Thoughts and Encouragement

posted: 11/1/2020

“The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. “ – 1 Corinthians 12:12

The body has many parts. What a comparison Paul makes to show us how we are to work together in harmony as those created in the image of the Almighty God. We have often applied this within the Church, looking at the differences that make up the whole, and talking about how that is supposed to work together.

Paul reminds us that a head cannot tell a foot it doesn’t belong. He reminds us that an eye cannot say to a hand, “I don’t need you.” And, we have taken this and applied it within our churches to say, “We are all different, but our mission is the same.” So where have we gone wrong?

We have lost sight of this teaching, both inside and outside of our churches. We are one body with many parts, but, it is not us who puts the body together – which is a good thing; seeing as most of us would like to make everyone else like us because then we would have the same opinions (Remember Paul’s warning: An eye cannot say to a hand, “I don’t need you.”). God is the one who puts the body together:

“So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.” – 1 Corinthians 12:24b-27

Not only did God put it together…He did it with extra honor and care for those who may not seem as significant. Wait, what? God gave extra care to those who were deemed to be lacking. What that says is that if your brother or sister is feeling like things are against them, down and out, “lacking” as the verse calls it, God gave a little extra care and honor to. Why? Because He was evening the odds, God intends for all to be on a level playing field.

If one part suffers, all parts suffer. If one honored, all are honored. A success of one is a success of the whole! Think of it this way. The Appendix is considered useless in many respects, also the Gall Bladder in some ways, both of them can be lived without, but they are part of the body. If either of them suffer, become sick, infected, inflamed, etc., the WHOLE BODY suffers. When they go bad, the body becomes ill and does not function well.

We can and do apply this in the church, but what about society? We are all a part of the whole. If one part suffers, we all feel that pain. Based on this scripture alone, we have the responsibility to stand with that part who is hurting, comforting them, because if they are suffering, so is the body as a whole. Jesus reached out to the marginal of society and showed them extra care because they were part of the body and that honor and care leveled the playing field.

Yes, we are individuals.

Yes, individuals make up the community.

Yes, we are all created in the image of the Almighty.

And yes, we are to love one another as we have been loved. Because, at one time or another, we were a part of that group that was lacking; we didn’t have it all together and we still don’t many times. And at those times, God reaches out and does a little bit extra to even the odds and bring us back up to where the rest of the whole is. Again, why would God spend a little more time and care to honor those who are lacking?

“This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. (v. 25)”

It brings us together. We should strive to be like Christ, it is what the name Christian means – to be Christ like. We should take the time to reach out to those who are hurting, no matter what their opinions are. Our example may be the opening the Holy Spirit needs to compel them to the Gospel message they so desperately need. “Love one another as I have loved you.” – John 15:12

Whatever your opinion on politics, social agendas, religion, etc. you should be loving others as you have been loved. We are called to love, not present our opinion and push others away because they do not agree with us.

It is best put this way:

“All of you together are part of Christ’s Body, and each of you is a part of it.” – 1 Corinthians 12:27

I challenge you, today; embrace not only the part you play, but others in their role, as we all make up the whole of the Body of Christ.

Do not let these times cause division and dissension among the Body. We are ALL a part of it. Let’s stop focusing on what divides us and focus on the larger picture of what brings us together. So what if you’re a Republican or Democrat, we are all American! So what if you are Baptist or Presbyterian, we are all Christians! Do not let our differences be the downfall of the Body of Christ.

posted: 6/6/2020

Just because I stand up and speak out against injustice does not mean that I support another form of injustice. It means that I recognize the wrong that was done and I am standing up and saying I cannot and will not support that; which is exactly what I say about the other injustice as well. (IE – Hate does not cure hate, Violence is not the answer, etc.)

Since when did showing the Love of God to those around you become a hate crime against any group of people? We as Christians have become slow to listen, quick to speak and quick to anger during these times. I have slowed down, listened to the hurts, and chosen the path of love to try and help those who are hurting regain some sense of hope in God’s people again. If that is a problem to you, please prayerfully reconsider that stance.

I will never stand for the use of violence to prove a point in a hateful and disgusting manner, but what is being said across the board is quite disgusting in it’s own right…especially from many who claim to be followers of Christ. Christian, RISE ABOVE HATE! Caring for your fellow man does not have to come with hating someone else. I choose to love all, because Christ loved all and instructed me to do the same. “This is my command to you, love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12)”

There is pure evil acting out during these times, the thing is it is being called out by those that many of you are so quick to judge and place the blame on. Watch and listen, really listen, and recognize that not everyone who is standing for what they believe in are instigating.

