Psalm 56:3 – “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.”  NKJV

Isaiah 12:2 – “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.'”  NKJV

In these two passages, we have the words of David in Psalms and the words of Isaiah, and they reflect two different conditions and perspectives at a particular time in their lives.  Both passages address “fear” and “trust.” 

It is good that David could say, “In the time I am afraid, I will trust….”  But I would suggest that the perspective from which Isaiah spoke is superior when he says, “I will trust and not be afraid….”  I do not mean to diminish the faith or commitment of either of those men but seek to point out that there is the good and then the better in our faith relationship with God. 

Charles Spurgeon said, “All who get on board heaven’s train will arrive in heaven, but those who follow the mindset from which David spoke will ride ‘third class,’ while those who follow Isaiah will ride ‘first class.'”  Again, not to diminish the faith or commitment of either but to point out the difference in perspective.

Trust is not and will never be a product of ‘fear’; it is a preventative of ‘fear.’  I recall some years ago hearing an illustration that has benefited me numerous times in seasons of difficulty. 

There was a commercial airliner flying in a violent storm.  The passengers panicked, and even the flight attendants reached for the airbags.  The passengers were in a state of panic and terror.  Some were crying, some were cursing, and a few were praying.  Everyone was in a state of total disarray except one lady in 1st Class.  Someone noticed she was unmoved by the storm and asked WHY?  She calmly replied, “My husband is the pilot and is well qualified to get us to the airport safely.”  She Trusted!

Another story I have often related is one reportedly about Stonewall Jackson and his sister-in-law, who were crossing the river below Niagara Falls. In somewhat of a panic, his sister-in-law began to question the boatswain. Finally, Stonewall took her by the arm and said, “Unless you feel better qualified than the boatswain to ferry us across the river, sit down, be quiet, and TRUST HIM.”

Webster’s Dictionary defines TRUST – – Assured reliance on the character, strength, or truth of someone or something and lists confidence and dependence as synonyms.  Isaiah said, “I will have assured reliance on the character, strength, and truth of the Almighty God and therefore will not be afraid.”  In the general usage of scripture, Faith is “Trusting in God’s Testimony.”  It is receiving all God has revealed and resting in that revelation.

Let me give you something to muse on.  Faith is not an Old Testament word.  It is used only twice in the Old Testament, but Trust is used over 140 times, yet Hebrews 11 credits many Old Testament characters with having faith and powerful faith.  The Old Testament does not speak of their faith but their trust.  Therefore, we understand that they were men and women who exhibited Complete Reliance on God, which affected their attitudes and actions.  That is a powerful revelation we all need to grasp, for it can be liberating.

Someone once told me, “God said it, so that makes it true.”  I said, “No, God said it because it is true.”  I am not trying to split hairs, but I believe there is a difference, and when we realize that what God says is true because it is true, we can Totally Trust what He says.  We must develop unrelenting confidence in the person, character, nature, power, and promises of God.  Trust is what we need to propel us to the realm of faith that moves mountains.

I want to address more on the matter of Trust but will pause here and pick up next time considering five separate words translated trust and hope to inspire confidence in each of our hearts.

God bless you richly as you venture forward into the unknown of this day!


Colossians 2:8-10 – “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”  NKJV

Let us return to yesterday’s concluding question, “Is there an answer?”  God is the answer! However, the outworking of that is much more inclusive and expansive.  It is my observation and belief that many churches that could bring healing and resolution for many of today’s problems are not doing so. 

That is partially because they have allowed themselves to become overburdened with busyness or become so frustrated that they have essentially given up trying.  It is a sad indictment or realization that, too often, the entity that is supposed to be God’s Glorious Church has frequently turned the problem over to the world to deal with Symptoms when we are the only ones with a real Solution!

It is not the outside of the cup that is important but the inside.  It is not the exterior but the interior or the heart that is important.  But if we are asserting there is an answer, what is the problem?  

