The Death of a Fallow Prayer Life…

But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:14

I was cleaning our kitchen yesterday.
With four children this is almost an everyday occurrence. If not, dishes tend to pile up and creates a chaotic leaning tower of Pisa sort of mess. Anyway, I digress…As I was washing off dishes and putting them into our dishwasher, I looked up at the windowsill and noticed our non-thriving plants. They were all dead. We might make excuses about these dead plants. Perhaps we might say that they are simply dormant in the winter. Or maybe they just needed to be pruned back for the season. A few more excuses come to mind, but in reality these plants are simply dead. They were once promising green, thriving plants in pots and sun lamps. Many on the cusp of producing some sort of fruit or vegetable. Yet, due to our travel schedule and our lack of green thumbs, they have shriveled up and were husks of their former living selves.

I am reminded that this is a living parable (pun intended)…for myself. I feel as if the Lord teaches us through the world around us – like my plant pots holding dead things in them. Caskets containing death instead of nourished soil of growth. I am drawn to this life lesson. It is something simplistic and yet stark in its reminder to me. For I am sometimes this casket containing death, when I should be a vessel containing life.

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In my prayer life…
My un-uttered words.

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my parched lips and forgotten promises to God.
My prayer life can look like husks of its former self.
Dried up.
Dehydrated out of lack of spiritual water and nourishment.
Neglected and empty.

How many times have I forgotten to go back to the Living Water?

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How many times have I gotten so busy in the concerns, fears, transitions and schedules of life that I have simply left my conversations to God to go fallow life I harvested fields? And before I know it, the once rich, dark vibrant soil is now cracked and as dry as bones in a desert. From this neglect enters apathy, harsh words spoken out of frustration and shallow roots.

Have you stood on this fallow ground?
Is this you? I know that I have found my shamed identity here.
what are the conversations that you have neglected with God? He desires to nourish your life again.
He longs to shine on the soul-soil and help you grow once more.

For me?
I am convicted here.
I find myself licking my parched, cracked lips in longing for that Living Water once more. I feel the guilt and shame of leaving Him out of my life…and I must seek Him out again. I must return to His living water and replenish my mind, body, soul.

Dear Lord, create in me a clean heart once more.
Renew in my a right spirit again.
Re-hydrate my broken, crumble soil.
I long to find rest and rejuvenation in you anew.
Re-ignite your passion and compassion in me.
Take away the casket of death and flood my heart with life and love.
Here I am, spark in me the joy of your salvation once again.
Lord, bring your Living Waters once more.

Something more to ponder today.
Be Blessed and thrive not just survive!

“Re-filling The Well.”

The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.” – Mark Twain

To those today questioning your self-worth…you are important and loved.
To the person seeking hope in what seems to be a hopeless dark mass of despair, God’s light will shine and guide you through this.
To the person who has been beaten down by the world, has zero confidence left and wonders if they matter at all – well, guess what – YOU DO!

Why do we need to hear words of encouragement and comfort?
That is probably a dumb question, isn’t it?
We want, no that’s not a strong enough word, we all need a sense of belonging, acceptance, love and knowledge that who and what we do matters.

So let me ask you, when was the last time someone affirmed that in you?
When was the last time you felt that deep warmth of belonging?
I’m not just talking about your workplace or career, I’m talking about every facet of your life. Do you have a well of encouragement from yourself and others to draw from? If not, just like water in a desert, it can evaporate and run dry. We need to constantly draw from this well of assurance and encouragement. That’s why God provides to us companionship and friendship. We cannot go about our lives on our own. We cannot live vicariously through episodes we binge watch on Netflix. We need other humans and their interaction in our lives to help us draw from this well again and again.

This isn’t to say that we become an attention sponge or needy in our attempts to self-congratulate ourselves, but rather we find a healthy medium of friendships that challenge us, drive us forward and offers to us a safe space where we can refill our minds, bodies and souls.

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I am sorry if this sounds like an episode of Dr Phil, but the truth of the matter is far too many of us are running on empty when it comes to deep accountability, encouragement and human connection. We were made for fellowship with God and that of other human beings. We need to be encouraged and to encourage others – thereby refilling that well over and over again. -This is humanity…this is where we live and breathe and where we exist…we may want to dissect ourselves and separate it all out in neat little compartments, but at the end of the day humanity is us and we are humanity.

