JAMES – Are You Crazy?

James 1:2-4 – “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” NASB

Consider or count it ALL Joy when…   It would be easy to think that James had to be stark raving mad to suggest that we are to count it ALL Joy when trials and troubles come our way.  We work so hard to avoid conflict and difficulty and here one of the disciples tells us to consider it a good thing. 

James tells us:

The Testing or Trying of our Faith produces ENDURANCE.

If we are going to run a marathon, we must have endurance.  If we are going to harvest a crop, we must have patience and endurance.  If we are going to hold true to the end, we must have endurance.  Therefore, endurance is desirable, and James says that it is produced by tests and trials. 

Let ENDURANCE have its perfect result making us COMPLETE.

If we need anything it is to be complete in Jesus.  When Jesus went to the Cross He said, “It is Finished” or “It is Complete.” The work has been done.  So, I ask “How complete is complete or how finished is finished?”  There is nothing that needs to be added to what Jesus did on the Cross.  There is nothing to be added to His Grace.  So, endurance enables us to move into the Grace of God and become spiritually mature.

As we encounter tests and trials how we respond to them is critical with regard to what they produce in our lives.  If we resist and fight, kicking and screaming all the way we will miss what God is allowing to happen.  I am not suggesting that we passively and eagerly look for trouble to come into our lives – HEAVEN FORBID!  

However, when the difficulty or test comes, we need to constantly be looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.  We need to be continually lifting our eyes to see the hand of God move on our behalf.  We need to be taking stock of the Power of God in our storm and that will enhance our faith, bolster our courage, and shore up our resolve and those are good things.  It will give us landmarks to look back on and say, “I encountered this or that storm and God was faithful.”  It will be a benefit to us and to those we influence.

So, as you go through this day instead of becoming frustrated by the tests and trials that you encounter, lift up your eyes to the hills and know that your help is coming from the Lord.  He has promised to not leave you orphaned so rejoice the trials and tests are just bumps to help us climb higher and give us traction. 

May God be with you today!

ALL YOUR HEART – What Does That Mean?

Luke 10:25-29 – “And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?”  27 And he answered, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE.”  29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” NASB

There are several messages that could and should come from this passage, but I want to focus on the ALL in “All Your Heart.”  All means all of what it is talking about and here ALL means TOTALITY.

Jesus was being challenged by a lawyer about eternal life.  The lawyer, like so many, was looking for some means to discredit Jesus’ message and to establish a means whereby to justify himself.  He asked, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  

Jesus, as He often did, answered the question by making the man think saying, “What is written in the Law?  How does it read to you?”  The man gave a correct response – “You shall love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, and with ALL your soul, and with ALL your strength, and with ALL your mind; and your neighbors as yourself.”  Once Jesus acknowledged the correctness of this statement, he continued to look for a loophole and asked, “Who is my neighbor?”  Wrong focus leads to wrong conclusions and wrong destinations.

Back to the response – With ALL your heart, soul, strength, and mind – – Simply with your ENTIRE BEING!  Love Him with everything in you and at all times.  Love Him supremely above everything in this life. 

With that kind of devotion to the Lord, you will find that it is easy to follow his directives because as you love God you draw near to God.  And as you draw near to God you come to know God.  And as you come to know God you grow in love for or with God.  In that state of love, you can love your neighbor as yourself because you see your neighbor as God’s creation, and loving God you love His creation.  You may not like their actions or even ideology, but you can and must love them.

Loving God enables you to love His word.  Loving God enables you to love others.  Loving God enables you to hate sin.  Loving God is the beginning point of spiritual life and without that foundation, there is no development spiritually.

May God be with you as you go through your day!


1 Corinthians 10:31 – “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” NASB

How many of us do this?  Please be honest with yourself and before the Lord, do you?  Do you all the time or just some of the time?  As I read this my heart was smitten by the Holy Spirit and my mind instantly focused on a violation of this in my own life recently.  I wish I could say that was the only occasion, but I would never lie.

No matter what you are doing in life it is to be done “to the glory of God.”  That covers everything and without saying it would suggest that some things are not to be done because they cannot be done “to the glory of God.” 

