Churches – “We’re outsourcing our benevolence funds”…Really?

Is the need that great?
Are churches having trouble “keeping up”?
Why are some churches outsourcing the care of the poor to agencies?
Isn’t there some sort of responsibility that churches ought to have in regards to helping those in need?

It is mind boggling to me when I come across community churches that have outsourced one of its primary functions in as Christians to a created agency to facilitate.   They are happy to funnel their “charity” funds into a created social service office somewhere off of their church buildings.  It almost says to the outside world – we’re interested only in those who can support themselves but we don’t want the riffraff of society  in our beautiful buildings.

The Benefit of the doubt: church1
Granted, there are always new legalities and policies within cities taking place which makes it difficult for some churches to serve the needy.

Secondly, some churches do not have the budgets for staffing full time social service employees to facilitate this need.

Thirdly, storage and distribution space.

(and it’s a big one) does this mean ONLY parishioners/members of that church can have access to services?
The danger in this kind of model of social distribution of services (and it really does exist) is that support for individuals in need is managed in a discriminatory fashion.  If you do not belong to the “club” you cannot receive help…”but here are a list of food pantries in the area that we can direct you to.”  That’s all well and good but don’t you think the message it is sending is “you don’t belong here, please go somewhere else…Members only!”?

The only kind of outsourcing Jesus did was delegating responsibilities to his disciples.
It was for their education as disciples.
It was to help them and to grow as future leaders.
Jesus didn’t send people on their way to the temple administrators.
He didn’t tell some “I can’t heal you because you aren’t a member”

Why do some churches take this path?
Does it deviate from the true purpose of “Church”?
Does it seem to send a message of “We care, but not in our backyard“?

I ponder these things today with open questions because honestly I don’t have the answers.
I just see that certain churches have become pretentious in appearances and treat benevolence like a blight or an annoyance that they deal with once or twice a year with a collection.

Is this not important?
Are we not to care for the orphans, widows and poor?
Has it become beneath the modern American church?
If that person isn’t a member is there any help that we can give them?

Something more to ponder today.

Dear Salvation Army – The Internal Battle & 3 Prescriptions!

robin3This past August when Robin Williams died, the world was shocked.  How could someone so funny come to such a sad and horrible ending?  We really do not understand the depths of such internal battles unless we ourselves have been there.

Just because we put on uniforms it doesn’t mean that we stop experiencing difficulties.

Just because we become a Christ-follower doesn’t mean that we stop struggling with internal battles.
Some people even genetically struggle with things like depression and I would like to talk about this today.  Before you stop reading and think to yourself “this doesn’t relate to me“, perhaps you’ll reconsider because we are all in this together and you just might be able to help someone else who DOES relate to this.

A Story About Depression:
One of my Uncles, who is an Officer in the Southern Territory USA,  shared with me a story about a local Presbyterian minister in his town.  It is a sad story.  The kind of story that causes shell shocked locals to question life and death and to reconsider their preconceived notions of depression.
Apparently, this local Presbyterian minister, who had been on sabbatical from his church, committed suicide.   He ended his life.  He allowed the darkness within him to quench the light of hope.  Let that sink in for a moment.  A minister, who was deeply depressed and struggling with this difficult internal battle, ended his life.  It doesn’t matter how he did it, but that he did it.  His church and surrounding community are currently and completely devastated.  Questions have been swirling and the idea that not just any person committed suicide, but a Pastor and leader of a church committed suicide has sent his church and community whirling in disbelief.

There’s A Lesson Here:
-Everyone is susceptible to these internal battles
It doesn’t matter if you’re a Presbyterian minister, a Catholic Priest or even a Salvation Army Officer or Soldier.  We still struggle in life sometimes.  We can still face things like depression.  Sometimes we’re very good at hiding it too.  Sometimes we’re so good that we even convince ourselves that nothing is wrong when something is very wrong within us.  We sometimes compartmentalize these struggles and convince ourselves that someone else is to blame or the situation at hand is to blame when the battle is truly internal.  Instead of beating ourselves up over feeling this way, we need to reach out for help.