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Who can you encourage today?
What will you say to them? What will you do for them?
How can you brighten someone’s day? It is not something mystical, but what we find when we encourage is that we too are drawing from that well…we too are replenished and renewed. Encouragement, love and a sense of community is infectious and our world needs more of it.

Be encouraged today…“He who began a good work in you will carry it on into completion.” Philippians 1:6

Go and refill the well.
Something more to ponder today.

“Lost and Found”

“…I will be found by you, declares the Lord…” Jeremiah 29:14

Have you ever misplaced your keys…your wallet…you cell phone?
I once lost my cell phone, and I began to tear the house a part, only to discover it was still in my pocket.  (No joke, you just can’t make this stuff up!)

When we lose something there is this sense of dread, we become frantic, we tear couch cushions off of sofas, pull every drawer open…all the while double backing and retracing our previous steps in order to find that missing item.   Finally when we relocate that missing thing (usually vital item – like the car keys), we exhale with a sense of relief.
Have you been there?  I am sure you can relate to this!

It reminds me of the parable of the lost coin (Luke 15:8-10).
A woman loses this valuable coin and turns her entire house upside down in order to find it, and when she does she calls all of her neighbors to come and celebrate with her.
And then Jesus drops the mic with the next sentence:  “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (v.10)

The angels (and God himself) celebrates with what was lost is now found again…

Here are some observations about this topic: 

-Don’t ever think that you’re insignificant to God and that He doesn’t care about you.
-God searches for you when you have lost your way!
-You are precious to Him (more than you can imagine).

“…I will be found by you, declares the Lord…” Jeremiah 29:14

God’s people had become corrupt, lost, broken and exiled because of their unfaithfulness.  Despite all of that God was still searching for them; still hoping that they would return to Him.  All hope was NOT lost!

God said to that generation, and I believe He still says this to our generation today:
I will be found by you.

If you’re feeling lost today, please know that the maker of the Universe is searching for you.  He knows you, loves you, desires for you to know Him.  It’s not to late, never too late to return to Him.

Let me ask you two final questions:
What are you searching for in life?
Is there peace and joy in your heart?

God wants to be found by you…
May we never stop running after Him.
May we seek after God…
May we never stop learning all that we can about this amazing God of ours.

Something more to ponder today.

Walking at Midnight on the path of restlessness.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

I have another confession to make – I am restless…like pit of my stomach-aching restlessness.  Some days I can put my finger on it, while other days it is as elusive as an honest thief.  I am usually successful at pushing it back down, repacking that box that it lives in and stowing it away in that shadowy corner that I seldom travel to.  Still, I know it’s there…and it weighs on me as if an elephant had decided to perch its rotund bottom on my chest.

I wonder if you feel this way sometimes?
Do you have to push it back down as well?
Do you have to re-tape that worn-out box and pretend that dark corner doesn’t even exist?  Does it keep you up at night – blinking at the ceiling fan, counting the rotation of its blades as shadows dance off reflections of streetlights lit only for 3rd shift workers and insomniacs out for a stroll?  I repress the urge to join them, to open the front door and walk barefooted down the now cooled, uneven sidewalks as I imagine myself trying to avoid the spiny round pods that fall haphazardly from the large gum tree in our front yard.   I have stepped on these awful spiky seeds a time or two while walking barefoot down our path and even in the cool darkness of the night thoughts of the surprise pain causes me to recoil my feet from the lower spaces of my bed.

I wonder if David ever felt this way?  The pre-murder and adulterous David…the one that tended sheep and slew predators to the flock.  I wonder if he ever felt restless in his heart?  I am sure he did when, later he was being pursued by jealous King Saul and his men.  As David hid from cave to cave and village to village, I imagine him laying down on an uncomfortable uneven floor hoping to rest his weary head.  I can picture his deep sadness as he yearned for his best friend Jonathan.  Yet David trusted in God…but I would venture a guess that there were moments in which he was restless and he too had to push it back down and re-tape his box.

