Finding What We Seek…

“One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” -Psalm 27:4

There is the old testament story about a woman named Hannah.
Hannah did not have any children of her own and she desperately wanted a child. So after one of the Jewish celebrations, Hannah goes to the temple and fervently prays to God to give her a child. She prays and weeps and is in deep anguish over this heartfelt need to be a mother. As she is praying and weeping, the priest Eli sees Hannah there, and he thinks she is drunk because her lips are moving but no words are coming out. So Eli goes and confronts her and even tells her to throw away her wine.

Imagine that for a second, this woman is crying out to God in one of her lowest moments and she can’t even catch a break without having Eli confront her in judgement. Hannah doesn’t lash out though, she just tells the priest why she is there and that she is not drunk. Hannah outlines her heartache and even says “I am very discouraged and I am pouring out my heart to the Lord.” (NLT translation).
The priest responds by saying, “May the God of Israel grant you the request that you asked of Him.”

Scriptures then tell us that Hannah goes home and is at peace and starts eating AGAIN. Let’s stop for a minute and recognize that in Hannah’s distress she had stopped eating and was so discouraged in her heart.

Have you ever been there?
Have you ever been so heavily burdened that you lose all appetite and thoughts of self-care?

One such moment comes to my mind in my life. My Wife had just tragically lost her mother in a horrible accident and for the next couple of days in the midst of our mourning we couldn’t eat and we barely slept. It was gut wrenching sadness and heartbreaking pain. Scripture tells us that there is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3)…and in our lives, most of us have experienced those times of mourning. I believe Hannah felt a certain kind of mourning in her life as well and that is why we are made to understand in 1 Samuel 1:9-28 that Hannah was not eating…or probably sleeping. Her heart was so heavy and burdened with this deep longing and sadness for a child.

In the Seeking – We Find.
Hannah sought out God in this dark moment of her life.
She knelt before God and didn’t care if anyone else was watching, and as she poured out her heart to God, and He was there listening.

Praying for Women to Hunger for God · TWR Women Of Hope

It had nothing to do with a priest answering Hannah’s pleas…although Eli certainly did that. There wasn’t some sort of mystical words that Eli spoke that eased her heart. Rather, it was Hannah’s faith in the God that she prayed to that allowed her to find peace again. There was a certainty that filled that place where her mourning had been. Faith blossomed while her mourning decayed and faded away.

There is a truth of us in this.
David certainly found it when he wrote this:
One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” -Psalm 27:4

When we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, ALL these things will be given to us (Matthew 6:33). But it starts with our seeking.
Are we willing to search God and know Him? To truly know Him?! Not know of Him. Or about Him. But to truly KNOW Him?

What does it look like in our modern day to “dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life”? Let me give you a hint: it’s not just about going to church, but that’s a great start. It is about allowing God to dwell in your life every moment of every day. To literally breathe Him in and out in your actions, thoughts and words. So much so that your old self-induced life fades away to be replaced with a self-less holy one that reflects Christ completely.

Then, when we are heavy burdened, when we face daunting days of uncertainty (that can seem be insurmountable at times) we can seek God. We can know Him, and we can get up from our places of prayer and be rejuvenated in life by His spiritual nourishment, provision and love.

Questions to Ponder today:
What is currently weighing on your heart?
Have you prayed about these things to God?
These prayers can be spoken out loud or silently. They can be written down or thought in your mind as you go about your day. But one thing that truly helps is that you verbalize your burdens to the Lord. Even though He already knows them, speak them to Him.
Lastly do you trust that God is not only listening to your prayers, but that He is in your life and is a participant in it?

May we find what we seek today…and may we be seeking God as well purposely strive to dwell in the House of the Lord forever.


Something more for us to ponder today.
To God be the glory.

Dear Salvationist, Does Nepotism Still Exist In Our Army?

From the start, some of us might shirk at the idea that nepotism still exists in The boothSalvation Army.  But we must recognize that even the Booths promoted family to places of authority.  William Booth viewed his Generalship to be something he would pass along to his children, and perhaps his children’s children.  Could it be that this sort of family promoting still occurs in our Army today?  And if so, should it?  Are there checks and balances in place to prevent nepotism in our Army?

Growing up in the Army, I recall many times where my parents were extremely cautious with even the appearance of favoritism towards my sister and me.

Speaking of Favoritism…can this type of behavior come into play with promotions and appointments in our army?  Should it?  Another question to ask along this line of pondering is – if favoritism does occur in our army – aren’t we then shortchanging our movement of possible movers and shakers who could make a difference, but some have chosen to choose people who are familiar and even safe?   crown