The Misnomers Of Depression:
We can often look at these internal battles as weaknesses and something to be embarrassed about.  If you’re struggling right now or know someone who is, please don’t be embarrassed or make that person feel embarrassed.  Don’t think for a minute that you are less valuable because of the internal struggles you are facing.  Don’t think for a minute that no one will understand.  Don’t think for a minute that you are all alone in these dark days.  Don’t buy into the lie that you must be weaker than other because you are struggling.

Another misnomer with depression is the idea that if I deny it exists (that I’m depressed)  I will be fine.  Have you ever shaken up a carbonated soda and then opened up the top?  What happens?  The bottled up carbonated soda explodes from the container doesn’t it?  In the same way that bottle can’t hold the shaken contents, so too our bodies and minds aren’t equipped to hold everything in either.  We have to let these struggles and abscesses of the heart and soul out of us.  We can’t avoid them…they won’t simply go away.  We could do more harm to ourselves if we just let them fester within us without releasing them.

Here are three prescriptions, dear soldier, to help us conquer and win these internal battles  –

1) Seek Professional Help!
It is a sign of strength, not weakness to receive help from a counselor, pastor, or professional psychologist.  Get over the misconception that it is wrong to talk about your struggles.  Seeking out help is the first step to having victory over that internal battle!  Don’t be afraid to ask for help!  When we have someone else on board with us helping us find hope and joy again we can also find healing.

accountability12) Seek Accountability
This might go hand in hand with #1…but it goes further.  Do you have a friend in whom you can confide?  Are there trusted people in your life who can listen but also be honest with you?  Don’t seek out just anyone or even someone who agree with everything you say.  Find someone who will challenge you, be honest with you and will keep you accountable.  Seek out a fellow brother or sister in Christ who can pray with you and help shoulder your heavy burdens.  Accountability helps relieve some of these internal struggles.  Depression is worse when dealt with alone…remember that!

3) Find Rest And Activitiesrest1
We need our rest to replenish our physical and emotional reserves.  Officers and soldiers are ever in the fray of this mission field, but even soldiers and officers need hobbies and rest!  Make sure you find some “Me” time.  This isn’t selfish this is self-preservation.  What good will you be if you are spent and worn through and through?  Make sure you find things to do outside your mission field sometimes.  Get sufficient rest, take time to reconnect and rejuvenate.

These are just three crucial prescriptions.  There are more, but doing these three things will help in your journey to victory over your internal battles.  Don’t quit.  Don’t think for a moment that you are alone.  You are loved.  You are needed.  You are important!

If we are to be healthy Soldiers and Officers, we must first be honest with ourselves and be willing to do a little soul-care from time to time.  These internal battles won’t just go away if we just ignore them, we must confront them and in that confronting we can find healing and recovery!

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” -Proverbs 4:23

Something more for our Army world to ponder today!
To God Be The Glory…and remember, You are NOT alone!!

Devotional Pondering – A Hard Truth: His will isn’t always our will!


“May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven-Matthew 6:10

Many times, if we’re honest, our prayers contain a very personal aspect – our will.  There are certain things that we pray for that we want to happen, outcomes and accomplishments, dreams and aspirations.  Often times we want God to answer our prayers in the manner that suits us.  Sometimes He answers the way that “we hope” He would answer, while other times His answer isn’t what we expected.  

When we submit ourselves to Him, we are making a conscious attempt of complete surrender – come what may.  Jesus taught His disciples how to pray.  We call it “the Lord’s prayer”, and yet we should understand that Jesus was modeling how prayer should be.  Sure the words are important but so is the attitude in which we say those words.  The Lord’s prayer isn’t a “magic” saying either, it is not the only way to pray, but it models for us the type of prayers that should leave our lips and hearts.  