It is said that there is a season for everything…and yet Jesus told the people of his day not to worry about anything, yet I can’t help but find myself in the season of worry from time to time.  Doe that mean that I am not heeding His words?  That, despite my best efforts, I am not trusting in Him?  Perhaps you have thought this also> I worry, but Jesus said not to, and here I am still worrying.<  What do we do with these seasons?  How do we find the glimmers and glints of hope in the mess of our minds?  Sometimes we do believe the lie.  What lie you ask?  The lie that Jesus wasn’t really talking to us when He said those things, that it was just for the disciples and people around Him right then and there… The lie that we are broken people beyond fixing, and that the restlessness that we feel in the pits of our stomachs and the weight of our hearts is what we deserve for being fallen, sinful people.

Don’t live there.
Don’t wallow in that muck and believe that damning lie.
The son who turned his back on his father and spent his entire inheritance on partying, prostitutes and comfort found himself feeding muddy, fetid pigs.  Day in and day out he was covered in mud and pig excrement.  He definitely smelled as bad as they did.  He had lost everything – squandered a small fortune on foolish, regrettable things, and the stink of his life went much deeper than clothes and skin.  He lived there.  He wallowed there.  That pen of stench became his home for a period of time, until he came to senses.  As Jesus told this story of prodigal son, I imagine some who were listening felt that he was telling their story.  The prodigal son came to his senses, got up and devised a plan to return to his father.  He formulated a plan in his mind, he believed he would be unwelcome to return as a son, but maybe, just maybe his father would let him return as a servant.  Can you imagine that restless journey home; The endless loop of things he would finally say to his father in order to stave off the reprisals and chastisements?  As each dusty step led him closer and closer to the home he once knew, thoughts of doubt and fear must have crept in.  “Master, just let me work for you.” (For surely he would never be worthy to call him father after what he did).

And when this beaten-by-life man, who had squandered everything and had hit absolute rock-bottom crested that last hill, and his home was in view…he saw someone running towards him.  Perhaps it was a servant instructed to chase him off.  Perhaps it was a warning not to come any closer…he would have deserved such a welcome.  Instead, it wasn’t any of those things…it was his father that he had wished were dead, running to embrace the son he thought he had lost.

Don’t live in the home of restlessness.
Don’t believe the lie of shame and guilt.
Be forgiven, let your Father embrace you and welcome you home…and when you are finally hope, re-tape that box and then throw it away.

The prodigal son is me.
The prodigal son is you.
But once we have been embraced,
once we have witness our Father running to us,
Once we have been forgiven and returned to our home (where we belong)
don’t even entertain the lie or the box any longer.

But sometimes…we still walk at midnight, say hello, I’ll be waving.

Something more to ponder today.

Day 14 – All Your Anxiety

Philippians 4:6  (NIV) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
I know what you’re thinking, easier said than done, right?  We spend a lot of time consumed with worry and stress over things that we cannot control.  That doesn’t mean we don’t stop trying, but is it comforting to know that we have One who intercedes and hears our prayer?!  

Stress can become our prison if we allow it to consume us.  The anxiety that we may feel can also bring about other health concerns.  Letting go isn’t easy, but perhaps we have to begin by taking a step back from the problems at hand.  Get some perspective.  Look at something else instead of the trouble of stress you are facing.

Could it be that even within this moment it is a test of your faith?  Do you trust God to help you through it, even if He doesn’t deliver you from it?  In the grand scheme of things, how bad is your trouble really?  Has God not overcome worse in our world?  What makes you think that He won’t be there for you now?  

Paul tells us to bring everything to God through prayer and petition in a spirit of Thanksgiving.  That seems crazy to thank God for your troubles as well as your joys, but in so doing, we will experience His very real presence and power.  So make a list of your troubles, both big and small, and bring them before God in prayers of Thanksgiving.  Thank God for the challenges and for His presence.  Perhaps this could be an opportunity for you to test your faith (and perhaps your patience).  

Prayer: Dear Lord, I confess that I have troubles and stress in my life.  Help me to have some perspective on these things.  Allow me to have a deeper faith as I wait on you to lead me through.  Be with me now as I lay these petitions of Thanksgiving at your feet.  Today I pray for (list your troubles, anxiety and stress – name them, even say them out loud).  Close by thanking God for leading you through your past stresses and have faith that He will deliver you through these very present troubles.  -Amen.