The argument can be made that we in the Army ought to trust and leave this up to God to sort out and perhaps these appointments are “His will”.  Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about that.  I have sincere faith in a Mighty God that He can make something that was meant to harm into something beautiful.  I believe God makes all things new, and He provides in spite of our own efforts and human decisions.  But I don’t know if I really trust human authority as I do God’s authority (nor do I feel we should)…for that matter what defines “God’s Authority”?  I’m curious what your answer might be to that.  I’m not looking for a fight, I’m genuinely interested in how we define this!   I have to be honest, I have always been suspicious of human authority in the guise of being 100% God’s authority.  It’s not that I’m overly cynical of leaders and authority, I just question sometimes if our personal feelings do not play into many of the decisions that are made on the behalf of others – and thereby we sometimes or often show favoritism.
Submission to Authority
Does this mean that I do not submit to authority?  Absolutely not!  We are told to submit to authority in numerous scripture verses.  For example:1 Peter 2:13-17 says;  Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority:whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

Does this mean that we aren’t allowed to query decisions and ask pertinent questions?  Of course not!  It does, however depend on our attitude and motivation!  I am certainly not proposing that we become rebellious by any means, please do not come away thinking that at all!  I will say that as a leader of sorts in my own right, I do recognize that I will never please everyone by the decisions that I have to make from time to time.  This is the heavy mantel of responsibility and leadership that is thrust upon us.  It does take a toll, and I would ask you to be in constant pray for your leaders, whether it be at the corps level, the divisional, territorial, national and international levels.

Back to the initial question:
Does Nepotism and Favoritism still exist in our Army?
My short answer is yes it does…
But I would also caution anyone from making rash judgments unless you have all of the information.

favor2Questions to Ponder:
Does Nepotism still happen in our Army?
Should it happen?
If so, what does this say to those who aren’t related or chosen for specific duties or tasks?
How can we sidestep issues like this?  Is it possible to sidestep them?
What about favoritism?
Could showing favoritism diminish the ranks our ranks and morale?
Can we submit to authority and still question?
How do we reconcile some experiences of flawed human authority with the expectations of God-led authority?
Am I praying fervently for my Corps Officer, Local Officer, Divisional, Territorial, Leader?

I look forward to your constructive conversation on this topic!
Something more for our Army world to ponder today.
*Disclaimer: The thoughts and views of the writer are not necessarily the thoughts and view of The Salvation Army, reader discretion is advised.

The PonderCast Is On iTunes!

Hey everybody,
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Finding Freedom…stop the madness!

What are you 
                            Enslaved to?

ImageWhat holds 


So many victims…
                                          so many chains.

Enslaved to the things we own…
                                                  or is it the things which own us?



Image what is it that is clasped to your life
                                                                   threatening to drown you?   Image


How the pressure builds and builds

What holds us back, keeps us chained
refrained and sometimes

Wouldn’t you rather be 
set free? 

To find relief.
                    from the grief, 
                                        the chaos
                                                      this burden?  







I don’t want to lug this anymore…
To push and pull 
and never improve this lot…


Why would we EVER
be satisfied with this? 
When there is real Peace
                       real Hope
                       real Life
                       real Freedom Image …

The burning question is…
Why do we still live like we are still enslaved

                                                 still imprisoned
                                                 still chained…?  


Something to ponder today…and find freedom, live freedom, be freedom for others still blind and chained.  


“You’re Reading It Wrong” – 2 Mistakes of Interpreting Scripture


Admit it, at one point or another you have misinterpreted what the Bible has said.  Sometimes we do it by accident while other times our intentions are quite clear.  

The Bible was written by many different people, but we do believe that the Bible was “God breathed”.  That being said, Jesus was the only perfect human to have walked the face of the earth, therefore all other people, including those who wrote the bible, were imperfect.  Each writer experienced life through their own filter and each writer faced their own imperfections.  This doesn’t mean that all the writers of the Bible were bad people, but rather that each struggled with the realities of life and with their own humanity.  Understanding this is important when we read the Bible.  Though we know that God is the same today as He was in the past as well as the future – He is being written about through the life experiences of very human (sometimes very earthy) people.   

This brings me to my point – be careful how you interpret scripture!  Many cults have begun just by taking one single passage in the Bible out of context and applying it to something it was never intended for.  If we are true seekers of The Way then we will want to pay extra attention to the ways we apply scripture and its meanings both then and today!  There are two mistakes that I would like to highlight today for us here (I know there are more) and I hope it will help you as it has helped me. 

2 Mistakes of Interpreting Scripture: 


1.  Context – 
New Christians and even “seasoned” veterans of the Word often do not do the “homework” when reading passages in the bible.  The context of what is written is vital to our interpretation of what is being said.  I have known people (myself included) who at times have simply opened the Bible and pointed to a passage and thought “this verse was meant for me” without studying the initial context.  Of course God can work that way but we should spurred on to really study the deeper meanings and implications of what is being said.  

Questions to ask when studying a passages might include: 
      a.  When was this written?
      b.  Who was this written to?
      c.  Why was this being written? 
      d.  What did it mean for the people then? 

Once we have asked these questions (and possibly more) we can then ask the question – “What does this mean for me today?” 
Context is extremely important!

2.  Culture


Culture in the Bible was vastly different from our culture today!  This doesn’t mean that the Bible is obsolete or out of date it simply means in order to interpret the Bible correctly we have to understand the culture of biblical times.  For instance in Jesus’ day Women were not equal to men nor did they possess many of the rights that men possessed.  Jesus was counter-cultural (even revolutionary) in His day to include disciples who were Women.  

