FRET-FREE LIVING – WORRY HAS A CURE…


Philippians 4:6-7 – “Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].”  Amplified

In 1988 Bobby McFerrin wrote and released his little song, “Don’t Worry Be Happy.”  It is reported that he got the inspiration from Indian mystic Meher Baba who frequently used the phrase, “Don’t worry, be happy.”  He was also influenced by the jazz duo Tuck & Patti who had a similar poster in their apartment.  His motivation was not biblical inspired, but the idea of choosing happiness over worry. 

The Bill Gaither Trio released, “Why Should I Worry or Fret” song, and many others covered it.  It was based on the biblical principles of faith versus worry and focused on the greatness of God. 

Here in Philippians, the apostle Paul captures one of the many marvelous truths, helps, and comforts afforded within the pages of the Bible.  I suspect that every Christian has a favorite verse or verses that have been a greater inspiration to them than any other passage.  This passage is always an inspiration to me and a challenge.

When we consider the words of this passage, we quickly realize that the person who is anxious or worried about nothing has either fully placed their life and confidence in God’s hands or they are living in a fantasy world.  Total Trust is embodied in the charge and challenge of the apostle.  His simple message was Worry about NOTHING and Pray about EVERYTHING.  He suggests that an attitude of gratitude is necessary.

DON’T BE ANXIOUS OR WORRIED…

That is a very tall order as most of us have discovered in life.  But what does Paul mean? He does not mean to have a flippant, happy-go-lucky not caring attitude toward life.  It is not an appeal to adopt the Doris Day view of life – “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever will be will be.) 

Paul was a man of deep moral conviction.  Life was profoundly serious business to him and should be to us.  He took life seriously and realized that he had no guarantees of tomorrow.  He wanted his followers to embrace a similar view of life.  Life, enjoy but never become nonchalant or flippant. 

Paul was not suggesting that we avoid the “thought-out life.”  If you will recall, it was this apostle who said, “whatsoever a man sows, he will also reap.”  Paul believed it was our right and duty to decide in advance what kind and size of harvest we would reap and sow to that harvest.  The Bible is never opposed to the planned life.  It is opposed to ignoring the directive of the Holy Spirit.  The steps of a good man, the Bible tells us, are ordered by the LORD.

Jesus told the story of a man who set out to build a tower.  The man was haphazard in his planning and preparation.  His objective was not in harmony with his ability to perform, therefore he could not finish the project.  What he built had no value and he was the laughingstock of the community all because of his lack of planning and diligence. 

What Is Paul Suggesting?  He is warning that the person who is fretful and fearful toward life will succumb to fear and lose joy, hope, and faith, and be filled with doubt and worry.  He is warning that we must never listen to the voice of fear but always listen to the voice of faith, through the Holy Spirit.

In short, he is forbidding us to worry!  His foundation is in harmony with the declarations of saints in both testaments.  In the Psalms, we are told to rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. God is our refuge and strength, a present help in times of difficulty so do not fear.  Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you.  Also, that fretting only tends to open the door to evil.  It is a doorway to doubt.  In the New Testament, the apostle Peter tells us – “Casting all your care on Him, for He cares for you.”

I have often wondered if Jesus is amazed at how full of fear His followers are from time to time.  In His teachings, He reminded us of how the Father cares for the birds of the sky (never saw a sparrow fall to the ground that God did not take note of).  He speaks of the lilies of the field and their beauty and that even the hairs on our heads were numbered and for those reasons, we had no cause to be fearful or worry.  God is God and has not and will not change!

As I think of this, I see the picture in my mind of our Lord stretching out His arms lovingly and saying, “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy burdened, I want to and will give you rest.” 

Therefore, I can say with confidence that the Bible and God are against worry so DON’T WORRY!  Give up and let Jesus take over!  I want to say more but will pause here and wait until the next session.

God bless you as you embark on a Fret-Free day!  Have a good one in Jesus!

FELLOWSHIP – Conclusion…


Philippians 1:1-11

Now as we wrap this up and hopefully it has been beneficial and inspirational.  We want to look at the third condition that Paul viewed as essential for True Christian Fellowship. 

Paul said – “I Have You In My Prayers.”  (vv.9-11).  Paul discovered Joy in his memories and his growing love for his Philippian brothers and sisters. He also found Joy in remembering them in his prayers before the Throne of Grace.