If my life is characterized by bringing Glory to God, then my life is of such quality that it impacts others positively.  People observe far more regarding Christians than they do any other group of people. If a person has publicly and openly professed that Jesus is their Lord that person will be under a microscope everywhere that is known about them.  That is not a bad thing but something that some seem to forget. 

That reminds me of the story I heard about a lady who was giving the driver in front of her fits with hand gestures, waving her arms, shouting, and beating on the steering wheel when a policeman turned on his red lights and pulled her over.  When he came to the window she asked, “Officer what on earth did I do? I was breaking no laws.”  He said, “Ma’am based on the bumper sticker on your car I thought the vehicle might have been stolen.”  She had a honk if you love Jesus bumper sticker.

Make it the goal of your day to bring “Glory to God” today in all that you do.  Even if you fall short of 100% you will have touched some lives positively that you might not have otherwise touched. 

May God be with you as you go through your day!


Acts 3:19-21 – “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before,   21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” NKJV

With so much going on in the world many Bible scholars and prophecy teachers are struggling because things are changing almost daily and each change either solidifies a particular idea (theory) or creates holes in the theory.  It is never safe to assume anything regarding God. 

Can we take the Bible at its word? Absolutely!  The problem is not in the Bible but in our flawed interpretation, as we view things through our particular grid of understanding and belief.  Could we be wrong in certain areas?  The answer is not only yes but likely are, have been, or will be.  We have more “theory-logians than theologians” today.

Some have dismissed the Work of the Holy Spirit in the miraculous for today saying that we do not need it because we have Science and Medicine.  Others have deemed many of the things of the Early Church and before as outdated because they state that those were only needed to get the church initially established and we now have the Full Written Word.  Yet not one of us can say with 100% assurance that we have rightly interpreted EVERY PASSAGE in the Bible.

At the risk of angering those who disagree with my unwrapping this passage, there are some things in this passage worthy of note.  Let us consider them:

Peter, in the New Testament, often says some of the most profound things and yet says them with such simplicity that anyone can understand.  I know that is the inspiration and anointing of the Holy Spirit, but I cannot overlook that He is using Peter’s style and personality in communicating.

  • Peter Calls for Repentance and Conversion. 

Repentance is absolutely essential for anything from the Lord.

  • He Identifies That This Will Result In “Times of Refreshing” From the Presence of the Lord.

I do not know about you, but I need “times of refreshing” as I traverse this maze, we call life.  I find myself weary and worn – battered and bruised at times.  I need the Divine Presence of the Lord to flow over me in a Refreshing that renews my Spirit.  I love serving the Lord, yet I must confess that at times it is demanding work and quite laborious, and a time of Rest and Refreshing is needed.

  • He Touches on Something That Causes Great Controversy in Religious Circles Today in the next two verses.

Out of our Repentance and Conversion, the Refreshing that comes from the Lord.  Peter says an additional benefit is that the Father will send Jesus “whom heaven must receive UNTIL the TIMES OF RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS, which God has spoken by the prophets.” 

I have no desire to get into a debate as to what all that includes, but suffice it to say that God is Restoring today!  He is restoring lives!  He is restoring hope!  He is restoring vision!  He is restoring things that the Church lost sight of through its willingness to rely on the Arm of Flesh.  God is bringing His people back to a place of Commitment, Confidence, and Dependence like we have not seen in generations.  In my view, that is not only a good thing but an essential thing for us to see The Last Days Harvest the Bible foretold.

If you are not where you should be with the Lord, my plea is that you run to the foot of the Cross and cry out in repentance and receive His refreshing and renewal.  Then begin the upward look for God’s Restoration of ALL things in your life and world that are needed to produce the Abundant Life He promised and the ability to go into all the world He ordered.

May God be with you as you go through your day in Him!  Blessings abundantly


Romans 12:1-2 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” NKJV

Much is said in today’s political world and even in religious circles about Compromise.  There are some things in both those arenas where compromise is not acceptable and, in this passage, we find one of those cases. Our objective and desire should be to become like Christ not accepted by the world.

Notice the apostle Paul is telling the Roman Christians that they are to present their bodies as “living sacrifices” to God.  He then tells them a two-fold bit of instruction that I want us to consider:

  1. Be not CONFORMED to this world.  

If we follow political correctness to its full desired goal, we will be forced to abandon the basic principles of our Faith and the Bible and Compromise.  We would use the world that is reflected in today’s society as a guide to the detriment of our core beliefs and that would result in the tolerance demanded. 