3 Vitals About This Life…

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  James 4:14

Life is so fragile and brief.
As we get older it seems that things just seem to speed up like a run away train on a track that isn’t finished yet.  We keep plodding along thinking that the line is still hundreds of miles away, yet it’s only a couple of miles down along the bend.

Sometimes life isn’t what we thought it would be…yet we had clung to the notion that it would be awesomely amazing when we grew up…only to discover that life is what you make of it, it takes a lot of work and hard decisions.  Life can be pleasantly insulated by friends, family, children – and this makes the journey, because that’s what life truly is, a journey – so much more enjoyable and treasured.

Here’s what I know about this life so far…I’ve been pondering this for some time now…and i know that there are far more wiser people out there than me, but let me try to articulate what I know about life so far, perhaps this will resonate or at least make sense to you.

3 Vitals About This Life…

1.  We don’t get to choose how many days of life we have…
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” -Psalm 90:12
This life IS temporal, and we don’t live forever in this body.  Does the spirit live forever, that’s what we have been told and what I believe, but this shell will one day give out and stop working…and so will yours.  Sounds kinda depressing doesn’t it?  I know…but in the grand scheme of things, there is a far better – longer lasting existence waiting for us.  A life where there will no longer be this barrier between us and the Almighty.  A place where we will no longer suffer from disease and the aches and pains of life.  I can’t even begin to imagine that yet, but we must, at some point, come to terms with the limited nature of this life.  We don’t get to choose the length of our lives.  God does give and take away, He is sovereign over our very breath, and I have to believe without a shadow of a doubt that we deeply matter to Him.

2.  This life is like a mist, really it’s not that long – make the most of it. 
As James puts it, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  (James 4:14)  Have you ever seen that fog in the early morning?  It’s so mysterious and wispy, just hanging there.  It’s dangerous to drive into, but you know that in a little while, as soon as the Sun starts to shine on it, that fog will dissipate and vanish.  It’s a great analogy of life isn’t it?  This vital understanding of how brief our life really is puts it into perspective.  Don’t waste your life.  Make memories.  Don’t get so caught up in things that don’t really matter much – even (or especially) work can become one of those things.  When it is all said and done, will you be known for getting those reports in on time?  Will you really want to be remembered for the labored hours you spent in the office, even during family vacations and nights when you should have been home with your kids?  NO!  I think a lot of people will be living with regret in the late stages of life.  Success in business doesn’t always equate to making the most out of your life and what really, truly matters.  Are you really living life right now, or are you just plodding?  It’s like that fog in the early morning…far too soon it will dissipate and vanish.  Don’t take it for granted, don’t waste it on things that don’t really matter.  Invest in the right kinds of things and in people who care and love you.

3.  Some people with less of a life span live a whole lot more than some with a much longer life span…what you make of it matters…

This directly correlates with the last vital point…I met some who are simply coasting through life.  They have no real purpose, they aren’t happy with anything, they are miserable people to be around.  These people (not to sound condescending, but rather a warning here) are just hoping the next life will be better, but they really aren’t living the one they have been given right here and now.  It’s such a waste…have you live this at some point in your life?  Do you know what I mean?  Some people have been given such a short life due to illness, disease or accident, and they lived it to the fullest.  They were full of vigor and passion and it just seem to pour out of them – it was contagious.  I hope we live like that with whatever time we have in this body.  I hope we can laugh and love and cry and experience life in all of its glory.  I never want to be one who merely looks forward to heaven, yet I miss out on, or waste this gift of life I have been given right here and now.
Some of us bury ourselves in elements of life and distractions of life…and then we look up from our cell phones and our social media accounts and miss the beauty of nature all around us.  Don’t miss it.  Don’t miss the glory of God, which is evident all around us.  Soak it in, notice it, embrace it, spend some of your “mist” time just breathing it in.  Life isn’t life unless you’re actually an active participator in it.