The Danger
Taking our will out of our prayers might cause us some anxiety.  Our will is sometimes (in my case very, very, very) stubborn.  Our will is probably the last ounce of our old selves that remains within the face of complete surrender.  The will of God, however, can be dangerous to our personal dreams and aspirations because He might call us elsewhere…but...if we chose to accept His will over ours, He provides us with something far better than we could have ever hoped and dreamed of.

We serve a dangerous God.  
That doesn’t mean that He sets out to cause us pain or discomfort, but God calls us and prompts us to this attitude of complete surrender.  Faith is blind sometimes.  When we utter the words “Your Will be done” we have released our self-chosen pathways, our wants and our often selfish wishlists in life, which we have clutched tight-fisted and unwavering in resolve.  His will is not always our will, but can we face a simple truth that releases us to see this dangerous God?  That truth – He knows better than we do.  He can and will guide us.  He wants to lead us.  He is prepared to help us on this journey of Holiness, but we must utter those four, sometimes frightening, words – YOUR.  WILL.  BE.  DONE.

I still struggle with those words…do you? 


Sometimes I find myself fighting against His will.  I think that I know better and so I pray my will into things, people and aspirations once again.  I take back that which I had surrendered to Him.  I take back my trust in His leading.  I take back my faith and choose my will over you find yourself here as well?  I believe God wants us to honestly inventory our lives.  I believe He desires an honest relationship with us and we must actively decide whether or not those four words are true of us.  Are they true of you today? 


-Prayer: Dear Lord, I confess that I have not always prayed and surrendered to Your will.  Forgive me when I have taken You for granted and that of Your love.  Teach me to trust you more deeply.  Show me how I can live within Your will more fully.  I know that You long for a deeper relationship with me, guide me, break me, melt me, mold me again.  -Amen.


Personalizing Homelessness


Can we identify with those who live on the streets?  I don’t mean hopeless conversations and pre-judgement calls such as “Well, they’re drunks and if I give them money they will just spent it on more booze…” That isn’t identifying with homelessness, that’s passing judgement on them.  Yes, something needs to be done, but casting blame, brow beating and ugly talk will not restore lives.  


Just this past week, London’s Mayor Boris Johnson called for the removal of the “ugly, stupid anti-homeless spikes” in a modern upscale neighborhood after many took to social media sites to decry this horrific practice and homeless deterrent.  (source: 

Although we can see this as a success in “spreading the word”, we shouldn’t just stop here to rest on our laurels, much work still remains to be done.  

Personalizing Homelessness – breaking the prejudgements:


Some have argued that these protests against anti-homeless constructions infringe on the rights of the landowners or landlords.  Understandably, this is a concern.  Certainly those who are good stewards of their property wish to maintain a safe and aesthetically pleasing environment for their tenants, but at what cost?  

How are we to care for others while taking care of the properties around us?  This is a troubling issue, and both sides of this argument require consideration.  Yet many times the campaign of driving homelessness from the streets of our cities is something done quietly. Why would it be done quietly? Some may wonder.  The reason is because of fear of public repercussions.  There are times when law enforcement officials are encouraged to drive homeless individuals to locations outside of town and drop them off.  When this type of practice happens we begin to dehumanize people. What is the value of a life today?  Even if that life is smelly, dirty and unhealthy, that person is still human.  

Making it personal: 


What if that person on the street is your brother or sister?  What if that homeless person is a son or daughter?  Wouldn’t you want others to treat them fairly?  Would you want someone to help them?  There are many root causes of homelessness, drugs and alcohol are usually the first things we assume brought them to homelessness, but mental abuse and disabilities are also contributors.  These are the least of these in our communities.  These are people without voices.  What if we made homelessness personal.  What if we humanized these poor wretches for a moment.  I don’t use that term to make them seem “under” me by any means, but how much of a difference does it make to see them as equals to us?  Sure they may be without homes, incomes and families, but are they not still loved by an Almighty God who knows their names and loves them the same as He loves us?  