Something that might be helpful to remember is the priest of the Old Testament wore a special garment.  The Ephod was placed over his heart.  On that Ephod were twelve stones with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel engraved.  There was a special jewel for each of the tribes.  (Exodus 28:15-29).  The priest was to carry the people over his heart in love, and so did Paul.  Perhaps the deepest fellowship we have is when we come before the Throne of Grace, praying with and for one another.

In Philippians 1:9-11 we find a prayer for maturity, and it begins with Love!  That reveals that if our Love is what it should be and is genuine, everything else will follow in an orderly manner.  Notice that Paul prays that they might experience abounding and discerning love.  Christian love is never blind but always forgiving.

The ability to distinguish between good and evil is a mark of maturity.  When a child learns to speak every four-legged animal may be a ‘bow-wow’ or something of that sort.  But, as the child develops and matures it discovers that there are cats, dogs, cows, horses, pigs, etc.  To a child, a car is a car, but not to a car-crazy teenager.  One of the certain marks of maturity and development is discerning Love!

Paul prays that they might have mature Christian Character – “sincere and without offenses.”  The word sincere means “tested by sunlight or to whirl in a sieve.”  That is a picture of the winnowing process in which the chaff is removed from the wheat.  The prayer is for the type of character that can pass the moral test of God’s Grace, Mercy, and Love.

Paul then prays that might have mature Christian Love as well as Character – “without offense till the day of Christ.”  His prayer and teaching are that we live in such a manner as to not cause others to stumble.  That we live our lives ready for the Judgment Seat of Christ when He returns.

Let me suggest two tests that we might use to evaluate ourselves.  Will, what we do and say cause others to stumble?  Will the way we live, speak, and act make us ashamed when we stand before Jesus?  We can use those guidelines to help us do or not do what we plan.

Paul also prayed that they would have Mature Christian Service.  He wanted them to be faithful. (v.11).  He was not interested simply in Church attendance or activities but in the kind of spiritual fruit that is produced when we are in Fellowship with Jesus.

John 15:1-8 – “I AM the true vine, and my Father is the worker.2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, he cuts out; and the one which bears fruit, he prunes so that it may bring forth more fruit.3 You have already been pruned because of the word which I have spoken to you.4 Remain with me and I with you. Just as a branch cannot give fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine; even so you cannot, unless you remain with me.5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who remains with me and I with him will bear abundant fruit; for without me you can do nothing.6 Unless a man remains with me, he will be cast outside, like a branch which is withered; which they pick up and throw into the fire to be burned.7 If you remain with me, and my words remain with you, whatever you ask shall be done for you.8 In this the Father will be glorified, that you bear abundant fruit, and be my disciples.”

Too frequently believers attempt to ‘produce results’ through their own efforts rather than abiding in Jesus and allowing His life to abide and produce the fruit.  I feel compelled to ask, “What kind of fruit does God want to see in our lives?”  There are many answers to that, but some that I would like to suggest are:

  • Fruit of the Spirit – (Galatians 5:22-23)
  • Evangelism Soul Winning – (Romans 1:13)
  • Holiness – (Romans 6:22)
  • Fruitful in Every Good Work – (Colossians 1:10)
  • Praise – Fruit of the Lips – (Hebrews 13:15)

That is assuredly not an exhaustive list but comprehensive enough to give us targets to live for.  The fruit tree does not make a lot of noise when it produces its crop, it simply allows the life within it to work in a natural and normal manner and fruit is the result.  If we abide in Jesus and He abides in us, fruit is natural not a struggle.

There is a dynamic difference between spiritual fruit and human religious activity.  Spiritual fruit brings glory to God!

Therefore, True Christian Fellowship is having in common a relationship that is much deeper than friendship.  As Paul declared, “I have you in my Mind… my Heart… and my Prayers.”  This is the kind of fellowship that produces the overflowing Joy that Jesus spoke of.  It is this Joy that produces the singleness of mind that is required and desired.

What shall we do then?  Let us put the Word of God into practice in our lives.  Let us develop the mindset that enables us to take our circumstances and allow those conditions to bring us closer to the Lord Jesus Christ and our Christian brothers and sisters. 

It is J.O.Y.  Jesus, others, you.  What a powerful way to spell and have Joy!

God bless you as you enjoy this beautiful day in Jesus!

FELLOWSHIP – – Part Three…


Philippians 1:1-11

The last time we consider the element that is essential to Christian Fellowship is “Having Others in Our Minds.”  Now I would like to move to the next essential as Paul described.