I believe there are several problems in the Church not taking the battle to the devil and breaking down the barriers, walls, and chains the forces of hell have placed upon lives, communities, homes, churches, and nations.   I have talked with pastor after pastor and church leader after church leader, and a consistent theme is “Lack of Vision.”  It is not that there is no vision, but there is no corporate or identified vision that people can rally around. 

Another issue is Fear.  In today’s politically correct world, with the threats and accusations being hurled at churches, believers, and ministers, too many are operating out of fear, and timidity has taken control.  There is fear of the PC world, but there is also hesitancy because of fear of failure causing many to be unwilling to venture beyond the known and safe.  The fear of rejection is a powerful tool used by the devil, and it can produce paralysis, which is tragic.

I have also discovered that with the availability of information and the power of technology, some have allowed it to replace anointing.  There was a time in the church when ministers dared not ascend to the pulpit without knowing they had heard from God, and when they spoke God’s word, the anointing opened the door for holy conviction. The demonstration of God’s power was present powerfully. 

I am also fully aware that there have been those who have misused the gifts God has given and become manipulative for their own purposes.  That is a problem with the heart, not the gift. 

I have also realized that we have relegated training to institutions rather than men of God making disciples and, as Moses of old, training people to function according to Ephesians 4.  We need to inform, but we also need to give a practical place for people to develop their gifts and callings in God.  Where better than in the protective shelter of the local congregation under the watchful eye of the leaders whom God has appointed, called, and released?

Our society appears to have fallen prey to the mentality of consumerism, and that is impacting the church negatively.  Through advertising and technology, people are conditioned to ‘shop around’ for the best deal or that which is most pleasing or interesting.  That has spilled over into how people find a local church to become planted in.

I do not know where I saw this questionnaire, but it has validity.  I believe it was a questionnaire that a pastor presented to his congregation, and I offer it to you for your consideration.  Pastor, if you choose to use it, feel free to do so.

Honestly Evaluate Your Fellowship or Church: [Rate each category 1-10, with 10 being the best possible and 1 being the worst.]

  • Is it genuinely open to the Holy Spirit?
  • Do the Bible teachings presented stress practical daily living?
  • Is there a healthy emphasis placed on relationships?
  • Is the church still rigidly encumbered with flattering titles, or is there an openness to informality?
  • Does the church understand the family, its problems, and needs?
  • Do the members share their faith through their words and deeds?
  • Does the church recognize and value the ability of both men and women?
  • Does the church place a high value and emphasis on Worship?  (Not just singing songs but worship).
  • Is the church diverse or open to diversity without compromising its core principles?
  • Is the church action-oriented more than program-oriented?

What is the score?  Here is the key given for them to evaluate the local congregation:

65 or Less – – Dramatic improvement needed.

66-80 – – – – – -Not too bad.

81-100 – – – – -People will miss the NFL pre-game show and arrive early to get a good seat.

Obviously, he placed a bit of humor, but the message is impossible to miss.  We can either become rigidly religious or pursue righteousness.  We can focus on symptoms and miss the disease or problem and direct our focus, efforts, and energy wrongly, or we can move beyond symptoms and address the root problems.

Many believers want to be invested and active in The Glorious Church Jesus declared He was building and is now building.  My prayer is, “LORD, I want to decrease so You can increase in my life, and I want to move from simply being religious to being a living, breathing manifestation of You!”

God bless you as you enjoy this day in our LORD!


Colossians 2:8-10 – “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”  NKJV

Before I venture into this and explain what I am talking about, let me ask that you read:  Colossians 2:8-3:2 and Ephesians 4:11-16and then continue reading what I am going to write.  I ask that because I believe that those, and many other passages, are vital foundations upon which I hope to build my thought in the hopes of inspiring, encouraging, and helping some break free of what I can only call the “religiousness of religion or the religious” which is often nothing more than a rekindling of the mentality and philosophy of the Pharisees and Secularist. 