The difference between apathy and mercy:


There’s a vast difference between these two words.  One speaks of indifference to others while the other speaks of compassion and love.  One is uncaring while the other cares.  Which are we?  Do we see people living on the streets…actually see them?  Is there something that WE can do?  I certainly don’t propose that we go and put ourselves in danger…but there is something we can do to avoid apathy in these situations.  Care.  Find places like The Salvation Army who can go in uniform with many hands to help clothe, feed and show love.  Become involved, volunteer in church groups who minister through soup kitchens and other feeding programs.  One such program is The Salvation Army’s Bed & Bread club –


Contribute to authentic ministries and missions who actually go and help those living on the streets. Make homelessness personal. Each person who sleeps out there under bridges and in the nooks of buildings are still people.  Some of these homeless individuals have family members still looking for them.  We can either construct crude spikes on a street or park bench and drive them from our sight, or we can lend a helping hand without prejudging their motives or intentions.  

Homelessness should be personal to us.  We should care about others, and if we can help…we should. 


-Just another thought to ponder. 

Prayer: Lord help me to see others the way that You seen them.  Help me to be an instrument of Your peace.  Remove my prejudgments and prejudices.  Grant me wisdom and love, fill me with Your mercy, and may my hands become Yours.  -Amen.  

How Does Grace Work?


It is more than just saying a prayer at dinner time.  It is more than being “gracious” on a sports field after a loss.  Grace is something that can be offered to more than just a friend in need.  Grace is something that can be profoundly life changing when offered to a complete stranger or even an enemy.  

Grace is defined in the spiritual realms as “God’s unmerited favor”.  This means that grace or God’s love and forgiveness is offered to those who don’t even deserve it.  It’s like going to an execution of a known guilty convict, and just before they “flip the switch” the governor calls to say the guilty convict has been pardoned. Image


 It just doesn’t seem to make sense.  Shouldn’t that person pay for their crimes?  That person certainly didn’t deserve anything but punishment, and yet grace was provided without merit.  

God comes through to us in our wretched state.  Jesus was sent to us despite ourselves, despite how undeserved we were.  God knew that in our total depravity we were hopelessly lost and doomed to suffer our sinner’s fate…yet He still sent Christ.  Jesus took upon Himself the sins of all mankind and they were nailed to the cross with Him.  Knowing this brings John 14 into perspective: 

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”  Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know[b] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.

Jesus declares to His disciples and to us as well that grace has come into the world.  He also reminds us of the way to the Father is through Him alone.  

Receiving Grace: 

We can receive this grace from God the moment we cry out to Him.  We can not only be forgiven from our wretched sins and shame but we can be washed clean from them.  God’s grace is like that.  It is His desire that no one suffer death because of sin.  Jesus has given us the way to receive His grace – declare Him to be God’s one and only Son!  Ask Him to forgive your sins, and live this new life through Jesus!

To keep on “the way” and living within His grace perhaps begin by reading the words of the gospel of John, or another of the gospels.  Spend time reading a chapter a day, pray for God to guide you as you read His truths, and ask God for direction.  Lastly find a church to call home.  Find a church family to get plugged into and to connect with.  When you have roots such as these in the Christian faith you will grow!  

Giving Grace:


Lastly, I want you consider something.  Here it is: forgive those who have wronged you!  I know, it’s hard to fathom ever forgiving THAT person, but when we forgive as Christ has forgiven us it not only frees other people but it frees us too.  We no longer have to curry these grudges and hurts around with us.  We no longer have to be burdened by pains that happened to us.  Surrendering these hurts and grudges may be the hardest thing we ever do, but trust me, it is worth it.  



God gave us unmerited grace.  We didn’t deserve it, and yet it is offered to us.  Can we learn to forgive as well?  Can we truly learn to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44)?  Grace is real, free, and available.  Accept it and then offer it to others! 