He said in Philippians 1:7-8 – “I Have You In My Heart.”   This takes us a little deeper into the heart of the matter.  It is possible to have people in our minds without really having them in our hearts.  Some could and should confess, “I have you on my nerves.”  Paul demonstrated sincere Christian Love.

What is Christian Love?  That is the tie that binds like no other tie.  Love is evidence of salvation (1 John 3:14).  Love is the spiritual lubrication that keeps the machinery of life running smoothly. 

Love and compassion are not simply mercy and sympathy.  They are not our identification with or even understanding and empathy.  One can do all those to the letter and not really love.  Compassion is only born in love!

How did Paul show his love?  He was suffering on their behalf.  His bonds were proof of his love (Ephesians 3:1) – “The prisoner of Jesus Christ for you gentiles.”  It was through Paul’s trials that Christianity was receiving a fair hearing before high authorities in Rome.  Paul’s love was not something he simply talked about it was something he practiced.  He considered his difficulties as opportunities for defending and confirming the gospel message.  That is something each of us should embrace.  Not looking for trouble, but out of trials manifest the heart of God.

Another Question is – “How Can Christians Learn to Practice That Kind of Love?”  I heard a man say, “I get along better with my unsaved neighbor than I do with my saved relatives.  Maybe it takes a diamond to cut a diamond, but I have just about had it.”  Hear me please, Christian Love is not something we work up, it is something that God does through us. It is in us and flows out of us.  If it is there, it will shine forth!

This was not Paul’s love being channeled through Jesus, but Jesus’ love being channeled through Paul.  (Romans 5:15 NIV) – “God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”  The Key and it is an important Key is when we permit or cooperate with God to perform His “Good Work” in us, then we grow in our love for others!

Another Question is – “How Can They Know That We Are Truly Bound in Love to One Another?”  One is our concern for other believers and other people.  The believers at Philippi were so concerned about Paul that they sent Epaphroditus to check on him and Paul’s concern for them was reciprocal.  (Philippians 2:25-28).

I John 3:18 – “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

Another way, people know our love is we are willing to forgive one another.  In 1 Peter 3:18 we read, “And above all things have fervent charity (love) among yourselves: for charity (love) shall cover a multitude of sins.”

Let me offer this illustration:  A radio quizmaster asked a contestant to tell some of his wife’s blunders. The man replied, “I cannot remember any.”  The quizmaster chided him saying, “Oh, surely you can remember something!”  The man said, “No, I really cannot. I love my wife, very much, and I just do not remember things like that.”  The world and too much of the church cannot grasp that concept.  Remember 1 Corinthians 13:5 NIV – “Love keeps no record of wrongs.”

Christians who practice love always experience Joy!  Love and Joy come as a result of the presence of the Holy Spirit in us.  Galatians 5:22 teaches, “The fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy…”

I must pause again before taking up the third element Paul considered essential in True Christian Fellowship.  We will address it in the next devotional.

God bless you as you walk with Him today!

FELLOWSHIP – – Part Two…


Philippians 1:1-11

I would like for us to begin considering three things that Paul described as being essential to True Christian Fellowship. 

He said – “I have you in my mind.”  (Philippians 1:3-6).  I believe we can agree that this is utterly amazing.  The apostle in dire straits himself was thinking of others, not himself.  He is in prison and awaiting trial in Rome.  However, his mind goes back to the city and people of Philippi.  He is focused on the believers there and those thoughts cause his level of joy to increase.

If you read Acts 16 you gain some insight as to some of the events that transpired at Philippi.  Some of the events could have caused immense sorrow rather than joy.  Paul was illegally arrested and beaten in Philippi.  He was placed in stocks and humiliated before the city.  However, those memories brought joy to his heart.  Why?  The jailer received Christ.  Lydia and her household became Christians.  A demon-possessed slave girl was set free!  Joy flooded his heart.  He made the choice to rejoice!

I believe a legitimate question for each of us is, “Am I the kind of Christian who brings Joy to my pastor’s heart when he thinks of me?”  Paul reflected on, with gratitude, their financial help (v.5).  But lest we misapply the principles and think that it is works that produce salvation, I suggest turning to Philippians 2:8-9.  Here we are not saved by good works.  Then in Philippians 1:6, we realize that the good work is Salvation.  Then back to Philippians 2:12-13, he teaches that God continues to work in us by the Holy Spirit.

