On Wings Of Eagles

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Friday, May 31, 2019


Psalm 112:9 (ESV)
He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor;
    his righteousness endures forever;
    his horn is exalted in honor.

One of the things I love about this man in Psalm 112 is that he clearly lives a life that goes well beyond himself. When it says, “he has dispersed abroad,” it speaks of one whose life has a far-reaching and wide-ranging impact on others.

There are those who never seem to move forward in life because their vision is small. Instead of continuing to grow and expand their life, they prefer to be a big fish in a small pond. In doing so, they limit their own potential. The Bible says: “Where there is no vision, the people perish...” (Proverbs 29:18)

Having a dream or specific goal will add direction and purpose to your life. Jesus knew He was born for the cause of God’s Kingdom and understood that His connection to the world revolved around that cause. You and I are also born for the cause, which involves living a life with influence that goes well beyond ourselves.

It is easy to get caught up in the stress and pressure of everyday life, working to pay the bills and to put food on your table. But with a big-hearted spirit, you will begin to think about dispersing abroad in terms of what you can do for others, and putting food on many other tables.

It is impossible to have a vision that is bigger than God’s plans for your life. His plans are HUGE. As God blesses your life, keep expanding and looking beyond yourself to bless others and build His Kingdom.

What’s your dream? What’s your vision?  It’s impossible for you to have a dream or vision too big for God. He wants to bring those dreams to life and build His Kingdom through you!

Dear Lord, we thank You for the things You have given to us. We pray that our vision would be to use those things to help others. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, May 30, 2019


Psalm 112:3 (ESV)
Wealth and riches are in his house,
    and his righteousness endures forever.

Another promise of God is that wealth and riches will be in your house. I know there are those who would be more comfortable if the verse said wealth and riches will be in his heart rather than in his house. They are the ones who wrestle with the fact that abundance is the promise of God for their lives.

A friend of mine once had a conversation with a pastor who criticized this kind of thinking and yet shared how desperate their church was for a youth pastor, but lacked the necessary funds to hire one. You see, without money, it’s hard (as a ministry, a business, a family) to fulfill the Kingdom endeavors that are in your heart.

Some Christians struggle with the idea of being blessed because they presume that wealth and greed are the same thing, but they are not. Our Heavenly Father, like any loving parent, does not mind if His children are financially blessed. But bear in mind that wealth and riches are just one aspect of an abundant life — it goes further than material goods. John wrote: “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 1:2).

A truly prosperous person desires the fullness of God in every area of their life and understands that God wants to bless them so they can bless others. As Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

God wants you to prosper in every area of your life, both physically and spiritually. He rejoices in blessing you because out of the abundance of His life flowing through you, you can bless others!

Dear Lord, we pray that we would be prosperous in everything we do so that we may be able to help those that You bring into our life. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019


Genesis 12:2 (ESV)
And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.

“Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who fears (reveres and worships) the Lord” is the way the Amplified Bible (AMPC) translates the first verse of Psalm 112.

Throughout the Bible, God consistently promises to bless His people, but His blessing also depends on our choices. He puts two clear choices before people: “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

The book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament contains a list of blessings and a list of curses which were directly linked to whether one chose to obey or disobey the commandments of the Lord. You can read these in Deuteronomy 28:1-14, but understand that to choose life with God is to choose a blessed life. God’s will is always to bless you, but if you think His blessing is entirely for you, you are missing the point.

The blessing of God in your life should go well beyond your own existence. God told Abraham that He would bless him, but the purpose of blessing him went far beyond his own life. This is what God said:

“I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2).

The purpose of God’s blessing is to enable you to be a great channel of blessing to others. If you have nothing, there is nothing you can do for anyone else; if you have a little, you can only help a little; but if you have plenty, there is a whole lot you can do. When you are blessed, you have a mighty foundation from which to impact others. You are blessed to be a blessing.

Dear Lord, we pray that we would take the blessing You gave us and be a blessing to those around us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Praise The Lord

Psalm 112:1 (ESV)
Praise the Lord!
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
    who greatly delights in his commandments!