The fix I am speaking of is not drugs, albeit Karl Marx said, “religion is the opium of the people,” usually translated as “religion is the opiate of the masses.”  Sadly, for some who profess to be followers of Christ, Marx’s definition may be more accurate than we care to acknowledge.  While I understand what many are saying when they decry religion, I believe it is not religion but the ‘religiousness of the religious’ that is a more significant problem. 

Spiritually, our world is at war!  Tragically, that is often also a description of the condition of the flesh in the interactions of man to man and nation to nation.  In the church today, I am not sure that we always realize where the real battlefield is or what the real battle is. 

I have become convinced that we, too often, focus on symptoms and believe them to be the disease or the battle.  The only consistent result is frustration, disappointment, despair, disillusionment, and defeat.  That is not the Church Jesus described in the Gospels that He was building. We have problems in the world today, but making war on symptoms will not solve the problem. It will only frustrate our purposes.

Jesus declared in Matthew 24:14, “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations and then the end will come.”  That is truth and being fulfilled powerfully through technology, but let me ask a probing question.  “What is the Gospel of the Kingdom?”  

I am not trying to get into a lengthy debate over an issue that has divided much of the church today but to suggest that the Gospel of the Kingdom focuses on LIFE, not symptoms.  It is the Life of God that is to be lived in each of our hearts.  It is more than salvation and going to heaven when we die. It is about LIFE NOW!  The words of John in 1 John 4:17 ring in my mind as I write, “…because as He is, so are we in this world.”  AS HE IS, not was or will be, but IS, and that is IN THIS WORLD right now!

As I study the Book of Acts and the First Century Christians, I realize that what they had would be and is called radical today, but it was the norm of the Christian life, and that norm has not changed.  It could be called Traditional Christianity, and if that is true, what would you call what we have today or what most have today? 

They turned the world upside down with their religion or Christianity!  I argue that what we call Radical Christianity is actually Normal Christianity, and that kind of Christianity is always innovative and captures the hearts and minds of people.  It does not do so with entertainment but with truth, life, and power.

Inside and outside the realm of the Church or Christian circles, our world is ravaged by divorce, betrayal, child abuse, addiction, battering, and many inadequacies.  Many within our churches are ensnared by some destructive sin or thought process, beaten down by rejection, wounded like caged animals, and filled with despair. 

The problem is of epic proportions and demands the question, “Is there an answer?”  The immediate and obvious answer is, “Yes!”  The answer truly is in God, but there must be more to the pursuit of a remedy if we are to become the Church Triumphant that Jesus spoke of that the very gates or powers of hell would not be able to resist. 

I want to say more on this matter but will pause here and pick this up next time as we focus on the War, Warriors, and Warfare in which we can pull down strongholds and see the captive set free, the blind eyes opened, and true deliverance comes in lives spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically, and in every way.

God bless you as you embark on today’s leg of your life’s journey in Christ!


Matthew 16:24-27 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”  NKJV

A pressing question we should ask ourselves is, “Am I truly committed?”  Are we committed in our finances?  Are we committed in our attitudes?  Are we committed in our actions?  Are we willing to DO whatever Jesus asks us or commands us to do?  Are we willing to BE whatever God wants us to be?  Are we willing to GO wherever the Spirit of God directs us to go?  Is the LORD truly NUMBER ONE in our lives? 

I have long believed that we have had enough preaching about Who God is and an incredible amount of preaching about who we are in Him.  Knowledge is lacking if it is not applied, and knowledge of God and who we are in God is not complete without and until we come to a place of TOTAL COMMITMENT!  Grace is Free but not Cheap.  We are not called to membership in a church but to be committed disciples and members of the Body of Christ.

It is the expressed desire of God to come into our lives and enable us to live out His will in our lives daily.  I talked to a person some time ago who expressed a fear that God would ask Him to do something he could not do.  That is a tragic error in thinking, for the Bible is expressly clear that God is not asking us to DO what He would DO, but He offers to come into our hearts and live His life through us.  His grace ‘enables’ us to fulfill His purposes.  It is not us but Him. 

