January 2


Testing of your faith
Passing The Test

Are we passing the test? 2 Cor. 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you — unless indeed you fail the test?

Another year has come and gone and as we look to the New Year we begin to set new goals, agendas and making New Year’s Resolutions that we very seldom keep. We avoid examining our lives from the previous year and in doing so we create a shaky foundation for the plans we are making for our future. Let’s just sweep them under the proverbial rug. What we don’t remember won’t hurt us.

We have become a society of not keeping score (I don’t get that), grading on the curve (threaten the smart kid in the class), and giving multiple choice questions that have as their standard answer; “d” all of the above (no true or false please; 50/50 is not good odds). Passing the test takes very little effort or studying on our part. If we can score a C- or even a D that is still a passing grade; let’s just move on.

But, when it comes to our faith, our Teacher is not going to settle for a C- or D. He is a God of excellence. Perfect love cast out fear and perfected faith opens opportunities for greater test. As a matter of fact, He tells us to consider it all joy when the testing comes. James 1:2-3 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. The Lord desires for us to go from one level of faith to the next. Rom 1:17 For in it (the gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.” Passing the test is moving from one level of faith to the next.

Consider, the people of Israel as Moses is leading them to the Promised Land. For forty years the wandered in the wilderness until they all died, missing what God had promised. They continued to fail the testing of their faith and were never allowed to enter the blessings God had provided.

But, let’s examine the shepherd boy David. Being a faithful shepherd of his father’s sheep he is called to defend against a lion and a bear. He faithfully depends on his God to give him victory over these opposing threats and God honors his faith. Fast forward to the day when he is sent to check on his brothers who are at war with the Philistines. The whole army of Israel are frozen in their faith as the giant Goliath spews threats against the army of God. Remembering his previous test and God’s faithfulness, he steps down into the valley and passes another test.

When it comes to our faith, God does keep score. He doesn’t grade on the curve and there are no multiple choices to the faith He has called us to. Unlike some of our school systems who will promote kids without adequately grasping the fundamentals; the Lord requires us to pass the fundamentals of faith before calling us forward.

Before we move forward this coming year, let us first confess and repent of our failed attempts of the previous year and then fix our eyes forward to the test that await us. Phil 3:13-15 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Let this coming year be one of passing the test and moving toward the goal of our upward call of God in Christ Jesus! Don’t continue to wander around the same old mountain of unbelief and disappointment.


November 10



With personal independence being the goal of most people in our society; being a follower of Christ is not a label most people would prefer, even though they may verbally confess to believe in Jesus Christ.


To be a follower of Christ requires sacrifice and a total rearranging of our priorities. Our purpose becomes His purpose, our timing becomes His timing and our resources become His resources. Matt 8:19-22 And a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” 20 And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” 21 And another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” 22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me; and allow the dead to bury their own dead.” God’s priorities many times do not add up with our fleshly and comfortable lifestyles.


Matt 10:38-39 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 “He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake shall find it. Real life can only be discovered as we follow Him wherever and however He leads. Taking up our cross is a picture of dying to ourselves so that our hearts may not be weighed down with our selfish pursuits. Being a follower of Christ becomes difficult when we are constantly entangled with our own agendas. Heb. 12:1-2…let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith; If our eyes are not fixed on the One we are following we are easily sidetracked.


John 10:4-5 “When he puts forth all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 “And a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” With all the other voices in our world calling out for our attention it is vital that we keep our hearts attuned to the voice of the Shepherd. For a follower of Christ to harden his heart by ignoring the voice of God over and over again will only leave him vulnerable to stray from the path God has called him too. Matt. 13:15 For the heart of this people has become dull, And with their ears they scarcely hear, And they have closed their eyes Lest they should see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart and return, And I should heal them.’


Matt. 4:19-20 And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 And they immediately left the nets, and followed Him. Are you a fisher of men? Are you pursuing those without Christ with His love and grace and the power of the gospel? His calling to each of us is backed with a life changing promise that if we are truly a follower of Christ; we will become fishers of men! It’s hard to fish for men if we are fishing for our own titles, prestige, power and glory.

Can you say that you are a new creation in Christ Jesus; you are dead to the world and alive toward Christ; the old things have passed away and all things have become new? Will you humble yourself today and become a follower of Christ and become a fisher of men?