Praise the Lord! Within those three words is the powerful beginning and foundation of a blessed life. It starts with knowing who God is and praising Him.

Praise is always a starting point.  It means thankfulness — that is why we give thanks before a meal and start church with songs of praise.  Jesus began to thank God before Lazarus was raised from the dead, and Moses praised God before He parted the Red Sea. Human nature likes to wait until after an answer is received, but blessing begins with praise.

The Word of God tells us to “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise” (Psalm 100:4). Yet praising the Lord is not limited to singing a few songs once a week in a church service. Worship is a lifestyle that embraces the entire spectrum of life.

You can praise God at any hour of the day, seven days a week — in the car, the shower or the middle of night. It isn’t about singing a particular hymn or reciting a prayer — it’s about a relationship with your Heavenly Father who loves and cares for you.

People have different ideas of what God is like, and they communicate with Him according to their perception. Those who think He is rigid and austere keep their distance. Others, who see Him as formal and stiff, usually approach Him in the same way. Yet those who know Him as Father and Friend enjoy the blessing of a close, intimate relationship with Him — where you can call on Him anytime. No matter what situation you may be in, you are never alone.

Circumstances can begin to turn around when you start praising God. Not only does praise put Him in focus, but it also causes you to see things from a whole new perspective.

Praising God is more than a ritual or one-time event. It’s a lifestyle of worship — it enables you to place your focus on God, and it changes your perspective of the circumstances around you. So go forth today in your God-given calling with this declaration as your foundation:

“Praise the Lord!”

Dear Lord, we praise You! Thank You for all that You do for us.  Help us to live our life with Praising You as our foundation.  In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day 2019

John 15:12-14 (ESV)
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.

Memorial Day is a day that is set aside to remember, and honor, our brave soldiers who have given their lives to protect our land and keep us free.  It began as a day to honor our Civil War dead, but after World War I, it was expanded to include our war dead from all the wars in which America was involved. 

Our country has fought in 12 major wars.  In every one of these cases, we have asked the young people of our nation to be willing to give their lives in the name of freedom (for us and others in foreign lands.)    The sacrifices these young men and women have made can never be totally comprehended nor can they be repaid by us.

Just stop and think about a little of what these wonderful young people have given up for us.  At the very least, they have given years of their life, time away from their families, to serve their country which they love. They have given us any chance of setting down “roots”, having to move from base to base once every 3 to 4 years.   Many will be physically disabled the rest of their life, having the use of one or more of their limbs taken from them.   Scores have been mentally disabled resulting in them being unable to handle day to day living.   And thousands upon thousands have given the ultimate sacrifice, their life, so that we can continue to enjoy our lives living safely in a land of freedom.

We can never begin to understand what they went through, and are continuing to go through, all because they love their nation and the freedoms, we take for granted every day.  We can never begin to repay them and their families for the sacrifices they have made for us.  It seems as if saying “Thank You” just isn’t enough.

On this Memorial Day weekend, let us remember the brave soldiers who have so unselfishly given of themselves for us.   Let’s not only appreciate their actions but then take steps to help these veterans and their families whenever and wherever we can.

But also this weekend, let us remember the Lord Jesus Christ and all that He has done for us so that we might be saved from the eternal punishment for our sins.  And then out of appreciation for His works, let us give ourselves for others, obeying the perfect law of Christ…

Dear Lord, we are so grateful for those who gave everything so that we could have the freedoms we have.   Thank You for giving Your life so that we could have eternal life. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Believing God's Goodness

Philippians 1:6 (ESV)
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

I'm learning that I will never be able to trust God if I don't believe that He is good! I will never believe that He is good if I don't ultimately believe that He is always motivated by love. I will only trust God to the degree that I know and perceive Him.