Remember Paul’s explanation in Philippians 2:13, “…for it is God who works in you both to will and do His good pleasure.”  Therefore, it is imperative that we totally commit ourselves to Him, not just believe in Him.  I would suggest that what we need to do is follow the prescription of Scripture and ask Him to fully possess and enable us not just to DO but to BE what He desires.  We must ask Him to come in and live His life through us.

When we make that commitment and receive the LORD as Savior and LORD, we will find Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory.  We will find peace and joy that the world cannot give, take away or explain.  I will not sugar-coat the issue but will openly tell you that if you make that commitment to God, you will find sorrow and suffering; trials and difficulties will be familiar companions in your life.  Jesus warned us that the world would hate us and we would have tribulations and trials.  Christianity is not the absence of problems, but it is having the heart and mind of Christ so that we can respond to problems as God responds.  Suffering is a reality in this world. 

I have learned the truth and reality that God sometimes gets angry, and when we commit ourselves to Him fully and totally, we will know His anger in a very real and personal way.  John tells us in 1 John 3:8 that one of the major purposes of Jesus was to “destroy the works of the devil.”  I get angry when I see the works and deception of the devil.

The Gospel is not simply that we go to heaven when we die.  The Gospel is much more than that.  The Gospel is about living a life where Jesus in the here and now comes into our hearts and begins the process of removing those things that are not harmonious with His word, will, and way.  What we need today is a Jesus invasion that will transform us into something quite other than what we have been in the past.  My prayer is, “Lord, shape my attitude, mold my will, and direct my life so that who I am and what I am is pleasing in your sight.”

God bless you as you go through this day in Christ!


Matthew 16:24-27 – “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”  NKJV

Through the years, I have been amazed at the number of “self-help” books that are in print and the soaring sales of those books.  I have found it interesting how the church has gravitated to preaching, teaching, and promoting programs designed to help people feel better about themselves.  I have heard scores of people in church talk about their desire to “find themselves” and discover the “real them.”  People are flocking to conferences and seminars searching for answers and, often, finding none.  It is like the old country song, “Searching for love in all the wrong places” We are searching for answers in the wrong places.

I heard a story (I believe told by Tony Campolo) about the reply a college professor gave to one of his students who had decided he was going to go on a quest to ‘find himself.’  The student informed the professor that he would not return to school the following semester.  The professor inquired about the reason for that decision, and the student informed him that he felt the need to ‘find himself.’ 

He said, “Doc, I’m tired of playing all these roles that society says I must play.  I am tired of being the me my friends expect me to be, the me that my family and church expect me to be.  So, I have to peel away each of these socially prescribed identities.  I feel the need to peel away each of these socially constructed roles society imposes upon me.  I have to come to grips with the core of my being, the essence of my personality.”

The professor mused on that statement momentarily and then gave an incredible response.  He said, “Young man, just suppose that after you peel away each of those socially prescribed identities and you peel away each of those socially prescribed selves, you discover you are an onion!”  That is an incredible response, for when you peel away all of the skins of an onion, what is left?  NOTHING!  An onion is nothing more than the sum total of its skins.

We do not find self; we create a self, and the only real way to create that person, character, or being and meaning in life is GOD or COMMITMENT to God.  The call of God is COMMITMENT in totality to Jesus.  The most real reality that exists is Spiritual Reality and that which we are in God. 

I have used an illustration for years about the tightrope walker Charles Blondin, who, in the late 1890s, strung a cable across Niagara Falls. As thousands of fans gathered to watch, he inched his way from the Canadian side to the U.S. side, and as he completed the task, the crowd was chanting his name.  After a short time, he silenced the crowd and shouted to them, “I am Blondin… Do you believe in me?”  They chanted back, “We believe… We believe… We believe…”  Then he informed the crowd that he was going back across the falls with someone on his back and asked if they believed.  They chanted, “We believe… We believe… We believe…” 

Then, he stunned the crowd with his next question and asked, “Who will be that person?”  There was an eerie silence, and finally, one man stepped out of the crowd and climbed on the shoulders of Charles Blondin, and for the next 3 1/2 hours, he inched his way back across the falls.  One person’s belief was manifested in COMMITMENT! 