There are many, non-religious and even some so-called religious people who believe that we should accept every religion and teaching that comes down the pike and that there are many roads to heaven.  The Bible differs from that view and clearly identifies that Jesus is the Door and is the only access to the Father.

Paul tells those listening and those of us reading today, whatever you do refuse to be “conformed” to this world and its philosophy or ideology.  You are in this world but through Christ not of it.

  • He then takes the second step and tells them to be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of their minds. 

The mind plays a much more significant role in the Christian walk than most are willing to acknowledge.  It is not a mindless following of Christ that the Bible asks us to do but a well-thought-out evaluation and examination of Truth.

Our minds can be compared to a computer and sometimes when viruses, malware, and spyware infiltrate we need to reprogram to eliminate them.  Sometimes we need a Holy Spirit purging of the philosophy of Egypt or the World and return to the core foundational principles taught in God’s Word.  In that place, we come to know the “will of God.”  The will that is “good, acceptable, and perfect.”

Therefore, instead of being intimidated to cast away your principles in the interest of Political Correctness or Religious Tolerance, hold on to your biblical convictions they are worth dying for.  Hold on to the basic principles of God’s Word they are worth living for.  Allow the Holy Spirit to reprogram or renew your mind so that you are so in tune with the Spirit of God that you easily and clearly hear the still small voice saying, “This is the way walk in it.”

May God bless you as you go through your day!


1 John 2:1-2 – “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” NKJV

In this passage, we see one of those words in the Bible that many look at, read and pass by without giving a lot of thought to – PROPITIATION. John tells us in this passage that his purpose was to help them come to the place where they “do not sin.”  However, he also recognized that they were human beings and subject to stumbling and succumbing to temptation and thereby entering into an “act of sin.” 

The pastor heart of John compelled him to address the truth that “if we do sin (or as someone said – “when we sin”) we have an Advocate (someone to plead our case in the legal court of heaven) and that one is Jesus who paid the price for our redemption.  No greater Attorney could be found than Jesus Himself.  His standing with the Father is unequaled by any.

John tells us that Jesus was the “propitiation for our sins.”  Simply He is the ATONEMENT.  He paid the ultimate and complete sacrifice or price for our redemption.  Jesus came among us and lived as a man subject to all temptations like we are and lived above sin.  He satisfied the demands of divine justice and became the sacrificial lamb for the Sin of the Word. 

Through His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension He has fulfilled the legal requirements of divine justice to break the hold and power of the devil on our lives.  We no longer belong to the devil we belong to God and any time we fall short and miss the mark the devil is Johnny on the Spot to remind us and God of that fact.  That is where Jesus comes in.  He receives our repentance and presents us before the Father and identifies His work, the covering of His blood on our sins, and our repentance.  He is our Attorney!

Therefore, instead of allowing the devil to beat us up over sin, realize that we have one pleading our case that is worthy – Jesus!  So instead of giving up and throwing in the towel saying it is no use recognize that it is “in Him” and “through Him” that we live and move and have our being.  Our hope is not in our ability but in Him.  Our hope is not in our perfection but in His.  Our hope is not in our reaching a point that we have no flaws but in Him who is flawless.

Therefore, as you go through this day and refuse to allow any sin to beset your course.  If you sin, immediately go to your attorney – Confess that sin, receive His pardon, and allow Him to present your case in the court of heaven.  You are part of the redeemed of the Lord so rejoice!

May God be with you as you go through the day!  Blessings! 


2 Corinthians 5:14-21 – “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” NKJV

The KJV says,“The love of Christ constrains us….” It does, and equally appropriate is the rendering “compels us.”  The Love of God is the overriding factor in all our interpersonal relationships with other human beings and with God Himself.  It is the basis by which we render righteous judgments and the motivation (or should be) for all our actions in life.  When we consider the price paid by that Love how we can have any other mindset than one of forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration?

Understanding the Love of Christ, we realize that we are not living on an island of our own solitude, but each life touches other lives, and we are all cells within the Body of Christ and important to each other.  So, our regarding others should not be based on the natural but on the work of Christ. 