Recently the Lord has begun to open my heart and give me the grace to fully trust Him. At first, believing that I am truly "free in Christ" felt reckless and irresponsible! However, I'm finding a freedom that I've never known, and it's come through arriving at the end of myself and confessing to the Holy Spirit, "I can't do this! I am incapable of fixing myself! I cannot raise myself upright! Jesus, YOU have to do it." I feel like the pressure is off, and I'm just learning to BE and to REST!

Dear Lord, thank You for working in us to make us complete. Help us to trust You completely. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Freedom in Christ

Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.

For years, I've been in a season of tremendous stretching!  I received a word of wisdom from a friend of mine. He said, "Ron, the word is TRUST." I've discovered that I've lived with a vicious cycle in my life of wanting to trust and trying to force myself to trust out of sheer willpower, but then ultimately sliding back into the trap of fear, ultimately feeling defeated and hopeless.

I am really working on learning about God's grace! Learning about His grace is changing my life. Understanding that He is love and that I'm not separated from Him has changed me! I'm experiencing a freedom that I've never known. I feel like I'm relearning the good news of the Gospel, which is the fact that Jesus has already entered into our realm of existence and is eager to participate in our journey of healing and wholeness. He's already come into the middle of our storms and messes and says, "I'll walk with you if you let me."

I want to encourage you today; instead of exhausting yourself on the treadmill of performance, try crawling up into the lap of Jesus, and let go!

Dear Lord, give us a revelation in our heart today that knows You are good!  When we get weary and worried help us to rest in Your peace. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Living by Faith

James 2:17 (ESV)
So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

The Christian life is all about FAITH. Hebrews 11 says, "faith is being sure of what we hope for, and knowing something is real even if we do not see it." I love this verse because it always brings me comfort when I am in the midst of a season where I'm finding it difficult to hold on. When God has called us to do something, we must believe and act on it. I believe that God delights in those who will follow the call He's placed in the heart, and risk the comfort of everyday life for the Kingdom's sake.

The easiest thing for us to do is doubt. As an emotionally driven people, we often find ourselves in peaks and valleys, caught between hope and despair. It seems as if the journey of life is a constant rollercoaster of highs and lows. It seems that even when we want to move forward with confidence, our flesh continuously wants to resort to the comfort of what we can see, feel, and physically grasp. This can be extremely frustrating because we want to see results and the fruits of our labor quickly.

Are you in a season right now where you feel like nothing exciting is happening for you? Are you feeling alone, hopeless, or discouraged? I have been there and know the feeling! Let me offer you the hope that keeps me going. Jeremiah 29:11 states, "I know the plans that I have for you...plans to prosper you...to give you a future and a hope." If you are feeling discouraged today and are having a hard time believing, just know that God is closer to you than you know.

He is using this season right now to stretch, bend, purify, and refine you into a warrior for the Kingdom. Like grapes that get crushed and pressed and eventually turn into beautiful wine, so our character and faith after the Lord puts us through His refining process. This may require some crushing, pressing, filtering out the junk, and even sitting for a while to mature, but in due season, it's our time to be released! God has a plan for you, and it's probably just around the corner! BELIEVE IT!

Dear Lord, we thank You that no matter what season we are in You are here with us. Help us to be the warrior for You and Your kingdom. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

It’s Okay to Question God

Matthew 27:41-47 (ESV)
41 So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42 "He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, 'I am the Son of God.'" 44 And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way. 45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" 47 And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, "This man is calling Elijah."

If you’ve ever experienced trauma, you can relate to feelings of anxiety and abandonment. Questioning God in times of crisis does not necessarily indicate a person’s lack of faith. On the contrary, it can actually reflect a sense of hope that God cares and is present with us in our pain.

On the cross, Jesus experienced cruel ridicule and mockery. His accusers scoffed at his claim to be the Son of God with a smug certainty that God didn’t care enough to rescue such a blasphemer. In his humanity, even Jesus pleaded with his Father in hopes that he might escape his terrible suffering. If Jesus himself prayed for relief, we do not need to worry about questioning God in our times of stress and hardship. God wants us to pour out our deepest requests to him because they reveal the reality of our faith rather than its absence. In the book of Psalms, David repeatedly pleaded with God for release from suffering. That release didn’t always come, yet David was honored by being included in Jesus’ ancestry.