Let’s look at it this way, there are quite a few saying that we should support law enforcement because not all cops are bad, while completely trashing any form of peaceful protest, which is also as protected by the Bill of Rights as the meeting of the Church. So let them, the peaceful are not the cause of the problem. There are some who are joining in who are causing unrest and looking to cast the blame on others to continue to stir hatred rather than peace.

I recommend that rather than getting angry and lashing out, we humble ourselves and pray and turn from our own wicked way of hatred. Listen to the voices crying out from all sides (the voices of the meek, the humble, the broken…as well as the angry, delusional, etc.) We must be willing to set aside our own prejudices to recognize they are not helpful to bring peace. Prayer is the answer to much of what is causing us problems to day. Prayer for the hurting. Prayer for the broken. Prayer for those who wrong us. Prayer for the angry. Prayer for the enemies. Prayer for ALL, not just those who agree with your points of focus.

How do we expect anyone to see the LOVE of GOD in our actions when we have removed it so that we can throw our personal opinions and pointed attacks at them, all of which is based in our personal prejudices. Think about it. Please. This is the part we keep forgetting…

“If my people who are called by my name WILL HUMBLE THEMSELVES and pray, seek my face, and TURN from their wicked ways… (2 Chronicles 7:14a)”

“Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and HE will lift you up. (1 Peter 5:6)”

Humility begins by recognizing that we may not have it all figured out…we may not have all the answers…but God’s Word has the answers. It starts with our willingness to set aside anything that causes PRIDE within us.

“A person’s pride will humble him, but a humble spirit will gain honor. (Proverbs 29:23)”

Pride causes our prejudices, our prejudices cause our angry responses, and the snowball is rolling full-steam ahead.

Think of this:

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in HIS wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of HIS Glory and GRACE.”

posted: 4/4/2020

Something to think about: Why is it that we are having such a tough time right now?

For every one who thinks this is a small thing of worry, there is another who is worrying that exposure to the wrong person could be fatal.

For everyone who believes that everything will be ok, there is another who is worried about where their next meal will come from.

For every one that is not taking serious the warnings that are being made, there is another who is anxious and scared for what tomorrow will hold.

The toughest thing in all of this is that the seriousness of the situation depends on the perspective that each of us have. We have different views, different agendas, different worries, and different explanations of everything that is taking place.

What is so hard about this? It is in times like this that it becomes so hard to see past our own perspective to see just how difficult this may be on someone else. In some cases, because we are selfish and we only worry about how it affects us. In other cases, because we do not know the perspective someone else may have.

This is why it is so important for us to stop and think about what we are putting out there for others to see. What brings knowledge and understanding to one is also the cause of fear in another. What we intend to be helpful in hopefully understanding the circumstance better may cause more confusion for another.

This is also why we must be careful in our attitudes toward differing opinions. There are so many differing sources out there today that we can all come up with a good argument for our opinion, but that doesn’t mean that any of those is correct or incorrect.

It means that we must remember that for each one who has no worry about how this will play out, there is another worried about every little moment that goes by because of their elderly parent, their auto-immune compromised family members, or their own health issues.

We are all watching the situation from our own uniquely placed seat…which means we all have a different view of the action. I encourage each of us to take a step back and rather than spend time arguing about the situation…pray for a solution.

Pray for the single mother with two kids who is worried where the next meal might come from.

Pray for the man who has a 78 year old father with COPD who could find himself on death’s doorstep if this virus were to compromise his already broken body.

Pray for the child who wishes to be at school because it was the only normal they had.

Pray for the lonely, the broken, the compromised, and the weak; pray for the strong, the proud, the worrier, and the warrior.

We are all in this together, no matter the perspective, and we will all get through this together. We just have to be careful not to destroy those who are fighting beside us in this battle.

Pray for one another ….
Respect one another ….
Love one another ….

“This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand…Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.” – Ephesians 6:13, 18

posted: 3/23/2020

Social Media has become the new normal…for most everyone.  Churches are now broadcasting their services online in the wake of the situation we are facing…and as social media begins to become ever more important, so does the need for us as Christ followers to be the example. But how?