If we are in Christ, we are a “new creation.”  We are not the same old person that we once were.  We are no longer under the dominion of darkness and have been translated into the Kingdom of Light.  God views us as His Righteousness and so should we, not that we can be puffed up or become Pharisees but so that we might more fully receive and release the Love of God in our lives and to the world.

Love will cause us to seek the root of an issue, not just surface irritation.  Love will cause us to seek the best good of the other person not just setting them straight.  Love will compel us to reach out when we might have otherwise said, “You made your bed now lie in it.”  Love is one of if not the most powerful forces on Earth especially the Agape Love of God.

Therefore, as you consider the impact of God’s Love in your life and to your life then allow that Love to flow through you to others around you and I believe that you will be pleasantly surprised at the long-term response.  It may not happen immediately, but the consistent demonstration of God’s Love will eventually wear down even the hardest hearts and break down the most granite-like walls.

May God be with you as you go through your day.  Blessings!


2 Corinthians 7:10 – “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” NKJV

Over the years, I have heard less and less preaching on the Cross, sin, conviction, and even guilt than in my previous years of Christian service.  I have heard a lot about self-awareness and been entertained in the services with the same flare that I would expect from a Hollywood or Broadway production and while there can be a place and benefit for that many times, I went away wondering how many lives were brought to an encounter with God that addressed the root problem in their life – SIN!

Some years ago, I had a man come forward during the service sobbing uncontrollably.  He expressed his guilt and wanted me to make him feel better.  Those were his words, not mine.  Sadly, he had been caught or exposed in an illicit affair, and some bad business practices and was now publicly exposed. 

He was embarrassed.  He did not like the feeling of embarrassment and the public humiliation that he was experiencing and anticipated it to continue for some time and wanted it to go away.  His concept of my duty was to make him feel better and give him a justification for his actions.  He had sorrow but it was sorrow that he had been caught.  He had no heart change as was later demonstrated.  Once the issue died down, he reconciled with his wife through counseling sessions and convinced everyone that he was truly repentant he went back to the same old practices. 

This is clearly identified by the Holy Spirit through Peter in 2 Peter 2:22 – “But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”  NKJV If there is not a genuine change of heart all the counseling, crying, praying, confessing, etc. will avail nothing.  There must be a change of attitude toward the sin and a 180-degree turn taken.  Please do not say it like I heard a preacher once tell his congregation – “You need to do a 360-degree turn.”  HEAVEN FORBID that would bring you right back to where you were….

Godly Sorrow is sorrow that is produced by the conviction of the Holy Spirit not because you have been exposed but because you see with the heart of the Spirit of God how that sin hurts God.  You see how detrimental it is to your relationship with the Lord.  You see how it prevents you from being able to have a compelling testimony before the world.  You see how it prevents you from entering into the presence of the Lord and drinking in of His beauty, wisdom, knowledge, power, and presence.  The sorrow of the world leads to death but the sorrow from the conviction of the Holy Spirit leads to life spiritually.

If the Spirit of God is pointing to something in your life and you feel the twinges of conviction as Saul of Tarsus and find it difficult to “kick against the pricks” of that conviction.  Then know that God is more willing to forgive than you are to repent.  He longs for you to accept His pardon and enter into His presence and develop that intimate relationship with Him.  So, as you go through this day and every day make it a determination of your heart that you will quickly run to the Cross when God opens your eyes and heart to any sin in your life.  Anywhere you miss the mark you take it to the Lord and lay it on the altar before Him.

May God bless you as you go through this day!


Psalm 119:15-16 – “I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways. 16 I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.” NKJV

Most of us spend far more time contemplating and meditating upon things that are of no redeeming value and only cause an erosion of faith, confidence, and boldness.  Jesus spoke to that in Matthew 6 when He addressed God’s provision and the fallacy of our worrying about things. 

In verse 27 we read – “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” NKJV You cannot get taller or gain more influence through worry.  Your bank account will not grow through worry.  Your health will not improve through worry.  The mountain or giant you are facing will not diminish or grow lesser in strength through worry, so Why Do We Worry?