God is always with us, even though it may not feel that way. When we are hanging on by our fingertips in the darkness, we can cling to his promises. Psalm 18:30 says, “God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.” In our anxiety and stress, God never leaves us. Proverbs 1:33 says, “All who listen to [God] will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.” We might never find the answers to our questions this side of eternity, but the fact remains—God keeps his promises and never leaves us alone in our suffering.

Dear Lord, we thank You that You are always with us. Help to remember that even when we don’t feel that way. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Patience and promise

Hebrews 6:12 (ESV)

So that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

A lot of the time we focus on the importance of faith and forget how much patience plays a role in obtaining the promises of God. We need faith because that’s what calls the promises of God into being. However, patience is what will keep you going when you haven’t seen the promise yet.

Patience is what keeps you going when you haven’t seen the promise yet.

The importance of patience is often overlooked. Patience is what kept Sarah going after she had a promise from God that said she would be a mother. And then year after year, she hadn’t conceived a child. Sarah had to be patient until she received the promise God gave her.

God has given us all promises. And yet we often want to give up on the promises of God when trials come. We think it would be easier to give up than to endure. However, you only learn from the trials you endure. Patience is what keeps us going in the middle, between the promise of God and seeing that promise come to pass in our lives.

So today, remember to practice patience. It isn’t easy waiting on the promises God gave you, but remember that God is faithful. If He’s given you a promise He will bring it to pass in your life.

You’ve got to just be patient until you see the promise come to pass in your life.

Dear Lord, we thank You for the promise You give each one of us.  We pray that we would be patient as we wait for the promise to come to us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, May 20, 2019

chosen by God

1 Peter 2:9 (ESV)
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

I don’t know if you realized this or not, but you are chosen by God. He’s not stuck with you; he loves you and chose you to be a part of His Kingdom. John 15:16 says ‘You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.’

You’re chosen by God, and also given a task to further his kingdom. What is that task? In specifics, you need to be available for whatever that may be. However, whatever we’re doing, he’s appointed us to bear fruit for him. So not only are you chosen to be a child of God, but you’re also chosen to bear fruit in his name.

We often label ourselves better or worse than others, or perhaps worthless or useless. But God recognizes we’re broken and live in a fallen world, and still values us and has chosen us to be a part of his kingdom! From this day forward, don’t focus on what labels you have for yourself; focus on who God has labeled you, and bear fruit for him!

Dear Lord, thank You for choosing us.  What a blessing it is to be a part of Your kingdom. Help us know the tasks You have laid out for us, and to follow Your will every day. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

You have value

Ephesians 2:4-9 (ESV)
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Throughout our lives, there are days we simply don’t feel valued. Today, we’re going to look at how valued you really are.

When Jesus came to earth, He told us what love is. More than that, He showed us what love is. He brought the dead back to life, He healed diseases and healed hearts. Jesus gave hope to everyone who came to Him, and gave life to all who believed. He lived a perfect life. During that time, He knew there would be a day He was to be betrayed and nailed to the cruel cross.

Crucifixion is the most painful way to die known to man, because they have to die slowly and with extreme pain the entire time. The word ‘excruciating’ was invented to describe the pain on the cross. Yet Jesus, in all his perfect knowledge and wisdom. He left Heaven to be with us on earth, walk with us, teach us, and die for us; all while knowing He would die in the most painful way possible. He knew it was going to happen from the very beginning, and yet still He chose to die for us!

Why did He do that? Because our sin created separation between us and God; but we are loved and valued so much that Jesus wanted to REMOVE any separation between us and Him! You are loved and valued by God!

Dear Lord,  thank you for wanting to know us! We don’t deserve Your love, and yet You still love us. We pray that You help us to value You in our life too!  In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

He heals the brokenhearted

He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds.