I suggest to you that Salvation includes a three-fold work.  The work God does for us – Redemption.  The work God does in us – Sanctification.  The work God does through us – Service.  This work will continue until we see Jesus Christ at His return and then the work will be completed.  1 John 3:2 declares, “We shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.”

It was a source of Joy for Paul to know that God was continuing to work in the lives of his fellow believers at Philippi.  The true basis for Joyful Christian Fellowship is having God work in our lives day by day. 

Let me give an inadequate but revealing illustration.  A woman went to a marriage counselor and said, “there seems to be friction in my home, and I really don’t know what the cause is.”  The counselor looked at her and said, “Friction is caused by one of two things.”  Then to illustrate he picked up two sticks of wood from his desk and said, “If one block is moving and the other is not, there will be friction.  Also, if both are moving in the opposite direction there is friction.  Which is it with you?”

The lady looked at him and replied, “I’ll have to admit I’ve been going backward in my Christian life and my husband has been growing.”  She then said, “What I need to do is get back into Fellowship with the Lord.” 

God working in our lives daily is the basis for Christian fellowship.  As He works in us, we are enabled to focus on others not just ourselves.

I fear making this study longer than I had planned but will pause here and take up the second thought in the next devotional. 

God bless you as you allow the Holy Spirit to work out the kinks in you and as you enjoy this day He has provided.  Have a Great Day!

FELLOWSHIP…


Philippians 1:1-11 – “PAUL and Timotheus, servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Jesus Christ who are at Philippi, together with the elders and deacons:2 Grace be to you, and peace from God our Father, and from our LORD Jesus Christ. 3 I give thanks to my God for your steady remembrance of me.4 In all my prayers for you, I make supplication with joy,5 For your fellowship in the gospel, from the very first day until now,6 Being confident of this very thing, that he who has begun the good work among you, the same will continue it until the day of our LORD Jesus Christ: 7 And this is the right way for me to think of you all, because I have you in my heart, because through all my imprisonment and my defense and confirmation of the truth of the gospel, you have been partakers with me of grace.8 For God is my witness of how much I love you through the love of Jesus Christ. 9 And for this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all spiritual understanding:10 So that you may choose the things that are excellent; and that you may be pure and without offense in the day of Christ;11 And be filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and the praise of God.”

FELLOWSHIP – That is a good word!  It is a Bible word and has such a warm reception when uttered it needs to be kept in circulation as long as possible.  How many times have you heard words like these?  “Come over to the house for some fellowship.  What a golf game!  Man, did we have some good fellowship!  The fellowship after church was tremendous.  Do you need to go and wash the fellowship off your hands?”

FELLOWSHIP – The word seems to have many different meanings, yet it is worthy of our attention and consideration.  I believe that fellowship, like several other biblical words, has been misused, misunderstood, and needs to be rescued because of its immense value.

When we consider the life and situation the apostle Paul found himself, we discover some valuable truths.  Despite his circumstances as a prisoner in Rome, he was rejoicing!  The secret of his joy was ‘singleness of mind.’  He lived for Jesus and the Gospel.  In Philippians 1 Christ is mentioned eighteen times and gospel six times.  In verse 21 we read, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”  Sounds single-minded to me.

The question we need to answer is, “What is a Single Mind?”  Among other things, it is the attitude that declares, “It makes no difference what happens to me, so long as Jesus is glorified, and the gospel is shared with others.”  That is singleness of mind and focus. 

Paul rejoiced despite his circumstances because he believed that his circumstances strengthened the fellowship of the gospel.  The Promoted the furtherance of the gospel and it Guarded the faith of the gospel. 

FELLOWSHIP is to have commonality.  True Christian fellowship is deeper than sharing a cup of coffee, cake, cookies, a meal, a game, or shaking hands and having a conversation.  Too often, what we call fellowship is nothing more than acquaintance or friendship.  You cannot have fellowship with someone unless you have something in common with them.  The basis upon which Christian Fellowship is enjoyed and experienced is Possessing Eternal Life – (Jesus – Salvation).

Therefore, unless a person is born-again, he knows nothing of the fellowship of the gospel.  Thus, we discover in Chapter Two of Philippians the Fellowship of the Gospel, and in Chapter Three, we are introduced to the Fellowship of Suffering. 