It is one thing to declare our belief but often quite another to translate it or demonstrate it in COMMITMENT.  True faith is not simply saying, “I accept the facts.” It is “giving ourselves completely over to what expresses our belief.”   True Believing involves Commitment!  

I believe that one of the most serious and pressing problems in the church today is that while multitudes profess belief, there is a very large void of those who have and will make a total commitment of themselves.  Believers are everywhere, but commitment is not everywhere apparent.  In America, many know about God and believe He is real, but that does not make them Christians.  What makes a person a Christian is not professing to believe the right stuff. It is COMMITMENT to the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is surrendering our lives to the LORD and becoming His disciple.

I want to address more about commitment but will pause for now and pick up next time. 

May the LORD watch over you, guard and guide you as you embark on today’s journey. 


Psalm 8:1-9 –“O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens! 2 Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, Because of Your enemies, That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.

3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, 4 What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? 5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor.

6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, 7 All sheep and oxen — Even the beasts of the field, 8 The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas.

9 O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth!”  NKJV

Many factors shape who we are, and our ‘World View’ is a definite contributor.  If we believe that all reality is physical and material and life is limited to whatever we experience in this natural body where death ends it all, we will be MATERIALISTIC.  Our focus will be the physical and material in both possessions and pleasure because that is all we will have.  There is no hope of a future beyond the grave. 

Another view is that the Present is Primary, and therefore the focus is on instant gratification.  Yet, another view makes a person willing to postpone some gratification for a richer and more meaningful life later or ‘Delayed Gratification.’ 

Yet another perceives not only the Physical, Material, and Temporal but also the Spiritual and views Eternity as holding paramount significance.  Within that view are two views.  One is Futuristic or “Some Day, Some Way.” 

The other is Eternal Life Now, where the belief is that the Life that we now live in the flesh we live in Christ Jesus, and we are not waiting for Eternal Life. We have experienced it and are living it in the present, waiting for our transition to that other world beyond this one.

Victor Frankl said, “Everything can be taken from man, except the last of human freedoms, his ability to choose his own attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose his own way.”  

Consider this illustration or description.  There was a fine person who was honest and dependable but incredibly negative and focused on what they do not have rather than what they have.  He focused on what is wrong, not what is right, looked for defects, and noticed flaws and corruption rather than concentrating on the incorruptible.  He had a teenage son who worked in the yard for 2 hours, totally unsolicited.  He came home, changed clothes, and went to work in the yard, criticizing everything the son had done and was doing. He defeated the initiative in the teenager and failed to value the beauty of the development of the investment parenting had achieved in the son. 

Attitudes are a part of our character, and every great achievement comes from a progression of small accomplishments.  We eat a meal one bite at a time, read a book one page at a time, and take a journey one step or mile at a time.  Our attitude, not our aptitude, will determine our altitude. In a very real sense, we are what we think.  We are not necessarily what we think we are but are a direct product of what we think.  We open the door by filling our minds with lovely, wholesome, uplifting thoughts and planting the seeds of peace, joy, and fulfillment. 

There are two primary sources of motivation – FEAR and LOVE.  People find motivation through fear of failure, opinions, rejection, etc.  Through love comes a powerful and healthy source of motivation that brings life.  If we grasp who we are in God, we will learn to value Imagination because that is an ability God gave us that allows the soul to put the mind or the reasoning component of our being in places where we cannot be physically present.  Every designer or artist sees the product and then does it.  Noah saw the Ark and then built it.  Then we will allow our WILL to play the God-designed role and enable us to make the right choices and stick to the prescribed path.

Do You Know Who You Are?  You are created in the Image and Likeness of God and are unlimited in your potential in Him!

God bless you as you enjoy this day’s journey in Christ!


