isn’t there.
If you want to strengthen your faith, a formula exists. It has been proven over much time and by the millions. You gain faith by READING the BIBLE. Yes, reading it a lot!
Many people KNOW a ton about Harry Potter, the Twilight series, even Star Wars or Jaws. I’ve “put in my time” with the Rocky movies and can talk about him with the best of them.
When it comes to IDENTIFYING with CHRIST, we must absorb and then practice. Study – to SHOW yourself approved and then realize that you were created to do great things for the cause of Jesus.
Ummm…. it LOOKS like something. A changed life lives it’s values OUT LOUD. I challenge you to allow God to change YOU!
“One of the marks of our modern time is the fact that many are guilty of merely “nibbling” at the truth of the Christian gospel. If the cross of Jesus Christ means what it should to us and we know that we must carry it and die on it and then rise and live above it, we will have a constant desire to advance and gain spiritual ground.”
- A.W. Tozer, Day By Day
THE MEDAL OF HONOR! One of the greatest awards that our nation gives has incredible history.
Honor is empowering inspiring. There are people in my life who I often take for granted. If you ask me straight up, I would be quick to tell you how much I appreciate not only what these ones I love DO, but WHO THEY ARE. Unfortunately, I get caught up in my own little world way too often.
I will miss her this weekend. She is once more spreading her wings in ministry. It seems that not only being a singer-song writer is natural, but so is speaking. She will be the featured guest speaker — 3 messages — at a retreat at Lake Tahoe. Under that beautiful backdrop — and disconnection from technology — God will challenge nearly 100 women.
So, THANK YOU, Ginger for being MY inspiration! Today, I would like to honor YOU! I am praying for changed lives and stories of spiritual victories as a result of your inspiration.
When it comes to seeking the Lord, what do YOU do? I am in that season right now. I need wisdom, understanding, direction, and inspiration. Actually, I am calling all of our church to do just that, too.
We will begin with a 21 day fast. A time of sincere “setting-aside-a-time-and-place” to all God to speak in to our lives. We need to hear our loving Father through His Scripture and through the Holy Spirit.
Right now I just want to change to be more like Christ, to see new things, to embrace those precious people He created to work beside me. His WORKMANSHIP. Tell me, if you had a time that was a springboard to something spiritually new … what was it for you? Share you story in the comments, ok?
We may walk by them all the time. People that have a blank expression and are not communicating their hurts and pains. When we read about the “Good Samaritan” in the Bible, the obvious moral of the story is to help others when they are in need. And to notice them. And to invest in them. And to come back and check on them later. Not many actually cry out or sound like they need you — but they do. They are all around you! It may surprise you who they are — but look into their eyes — just slow down a little and use your God-given gifts to minister the LOVE of JESUS. Do it TODAY.
36 “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.
41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. 42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.
44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
Arguments, politics, discussions, conversations. Many times we have such pride wrapped up in these things that we MUST win no matter the cost. And, believe me, many times we are wrong!
That’s why it is important to me when I read the Bible to try to understand the context as well as the message. Is it historical information, is it a moral principle, a promise, a challenge, or is it inspirational?
I don’t want to get so caught up in ARGUMENT that I miss the MESSAGE. Hmmmm….
Oh, check out Proverbs 16:18.
In my devotional time today I heard this statement:
“We are not philosophers living on man’s explainations;
We are Pilgrims living on God’s PROMISES!“
His promises never fail.
Merrium-webster.com states the definition of rhetoric this way:
Main Entry: rhet·o·ric Pronunciation: \ˈre-tə-rik\
… 1: the art of speaking or writing effectively: as a: the study of principles and rules of composition formulated by critics of ancient times b: the study of writing or speaking as a means of communication or persuasion 2 a: skill in the effective use of speech b: a type or mode of language or speech ; also : insincere or grandiloquent language …
In a time where politicians parse words, we must skillfully listen, analyze, and use wise judgment. Context is EVERYTHING and historical evidence aids us in decision making.
