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No way, Jose

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus”  Philippians 2:5 (NIV)

I was challenged one time to make a “hate list”. List all the people I don’t like and pray to God to move in my heart. I did it, and after several days I started to look at those people with some compassion. Somehow I found my heart in a forgiving mode (and thinking about the massive amount that He has forgiven me, makes it a whole lot easier).

Not only did it help my relationships, it also gave me a feeling of peace and freedom. I was actually a little surprised that God moved through my prayers. However, I noticed that the hardest people to forgive were those who I knew didn’t like me.

When I read today’s verse, I thought about that challenge and how Jesus forgave all those people who hated Him, lied about Him, made fun of Him, gossiped about Him, and even beat Him. To have ‘the same attitude of Christ’ would have to be an act of God.

This “hate list” thing can give God a chance to become real to us because there is no way to conjure up this type of forgiveness on our own.


Heavenly Father, remind me to allow You to move in my heart with forgiving others. Thank You for the personal growth, inner-peace and freedom that will follow. I can’t do this, You have to. In Jesus Name. Amen.

The Shadow of the Almighty

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty”  Psalm 91:1 (NIV)

When I got a new bike for Father’s Day, I started riding it for exercise. There were some days of intense summer heat, but I stayed committed to “pedaling off the pounds” (actually, all this new exercise just made me hungrier. I think I even gained weight).

Most of my trail was directly under the heat rays of the brutal sun. But there was a stretch that I always looked forward to. It was about 100 yards of shade provided by a line of large trees.

That stretch of shade was the first thing that popped into my mind when I read today’s verse. Even though I was exercising actively, I was still ‘resting’ in the shadows of those trees. If we dwell in an active relationship with God, attempting to walk with Him, then the Almighty can supply us with rest, relief, protection, and help from the intense heat of daily pressures.


Heavenly Father, help me to walk with You so I can experience Your relief, the ‘shadow of the Almighty’. Thank You that I can call on You for a break from the heat. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

The Lord in your A.T. 40 songs

“The Lord is my strength and my song; He has given me victory”  Psalm 118:14 (NLT)

God can be our strength. If we ask we certainly can be empowered to accomplish something, or be molded into a ‘better someone’. But better yet, if we know who God is we are assured of His care, love, forgiveness, acceptance, and victory; all of which He passionately longs for us to attain and understand.

Many times we have heard it said that a friend, mentor, or parent is someone’s strength. How? Basically that person is getting all those previous things listed. Kinda an intimate moral support. When God becomes that friend and mentor, it’s many times more powerful in affecting our lives.

But what does it mean to be our song? It is a result of knowing Him and tapping into His strength. It is the result of the emotional and cognitive realization that He has life victories and eternal salvation in store for us.

Think of a favorite song. It is filled with meaningful words along with a rhythm or beat that is pleasing to our feelings and inner being. For Him to become our song, we must take the time to ponder and meditate on Him, His attributes, blessings, and resources. Truly knowing and experiencing God will touch those same feelings and inner-being.


Heavenly Father, remind me to make the time to dwell on You and Your desires for me. Be my strength and be my song. Thank You that in Your time, victories will come my way. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Hang on to the towel

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”  Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

“I keep doing the right thing, and don’t even get noticed”. “I never talk poorly about them, yet they get away with making me look bad”. “I keep my relationships with girls clean and respectful, but they would rather be with the ‘bad’ guys”. “I don’t cheat on my tests, which causes me to get weaker grades then all those who do cheat”.

“IT’S JUST NOT FAIR!” “I give up.”

Many times we can get tired of  ‘doing good’. It may seem like others are enjoying themselves more, or acquiring more as they live a life of unclean pleasures or unethical practices. But God tells us in today’s verse, not to throw in the towel. Or not to take on the mentality of; “I’m frustrated. Why isn’t God blessing? So I’m just going to join in the apparent fun”.

There was a young lady that I had the privilege of coaching and teaching. This high school gal was truly dedicated to doing what is right in God’s eyes. This intimidated many of the guys, yet they respected and looked up to her.

One day her father approached me. He told me that Julie never gets asked to Homecoming or Prom events, and it breaks his heart. He even chuckled as he told me that he didn’t know where her high standards came from. He just didn’t know how to comfort her.

Julie experienced a lot of hurt, but never threw in the towel. Years later I recall sitting at her wedding. Her dad told me that this guy was perfect for her. The joy on her face continues to this day (not typical in our culture).

God promises a harvest of blessings if we hang in there, and not give up.


Heavenly Father, I need Your strength to not give up or give in. I want Your harvest. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Loathe complaining, not life

“I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul”  Job 10:1 (NIV)

When I was growing up, my parents had an ‘interesting’ relationship. I saw hints that they loved each other, but I knew for a fact that they also hated each other. The only time I can remember them not barking at back and forth was when they were either asleep or when they found something to mutually complain about.

I was thoroughly trained in the art of complaining at a young age. Not only was it acceptable, it was expected.

It wasn’t until I gave my heart to Christ that I started to slowly change. I came to the realization that complaining was discouraged by God because it was detrimental to my inner well being and my relationships. So, then I complained about people who complained. I needed spiritual surgery to fight this complaining disease that was eating me up.