Psalm 8:1-9 – “O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens! 2 Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, Because of Your enemies, That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.

3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, 4 What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? 5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor.

6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, 7 All sheep and oxen — Even the beasts of the field, 8 The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas.

9 O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth!”  NKJV

I love this Psalm for many reasons, but one of the most significant is that it reveals God’s attitude toward His creatures, made in His image and likeness.  The position afforded to man, and the potential in man are incredibly lofty but often locked inside a misconception and misunderstanding of Who He Really Is.  I remember Kirk Douglas in the “The Rag Man’s Son” where the hitchhiker asked, “Hey, do you know who you are?”  That is an incredibly appropriate question for each of us. 

I have shopped for automobiles and many times looked for a used car.  One of the keys in shopping for a used car is to focus on the internals more than the externals, for that is what makes the car.  The externals can often be updated if the engine, transmission, and drivetrain are good.  The internals, not the chrome, and shine, make the car good.

I am convinced that “First Impressions” are often, if not usually, overinflated in our society.  Truthfully, you cannot know what a person really is by looking at the outside.  Shakespeare said, “Nature with beauteous wall doth oft cloth in pollution.”  Therefore, what the engine is to the automobile, the inner self is to the person.  It is the real you.  Man looks on the exterior, but God always looks at the heart.  Peter speaks of the real person in 1 Peter 3:4 as he speaks of the ‘hidden person of the heart.’  The character is where the true beauty lies. 

Character is a combination of qualities or traits that distinguish an individual.  Personality is reflected in the aggregate of the features and characteristics that form the individual nature of a person.  Morality and ethics are exhibited in the honesty and courage of the person.  Personality is the projection of a person’s inner self or true soul.  Character is the actual state of the inner self or the true soul.  Each of us has basic attitudes, feelings, and emotions.  We all have the capacity for anger, fear, love, or lust.  Those emotions are a part of our being, and whether they are rightly or wrongly controlled reflects the character.

The human soul comprises our values, attitudes, motivations, reasoning, imagination, conscience, and will.  Our value system is reflected in our lives. 

Let me illustrate it this way.  A teenager might work two jobs but see his grades fall.  He might desire to continue working even at the expense of grades for a reason.  He might have something he wants to buy, such as a car, bike, etc.  To the teen, which is a higher priority than education.  We will find a way to have or make room for what we value the most.  Our daily conversations and activities evolve around our value system.  The relative worth or significance we assign to different objects, people, purposes, or objectives determines how we spend our time, money, energy, and lives.  What is your focus?

I want to say a bit more on this subject but will pause for now and pick up next time, focusing on the question, “Do You Know Who You Are?” 

May the LORD richly bless you as you embark on today’s journey in Jesus!


1 Corinthians 1:10-17 “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. 12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one would say you were baptized in my name. 16 Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.”  NASB

Please understand that I am not saying we all must have exactly the same preferences in life or even in the church.  That would make us robots, not thinking beings.  However, it is vital that we all agree on the foundational principles and truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.  This is His Church; it is not based upon following some particular doctrinal views or personalities.  The message of the Church is Jesus and the Cross, not our pet doctrinal points. 

The Early Church had divisions, and those in authority and leadership, such as Paul, felt compelled to address those divisions and remind everyone that the message was Jesus, not personalities or sectarian doctrinal views or pursuits.  He pleaded for them to lay aside differences and become of ‘one mind’ and ‘one judgment.’  

It is incredibly easy to be swayed by personalities in life, and the church is no exception.  Some said, “I follow the teachings of Paul, or I follow Peter, and some said I’m a Christ follower.”  The latter statement is wonderful if it is not the type of thing that I have observed in the modern world of Christendom, where even the name of our organization, fellowship, sect, or church is divisive and suggestive that “Only We Have the Truth.”  Paul reminded them they were not and should not be baptized in his (Paul’s) name.  He had not been crucified for them, and Christ was not divided into various sects, groups, or camps that excluded others and divided believers.