That’s one reason I love God’s word, the Bible. Even though it is not a history book, per se, it is filled with history. But even then, the context of the writers point to one thing. It leads to the plan of salvation, how to be forgiven from our sins.
I challenge anyone reading this blog to explore the words of the Bible — in CONTEXT. You will learn that Jesus lead a sinless, blameless life and took upon Himself the sins of the world for our forgiveness. Through God’s plan we can be forgiven.
This fundamental message has changed my life. I’m far from perfect, but my journey is AWESOME — because by being forgiven, my faith keeps me moving forward with a perspective on life that has a promise.
Read John 3, read Romans 10, read 1st John, then go to Jeremiah 29:11. You will find that Jesus has a love beyond our pre-conditions — in fact it’s unconditional.
It makes sense that you can gain wisdom through research. That research becomes overwhelming and seeming infinite when it comes to the World Wide Web. We have Wikipedia, Google, Yahoo! search, and many ways to find information.
This is what millions of people do on an hourly basis throughout the world.
Economy in trouble? I’m sure you can find a lot of opinions and answers. What about grilling a steak? Yes, you can find that too. Philosophy? Psychology? Scientific research? Sociology? It’s all out there.
What about how to discipline or raise a child? You can find that, too. How to survive a divorce? 5,890,000 results on Google today.
But what about the wisdom that comes from God?
First, no matter what, if you want your faith to increase and to get solid foundational answers about God, you should read the Bible. Wisdom and information pours out of it. Although it is historical, the Bible is not a “History” book, per se. (I think that’s the first time I ever wrote out the phrase per se ;-) )
The intent of the Bible was to point to Jesus, the one way to be made right with God. See Romans 10 and Hebrews for more clarity about that. Anyhow, we can gain wisdom by spending time in God’s Word, the Bible.
Second, we can ask God for wisdom.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. – James 1:5 (NIV)
Don’t be afraid to pray and ask God to help you … and us as a nation. We could all use a little more wisdom. So take a little time and invest your life in learning — and — asking!
On September 28, 2008 learn how to BREAK FREE! Or help someone else BREAK FREE from addictions. More information at RestoringHope.com, the Central Assembly in El Sobrante, California website.
Here’s a very brief excerpt of the message notes from the September 21, 2008 message on WORRY:
Perhaps they will be a help to you or a friend you have. Remember, ALL THINGS are POSSIBLE with God!
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
…Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Matthew 6:25
STOP THE STRANGLE-HOLD OF WORRY
1) I WILL DO WHAT GOD ASKS ME TO DO.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22
• Think on the right things.
• Do what is wise.
2) I WILL GIVE GOD WHAT I CANNOT DO.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
3) NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, I WILL TRUST GOD.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself… Matthew 6:33-34
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
Here’s a very brief excerpt of the message notes from the September 14, 2008 message on BITTERNESS:
Perhaps they will be a help to you or a friend you have. Remember, ALL THINGS are POSSIBLE with God!
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Heb 12:14-15
1) Justify their bitterness.
2) Become overly critical.
3) Secretly celebrate misfortunes.
4) Write-off entire groups of people.
5) Struggle to see bitterness in the mirror.
Question: WITH WHOM OR WHAT WHAT ARE YOU BITTER?
HOW DO YOU KILL THE ROOT OF BITTERNESS?
Pull the roots . . .
KILL BITTERNESS WITH FORGIVENESS.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Eph 4:31-32
When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan.
Proverbs 29:2 (NLT)
When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.
Proverbs 29:2 (ESV)
When good people run things, everyone is glad, but when the ruler is bad, everyone groans.
Proverbs 29:2 (MSG)
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.
Proverbs 29:2 (NKJV)
When the [uncompromisingly] righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked man rules, the people groan and sigh.
Proverbs 29:2 (AMP)