One post I have seen making its way around over the past few weeks has been is a small section of scripture in 2 Chronicles 7…and what caught my attention is the hope that we can have in this account of God’s conversation and promise to Solomon. It begins in v. 12:

“I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a temple of sacrifice. If I close the sky so there is no rain, or if I command the grasshopper to consume the land, or if I send pestilence on My people, and [if] My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.”

We all know this from how it typically gets shared on our social media and in our conversations, however, with a few of the words missing…

“If my people, who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray, then will I hear from Heaven and heal their land.”

Just doesn’t fit the same…sure the promise of the second version seems to sound a whole lot better for us as individuals…no sacrifice…but please hear me during this time of great uncertainty in the world…we must recognize that we need to take this whole section to heart at this time.  The comparisons to this present year are uncanny….”If I close the sky so there is no rain” … Australian Wildfires; “If I command the grasshopper (or commonly Locust) to consume the Land” … African Locust Infestation; and finally, “If I send pestilence on My people” … COVID-19 …

Is this talking about these exact events? I do not believe it is exactly, but given the similarities and the knowledge we have that History repeats itself…we can rest in knowing the next verse can apply to us as God’s people. However, it must be as a whole…not partial…

If My People, who are called by My name … US

Will Humble themselves and pray … drop the dividing lines and pride and be unified in prayer

SEEK MY FACE – Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God – Matthew 6:33

AND (not or, or maybe, etc) TURN from their WICKED Ways! – REPENT OF SIN

THEN – this is the key word…meaning all of this must happen before the next phase can be accomplished…

Will I hear from heaven and FORGIVE THEIR SINS and Heal their land….Forgiveness must come before the healing!

See how this works? TOGETHER…

There is not one part of this statement from God that can work alone in the lives of His children…we must SEEK Him for Repentance; we must REPENT to be forgiven; and the FORGIVEN find His HEALING in their lives. Why? Because there are no hindrances to the Grace and Mercy he can offer. They’ve been removed by dropping our pride in HUMILITY and repenting of our sins…we can get through this together…

We just need to pray! (oh…and take some time to ourselves)

posted: 3/15/2020

Over the past few days/weeks I have had a scripture that has echoed through my soul in such a way that I just can’t seem to shake it no matter what I try to do…that scripture comes from John 17:20-23.

I feel that this word is truly the heart of our Savior for us in this world…in His words…from His heart…

I ask that you prayerfully consider this today:

“I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word.  May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me.”

It has left me speechless…

I have found myself broken, but so full…

Completely blown away by what we seem to have missed as the Church today…

Christ, in the final moments of his earthly ministry, prayed for his disciples…and then, for those who would hear their message…

He then prayed for unity…that we would all be ONE, unified, joined together for a common cause…that cause? To show the world His glory…wait for it…that HE placed in US! How have we missed this? How have we as the church missed that Jesus prayer wasn’t for this program or that program in the Church…he simply prayed that we would be unified…together…

What does this mean? It means that Christ knew we are stronger as one cohesive unit rather than divided along denominational or party lines…maybe we should truly stop (which shouldn’t be too hard given current events) and reflect…repent…renew your dedication to the one who gave His life for you!  Come together and stop arguing over the small things….

Why? Because this unity that Christ prayed for…the coming together of the Church…that is what will show the world who Christ is…that God sent him…and ultimately that He loves them as much as He did Jesus..


and any who would come…

Because, “God is Love” – 1 John 4:8

posted: 2/14/2020

When I think about true love a couple things come to mind…first is the love that a man and woman share when it comes to marriage. It reminds me of a story that the AP ran in December of 1994 that I once read:

It was a wedding like none he had done before, and when the minister talked about the importance of giving, the bride smiled and groom could not hold back his tears.

The couple, with their patient ID bracelets on, Victoria Ingram and Randall Curlee tied the knot in a hospital chapel.

They were about to enter surgery together and she was set to give a kidney that could save his life. The 45 year-old Ingram believed she was doing nothing more than anyone would.

“If someone was in need, wouldn’t you give your kidney? He’s my pal. It’s our life,” the bride said of her new husband, surrounded by family and friends.

Her kidney likely saving her new husband from blindness, heart or blood vessel damage, and possible circulatory problems in his legs.

This giving love brings me to the second thought that comes to mind:

Jesus gave us more than a kidney. He gave his life for us, and, in doing so, He provided more than life—He gave us a life that is abundant and a life that is eternal. This life He gave we did not earn, nor is it one that we even deserved…yet one He gave freely.