I’ve had some peers and friends of mine pass way before their time.  Their life seemed like a brief mist…and sadly gone too soon.  I’ve even performed a couple of their funerals as the Pastor…it isn’t easy, it breaks the heart and it later causes me to think more deeply as to what I am doing with my life – this mist that I am.  Have you been there?  Can you relate?   What I do know is that our journeys have a destination that extends beyond the veil of life and death…and the next life begins with the glory embrace of Christ.  And although I long for that day, I don’t want to mist miss this moment right here and now, where everything and everyone that is important and precious becomes crystal clear.  When that happens to you…what and who do you see?

Something more to ponder today.
To God be the glory!

5 Indicators of a Rotting Church

“The Church right now has more fashion than passion, is more pathetic than prophetic, is more superficial than supernatural.”
Leonard Ravenhill, Revival God’s Way

I believe that the Church is truly in trouble in the Western world.
It is not one organization or singular church but Christianity as a whole.
I do not want to sound like another alarmist or crackpot spewing lists to indicate an end of days, but I do want to cast some light into what many would deem the foundational crumbling of the Church.  What are some indicators?  What would some of the symptoms be of a dying and decaying church?

Here are a five indicators of a rotting church:

5.  Professional Preachersjoel
“You can have all the doctrines right, yet still not have the presence of God” -Leonard Ravenhill
We see the flashy, eloquent preacher on television and we demand that our churchs hire preachers like that…or we long to change how our “performance” at the pulpit is executed.  I wonder if Jesus encountered flashy pharisees in His day?  If He did Jesus certainly didn’t have many nice things to say about them.  Rather, Jesus called those religious people who prayed outloud in the streets “actors” and “hyprocites”.  We can have the most professional preachers in our pulpits, but if there is no substastantive message of conviction, salvation and holiness, it is all meaningless.

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:3

Preachers, this is no excuse to go to the pulpit unprepared and unstudied, no!  Instead, we must prepare harder, study more intently and lead with self-conviction and prayer!  We dont’ need any more prosperity preachers.  No more fluff and phoney messages with very little substance of the spiritual journey that we are all called to walk.

A Strong indicator of rot comes directly from those we have in our pulpits and those we choose to listen to on a weekly basis.

4.  No Hunger For Scripture
bibleWith professional preachers, also comes a lack of hunger.  Mind you, these are not always connected.  I believe this is a stand-alone problem for many within our western world.  If one were to journey to some of the poorest countries in the world, you would find a see hunger for scriptural truths and churches memorizes whole chapters of scripture…where is this hunger in the more prominent and prosperous countries?  I believe there is a direct correlation between comfort and security and the shallowness of scriptural knowledge!  Why rely on the scripture if every want, and all of life’s comforts are met (roughly speaking)?

This may sound negative, but I fear our western culture has become so soft of faith and scriptural knowledge that we are bound to enter another dark age – this time devoid of any of the truths and life lessons found in Scripture.

Is your church rotting?  Ask yourself how much time is devoting throughout your week to the study and interpretation of scripture?

3.  A Church That Is Prayerless & Building Bound
“A true church lives and moves and has its being in prayer” -Leonard Ravenhill
With the comforts of a western culture comes prayerlessness.
A church that prays together stays together – or so I’ve been told.  How much emphasis is placed on prayer anymore?  I am sure there are still some deeply prayerful places in this world.  I know that I have experienced some of these moments, but I wonder if prayer has become an after thought in our services, in our weekly schedules, in our lives as congregants?  Do you remember the old prayer meetings?  Many of those have disappeared in our churches.  They’ve been distilled down to just a five minute inclusion in our services or bible study…but should they be more prominent, more substantive?  Do we still have worries and fears, sick and dying?  Do we still have things that require corporate prayer?
Secondly, another indicator (a twofer for my Minnesotan friends) of a rotting church:
We become building bound – meaning that we expect our communities to come to us.  We put up amazingly designed billboards, posters, flags and we wave them at the community…it’s like we are scattering bird seed in a trail hoping that people will follow it right up to our front doors.  We have this grandeous idea that everything we do must be done in our buildings – what happened to evangelism?  What happened to getting out into the streets?  Do we still have a concern for the drunk down the street who is caught in a habitual addiction of stumbling out of the bar that they frequent?  Do we still feel compassion for the family down the street that is dirt poor and cannot find a meal to eat in their cupboards?  A Church who remains stuck in their building (no matter how beautiful it may be) is a dying church with little mission or outreach into the community they were birthed from.