When we share what we have with others, this is also Fellowship. (Philippians 4:15).  Therefore, Christian Fellowship is much more than having your name on a Church membership roll or attending services.  You can be close to a person physically and be light years from them spiritually.  You can also be away from someone physically and be near them spiritually.

I am going to pause here and introduce three things that the apostle Paul described as being True Christian Fellowship.

God bless you as you enjoy this day in Jesus!

MOUNTAIN MOVERS OR MOUNTAIN BUILDERS? 


Mark 11:22-24 – “So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.  23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.  24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”  NKJV

Somebody asked me, “Are you going to give a Halloween devotional?”  My answer was, “NO!  I don’t do Halloween.”  I choose to focus on the LORD and His Kingdom, not the things of darkness except to expose them.  

In many ways, this text is a perplexing one that many Christians have attempted to achieve and failed miserably.  All of us face mountains from time to time and all of us would like to be able to remove those barriers that hinder our progress in life, right? 

To the people of Judah, in Jesus’ day, a mountain represented any hindrance to their progress.  Therefore, when Jesus told them they could have whatever they said and included the visual of the mountain they could readily, identify with what He was teaching.  How many actually believed Him is quite another story.

I would suggest there are some rules or serious considerations for ‘moving a mountain’ in our lives.  I believe it is important to understand the hindrance we are trying to remove or move and how it came to be. 

For example, if you have created a financial mountain through a lack of wisdom and discipline you will find it quite stubborn in its resistance to your commands to be removed.  If your mountain is physical sickness and you have maintained an unhealthy lifestyle failing to eat, exercise, and rest properly that mountain will be quite stubborn when you speak to it.  I would suggest that UNTIL you take proper steps to correct those root problems you will not be successful in removing them.

Let me give you a few simple rules regarding ‘Moving a Mountain.”

  • Do Not Build The Mountain In The First Place.

God may not allow us to be mountain movers if we are continuously in the process and habit of mountain building.  Praying for the mountain to move will not work if we are, at the same time, responsible for their creation.  I have witnessed some get healed physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually when they removed resentment and bitterness from their hearts.  (The Lord removed them through repentance).  

I have witnessed financial miracles when the root of jealousy, greed, covetousness, and envy was rooted out.  I have seen lives move from struggle to spiritual peace when the bad company was eliminated from the associations.

  • It Is Critical To Know That What You Are Saying Is Correct.

Jesus did not say that we were to pray and then hope that God will remove the mountain.  No, he said we are to believe and expect the mountain to be removed. 

I am reminded of the story of the woman who heard the preacher preach from this passage and there was a mountain near her house that she had to go around to get to town, so she went home and commanded the mountain to be removed.  The next morning and said, “Just as I thought, still here!”   That is expectation wrongly applied! 

Jesus said that the person who says to the mountain ‘be removed’ will get what he speaks if he does not doubt ‘in his heart.’  Therein is the rub.  We have the promises of God and proclaim and claim them but in our hearts, we doubt them.  The heart is the residence of doubt and the residence of faith.  It depends on what we allow in our hearts and minds. 

Doubt can be dealt with and overcome with knowledge.  The more I know the less I doubt.  It is valuable for us to examine our hearts and lives to see if we are creating the very mountains we are trying to remove.  If we are then we need to take steps to correct our actions.  Then, believe God’s promise that we can identify that mountain, speak to it through His authority and see it crumble before us.

I am not suggesting that whatever you say regardless, you get it.  I am saying that if you face mountains, not of your creation God has given us a promise that if we trust Him that mountain can be and will be removed!  

God bless you as you go through this day!

LET’S LOOK AT THE PHRASE, GOD SHOWED UP…


Psalm 139:7-10 – “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me.”  NASB

I have used the phrase or made the declaration, “Wow!  God showed up this time.”  Did He? Did He just suddenly show up as though He had been somewhere else?  Where was He previous to that moment in time?  What was He doing before that particular manifestation and demonstration of Himself?  I am quite serious!  I understand but have some questions.

When we read about the experience of the early church in the upper room, we think how wonderful it would be for God to show up like that again.  I am not trying to split hairs and speak in semantics but WHERE IS HE NOW?  

Did not Jesus say in Matthew 18, “…where two or three are gathered in My name I am there in their midst”?   Did He not say, “Seek and you shall find”?  David in this Psalm identified that no matter where he turned God was there.  That theme is repeated time and again in Scripture so I must ask WHERE HAS GOD BEEN if He just SHOWED UP?