In John 15 we see Jesus address this mindset in verses 12-17:

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. (John 15:12-17 ESV)

This is a command from Jesus, a love that is true. Jesus wishes for us to love each other with a love like He gave us…a love that is true and sacrificial. He tells us to love like He loved us…meaning we would die for one another. Meaning we would die for Him…so where do you stand today? Would you die for the cause of Christ? Would you die for one another?

Today, examine your heart; see if you would love others like Christ. Remember, He chose you…choose Him today!

posted: 12/14/2019

I’m sure that we all have a scar that we can look back on and remember exactly what happened for us to receive that token of memory, whether good or bad.  Those scars can range from the ones that were caused by a misadventure as a child, medical scars to remind us of a past illness/recovery that we had, scars from accidents that could have claimed our lives, or even scars on our hearts like the one left from the 9/11 tragedy.  Whatever the scar may be, we all remember it as a reminder of the place that we came from.

As I thought about scars, the scripture which has just poured over and over in my mind comes from Isaiah 53:4-6 in which it says:

“ 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (ESV)

This Old Testament scripture alludes to a New Testament Savior who takes away the sin of the world…our sin!

We have the cross to remind us of the debt that was paid to save us, and we have the scars in his hands, feet, and side to remind us of the blood that was shed for our salvation.

What do your scars remind you of?  What about the scars of Jesus?

As you continue through your day and week, remember this…the scars of Christ saved more than just one life….they saved the world!

posted: 10/21/2019

Rest is a key factor to our everyday lives, and it seems to be a common theme throughout the scriptures as you study throughout.  As I have printed before, being busy can really hamper our Christian growth as we move forward in our lives.

One of the central themes of many of the Psalms is rest.  Psalm 23 states that, “He makes me lie down in green pastures, He restores my soul.”   Psalm 95 paints the picture of a rest that is provided by God to His people:

“Oh come, let us worship and bow down;   let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work. For forty years I loathed that generation and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways.” Therefore I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter my rest.”” — Psalm 95:6-11 (ESV).

The rest that the Psalmist is speaking to is the rest that God promises us…a rest that can only be found in all out devotion to Him.

The Sabbath was set aside for rest under the law to give the people a day to reflect, relax, and renew themselves, but too many of us today run ourselves into the ground by letting ourselves over-commit our schedules.  The fast pace of today’s world has caused many to lose sight of the Lord in their lives.  We become too wrapped up in our plans to stop and see the plans that God has for us.

If we would take the time to rest, we would find a renewal of strength that only the Lord can provide.  We must humble ourselves to receive the blessings that God intends for us, but we must make sure that we are not too busy to see when they come our way.

I would like to encourage each of you to look deep into your heart and see where your priorities lie…

The only way for us to fully rest is to take the time to get to know our God, and the only way to do that is to read His word.   We have to fully immerse ourselves in the Word of God to really get to know Him. For that reason we need to get to know His Word so that we can make sure we are living the way we should, as well as making sure that we can discern the lies that the world will throw our way.

The importance of this rest is seen in Hebrews 3 and 4 where the writer explores the words of Psalm 95 and then details the importance of this rest.  As we look deeper into this topic, we see that we must find the time to relax and separate ourselves from the world to fully clear our minds.  Today, too many times, we find ourselves fully wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of life, filling our schedule with so much that we barely have time to sleep.

Rest is valued by God.  We see this in Genesis in the story of the Creation.  God worked for six days and rested on the seventh to sit back and reflect on all He had done, seeing that it was good.  God felt that rest was important, and it gave Him time to look over His work.  We should take this same approach to our lives.  If we never rest, we never have time to reflect on where we stand.

We see in Hebrews that those who do not rest will not find rest.  God places this rest as a way for us to renew and refresh, but if we do not help ourselves find this rest, we will never find the rest that God gives.

The writer of Hebrews reflects on the Psalmist’s words, “Today, If you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…”  He then recounts the story of Joshua and states that there is a Sabbath rest for the people of God, because anyone entering God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did.

The final plea comes in encouraging the Hebrews to enter that rest so that none will fall into disobedience.  The writer then proceeds to discuss the change in the old law, stating that Jesus is now our high priest.