2.  A Loveless Congregation
Dare I say that perhaps this is cog in the chain reaction of not being community driven and lacking mission & compassion for others.  Obviously no church ever desires to become loveless…but it can happen over time.  I honestly hope that this evidence of a rotting church is the dying gasp before the doors are closed for good, and all I hope to accomplish by saying that is – we (the Church) needs to love each other more!  This should be a siren call to the church to offer more compassion and selflessness amongst its congregants and its community.  love

If we lose the love of others, we have also lost the love of God – these two are inseparable! “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” 1 John 4:20
If this happens – we will have a rotting church on our hands!

1. Comfort & Apathy 
Signs of a rotting church can be born out of the comforts that have become common place in the western world.  We have no need of want.  Our church buildings, many of them, are being built larger and larger.  The church, and its congregants, become apathetic to the needs of the community (again because all things “ministry” take place inside not outside of the church walls).   Apathy is a death knell to the church.  If/when we reach this point of not caring for people – we might has well lock the doors and burn the scriptures because it is useless to a dead church.
These are strong words – because I feel at times we are deaf to the warnings such as this!
We cannot allow apathy to take root in our hearts.  We cannot pretend all is well when suffering is taking place in our communities.  We cannot rest until mercy and compassion becomes our life blood again!  Sometimes our churches get so big that we start to treat it as a big corporate business and in so doing we unintentionally leave Christ out of our missional planning.

Ponder This: 
Are we striving to be or have professional preachers in our churches?
Is there still a deep hunger for Scripture in you and in your church?
What of Prayer?  Do we consider supplication to be vital and intrinsic in who we are?
Have you prayed for God to give you His vision for people around you?  If not begin to pray this prayer every day!  When you do, may your love increase for others and any residue of apathy – may it flee from you!

Something more for the Church to ponder today – to God be the glory!

You’re a Liar, I’m a Liar – Here’s Why…

Whether we care to admit it or not, we are liars.
Go ahead, soak it up, take it in…
Some of you are probably offended by this accusation.
Some of you might be nervous – don’t be.

The Lies 
The biggest lie that we tell ourselves is this:  “I don’t need God.”
The second biggest lie that we tell ourselves is: “every thing is okay.”
And then there are those lies that we tell God – “Lord I promise if you get me out of this situation I will never do that (insert whatever “that” is here) again!”  Or, we go to the altar at some fancy big church event and confess our sins in a big emotional altar call and make promises that only last that weekend…in essence we lie because deep down we know we don’t plan on changing.
We also lie to God by telling Him that He’s the only God in our lives, but let me ask you, how many hours a day do you spend on the internet or on social media?  How many hours a day watching tv, netflix etc…?  Are there other things that consume all of your time?  Are there things that you would shamefully admit that you’re obsessed with?  Now, there’s nothing wrong with any of this stuff, but when we spend hours and hours and hour a day gaming or web surfing or whatever – we have become consumed, and when we become consumed by something other than God – we have essentially set up idols to false gods in our lives.  Basically, whatever takes the place of God – becomes our god…and we are then liars who claim we know God, but rather, we only know of God.

1 John 1:8-10 says; “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

God Doesn’t LieGod
What God says – He means.
What He says He will do – He will do.
God doesn’t break His promises to us – We are usually the ones who break our promises to Him.  Do we need Him?  Absolutely, and yet our ego at times convinces us that we can go it alone and we don’t need Him to “interfere”.   Don’t lie to God, He’s not fooled.  Also, don’t lie to yourself!

stopStop The Lies
So what’s the point?
Do some soul searching in your life today.
Be humble,.in other words, put yourself low, look hard and deep at your own life right now – without any sugar coating or facades (which are lies that you have told yourself).

– Another lie we might hear in our minds from time to time is this:  “I am not good enough to be called a Child of God, (or to be called a “Christian”)” We might buy into that lie because of guilt and shame, but God’s grace through Jesus Christ can remove that guilt and shame completely – making us totally covered by grace and completely forgiven!  Don’t buy this lie anymore!!  God loves you, and He wants you to know how valuable you are to Him!