October 12



What are you holding on to that is holding you back from God’s best? It may seem insignificant to you, for you have held onto it for so long it has become a natural every day thing to you. It may be a little thing that has never been an issue or problem and so there has been no reason for you to deal with it, but God sees it in a totally different way.

2 Cor. 11:3 But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. The appearance of the insignificant can lead to the greatest deception leading us away from our purity of devotion to Christ. What are you holding on to that is keeping you from following Christ fully? By earthly standards there may be nothing unethical or immoral to the things you are holding on to, but they are hindering you from the simplicity and purity of devotion.   Heb. 12:1Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

We are to lay aside “every” encumbrance and sin which so “easily” entangles us. The great deception concerning the question, what are you holding on to can be found in our inability to define those insignificant things in our life as encumbrances or see them as entangling us in any way? They bring us enough pleasure that we are willing to compromise intimacy with our Heavenly Father.

When God commanded the people of Israel not to take anything under the ban, Achan convinced himself that it was an insignificant thing for him to keep just a few things for himself. His choice cost the lives of his fellow soldiers at the battle of Ai. Joshua basically asked Achan, what are you holding on to that has brought this tragedy upon God’s people? Josh 7:19-21 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, I implore you, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and give praise to Him; and tell me now what you have done. Do not hide it from me.” 20 So Achan answered Joshua and said, “Truly, I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel, and this is what I did: 21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight, then I coveted them and took them; and behold, they are concealed in the earth inside my tent with the silver underneath it.”

What we hold on to will eventually bring suffering and shame not only to us, but to those around us. We hold on to those things in our life because we believe we own them. We have been bought with a price and we are not our own, therefore what we hold on to is no longer ours to hold on to. We must renounce (disown) those things before they bring further shame and suffering. 2 Cor. 4:2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. Like Achan, what you hold on to is hidden within the dwelling place of your heart and must for the glory of God be renounced that we may be salt and light to a dead and dark world.

What are you holding on to today?

October 3



Learned obedience is the pathway to an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ! All the Scripture study and memorization in and of itself is insufficient for us to experience the obedience that leads to knowing our Savior and His will for our lives. Obedience is more than following a set of rules or accomplishing a given task; it’s discovering the One who set the rules and is walking with us in finishing the task given to us.

Jesus Himself learned obedience as He walked this earth indwelling human flesh. Heb. 5:8 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. If we are to be Christ-like, we must have the same attitude that He had as He lived in faithfulness to His Father even at the cost of suffering for it. Phil 2:5-8 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

The motive and attitude in our obedience is what our Heavenly Father looks for. Learned obedience is a by-product of the love we have learned the Father has for us and our desire to abide in that love. John 15:9-11 “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. Learned obedience will produce a joy that is made full (vs. 11) and as John 15:8 tells us; we will bear fruit bringing much glory to the Father.

Learned obedience is a process as we take the yoke of Christ upon us and learn from Him. Matt 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. 30 “For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.” If we find ourselves weary in our pursuit of obedience we must humbly confess that we are bearing the yoke of our own self-righteousness. Rom. 10:2-3 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. 3 For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.

Not knowing the righteousness of God we will learn the wrong kind of obedience and as a result will live frustrated lives never discovering the abundant life Jesus promised. Rom 14:17-18 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Learned obedience brings us peace and joy in the Holy Spirit!

What have you learned?

August 31



Everyday has its own conflict, but the hidden area of inner turmoil can lead to the greatest struggle and the most painful end result. We convince ourselves because it is hidden from those around us that we can continue to justify and redefine the reality of our problem. The heart can be so deceiving! Jer. 17:9 “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?

Self-justification is the cancer of every man’s heart and is rebellion against God Himself. Rom.10:2-3 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. 3 For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. We can have a zeal for God, yet that zeal is nothing more than our feeble attempt to self-justify ourselves before God as we seek to establish our own righteousness.

Conviction and guilt are the pre-cursors of every man’s attempt to justify his inner turmoil. We see this in the rich young ruler’s response in his conversation with Jesus on how he could obtain eternal life. He gives the right answer to what the Law said, but then became convicted by his own answer when Jesus said to do this and you will live. Luke 10:29-30 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?