Here is my point. The problem is not God’s absence it is the lack of our willingness, determination, and commitment to Press into His Presence!  He never left and stands ready to manifest Himself anytime our hearts are open to His presence and lordship.  It is our failure to recognize His presence.  That is not to diminish those times when there is a powerful manifestation of His Presence! Those times of His Special Presence are Awesome!

I had someone ask, “How frequently does God speak to His people?”  My response was, “He never stops but we do not always hear or listen.”  I see this, the same for God is Always Present but we are not always open and receptive to His presence.  The problem is not God’s absence it is our entrance into His presence. 

In Proverbs 15 we have the declaration that God’s eyes are in every place and if His eyes are there He is there.  In Psalm 145:18 we read, “The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.”  David said in Psalm 16:8, “I have set the LORD continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”  The problem is us, you, and me.  The problem is the vessel.  If we open our vessels to the Holy Spirit, then God is There!

Paul asked in 1 Corinthians 3:16, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”  If He dwells “in” us, how can he not be where we are and when we are?  So, while I am not being critical of anyone saying that God showed up or wanting God to show up.  I am suggesting that we shift the focus from looking for God to show up to the preparation of our hearts for His presence we would be better served.  I am convinced when we do, we will realize His presence in a way never experienced before and, on a frequency level that we have not known.

It is time for us, as believers, to begin asking, seeking, knocking, and not be satisfied until we are AWARE of His presence.   

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

THIS IS MY DECLARATION…


2 Timothy 1:12 – “…I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”  NKJV

I believe in God and Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior!  I am troubled over what I perceive to be a lack of commitment in much of the Christian community today.  I know that sounds judgmental, but I honestly do not mean it to be.  I just question and do not understand some of what I see.  I am startled by the lack of vision for the whole and the abundance of vision for self that I hear in churches and from believers.

I could allow myself to think as I used to think before I experienced the Christ of the Cross.  I have an option to either blend in with the crowd and popular thinking or I can opt to swim upstream against the current of much popular thinking.  I choose to invite the Holy Spirit to enable me to think God’s thoughts!

I have been amazed at how many people come into local fellowships declaring that God has called them to be there and then depart over frivolous things.  I have witnessed people starting churches only to find it difficult and declare that God said to shut it down.  My question is always, “Did God instruct, you to do it initially?”  If so, does that mean God is fickle and changes His mind at the first sign of difficulty?  If the difficulty is a justification to quit, how did the early church survive?  James suggested we both expect trouble and respond to trials with joy for it is helping develop our faith and courage.

I declare today that I do not have all the answers and sometimes wonder if I have any answers.  However, I realize that I do not have to have all the answers.  I know the one who does!  I can trust God to be who He declared He was and is and rest confidently in the fact that He knows my need before I even pray.  I trust Jesus to be Lord! 

I make the choice to think according to the Word of God and base my thinking on what God says not how I feel, desire, wish for, or prefer.  I choose to adjust my life to fit what He says rather than try to adjust His word to fit my life.  I choose even when I cannot see in the natural and it seems the promise is delayed or will not come. I choose to believe in and trust God.

I choose to stand against the powers of darkness, not in my strength but on the basis of the shed blood of Jesus and His Covenant revealed in His word.  I choose to roll myself onto God and trust Him in all things and at all times. 

I choose to allow God’s word to adjust my thought processes bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.  I confess that I have had a lot of practice in wrong thinking and now invite the Holy Spirit to reprogram my thought life.  I ask that He convict me every time I drift toward the old thought patterns and bring me into conformity with the Word and thereby transform my life.

That is my declaration today!  What is yours?   

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

AFTER ALL, ALL THEY CAN DO IS KILL ME…


Luke 12:4-5 – “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.  5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!”  NKJV

I used to hear a saying: “They can kill me, but they can’t eat me” and thought, Yes, they can! It is not an image I care to allow in my consciousness, but cannibalism is still a 21st-century reality.  But the FEAR OF MAN has such a paralyzing effect on many people from the White House to the Doghouse and everything in between.  People are petrified of people if not physically emotionally and socially.  The perception of others holds such sway on many lives they live in actionable paralysis and live miserably in fear.