-Just something else to ponder today!  

Prayer: Dear Lord help me to accept Your grace today!  Guide me in Your truths, I want to serve you and love you with every fiber of my being.  Forgive me of my sins.  Help me to accept Your grace and in turn forgive those around me.  Lord I need to be freed of these burdens.  Grant me Your strength and wisdom to love my enemy.  Show me practical way in which I can show love and forgiveness today.  In Your name I pray all of these things.  -Amen.  



Human trafficking is still real.  It is still a blight in our world.  The recent stories of the kidnapped school girls in Nigeria and Chad by terrorist/militant organization Boko Haram has once again brought it to the forefront of the minds of many in our world.  Human slavery and the sex trade market needs to end.  How horrifying to be awakened in the middle of the night by kidnappers in your room.  How terrifying to be taken by men and young kids armed with automatic rifles.  How tragic that young girls aren’t safe within the confines of a school…in any country.  Human trafficking is abhorrent, despicable and disgusting.  

How can we fight Human Trafficking and modern day slavery?  

1. Pray – 
This might sound like a “wish” making task, but prayer works!  Pray to the Lord.  Ask Him to intercede.  Pray about legal actions you can take as a citizen in your country.  Pray for the lives of those who are affected by human trafficking and also pray for the men, women and children who are victims of human trafficking.  God hears our prayers and He does bring justice to those who are powerless and without advocates.  Begin with prayer.

2. Get involved – 
There are countless website of organizations that offer tangible, real advice and ways in which we can get involved in fighting human trafficking.  Here are a few websites to check out and decide which might best aid you in your involvement:
           The Salvation Army:

3. Write or call elected officials and/your state representatives – (If you are from another country look up the phone numbers and addresses to your elected officials and contact them!) 


Call or write those who have the power to write laws and spend tax payer monies to combat human trafficking. Be aware and knowledgeable of the organization (listed above) that assist in fighting these causes and research the areas of our world affected by human trafficking.  The truth is every country has trouble with this horrifying social disease.  Calling elected officials or writing to them can add pressure for your country to take action and crack down on proprietors of human slavery.  

4.  Start a social media campaign – 


Hashtags and posting news stories of these horrific events can continue to draw people’s attention to this serious issue.  Don’t be afraid to take a stand and to start something around your community and/or on your social media sites to generate action and support.  

We must fight this!  We can change lives and bring victims of human trafficking home and/or to shelters of safety.  
We can do this together!  We can save those without a voice.  Take a stand today and do something!!


“Dear Abby-Normal”



Many of you will recognize the reference from Young Frankenstein and if you have never seen this quote here’s the humorous interaction from the movie – “Whose brain did you put in?”

In the clip Igor mistakenly puts an abnormal brain into the body that doctor Frankenstein is trying to reanimate.  As soon as the “monster” is alive the doctor quickly realizes something is definitely wrong.  Igor thought the label read “Abby-normal”.  


Are you Abby-normal?

I don’t wish to make light of an advice column but since we’re on the topic of advice, let me offer some advice to my fellow Christ-followers out there.  I don’t claim to have all of the answers, nor would I ever make such a claim.  I do know the One who does have the answers and without Him we are surely lost!  Since we are no longer slaves to sin and Christ has redeemed us we are now different aren’t we?   Essentially we have been transformed or changed and we no longer bear the image of the world.  

ImageHow to be Abby-Normal:

I don’t wish to imply to anyone that we are to be strange or weird, or that we have to be completely divorced from the world around us.  What I am implying though is that the world does become different to us when we peer through the lens of Christ, who has set us free and saved us from or sins.  Thus, to the outside world, we are now considered strangers of “abby-normal”.  We aren’t the same anymore in essence – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

But how do we remain “abby-normal” and still maintain relevance and witness in a world that needs the hope of Christ?  