Even Jesus’ own disciples struggled with this inner turmoil of self-justification. Jesus tells them that one of them would soon betray Him. They all began to question Him whether or not they could be the one to do such a horrible thing. But, as their day progressed they found themselves debating with one another who would be the greatest in the kingdom of God. Their inner turmoil of conviction and guilt led to them to establishing their own righteous standing with the Father.

When we resort to self-justification there is no peace; thus inner turmoil. Rom 8:6-8 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

The answer to our conflict is the finished work of Christ. 1 John 1:7-9 but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Our inner turmoil needs the intervention of God’s love and grace within the inner man. Eph. 3:14-19 For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

To know the love of Christ brings peace to our inner turmoil!

April 22



Since God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts we can always expect the unexpected. But, we live the majority of our lives as if we were contestants on “Let’s Make A Deal”. We come trading what we have for what’s behind door number two, only to feel duped when the curtain is opened.

Rom 1:22-23 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man… Fools will always experience the unexpected when they exchange the glory that God has prepared for them for the corruptible things behind door number two. We pursue success as the world defines it only to discover the same thing King Solomon discovered; vanity. Even though we’ve been given illustrations like King Solomon and warnings like, “you reap what you sow”; we always seem to be surprised by the unexpected harvest.

But, in the midst of all our unexpected baggage comes a God of unexpected grace and love. Consider the woman who was caught in the act of adultery and placed before Jesus for a verdict. The Law said she was to be stoned to death. Jesus does the unexpected! John 8:7-11″He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 And when they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the midst. 10 And straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 And she said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more.”

For those of us who know of God’s salvation; God did the unexpected! Rom 5:8-9 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. He is always choosing the unexpected. 1 Cor 1:27-28 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are.

God’s glory and power come wrapped in unexpected ways, in unexpected places and through unexpected people. Heb 11:1-3 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old gained approval. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. Faith is the assurance and the conviction of the unexpected.

So, today if you find yourself in unexpected circumstances put your faith in an unexpected God who desires to do the unexpected in your life. Rom 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. God causes the unexpected!



January 29



In the back of my mind I have always wondered about people who make the statement; I have nothing to lose. Are there really any set guarantees in life that enable us to make such a bold statement? By the very nature of making a choice suggest that there is some risk in the choice we are making.

1 Kings 18:21 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people did not answer him a word. Many people take the low road of procrastination thinking that making no choice at all ensures them that they prevent from having nothing to lose. Many ignore the need or a reason to follow after God and in the process they make choices that have no guarantees. You have everything to lose by ignoring the God who created you and sent His Son to die in your place that you might have everything to live for! To fall into the pit that lies between nothing and everything is our enemy’s darkest deception.

Mark 8:36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? The man who would gain the whole world would appear by all worldly standards to have nothing to lose, but in truth he would lose his own soul. The deception enters into our hearts when we define the two accounting terms of gains and losses by the wrong standards.

Phil 3:7-8 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ. There is gain to us or there is a gain of knowing Christ, but you cannot have both. Adam and Eve thought that they had nothing to lose, but in eating of the tree in the middle of the garden they lost everything.

Matt 10:37-39 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 “He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake shall find it. Our love for the temporary things of this world blinds us to the great chasm fixed between believing we have nothing to lose and losing everything.

The only sure way guaranteeing that we have nothing to lose is to lose everything for the sake of the gospel; of knowing Jesus Christ in all His glory. Phil 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I have nothing to prove I have nothing to lose, and in the process gain everything!

January 18



There are many forms of fear that dominate our lives within the world we live today, but none can steal the blessings and joys of life from us like the fear of failure. Our fear of failure can define who we are as we confine ourselves within the safe yet mundane areas of what we have defined as life. We build walls around us to keep the fear of failure at a safe distance and we build boundaries around our hearts to keep us from straying too far away from the things we think we can control.

Gal 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. There can never be freedom where the fear of failure exists. There is no standing firm or moving forward in faithful confidence when the yoke of fear continues to enslave us.

Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We truly have all sinned and will continue to sin even as Christians. And, in our sinning we have also fallen short of the glory of God. To fall short means to miss the mark. To miss the mark means we have failed to reflect the glory of God! Rom 5:20 And the Law came in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more. Where failure increased, God’s grace abounded all the more. Its grace that sets us free, not our trying harder or doing more! Trying harder and doing more is indicative of living a life in the fear of failure.

I’m not implying here that we can continue to sin and expect God’s grace to set us free from the fear that will enslave us, but what I want you to know is that there is a God who loves you and sent His Son to die for your sins so that you no longer have to live in the fear of failure.

1 John 4:16-18 And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

The fear of failure is one of our enemy’s greatest deceptions. Have you come to know and are you believing in the love that God has for you? Do you realize that the God who loves you with unconditional love dwells within you and has promised that He will never leave you? He tells us that there is nothing that can separate us from His love; not even our failures. By trusting in His great love for us, His love is perfected in our hearts. This perfect love casts out all fear; even the fear of failure.

June 13



With all the advancement in technology and the abundance of information floating around on the internet it is becoming increasingly difficult for most people to answer the question what’s the truth?  I just typed in the phrase, “what’s the truth” into Google and in 4.2 seconds it revealed about 288 million results.  Hope you brought your lunch for the next fifty years!

Should we wonder why there is an increasing amount of anxiety medications being prescribed within our culture?  Trying to determine who’s truth is the right truth is like walking through a maze of mirrors without an exit.  Without absolute truth for a foundation we will build our lives on the quicksand of assumption and speculation.  So what’s the truth?

Truth is not a what, but a who!  Matt 16:13-15 …He began asking His disciples, saying, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  Many people today have a distorted view of who Jesus really is.  If we are still asking the question “what’s the truth” we have revealed that our truth is not as absolute as we would like others to believe.

We have many professing Christians who have memorized verses of Scripture with little to no lasting change in their lives or evidence of genuine freedom from the bondage of their sin.  They speak words of truth, but their hearts are still asking the question what’s the truth?  The mind has memorized, yet the heart is slowly being sterilized by a deceptive truth that has taken up residence within our hearts.  Rom 1:25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.  The heart becomes sterilized to the Person of truth when we have exchanged the truth of God for the truth we want to believe.  Truth is about worship.  When we worship someone other than God we must create a truth that fits our object of worship.  What’s the truth?  It is whatever we choose to worship.

Ps 51:6 Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom.  What’s the truth?  It is the personal relationship with the One who has become the reality of truth in our inner man.  Eph 1:13-14 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation —  having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.  If you have listened to the truth and believed that truth for salvation He has sealed you for His own possession.  And the result?  Worship!  To the praise of His glory!

May 21



As I reflect on the power and majesty of God and those six days of creation; heaven must have stood still with eyes wide open and mouth’s hushed with reverence and awe!  God always seems to save the best for last and when he made man He not only said it was good, but it was very good.  He did not speak man into existence, but reached down and took the dust of the earth in His hands and fashioned man in His likeness.  And with a final touch of His glory, God breathed into His creation the breath of life.

If life is not God breathed it is not worth living!  When we attempt to live outside of the God breathed life we breathe in the pollution of the world which brings forth death.  Rom 8:13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  The pollution of lust, pride, arrogance, unforgiveness, ungratefulness and self-righteousness permeates the God breathed life like a cancer until there are no signs of life what so ever.  Sin pollutes the God breathed life!

What are you breathing in?  The answer is obvious if you examine what you are exhaling out.  God breathed into you the breath of life and His life exhales out love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  This life does not come by our efforts or accomplishments, but is God breathed.

If you have ever had the wind knocked out of you, you know the only thing you want at that moment is air.  When you come to the place where your sin has you gasping for air and all you want is the life that comes through Jesus Christ He will breathe out His forgiveness and grace and give you the God breathed life!

Rom 5:20-21… but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  When the sin in our lives has increased leaving us hopeless and helpless God breathes out His life giving grace all the more.  Where our sin ruled our lives bringing nothing but death God breathes His righteousness giving us eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Ezek 37:1-5 He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 And He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. 3 And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, Thou knowest.” 4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’ 5 “Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life.  Can these bones live?  Can you live again?  I will cause breath to enter you (God breathed) that you may live!