We tell ourselves a lot of lies…and sometimes we start to believe them.
We also try and tell God lies too…but we aren’t fooling Him, He knows.

honestBe Honest.
Allow the Lord access to every part of your mind today…even the spaces in the recesses of your mind that you are ashamed of.  He already knows, but we have to let Him in and allow His light to shine onto those dark, shameful places in order for healing, true healing to take place.  Admittedly, this is a work in progress for all of us.  There will be times when we lie, or believe a lie in our minds again.  But the next time that happens, recognize it and within that recognition, plot and strive to change that behavior.  Ask God to help you in those moments!  True sincerity and admission/penitence moment by moment allow us access to God, and it also provides us with tangible spiritual growth.

Lord, I confess my lies to you today.
Lies that I have told, and the lies that I have believed about myself.
I am weakened by these lies, but I know that with your strength I can be whole again!
Walk beside me today Lord, reveal to me the moments of my dishonesty to you and to those I come in contact with.  Convict me when I live double-mindedly.  Lord, I do not want this barrier to remain between us.  I know this has stunted my spiritual growth, and I desire to be closer to you.  Lead me Lord, I desire to give all there is of me to you – even those spaces in my life and mind that I am ashamed of.  Wash me clean again.  -Amen.

Something more to Ponder today.
To God be the glory!

To Love Lost…

There is this deep, inky black-hole within all of us.
We can pretend,
we can play the charade..
we can place masks upon our faces…
and ignore that it is there…
That everything is “okay”, and yet, when it is late at night
and the sun has set on our false pretenses…
when the T.V. has been switched off and the vacuum of sound descends…
when electronic devices and cellular phones, with their glowing ambient light reflected in our zombified eyes have all been powered down…
it is then that we truly feel its ache within us.
the missing piece.
the black-hole within all of us.

We know that something is innately missing –
that our hearts are not as full as they should be.
That, despite our comforts and daily groanings –
we. are. still. empty. inside.
so we hide it.
we play hide and seek with it.
we bury it deep,
we attempt to just “live with it”…only to dig it back up when the silence is near
and care for it once more.

Could it be that we were meant for more than this?
Could it be that this black-hole is all that we were ever intended to be
and yet we ran from it?
that underneath it all – our prime directive was to fellowship
to walk with
to lean on
to spill our guts to
to share our secrets and dreams and hopes and yearnings with
to confide and love and cherish and soak up the divine in His eyes?
Could it be that this black-hole, this missing piece
IS all the difference
in the world?
Hate into Love
War into Peace
Night into Day
Sin into Holiness

My God,
my God,
why did I
forsake you?
This –
is to love lost…
and found again.

Dear Salvation Army – Be Survivors!

“There is a great irony here: proclaiming so much love, experiencing so much hate!  But don’t quit.  Don’t cave in.  It is all well worth it in the end!  It is not success you are after in such times but survival.  Be survivors!  Before you’ve run out of options, the Son of Man will have arrived.”  (Matthew chapter 10, The Message)
Dear Soldier,
are you struggling right now?
Have you experienced resistance, obstacles, opposition?  Good.
I don’t say that to discourage you, but to encourage you.
If we are fight this good fight for the right reasons and with the right heart, we WILL face opposition and discouragement.
If we “take up our cross and follow Jesus” we WILL find times when we feel like quitting…when we feel like throwing in the towel and mutter to ourselves “someone else can do this, I’m done.”  Don’t quit…don’t give in.  Be a survivor, dear soldier! This isn’t about the call for more officers or soldiers, this is a call for more holiness and more humility within our ranks.  This is a call for each of us to push ambitions aside and the thirst for power and authority to “do what we want”.

This has never been about the applause of man.
This has never been about the acclaim by and approval of leaders.
This has been about fearing God first, putting Him above all other things and within that selfless first step be survivors and dare I say “thrivers” in this campaign against sin.

How is your heart today, dear soldier?
Struggling to “catch a break”?
Be encouraged.
The One who has overcome the world stands with us!
The One who loves us beyond measure upholds us!
The One who provides us peace WITHIN the storm calms our weary hearts as well and gives us the power to overcome and survive…and hopefully thrive as well.

Something more to ponder today!
To God be the glory!

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