I am convinced we worry because of several things:

  1. We are not truly trusting God.  We believe that He is, and we have trusted Him for our salvation, but we do not really trust Him to handle the affairs of life.  Before you argue if you do then why do we Worry?
  2. We do not know God or His Covenant.  We know about God and have entered into the family of God through the New Birth, but we only know the Acts of God not the Ways or Heart of God, so we Worry!
  3. We have assumed a responsibility, not ours.  Let me ask, “Is God the Sovereign God of the Universe?”  Then when did it fall our lot to worry?  Has He not promised to be with us in all things and provide for our every need?  Then why do we Worry?

I believe that the reason David was called a “man after God’s own heart” was in part because of his understanding in this area.  I believe that is why God used David to establish the Tabernacle of David and the Davidic Worship that the Church is just beginning to get a glimpse of today and the power that is in it.

Listen to what David has to say as He declares to God and whoever will hear or read:

  • I WILL (not intermittently) but I WILL meditate on Your Precepts.
  • I WILL (not casually when I have nothing else to do) I WILL CONTEMPLATE your Ways.
  • I WILL (not when things are good but at all times) I WILL DELIGHT myself in your Statues.
  • I WILL NOT (this is a constant in his life)I WILL NOT FORGET Your Word.

If we incorporated those four things into our daily lives, we would shake off the shackles of WORRY, FEAR, FRETTING, and yes FAILURE in our Spiritual lives and walk in the Abundant Life that Jesus promised us.  We would come to know not only What God does but Who God is. 

We would learn His heart and instead of questioning His motives, the seeming delays, or His allowing storms to come into our lives, we would Rejoice.  We would because we would Know that these are only opportunities for God to demonstrate His Love, Power, Keeping, Care, and Covenant as a testimony to the World and a reminder to the devil.  We could and would walk in a continual attitude of gratitude and praise and that kind of disposition draws like a magnet in a bin of metal shavings.

May God help and way with you as you go through this day in Him.  Blessings!


Psalm 51:10-11“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.”  NKJV

For some time now I have awakened early and one of the first thoughts on my mind is this passage from the Psalms.  It has long been the cry of my heart and lately has become even more intense.  I have discovered that when that happens it is an indication of something about to transpire in which I need an abundant flow of His Grace to empower me personally or help others in something they are facing.  God does not always let me know what is coming but He lets me know that I need to seek Him more diligently and earnestly.  I have learned some things about how He operates in my life and when this happens, I listen.

Look at the cry or prayer of David here and when you do it is little wonder that God would call him a man after God’s own heart.  Listen to the earnest craving for God:

  1. Create in me a CLEAN HEART.

Oh, how we sometimes neglect our hearts and allow little bits of debris to come in and taint our attitudes.  David is asking for a “renewed washing” of his inner man.  He knows that a “clean heart” before God is the only possible condition in which he can be what God wants him to be, his nation needs him to be, and his family is so desperate for him to be.

  • Renew in me a STEADFAST SPIRIT.

Wow!  Not only is he asking for a “total cleansing” of his heart, but he wants God to strengthen his resolve and commitment.  I believe that comes from Knowing GOD in a deeply personal manner and from understanding God’s Covenant in its practical function, not just the theological implications.

  • Do not CAST ME AWAY from Your Presence

David, as did Paul and many in Scripture, had a compelling desire to always live in a relationship with the Lord that would preclude them from being castaways.  They guarded, with the help of the Holy Spirit, against allowing any condition of heart, mind, or attitude to place them outside the favor of God.  They understood that it is ONLY in God’s Presence that there was their hope of sustaining life and liberty.

  • And DO NOT TAKE Your Holy Spirit from me.

Again, David as did the great men of Scripture and history the importance, which Jesus identified in the New Testament, of the Helper (the Holy Spirit) in our daily work, work, and warfare.  Sadly, many in Scripture were completely unaware that the Spirit of God had left them, and the results were disastrous.  I am conscious of His presence, nudging, and ministry in my life.  I am aware of His influence on what I think, say, and do.  I am completely cognizant of those times when He clearly has taken the lead and is performing the function of MY HELPER, MY TEACHER, and MY GUIDE!

So, if you are like me, and this is something that is burning in your heart it might be well to take a day or two and just find a place of solitude where you can “fast and pray” without making a public display or announcement.  Your purpose is not recognition of your effort by man but a relationship with God.

May the rich blessings of the Lord be upon you as you go through your day and week!