Two brother often could be found outside ‘stick fighting’; they would each grab a stick and pretend to sword fight! They had a lot of fun. Then one day the 5 year old was backed up on top of a picnic table. He was warned not to back up any further or he would fall, but he made the choice not to listen. As a result, he backed up off the edge and had fallen on the concrete! One ER visit later, he was in a lot of pain with a lump the size of a goose-egg on the back of his head. OUCH! If only he had listened to his brother, that wouldn’t have happened.

God made clear to us His perfect and holy ways. Even in the very beginning, Adam and Eve were told not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge; and they ignored his commands. The whole world over, we’re all broken and sinful. Scripture says in Romans 3:23, ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’. That means no one is good enough: we’re ALL broken. Just like I didn’t listen to my brother’s warning, God tells us not to sin and we so often don’t want to listen to him.

Praise Jesus that he came to save us from our brokenness! God does see us as broken, and that’s certainly a label we deserve. But the Good News is that just because we’re broken, doesn’t mean He stops loving us. Psalms 147:3 says ‘He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds’.

Dear Lord, we are broken, but thank You for giving us hope for salvation! Thank you for Your unfailing love. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, May 17, 2019

What's my purpose?

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)
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.

Some things are clearly mysteries. Who left the almost empty milk carton in the fridge? Where’s the TV remote? What did I do with my phone?! What’s that weird smell? And, what on earth am I here for – no really, like what’s my purpose? That’s a heavy question.

It’s easy to get stuck in a circle of crazy questions centered on your purpose.

How do I know my purpose? Why can’t “his” or “her” purpose be my purpose? What if my life doesn’t have a purpose? A few questions turn into a tornado of self inquires, and before long you’re wandering down a lonely road filled with potholes of doubt and hopelessness. You’re tripped up and trapped by your thoughts, sometimes momentarily believing these thoughts are true… “Your life really doesn’t have meaning.” “You’re pretty much useless.” “You have no purpose.”

Those are all lies.

God asks us to trust Him. When the milk carton is empty, the remote is MIA, you don’t even want to know where the stink came from, and yes, even when you can’t find your phone – God says, you can trust Him. But seriously - when you aren’t even sure what your purpose or point on the planet is, God says, “Trust Me.”

God knows the plan and purpose for your life. He knows the questions and doubts you have about who you are and who you’re supposed be. And what your Creator keeps telling you through all the questions, fears, and doubts – “Trust Me.”

He knows the plans laid out for you better than anyone else – even you - and those plans are great! It doesn’t mean everything always turns out like a fairy tale or you’ll be rich, but it does mean, as a child of God, you know God is always with you and one day you will be with Him, face-to-face. Think on that! In that moment, that face-to-face Jesus moment, all things will be right. Just, wow.

Your purpose is found through trusting God and faithfully believing He always knows your plan and purpose. When doubt sneaks in, replace it with truth, like that found in Proverbs 3:5-6 reminding us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight “.

Dear Lord, Thank you, for creating us with a plan and purpose. Help us to trust You in all we do. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

To be honest, some days just stink.

Genesis 1:27 (ESV)
So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

You didn’t even want to crawl out of bed this morning and now you’ve slept through four snooze alarms. Super. How many “Good morning, Sunshine’s”, “Did you just wake up?”, and “Nice hair” comments will you endure today?

The day moves on, and no matter what you say or do, people take you all wrong. Feelings hurt, people become angry and nothing you do helps the situation. You finish the day feeling ignored. Friends, family and even your faithful pet pass by as if you’re some diseased stranger they’d rather not look at.

Days like this can be draining, especially when they hit you one after the next. Difficult situations often leave a person with not-so-great feelings about who they are or who they’re not. Thoughts of being insignificant, no-good or even worthless creep in and try to make themselves a part of our identity. Good news: Our Heavenly Father has much to say about our identity and value.

Our identity is found in Christ. You were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). That’s good to know, right?! While it doesn’t mean you physically look like Christ, it does mean He equipped you to be Christ-like. He created you in His likeness, to be like Him; that is pretty significant!