14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV)”

Find your rest today, draw near to the throne of grace in full confidence and receive the blessings you need in your time of trouble.  We have everything we need in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

posted: 8/23/2019

“A glowing sort of witness, to know and to become;
reflections of true meanings of a life to come undone.
Which to see lost purpose in darkness of the heart;
caught in downward spirals of addictions to impart.
A glowing sort of witness, in lostness of to so tend;
reflections of true meanings as a life to seek an end.
Which to see lost purpose in darkness of the soul;
Caught in the downward spirals of never meant to know…”

— “Addictions,” J.D. Diller, 8:04 am, 12/21/2018

Sometimes blessings come in just the right moment for us to realize workings of God in others that we come across.  One such working that I have recently seen is the poetry of J.D. Diller, a local resident who strives to give as God leads. He supplies poetry to many folks who cross his path; including Law Enforcement and EMS workers.  I have been blessed to also have him bring many of his poetic verse, in no effort to be published, but many of them have struck a chord in such a way that I feel they need to be shared.

This is one of those poems.

It sparked thought within me about how many in our area face the battles of addiction – be it drugs, alcohol, or other destructive patterns of life…

Addiction can cause the life that we know to completely come undone at the seams, tearing us apart from the inside out. Addiction leads us to destroy ourselves silently – alone and broken.  This poem brought to mind the scripture in Romans 7, in which Paul states, “For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate. (v. 15)”

Sure, the things we are addicted to were “fun” and offered a release from the troubles of life when we began them; but as time passes by and dependency builds up, it can become a struggle that is complete with the conversation that we do not want to live the life we are living.  Unfortunately, we feel that there is no choice because we have become a slave to the thing we are addicted to…it controls us…it has taken the reins…

Paul goes on to say in verse 20, “Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one that does it, but it is the sin that lives in me.”

What can we do to break this pattern of addiction?

We are sinners and we all need saving!  There is not a one of us who is immune to the addiction of sin, whatever that sin may be. Once sin takes hold in our lives, it begins to grow as a cancer…it starts to dictate our nature, and unless we remedy the sin, we will remain captive to it.  Whether it be addiction to drugs and alcohol, or something we may consider as minor as telling a little lie in a moment of weakness; remember, that lie can become 1,000 in a moment…the only true redemption we can find is through the blood of Christ.

I challenge you today – recognize the addictions in your life! If you do not realize it is an addiction that is separating you from the love of God, take inventory of the things you turn to and the battle it brings; then ask the Savior for the freedom from those chains. Ask for HIS amazing grace to take hold and free you!  There is only one answer…that answer is Jesus Christ!

posted: 06/20/2019

When you hear the name Elijah, most likely the first thing that comes to mind is that he was a prophet in the Old Testament; some may even go so far as to remember that he was taken up in a chariot of fire and did not face death on this earth. But it isn’t this testament to his faith in that God took him home in that way that I want to focus on … in fact, I want to focus on how he handled one particular circumstance that many of us may have missed along the way.

Elijah prayed for God to close the heaven’s, and God answered by not allowing it to rain for 3 ½ years…but still, this is not the part of the story we need to understand as Christians…it’s what happened at the end of the drought that I believe can guide us in our lives today.  The faith Elijah had was unmatched in his day, because he knew that God would answer his prayers…and he did not give up until he got that answer.

After 3 ½ years, Elijah began to pray for God to open the heavens and send rain…and he had faith it would happen….so he prayed and sent an assistant to see if clouds were forming, the answer, “no”, and he could have stopped there, but he didn’t.  Elijah prayed over and over, persistently and passionately that God would hear his cry, and on the 7th time the assistant returned and said, “There is a cloud!”

“There is a cloud!”

This was an exclamation of an answered prayer…until we look at it in today’s terms, would we have the faith that Elijah and his assistant did to believe that the cloud that was seen was something that could produce rain?  It was the size of a man’s hand…something small, seemingly insignificant, and honestly could have been easily missed if we were not focused on seeing even the smallest of blessings in front of us.  But they saw it and exclaimed, “There is a cloud!”

This followed by Elijah issuing a warning to the king to clear the area and save everything before the rains came…all over a little six inch cloud…a SIX INCH CLOUD! How is your faith today? Would you have had the faith to exclaim, “There is a cloud!”?

Are you looking for even the smallest of blessings that can grow into larger ones? Are you seeing the first signs of God’s provision in your life? Are you focused enough to see that little six inch cloud that is about to become a blessing?

Where is your focus today? Are you praying persistently and fervently? Can you say, “There is a cloud”?