Paul’s purpose and our purpose are to preach Christ, deliver the Gospel in word and deed, and in so doing, ensure that the Cross of Christ would not be made void.  Jesus said, “If I am lifted up, I will draw all men unto Me.”  That was a clear reference to the Cross, but it should also serve as a reminder that if we LIFT HIM UP in our lives and preach, the Holy Spirit will empower those lives and words to draw people to Jesus. 

When the world sees Christians divided, it is not impressed.  They are not impacted when we say, “I Love You,” yet bite and devour each other.   It is when we demonstrate unity, the commonness of purpose, commitment to our Lord Jesus, and an acceptance of each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.  In our dog-eat-dog world, that impacts them because they cannot understand that kind of unity and love.  It is other than what they know and is used to and tugs at their hearts.

God is sending a revival, renewal, and restoration to our world, and those who experience it will follow the directives of the Word of God and walk in Unity with Christ and Unity with Each Other.  We will cease to be a divided body but become a unified body.  As the Unified Body of Christ, we can impact the world.  As the Fragmented Body of Christ, we will turn the world off.  Which do you think is God’s desire?

God bless you as you embark on today’s leg of life’s journey.


Acts 18:9-11 – “And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; 10 for I am with you, and no man will attack you to harm you, for I have many people in this city.”   NASB

In this present hour, I am amazed at how many in Christian leadership have become silent on many things.  I am not sure of all the reasons, but I am fully cognizant of the reality that many are willingly silent and aware of the result of that silence.  This is a devotional and not an attempt to make a political statement, but regardless of the issue before us, if we are charged with caring for the flock of God, we must sound the alarm and declare God’s purpose and principles!  Sometimes we have to rock the boat in order to save lives!

How can we stand before God and explain why we opted to remain silent in areas where God’s heart, word, precepts, and principles were violated, ignored, or trampled underfoot?  How can we stand before our people and explain to them why we have been silent? 

You are not silent when it comes to your own children when you see them heading for difficulty, trouble, or disaster because you love them too much to remain silent.  Do we not love people enough to take a position that might be viewed negatively by human authorities and those opposed to God and His purposes? 

Do we not believe that God’s Word is true, and that God is the Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent Creator of all things?  If we do, then we must realize that we have a mandate from Him to “Sound the Alarm” when the alarm needs to be sounded.  Is God not God over all matters of life?  Does God not have authority in both spiritual matters and political matters? 

Paul was undergoing severe trials and facing severe persecution, including the threat of death, and the vision indicates there was trepidation in his heart.  When God comes to anyone as He did with Joshua and says, “Do not be afraid,” there is fear lurking or attempting to take root in the heart and mind.  When God says, “Do not be silent,” He means, “Do not be silent!” but proclaim that which is true and right.  We have a mission and a commission to take the message of the Gospel to the entire world.  We are also charged with sounding the alarm when danger is present or possible. 

I speak to the under-shepherds watching over local flocks of God’s sheep; this is a love and obedience matter.  Your silence is sometimes disobedience and could be viewed as a lack of love.  A lack of love for the flock and a lack of love for the LORD!  Before you become angry with me, consider how God and people might view your silence.  If your child were about to step into a busy street and you sat silently watching that act, would that demonstrate love?  If you could give a word of advice to another and failed to do so, do you suppose they would look back on that event and say, “I’m so glad you loved me enough to be silent?”  NO, they would wonder if you loved them as much as you said you did.

As Christians, we have the benefit of God’s Truth revealed to our hearts, and we are responsible for handling and distributing that truth.  We can fear man, or we can demonstrate confidence in God.  Remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:26-29 – “Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.  27 ” What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.  28 “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul, but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” NASB

May the Lord be with you as you experience the Holy Boldness to say what needs to be said on all matters of life for God and good.   Blessings!