Jesus addressed this here warning against the fear of man.  He phrased it beautifully saying, in essence, “if they kill you that’s all they can do”.  His message was plainly that man is not the one to be feared for man can only do you physical harm and since we know that death is not the end we need not fear.  He speaks of whom we should fear (albeit reverentially).  We are to fear the one who after having killed us has the power to cast us into hell.  We should fear God!  I am not suggesting a tormenting fear unless we are in rebellion against God for in that state, we should fear Him in trembling.

It is always good to be concerned about what people think so as not to become calloused and hard.  However, we should never allow man’s perception to dictate our life’s path.  It is never good to allow the desire to please men to dictate our stance, actions, or words.  Then we are allowing them to ‘kill us’ spiritually and emotionally. 

In life, our desire should be to please God and obey Him.  We should not make, “I just tell it like it is” a justification for meanness, rudeness, insensitivity, or harshness.  It is one thing, to be honest, and another to be calloused.  Fearing man should never enter into the equation of our standing for God and right and Fearing God should always cause us to ‘speak the truth in love’ and with the ‘heart of God.’

If you are facing situations or dealing with people and find yourself fearful of the outcome or the result of people’s perceptions, then I desire to pray for your deliverance.  “Father, I ask that you set my friends free of the fear of man and grant them the liberty to follow Your directives with peace and confidence.”

May the Lord be with you as you go through your day!

HAVE YOU EVERY WANTED TO PRAY – Lord, Knock Their Teeth Out Please?


Psalm 58:6 – “Break their teeth in their mouth, O God!  Break out the fangs of the young lions, O LORD!”  NKJV

We are told that honest confession is good for the soul so let me confess; there have been times I wanted God to kick somebody’s behind for me, but He did not do it physically.  I have even asked if He would let me do it and He would not.  Okay, now that is out of the way let’s consider this verse and Psalm 58 as it relates to you and me as believers in the 21st century.

Is David really asking God to ‘break the teeth and fangs’ of the wicked?  We find something similar in Psalm 3:7 and again I ask, is he asking God to kick some booty?  I know people who believe that based on these passages and a few others in Scripture they can enlist God’s help in hurting those who hurt them and live wickedly.  These same people want the Grace of the New Testament and the license of “an eye for an eye” of the Old.  Sometimes people adapt scripture to fit their desire or belief rather than allowing scripture to guide their faith and conduct. 

I would suggest that if you will note the beginning of this Psalm that David was addressing those in positions of political and/or spiritual authority who were not presenting or promoting righteousness.  He suggested this approach due to the wickedness of their heart.  He noted that what they were saying and doing was poison and destructive. 

When people either religiously or politically see wrong and sit in silence they are complicit and in a profound sense guilty of that very evil.  I suggest that David was speaking metaphorically and asking God to ‘take away their power and authority’.  If God renders them powerless, without influence or authority they will no longer be able to do their destructive works.

In that sense, I fully endorse praying this kind of prayer toward those who demonstrate wickedness in this world.  I believe as in Ezekiel 33 that we are charged to ‘warn the wicked’ to turn from wickedness and if we do not do so we are guilty of their sin and the innocent blood will be on our hands. 

Therefore, I believe it is fully in agreement with the Bible to ask God to render those desiring to do wickedness and destruction powerless.  In fact, we Job declared in Job 29 of ‘breaking the fangs’ of the wicked and snatching victims from their teeth and considered it honorable to do so.

I realize that the Bible instructs us to pray for those in positions of authority and I do.  But I also realize that the Bible instructs and permits me to pray against evil and I do.  I have no hesitation to ask God to forcefully intervene against ‘sex offenders, sex traffickers, abortionists, and child molesters, terrorists and even oppressive government.’  How can I watch as evil is carried out and not do that which I know to do to stop and silence it?

Therefore, while I do not expect God to, physically ‘break out the teeth’ of the wicked I do ask Him to expose them and strip them of power.  I have no qualms about asking God to intervene on behalf of His children when oppressed, targeted, bullied, and abused and ask Him to silence those guilty of such acts.  I do not encourage anyone to view God as their bouncer or enforcer but rather as their shelter in the time of storm and wall of defense for He has declared He desires to be.

Please do not ask God to do physical violence upon those who seek your hurt. Instead, pray for their souls, pray against their works, and always maintain the right attitude.  As you demonstrate His character, pray His promises, and stand on His principles you will see God move on your behalf and while those doing the deed may not see or understand others will, and lives will be touched.

God bless you as you go through your day!