“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” – James 5:16

posted: 12/12/2018

Put yourself in Joseph’s shoes, what do you do when the woman you are promised to marry comes to you and says she is pregnant? Joseph did what he knew could be done and began to seek a way to drop Mary with little to no fuss and quietly end things with her. What would you do in that situation? He was visited by an angel that encouraged him to stay and raise the Son of God.

Many of us would likely have trouble being faithful through something like this, we would struggle with the knowledge that the child that Mary is carrying is not my child. I know what she said but I can’t marry her like this. Joseph exemplified true faith in trusting God to provide.

Who was this child and exactly how important is He to us as Christians? It brings us back the the lyrics of the traditional Christmas hymn, “What Child is This?”. Take aloof at the lyrics:

“What child is this, Who lay to rest On Mary’s lap is sleeping Whom angels greet with anthems sweet While shepherds watch are keeping.

So bring him incense, gold and myrrh Come peasant king to own him The King of Kings salvation brings Let loving hearts enthrone him.”

Who is this child of Christmas? What can he do for us? Come bring, gifts and bow down to worship Him.

“This, this is Christ the King Whom shepherds guard and angels sing Haste, haste to bring him laud The Babe, the Son of Mary”

This child came to the earth for many reasons and we can answer the question of what Child this is by looking at four things:

No person has had more impact on history than Jesus Christ. It is undeniable that He lived and walked in the land of Judea and Israel almost 2000 years ago.

–He is the visible image of the invisible God. He is God in a person. You want to know what God is like? Look to Jesus. The fullness of God dwells in Him.

–He is also the Creator of all creation. He holds all creation together. It is His masterpiece. Creation reveals the greatness of God.

–He is the Savior who saves us from our sins. He came to reconcile us with God.

–He is the head of the church. He is to the church what the head is to the body.

Once you know who He is, you have a choice–a decision to make. It’s the biggest one ever–to trust Him as your Savior and Lord or to reject Him. Who is Jesus? The Bible is clear, but the important thing for you is, do you believe it?


As we approach the Christmas season I want to look at some songs of the season and truly look into the meaning of Christmas for us all. First I’d like to look at the hymn ‘Away in a Manger’. This is such a simple song, but the message is one that is deeper than many may realize.

“Away in a manger, no crib for His bed; the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head. The stars in the sky looked down where He lay, the little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

“The cattle are lowing, the poor babe awakes; but little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes. I love Thee Lord Jesus, look down from the sky, and stay by my cradle ’til morning is nigh.

“Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay, close by me forever and love me I pray. Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care; and take us to heaven to live with Thee there.”

The words are simple, and like ‘Jesus Loves Me,’ is a song that is taught to children, this around the Christmas season. The beauty of this hymn is that it lets us in on the true meaning of Christmas, a baby, born in a stable, laid in a manger because there was no room for Him. It embraces our story today as well…because too many times we fail to make room for him in our hearts. We find ourselves in a situation where we push him out to the parts of our lives that seem dirty and unworthy of the King of kings to be.

The lyrics paint a picture of peace that comes through a Savior that was born in the humblest of circumstances. A Savior who came to save the world and make a way for His people to achieve salvation. If we can begin to look at it in this way we will see the scriptures come to life right before our eyes. This song speaks of more than a baby in a feeding trough, it speaks of ‘A Way’ in a Manger.

A way for us to achieve salvation, a way for us to come to God, a way for us to feel happy about life, a way for us to find peace and fulfillment. Jesus even said later, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6),” and we are the ones who receive the gift that was given that first Christmas morning.

This Christmas, take the time to focus on the Way that came in a manger on that day. The way to eternal life came in a Bethlehem stable. Jesus is THE WAY in a Manger.

posted: 11/15/2018

I know that many struggle at times with uncertainty in their lives. Uncertainty of where they are, how they got there, and even what to do to get out. One common misconception when it comes to struggling with difficulty is that we have a sin in our life that has caused it. This doesn’t have to be the case; in fact, I would venture to say that in most cases it is not the situation at all.

Take a look at the book of Job if you don’t believe me. Early in the book we find that the devil felt that Job was successful in life and able to serve God because he had everything going for him:

“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.” – Job 1:8-12 (ESV)

We see a couple of things in this passage that I want to focus on this week. First, that we do not necessarily have to have a sin in our life as a reason for why things are seemingly going wrong in our lives; it could be that Satan has taken notice of us because of our relationship with God. The next thing we see is that God will allow the testing of our faith, but will not allow us to be harmed in the process.