Here are a couple thoughts on remaining “abby-normal“:

1.  Pray continually & Feast on the word of God!

1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray continually“.  These words were written to the early believers who, though new in their faith, were facing persecution and pressure.  Prayer is more than just kneeling beside your bed at night or as you wake up in the morning.  Prayer can be a support system, a communication with God on a moment by moment basis.  We don’t need a special place to pray, we can pray in our cars on our way to work.  We can also pray in silence as we walk or in between meetings…or whatever else fills our day.  We do not have to say specific words to make prayer more powerful, God desires our hearts and sincerity.  Prayer is our connection to a limitless God and personal Savior.  

Along side our prayers is the need for us “abby-normals” to feast of God’s Word!  “Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2Tim 3:16,17)  The Word of God has a way of correcting us and providing to us direction in this life.  Though it is true that not everything we face in this life is written about in the days of Jesus…They never had to deal with rush hour traffic or some of our social issues today, but God can speak to us through His Word.  His Word is vital to our growth and will equip us to challenge the world around us.  We are strangers in this world because of our love of this unseen God, but faith has a way of providing for us perseverance especially in times of pressure and trouble.  

2) The Gift of the Holy Spirit

We are not alone in this world.  We have One who goes before us and walks beside us!  At the moment of our salvation the Holy Spirit takes up residence within us.  He can guide us and provide us strength for the journeys we all face.  Romans 8:26 says,  “…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Paul wrote these words in the midst of his own struggles and that of the recipient of this letter, but these words should bring comfort to all of us today as well!  We are recipients of the Holy Spirit too and with His help we are never alone in our witness of the resurrected Christ!

To Whom do you belong?  

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:19

We are no longer citizens of the world…”But our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).  As citizens of Christ we are His, and though the world see us as “abby-normal” we know that truth of this life and how we ought to live it.  But secondly we also know where hope for the world comes from – Christ Jesus.  Therefore as “Abby-normals” we ought to be sharing and declaring this hope with love and joy to those around us.  How we do this begins with how we live and conduct our lives.  Because the world doesn’t want Christians to preach at them…they long for genuineness and authenticity.  If we are walking with God and His Holy Spirit is truly guiding us (which He promises to do) then we have to put feet with our faith and our words.  Living the resurrected life out-loud is so much more effective than mere words or sermons…our lives should be living sermons which will bring others to Christ!  

 “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.  12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” 1 Peter 2:11,12

Don’t be ashamed to live an “Abby-normal” kind of life!  Remember your identity as a child of the Most High!  You have been bought with a great price and our mission is to shine and love even if it means we aren’t always accepted.  Shine anyway and live this “Abby-normal” life out-loud!  

-Just a thought!



It’s about the $$$


Money is an inevitability in modern society.  No matter if you have a little bit of money or a lot of money, it affects our lives.  So how do we utilize money that we have for good?  

There is an old saying that has been used for years.  I’m sure you’ve heard it before; “Money is the root of all evil”.  Did you know that this saying is actually a bible verse that has been taken out of context?  The actual verse puts it this way, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10

Did you catch that, it’s not that money is inherently evil, it is the LOVE of money.  In other words if we covet and obsess over money and how we scrounge and scrape for it, then money becomes a problem. Money has the potential of becoming an idol in our lives.  An idol is something of great importance to us and many times it replaces God in our list of priorities.  This is the true danger and warning that Paul is talking about in 1 Timothy.

That being said how can we use money for good instead of evil?   

Here are five suggestions that can help us to priorities our lives and our financial resources: 

5 Uses of $ for Good:


1) Tithe to your church.

This might sound overly simplistic to you, but before we even receive our pay check we should already have budgeted this as an act of worship to God.  

Randy Alcorn in his book, “Money, Possession and Eternity” says this about tithing; “..tithing isn’t something I do to clear my conscience so I can do whatever I want with the 90 percent–it also belongs to God! I must seek his direction and permission for whatever I do with the full amount. I may discover that God has different ideas than I do.” 