Our value is found in Christ. Christ loved you so much He was willing to die for you (Romans 5:8). The awesome thing about Christ’s love – you don’t have to do anything to earn it. He is there in the middle of bad days, unthinkable situations and tragedies. He extends His sacrificial love, letting you know, your value is not found in day-to-day feelings or thoughts. Your value is found in the never-ending love Christ gave for you on the cross.

Remind yourself every day, “My value and identity are found in Christ.” In the book of Matthew, Jesus reminded His disciples not to worry about their value or worth because if He was able to keep up with the life of a small sparrow He was definitely able to keep up with their life – even down to how many hairs were on their head.

And guess what? The message Jesus shared with His disciples is true for you today: you are always valuable – no matter what kind of day you’ve had.

Dear Lord, thank you for creating us in Your image, continuously loving us, and always seeing us as valuable. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The comparison game

Philippians 2:3 (ESV)
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Do you ever see someone and think, “Oh my goodness, I am so glad that’s not me”? Maybe it’s the way they dress, play a sport, act, but you are just so thankful, you are better than, well, that. Don’t lie, we all play the comparison game.

God created you unique, special, set apart for a great purpose; but don’t let it go to your head. We are also called to be humble, servant hearted, and encouraging. That is not so easy in this day in age; I completely understand. You watch tv, movies, and see in real life that “Mean Girls” and “Jerks” seem to rule the school. They seem to be the popular ones, and deep down we all wish for just a little glimpse of that.

Friends, this is not what we are called to do as a Christian. We are called to act like Jesus acted, spoiler alert…. He wasn’t a fan of the so called “popular kids” in his day. Jesus hung out with the cripples, the tax collectors, with the people others literally called “dogs”. In our terms today, he hung out with the geeks, those with special needs, the poor. The people the rest of the world thought of as “weird” or “worthless”. The ones the “popular” people bullied because, “Hey, at least we are not like them, we’re better”.

God created each of us amazingly special for His purpose and plan. Who are we to tear apart our Heavenly Fathers work? So next time you start to think worse about someone ask yourself what Jesus would say if you shared those thoughts with him. Would he laugh with you, or would he go to their defense?

Dear Lord, You made each of us different and special. Help us to encourage others instead of tear them down, even in our own mind. Help us remember that we are Your masterpiece, created new in Christ Jesus. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Just Average?

John 1:45-46 (ESV)
45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

I am one of those people you would call, “Average”. I do things well, but I wouldn’t say I am great at anything. There are people who are better at school, sports, serving, and pretty much everything I do. I would never say I am “one of a kind”, “special”, or “unique”; I am just “average”. Do you feel the same way?

While in High school I was in the band. I always thought the drum majors were great. But because I thought so highly of them, I never had the courage to audition for the part myself. In youth group there were kids who would lead Bible studies and be leaders. Again, I thought so highly of them because God set them apart, he made them special for His plan. There was always someone better than me, so I allowed them to be used by God. I would just step in line and follow. 

Do you know what I realize now? There will always be someone better than me, but God doesn’t care. He still wants to use me! He created me special, unique and has a purpose for me. Look at the disciples, they were just fishermen from Galilee. What about Jesus? He was the son of a carpenter from Nazareth. Yet God did some pretty amazing things through them, wouldn’t you agree?

Do you feel like you are one of the “average” people? Nothing special about you, nothing you can offer God? It’s a lie that Satan wants you to believe. You are one in a million and God has such a big plan for you, if you are just willing to trust him. There will always seem to be someone better than you for the role, but God doesn’t always ask for THE best, He asks for YOUR best.

So, are you going to ignore Gods calling for you and let those you believe are better for God’s plan step in and do it. Or are you going to step up and do your best to fulfill the calling God has specifically for the ‘better than average’ you?