If you are following the will of God you will get the attention of Satan, because he can’t stand for someone to follow the will of God. Satan will leave you alone if you are already out of God’s will because he doesn’t need to work to get you where he wants you, but someone who is striving to live a life that is pleasing to God, as was the case for Job, will grab Satan’s attention and he will do what he can to try and cause you distress.

We can hold on to hope today in our suffering that we will be taken care of by God, and He will not allow us to be harmed. God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11 holds true in the story of Job, and will hold true in our story as well. God looks after His children, and no matter what trial we are facing, we have a promise today that it will not be something that will harm us. It may hurt when we lose a loved one, it may sting if we lose a job, and it may seem like our world is upside-down when life seems to slap us in the face, but according to scripture, all of these things build our perseverance and lead us into a joyous life with God.

The beauty of the promise is that we are given a hope and a future. We see that Job was doubly blessed in the end, and we can know that God will do the same for us. He will make our trials a blessing. We must learn to praise him through the storms in our life and take every opportunity to thank Him for the trials that are molding us into who He wants us to be. Today, take the chance to ask God to show you ways you can praise Him through the tough times in life, because, it is the tough times where we can see that there are better days ahead.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)

posted: 10/22/2018

I have been thinking lately about the simple life of Mayberry that we see on the Andy Griffith Show.  What happened to the days where we could be a community, where folks trusted one another, where people enjoyed a good church service and a get together where they weren’t afraid to sing praises to our Lord. What happened to these days?

We live in a time of corruption; we live in a time where folks have turned their back on the old way of life.  Many seem to have forgotten where we come from.

Looking back to Mayberry, I think we can all see a way that life could be simpler for us.  We must learn to trust the Lord and trust one another again.  The problem is, no one cares these days if they are trustworthy.  People are too busy trying to look out for themselves and forget to look out for one another.  We forget that we are to be praying for one another.  We forget that we are to be showing the love of Christ to others and we forget that we need to band together as a community.

Ephesians 5:15-21 tells us about what has happened to our way of thinking:

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

We must watch out for our steps, we must guard our actions, but we must also watch out for each other today.  We can’t be afraid to allow God to work in our lives.  We don’t have to miss Mayberry today, we can pray and get ourselves back to those days.  There is nothing wrong with the old way of life. What is wrong is our perspective.

I encourage you today to think back to how things used to be and see what changed.  I guarantee you that you are the one who has changed, the Savior is the same yesterday, today and forever.

posted: 10/19/2018

A verse that has always been a strong part of my life, and I know has also been a favorite for many is Isaiah 40:31 which states, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

This verse was a favorite of both of my parents, as well as a verse that became a major part of my life because of the meaning that we see in it.  “But they that wait upon the Lord…” is a promise for each of us.  If you can be patient and wait on the Lord’s timing things will fall into place.

To me, this is saying, wait on what God has for you; do not try to pursue a life that may not be within the realm of His calling.  Do not try to force his hand and jump head first into something without prayer and application of the scripture.  God wants us to wait for His timing so that His work in us can be made perfect.

This verse continues with the promise, “…shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles…” We shall mount up as eagles if we just wait.  We may be worn down and ready to give up because we just don’t understand what is taking so long sometimes, but today I encourage you to wait.  Wait because our strength will be renewed; our strength will be restored…we will be lifted up.

We will run and not be weary and walk and not faint…nothing can overtake us when we are patient with the Lord and wait upon his timing.  God has a plan for us today, and when we are patient and wait for that fulfillment we will be blessed; we will be restored; we will feel renewal.  Revival happens when we ask the Lord to move and wait on His move rather than pursue it with our own motives.

Fly like an eagle today, wait on the strength the Lord will provide and mount up with wings like an eagle.  Fly majestically and beautifully through the plans of the Lord in your life while pursuing Him and His timing.  Spread your wings and embrace all that He has for you today and allow Him to complete His work in you in His way and His time.

If we today can be patient, waiting for the Lord while working to live a life worthy of His calling on us, we will soar above all that will come our way.  Nothing will be able to pull us to the ground, we will rise above it all and become what He wants us to be, all because we were willing to be patient and trust in His plans.  Today, you can fly like an eagle if you put your trust in Him.