The principle of tithing shouldn’t be some sort of obligation or forced habit.  It should be an act of worship which sets our priorities in order – “God first” which implies all of our resources including our finances belong to Him!  Tithing is a leap of faith which, if done properly, frees us and allows Him to lead us in all other ventures.  This discipline isn’t easy, but can be very rewarding. 



2) Support local and global charities 

Beware!! Do your research before writing a check to any charitable organization.  First find out how much of your donation will go to direct services (or the cause you are supporting)!  Pray about the kinds of things you are looking at support and make sure God is directing you so support these causes.  Another wise thing to consider is taxable donations.  Each year nonprofits who we support can write you a receipt of your donations.  It might not be much but it could help you come April 15th.  Along with our tithe and support of our places of worship supporting a cause with our financial donations can make a difference in other people’s lives. 



3) Live within your means!

This can be a very difficult thing to do if we don’t first set God as our top priority.  We live in a very commercialize, media saturated society.  This drives the market and propels people to spend, spend, spend.  We think we need the latest and newest of everything.  Again the LOVE of what money can buy can be a root of evil if we allow it into our hearts.  Let’s be honest this type of trapping of materialism is very easy to fall into.  Beware of this trap and the lie that we aren’t valuable until we have that next best thing!  Live on the income you make…if that isn’t enough perhaps find a second source of income or another job!  

Second budget your income.  Make a budget.  Don’t know where to start?  Check out this simple budget by Dave Ramsey:   Let me recommend the middle downloadable form called “Monthly Cash Flow Plan”


Live within your means also implies that we must beware of the use of credit cards!  These are funds which are loaned to us and we have to pay back the balance with interest.  Again don’t spend money that you do not have and isn’t guaranteed to be there in the future.  Millions of Americans are facing financial troubles because they have lived far above their means and used and abused credit cards.  Beware of this “easy fix” because if can have long term consequences!



4) Teach your children! 

This is an education that will be the legacy that you leave for your children and their children’s children!  Education of financial responsibility needs to be taught to our children!  Don’t rely on teachers or the government to teach your children about money!  Take responsibility to educate them and PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t teach them in the form of “Don’t do as I do, but do as I say”!  In other words LEAD BY EXAMPLE!  The best teachers are those who take it upon themselves to educate by example in living and lifestyle!  Show your child (if they’re old enough) how to balance a check book or how to create a monthly/weekly budget.  




5) Be generous!  


We all have family members, church friends, and neighbors who might be going through touch times.  Use your money for good by giving generously.  Be mindful though that you are discerning in how and who you give generously to.  Make investments in people and their lives, but don’t support illegal habits or destructive lifestyles in your giving either. Don’t loan money out, give it as a gift if you have it to give.  Remember, it’s all God’s anyway!  

Money is not inherently evil.  It is how we use it in our lives and in the lives of others.

Remember, You are God’s and so are all of the blessings of life that He has bestowed upon you!  

-Just a thought.


Surviving Diseases…and Ultimate Healing

Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise. -Jeremiah 17:14


Recently in the news a girl was denied to be put on the adult lung donors list in Philadelphia.  Then the decision was overturned by the court system to put this girl afflicted with Cystic Fibrosis on that same adult lung donor list.  She went from having next to no hope to finally having some hope of getting new lungs as the disease ravages the lungs leaving them scarred and unusable.  This horrible disease is carried through family genetics and those children it appears in have a shortened life span.  But with new medicines and transplants the lives of those who it effects can be prolonged for many many years.

In recent days as this story unfolded the family celebrated the reversal of the initial decision.  Taking politics aside, the life of a child even with the high risk of surgery and rejection of the organs means everything for just more time to live and breathe.  Now today,  Sarah Murnaghan who is 10 years old will be getting new lungs.  Her name was on the list and it was called.  No one knows if this will be successful, I pray that it is, but as a parent of four children myself, I would want to know that my child is given every opportunity to survive an ordeal such as this!  Any parent would fight for their child in the same way as Sarah’s has!!