Dear Lord, help us to be strong and courageous. We forget at times that you created each of us special for Your plan and purpose. Help us to follow Your will and trust You even when we think others could serve You better. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Following Jesus to the Nations in Our Neighborhood

Luke 4:18-19 (ESV)
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
    and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”

As we walk in the footsteps of Jesus right where we live, work, and play, fully alive to God's heart for the nations, with confidence we can make ourselves available to friendships from people in other cultures. People from other countries and cultures are moving in next door to us, right where we live. When they do, we remember when God told Abraham, “I will bless you and . . . all the families on earth will be blessed through you” (Gen. 12:2–3, emphasis added).

Throughout the Old Testament, God kept pressing Israel to be a light to the world, sending Jonah to the Ninevites, Daniel to the Babylonians, and Esther to the Persians. He placed Jerusalem “at the center of the nations,” with lands around her, so the people called to stay at home could still affect the surrounding nations (Ezek. 5:5). God told the prophet Isaiah, “I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isa. 49:6).

As we interact with soccer moms from China, Uber drivers from Ghana, and elderly grandmothers from Punjab, let’s speak life over people by demonstrating the way life is supposed to be, as Jesus did. The center of many nations are actually coming to us, and we can be a light. Because of our close connection with Jesus, ours should naturally be the life that pours expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet in a humble act of genuine worship, to the whispers of disapproval about this choice (John 12:3–5).

It’s the life that turns over the tables of money changers in the Lord’s temple, speaking of justice in God’s house, in an act of righteous rage because “passion for God’s house will consume me!” (John 2:13–17). It’s the life that fills jars of oil for starving widows while hiding from authorities who wish you dead, and speaks life and faith into action (1 Kings 17:8–16). It’s the life that spends all night praying on a mountain and then chooses twelve disciples to follow him (Luke 6:12–16). Lavish worship, zeal for justice, extreme faith, intense communication with God—all four of these stories illustrate how Jesus modeled the life we are called to live.

As we walk in the footsteps of Jesus right where we live, work, and play, fully alive to God’s heart for the nations, with confidence we can make ourselves available to friendships from people in other cultures. Let’s spend a few minutes asking God to help us see the world as He sees it, for our hearts to mirror His heart, and for new friendships with people from other countries as we follow Jesus, right where we live:

Dear Lord, please shatter any misconceptions we have about our role in reaching the nations. We want to believe that from the very beginning You meant to bless us with the good news of Jesus so that we could be a light that would bless the whole world. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Happy Mother's Day

Philippians 2:1-4 (ESV)
1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

The first Mother’s Day was celebrated in West Virginia in 1912. Mothers were to be recognized as an important part of our culture and lives. The heart of a mother is like a rare jewel. They love their children during the worst and best of times.

Yet all mothers are not the same. Author and speaker Patsy Clairmont says, “Normal is just a setting on your clothes dryer.” We are all different. She shared that as women we may “struggle, fail, start over, and celebrate.” But we are mothers who can love unlike any other person.

God created families and gave mothers a unique place in that unit. We can love, give of ourselves, cook, clean, wash clothes, put Band-Aids on scrapes … be the first one up in the morning or the last one down at night. They juggle a lot of things including raising children, working at jobs, managing a home, and sometimes finding time for ourselves.

Each day is a new beginning of what lies before. We have destiny, purpose, and the power to do and be all that we are called to be. Nothing can stop us except ourselves.
Mothers make up a crucial part of our lives. So whether it is a Hallmark card, dinner out, hug, or a kiss on the cheek, we should show we care. It is so important to give our love to these dedicated women in our lives and don’t take them for granted.

Dear Lord, we thank You for our mothers.  We pray that You would surround them with Your love and your protection as they work hard to keep their family running smooth. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Eve the first mother

Genesis 3:20 (ESV)
The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

There are people all over the world, past and present, who have wanted to be the first at something. First to reach a high mountain top, first man in space, first person to do this and that. There are many "firsts" but one first I don't think I would want to have been was to be the first mother. I'm glad Eve took that role on for all of us women.