Ephesians 4:15-16 “But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”  NASB

God has an end game or purpose for all He has and is doing in His children, the Body of Christ.  LOVE is not just a major factor; it is the central element in the purposes of God.  Paul wrote to the Philippians, saying, “This I pray.  That your Agape (God’s Nature) may abound still more and more….”  The word abound indicates overflow.  Paul says, “I am praying for you that there will be such a surge within you that you spill over in your Agape!”  He says in all “knowledge/discernment.” 

Considering the context, we must find that he is praying that they and we grow in our knowledge of how to live with each other and how the world needs that!  We need constant surges of power and need to be empowered by the Spirit of God from whom that Agape flows and overflows from us to our fellow man and all in the Body of Christ.

Until we overflow in Love, the Gifts of the Spirit cannot function to their perfection and in their designed purpose.  Because I love you, I see your need and realize that I need a gift to meet that need so I can help you.  That is Body Ministry! 

Paul’s words to the Thessalonians about increasing and abounding in love are interesting.  The word “increase” is a banking term.  You put money in, and it accrues interest; there is more than when you began.  The word “abound” implies a desire for more and more, and in those moments of need, there will be a supernatural surge of Agape and the need supplied.

For example, we do not always need divine help to forgive, but when we meet people who are mean-spirited, evil, and with words or deeds that seek to harm us, we need the power to forgive.  We need a surge of Agape to enable us to forgive! 

I heard an illustration that is apropos here and germane to our discussion.  Suppose you were sitting in a field under a shade tree, enjoying God’s creation’s beauty and almost nodding off in incredible peace. Suddenly you hear the snort of a raging bull, and he begins to charge at you.  You have a surge of energy rush through your being, and you run faster than you have ever run and leap over the fence higher than you have ever leaped.  Can you always do that?  Obviously not, but that surge of energy and power enabled you at the moment of need.  That is Agape overflowing to will allow you to BE.

Before focusing on loving the world, I suggest you focus on loving each other in the Body of Christ.  Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, that you have a love for ONE ANOTHER….”  Until we get that right, we will be like rain on a tin roof, trying to love the world.  You can rest assured that the world is not impressed when you say, “I love you.”  They just do not care! 

On the other hand, when they see a group of people professing to be followers of Christ demonstrating Agape to each other, they take notice and are frequently impressed enough to check you out.  I recall when I was lost, and the one thing that kept drawing me back and puzzled me was the love I sensed and saw in the people in that little church in Palestine, Texas.  I could not shake the drawing power of Love.

Let me suggest that when any cell in the Body of Christ ministers to another cell, it truly ministers to itself.  Also, every time you serve one another, you are directly serving Jesus!  “In as much as you have done it to one of the least of these… you have done it unto Me.”  We need to learn to become ‘supply routes’ ministering to others.  Agape refuses to be rejected.  It is love for the long haul.  It is not fickle and is not conditional. 

When you encounter someone who is difficult to love and feel no compassion for them, you love and forgive!  Agape is not based on feeling or emotion.  Yet, resentment rises within your being, and you struggle.  You resist and reject them, but if you think you are somehow going to be rid of them completely, think again.  That is a battle you will have until the resurrection, so the key is not trying never to have them but allowing the Agape of God to overpower and overrule them.  Remember, we are told that Jesus was tempted in all points like as we are…  He was tempted but did not sin or succumb to those temptations or feelings. 

Never let the devil enslave you to a mental image that if you ever have negative feelings or thoughts, you are somehow a failure as a Christian.  Simply remind him of the Cross and come boldly before God’s throne and receive that surge of Agape so you can forgive and banish those thoughts and feelings.  You have not arrived but are pressing toward the mark and will reap in due season if you do not quit.  We must learn to look into people rather than at them.  Jesus never saw a prostitute or tax collector; He saw a person.  He saw their need, never the package they were wrapped up in.  Out of or in and through Love, the Body is built up!

God help us become a fully functioning cell in the Body of Christ through which the power surges of Agape can flow to other cells, strengthen feeble hands, and lift them up. 

Blessings as you embark on this leg of life’s journey!