I saw God start to get it under control until, of course,  when things in my life would legitimately go bad. It’s like we feel we have “free rein” to complain when we are in those sour times. We “speak out in the bitterness of the soul”.

Look around this week and watch all the complaining that goes on at work, sporting events, school, home, on TV, with friends, social media… And when we catch ourselves complaining, allow God to do surgery. Ask Him to carve out the complaining malignancy that can make us bitter emotionally, socially, spiritually, and mentally.


Heavenly Father, when I complain, remind me to admit it and quit it. I am depending on You to change me. I don’t want to be balled up in bitterness. Set me free to experience life and relationships to the fullest. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Step on in

“Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well”  Matthew 6:33 (New Century Version)

Starting in verse 6:23, Jesus is giving the people some healthy perspective on living by faith. He is addressing everyone’s basic daily needs; clothes (our stuff), and food (our survival).

Jesus is telling us that the Father will intervene in meeting these needs if we start to focus more on placing ourselves under His leadership (‘kingdom’), working on doing right, looking to help others, and not being consumed with just meeting our own needs. If we direct time and effort into seeking God and His perspective, we are saying to Him, “I believe, and I’m banking on You to take care of me”. Seeking God is basically opening the door for Him to step in to our personal world of physical, mental, emotional, and social needs.


Heavenly Father, as I work responsibly to take care of my basic needs, give me opportunities to help others and spend some time learning more about You, because I want to experience You stepping in and helping my needs get met. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

My heart’s eye

“Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves ME… I will love him and show Myself to him”  John 14:21 (NIV)

Our goal isn’t just “sin management“. We shouldn’t be walking around just figuring out ways to avoid sin. Those wrongful actions, thoughts, and words will happened. We then confess and start over. That is what we should do, but that can’t be our focus.

An athlete can enter a game with the attitude of not making a mistake, but he won’t score. A salesman can work all week trying not to be too forward or offensive, but he won’t make many sales. A student can go to school and not talk at all. They won’t get a detention for gabbing in study hall, but they won’t make friends with peers or teachers.

Our goal in all these cases should be to learn how to be more effective as we strive to get better. Not sit in a bunker hoping to not mess up anything.

God wants us to learn from Him, “have His commands“. Attempt to do what is right, “obey them“. He wants us to set our focus on living an exciting life while attempting to grow and develop. Taking some chances. Striving to reach the potential that God can fuel us to be and do.

If we do this, He promises to “show Himself ” to us. Our efforts need to go toward knowing Him. Then true fulfillment happens. Sin just gets in the way of that goal. Merely confess and move on to great achievements!


Heavenly Father, I want You to be real to me. Help me to focus on knowing You, doing right, and helping others, so that my heart’s eye can see You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Little picture of the sun

“It is not those who just hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous” Romans 2:13 (NIV)

Paul is basically writing to plead with the readers to not just read God’s laws, Words, and principles, but to also follow what it is saying. It’s for our own protection!

I was on one of those medications that have to be taken for ten days. I read the warning on the side of the little bottle, “avoid direct sunlight while taking this medication”. It even has a picture of a small sun beside the warning.

Well, for nine days I was following that “law”, and was feeling pretty good. On day ten I choose to spend some quality time with my youngest son. We spent the afternoon outside together, in the sun.

I was feeling fine all afternoon enjoying something fathers need to do (we are all so good at justifying our actions).

The next morning I woke up to a splitting headache, and extremely tired body. I can just imagine the doctor who is responsible for those warnings, watching me outside in the sun, saying, “what is this idiot thinking? I tried to protect him. I even had an artist put a little picture of the sun beside my advice.”


Heavenly Father, I don’t want to settle with just knowing and reading about You. Help me to follow it so that You can protect and provide for me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Nail it

“He forgave us ALL our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross”  Colossians2:13-14 (NIV)

Ever want to just start over? Ever go through a day filled with poor choices, bad thinking, or missed opportunities?

Have you ever said some things that you regret? Like comedian Brian Regan talking about saying something he regrets, even as he is saying it, is like releasing a flock of doves that there is no way to corral and bring back. “Oh no, what did I just say?!”

We need to admit it to God, confess it to those we offend, then realize that wrongful words, thoughts, and actions have been NAILED to the cross. Know that we are forgiven, and start over.


Heavenly Father, I know You understand that I make mistakes and poor choices at times. Thank You that You allow me to keep starting over. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Candy store

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”  Matthew 6:13 (NIV)

In the sample prayer that Jesus is giving us, He realizes that we will be in a battle against sin; wrongful actions, words, or thoughts. We need to be convinced that sin damages us.

A saying that has helped me is that “if you are trying to avoid sin, stay out of sin’s orchard”. Don’t put yourself in a candy store if eating sweets is a problem. Don’t turn on the computer or TV late at night if lust is a problem. Don’t bring up ‘juicy’ topics with certain people if gossip can grip you.

If you feel your flesh telling you that it’s okay, “everyone else is doing it”, be convinced that sin is NEVER worth it! Then pray to God to ‘deliver’ you with the strength to move past it.


Heavenly Father, help me to fight the battles with sin. I need Your strength. When I fail, remind me to confess and start over quickly. Thank You for the joy and fulfillment that will follow because I choose to enter this fight. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.