I was thinking about Mother's Day coming up and somehow my thoughts ran to Eve and how things must have been like for her becoming a mother. Of course Eve was the first to sin and other firsts but being the first mother must have made it an interesting life for Eve.

Because of Eve's sin, we all know there is pain in childbirth but she still was the very first to go through it and how that must have been for her. She didn't have Lamaze classes she could attend. She didn't have any pregnancy books or even a doctor. No yearly check ups for her! And just think, no epidurals.

Eve didn't have anyone with her when Cain was born, telling her that, "Eve, women have been doing this for thousands of years. It will be alright".

No, she didn't have any of that. No birthing coach. There wasn't even another woman around that could be her midwife. No nurse at a hospital to wait on her and bring her first baby boy when he wanted fed. No one to take care of her, other than Adam, and he was the "first" husband, newly made and new to the whole thing of life and new to being a husband and father. I wonder how he did?

Eve didn't have any books to read on rearing kids. No famous child psychologist to fill her ears with all sorts of theories on child-rearing. No friends she could share with and discuss her children with. No other mothers to talk to while her boys played at the neighborhood park. No online support groups. She had to figure it all out on her own and do it all on her own.

Poor Eve. She didn't even have a baby store to shop at. She never even had a babysitter so she could get away with Adam for a date night when her first little ones were born. Eve didn't have a mom she could call up and ask advice from. Not even a mother-in-law, although I'm sure some of you may think that would be a good thing.

The Bible mentions Eve's sons, Cain, Abel, and Seth. The Bible also says (Genesis 5:4) that Adam and Eve had other sons and daughters as well. We don't know how many and we don't know to what age Eve lived but we do know (Genesis 5:5) that Adam lived until he was 930 years old.

I'm sure among all this, Eve must have enjoyed her children like all mothers do. I'm confident that Eve had wonderful moments with her first three boys and with her other children when they were babies, toddlers, and small children growing up as we all do with our children. I'm sure Eve had some beautiful memories throughout her life.

Of course, Eve saw heartache resulting from her children. To have the first murder happen within your family and have it to be one of your sons killing the other, must have weighed heavily on Eve.

I do not envy her the task of having to be the first mother to bury one of her children. How could some of us have handled being in Eve's situation?

There really are not too many details written about Eve in the Bible but I still think by reflecting on her life, we can be inspired.

Although Eve's life seems so far away from us and long ago, she still was a women and went through all the things moms do today. Emotions, feelings, childbirth, motherhood, child-rearing, and even was a grandmother, and probably lived to see great-great-great-great (and so on) grandchildren if she lived nearly as long as Adam. She went through all those things associated with being a woman.

Eve was the first woman and mother to go through it all.

I think we don't need to worry about concentrating on any "firsts" ourselves, but we should concentrate on Who we keep first in our lives. When we keep Christ first, it's then we begin to handle our lives like they should be handled.
Putting Christ first will help us as we work on being the kind of man, women, teen or child a Christian should be.

Dear Lord we thank You for what You do for each of us. Help  us to always put You first in all that we do. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Think Like God

Matthew 19:4-6 (ESV)
4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Have you noticed how a declining stock market feeds on itself? As people see their share values go down, they feel the urge to sell. When the herd is selling, prices decline further. The same is true of marriage attitudes. As more children are born into unwed homes, fewer children have a working marriage model to imitate. “Normal” is redefined.

The Pharisees at Jesus’ time (as well as Jesus’ own disciples!) were convinced that lifelong marriage was too heavy an expectation and advocated for quick and easy divorce. They were shocked by Jesus’ strong reaction: “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one” (Matthew 19:4-6).

In other words, marriage doesn’t belong to people to experiment and play with. It belongs to God. It is his invention, designed during creation week itself.

Jesus said that couples are joined together. The phrase in its original Greek means “stuck like glue.” Marriage superglues you to your partner; you are no longer “me” but “we”. In God’s marriage math, one plus one equals one.

Dear Lord, we pray today that in our marriages we would think as we instead of me. We pray that the glue would stick us together and we wouldn’t tear it apart. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.