Secondly this becomes apparently clear through the writings of Paul when He says things like – “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says.” 1 Corinthians 14:34  To understand this we need to understand the Apostle Paul a little bit more and also the context of what is being written.  Paul addressed numerous issues in the early church including a few women who were causing trouble and creating dissension.  The problem becomes worse when many traditional churches take these specific passages of scripture out of context to mean in our day and age Women should act the same when in fact Paul was writing to very specific situations.  There is a danger in painting with large brush strokes here because then we begin to lose the detail and meaning of the words written in Scripture.  

Culture played a big part in biblical times and it still does today.  That doesn’t mean that culture shapes the Word but rather humanity continues to change and alter yet Biblical truths and the words of God are always consistent despite the seemingly inconsistencies of some of the biblical writers.  Make sure when we interpret scripture that we attempt to understand not only context but the culture of the time that passages were written.  


Wrapping it up


Be careful not to take liberties with scripture!  Don’t pick and choose passages that best suit your needs, but rather read it for what it was intended for.  Some are historical narratives, others are prophetical for a specific people and time, while others are meant for instruction of an early church.  One truth should always stand out above the rest:  God desires a right relationship with us.  Throughout the Bible God is always seeking this with those who encounter Him.  There is punishment for those who disobey yet a remnant always remains because God never gives up on us.  In the finality of things Christ comes into full view and we can see just how far God’s Divine love will go to reach us.  The rest of scripture leads us to this place through some very imperfect writers and people – and so are we.  

I could write so much more on this topic…but for now I am thankful to the many instructors and teachers that I have had along this journey…and I am still learning.  

Just something else to Ponder today 

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.  

“Grabbing the Goat by the Horns” – A Parable of Trixie



Meet Trixie, he’s a goat.  We met Trixie recently while checking out other barn animals.  Our attention at first had been drawn to the little brown ponie who was overly friendly.  The pony stuck his head over the fence and practically demanded to be petted and fed.  Our children loved the warm greeting!   Further down the oblong barn movement caught our eyes, then a goat stuck its head through the wooden gate of its pen.  

We met Trixie because Trixie wanted to eat.  I am convinced the goat craved attention and food.  He wanted our attention, the attention the overly friendly pony was getting.  So Trixie stuck his head out…and got stuck.  That’s right, Trixie maneuvered his head (horns and all) through the slotted wooden gate.  He managed to get his horns through but once through he was truly stuck.  

We discovered Trixie’s predicament when we happened to walk around the outside of the open barn to get a better look at the other animals.  

Trixie stuck through the gate


Sure enough, with the smell of barn animals and the sounds as well, Trixie was not going anywhere.  

The red feeding bucket he had stepped onto in order to get into the predicament had shifted and his horns were now extended through the bars.  

Trixie began to panic.  He was stuck and he could not untangle himself…he was powerless.  

So what were we to do?  
Leave him be until the caretakers found him like this?  -or-
Help free him from his Bovade wooden stockade?  

We couldn’t leave him there, trapped as he was. Trixie needed help.  He need someone from the “outside” to come inside the goat pen and free him.  Naturally it was his fault, but he was clueless and helpless to save himself…he was dead-mutton (sorry, I couldn’t help myself).    

Trixie finding freedom!


We worked and worked.  The screws which held the wooden slats in place were in deep and would not surrender their place without a fight.  At first the screws would not budge…then after some prying and pulling the wooden goat-prison began to loosen.  The whole time we worked and pulled, Trixie was frightened and extremely nervous.  I can only imagine what goes on in the mind of a goat when it seems their “time has come”.  Trixie nibbled on my Father’s hoodie a bit, occasionally being scolded for doing so.  

Finally, and with a lot of strength and maneuvering Trixie was freed.  His horns and head no longer locked inside a self-made prison.  

If Trixie was happy about being we free, he didn’t really show it.  But perhaps there was some gratitude as we fed him some fresh straw and reassured him everything was alright.  

Perhaps…just perhaps Trixie will remember this day and refrain from getting stuck again…I’m not too hopeful though.

Are We stuck in self-made prisons?



Like Trixie, we as people often find ourselves stuck.  We make dumb choices, we wedge ourselves into situations and suddenly we are locked in – horns and all with no means of escape.  Have you been there?  Are you there right now?  These decisions could include sin issues, but it’s not exclusively just about sin.  

If they are sin issues then find your freedom today by confessing your sins and accepting Jesus’ forgiveness and His salvation!  “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” -Romans 3:23  We are all guilty and need saving…we are all in need of being freed from our stockade of sin.  For some of us, we are already free yet feel tempted at times to find our way into prison again. Beware of these trappings of the allure…sticking your neck out and buying into sins allure can be deadly!

If you’re stuck for other decisions that you’ve made, consider this:  God isn’t a distant God.  He hears us, and wants us to live a life worthy of our callings.  He can help you become “unstuck” if you will allow Him access into your lives and let Him guide you through the maze of life!  Maybe it’s time to grab the goat by the horns…

-Something to ponder today…all from a goat named Trixie.  


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