Spiritually speaking, everything in this life is a gift from God…even more time!  I don’t pretend to understand what her family is going through or the long painful journey that they have already been on, but I do know that we serve a God who cares and ultimate will heal us all.  Life, regardless of illness and disease is terminal.  I know what your thinking, that doesn’t sound very uplifting.  True.  But in the grand scheme of things we all know that some day we too will face that veil that separates us from life and death.

I have held the hand of dying people, I have been in the room of those who have breathed their last.  I have performed funerals for families and their dearly departed.  What I do know about this life is that we all long for more time.  We all want to linger with our lost family member for one last time.  What I also know is that life is so precious and it is a gift!  We ought to celebrate every moment that we are alive here on Earth, but also know that this physical life isn’t the end of it all!

I am excited for Sarah Murnaghan and her family.  I pray that she pulls through this impending surgery…illnesses and diseases of all kinds are horrible, let alone to those children who are afflicted by them.  I pray that she heals, and that she gets to enjoy breathing without pain once again!

Do you serve a God who heals?  I do.  Even if that healing becomes an ultimate one, I know that there is life beyond the grave!  What a celebration we will all have one day when we see family members who have gone on before us!  In the mean time, relish life…live it fully and celebrate it with a God who desperately wants to be apart of yours!

We have this one life, we have to decide what we’re going to do with it!  Don’t let it slip through your fingers and come to the end of your life and face regrets.  Celebrate, relish, and live!

Current news story:

Here are some links about Cystic Fibrosis and ways we can also help those children suffering from Cystic Fibrosis:

Light our way!

Psalm 119:105 (NIV)
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.


Have you ever stumbled around in the dark?  I have on numerous occasions and usually it ends with me finding a light source only after finding unidentified objects in my path with my shins and toes!  Walking around in darkness is never desired, we need to see where we’re going in order to navigate safely through.  


A few years ago I went on a cave tour in the mountains of Tennessee.  We descended down into this cave with our tour guide, at the surface it was a hot summer day, but when we arrived to the bottom of the cave it was a chilly fifty degrees.  After some instructions from our guide, we took another hike through some narrow portions of the cave.  We even crawled through some spaces at one point, which made it just a little bit claustrophobic for some.  Finally after we had climbed through the narrow crevice we found ourselves in a large cavern with walls that were at least 15 feet tall.  The ceiling sparkled as there were numerous deposits of some kind or another.  Finally our tour guide asked us to trust him and to do something unthinkable.  He asked us to turn our lights off.  So we did and suddenly our entire group was plunged into complete and total darkness.   It was momentarily unnerving when I considered how deep we were and all of the rock that hovered over our heads.  It was so dark that I couldn’t even see my hand in front of my face.  Our tour guide then spoke and said, this is what complete and total darkness feels like.  


Sometimes in our spiritual lives we find ourselves in places like this.  Suddenly the light goes out and we’re standing there in the dark afraid and on the verge of panicking.  Perhaps we get there by our own strength and resources, we stray from God and try to do everything ourselves.  Other times we neglect our devotion and prayer life with God and we become disconnected with the Father.  And again suddenly we are plunged into a darkness  of our own choices.  

Whatever situation you may identify with know that this darkness can be conquered by His Word and His love!  He can and will guide us through this life if we let Him.  All too often I identify with the darkness because I take back my cares and concerns and think that I can do it all in my own strength.  Have you ever done that?  At times I think (and wrongly so) I don’t need any one’s help I’ve got this…but I couldn’t be more wrong.  

His Word will light our path if we’re consuming it daily!  But don’t stop there, allow His grace to fall on you each day, moment by moment as you invite Him into your day throughout your day!  

He will be your guide…do you trust Him?  


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