Wednesday, August 24, 2016




(Isaiah 53:3) …A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…

When we see Jesus in the Bible He almost always has people around Him.  We see the twelve disciples.  And out of that group we see a micro-unit of Peter, James and John.  Then there is the seventy that followed Him.  There were always the masses as well as the individual encounters.  But there are two acquaintances of Jesus that were always there but you never really see.  Their names?  Sorrow and Grief.

Seven hundred years before the Messiah came to earth it was predicted by Isaiah that He would suffer and die for the sins of mankind.  Throughout His life He would have frequent sorrow and be familiar with grief.  That’s why the Jews missed Him the first time.  They overlooked prophecies like this of His first coming and just concentrated on the victorious second parousia and the establishment of His eternal kingdom and His victory over all foes.

There is a tendency in us all to want a cushy life with the least amount of stress and problems as possible.  It is a big drive for us who were raised in an affluent society like America and in the Western culture.  We work so hard to build up our comfort zone so that we will avoid difficulties.  All the while the Bible teaches the reality that we will have tribulation in this life that will build our character and teach us lessons of faith (Rom 5:3-4; John 16:33; Psa 34:19).

Jesus had a lot of sorrow and grief in His earthly life.  He was of humble birth and parentage.  Herod saw Him as a threat and sought to slay Him.  He was a poor carpenter in a humble town.  During His ministry He had nowhere to lay His head.  He was misunderstood by the religious and educated.  He was overlooked by the powers of government.  The fickle crowd cried for his crucifixion.  The group at the cross mocked Him.  A thief next to Him taunted Him.  His pierced and lifeless body was interred in a borrowed grave.

The Bible says we too will become acquainted with these two friends of Jesus.  (Phil 3:10) that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.  But that doesn’t mean we have to be morose about it.  These companions will lead us to the joy we have been looking for all along.  (1 Pet 4:13) but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.  Joy in this life and joy in the life to follow!

Will sorrow and grief be our friends forever?  One day these pilgrim colleagues will break from our fellowship, to be seen no more.  (Rev 21:4) And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”  Rejoice!  And never count the friends of Jesus your enemies.


Friday, August 19, 2016


Image result for panic

            SHEPHERD TO SHEEP 
(Pro 3:25-26) Do not be afraid of sudden terror, Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; 26 For the Lord will be your confidence, And will keep your foot from being caught. 
Many of us live with deep-rooted fear.  And so often we don’t even recognize it until crisis brings it out.  Something unexpectedly happens and it hits a nerve and terror seizes us.  We feel kidnapped and held against our will.  Our bodies react with stiffness and shortness of breath.  Our minds begin to think catastrophically. Our faith takes a vacation and we forget all we have learned about the truths of the Bible.  Crazy stuff!  How can have more peace in our lives, especially when large and ugly things loom over us and seek to intimidate us? 
When you are reading the Bible and questions arise, if you keep on reading it usually explains itself.  The wise man of Proverbs says there is a reason to not panic and experience sudden terror.  He says the Lord will be your confidence.  I used to think that confidence was being proud.  But then I saw confidence in a person who was very humble.  I rejoiced that I could have confidence too, not in myself but in the Lord.  Then when the biggie came into my life I wouldn’t be so overwhelmed.  The Lord is bigger than the biggie!  And He will keep my foot from being caught.  Think of it, when your foot is caught the rest of you isn’t going anywhere!  Fear immobilizes a person but the Lord keeps your feet going forward in life to where you need to be. 
David and Goliath.  Now there’s a story.  Everyone else was paralyzed by fear except young David.  He had so much confidence in the Lord and he didn’t let Goliath scare him.  He actually ran to the giant instead of away from him.  (1 Sam 17:48) So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.   
So many of us fear about the welfare of our loved ones.  We worry and fret over them and so often the devil brings his camping gear and sets up his site in our minds.  He just loves to push us around with negative thoughts about what if this or that happened to them.  We must replace our fear with confidence!  (Pro 14:26) In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge.  Take that negative fear and replace it with positive fear of the Lord, which is standing in awe of Him.  When you do that then you start claiming the promises of God for your loved ones.  As you keep doing that then Satan is sent a message that he can no longer homestead in your territory and he’ll go and try to harass someone else.   
Sudden fear.  Satan likes to do everything quick or sudden to throw us off to where we don’t even have the time to think.  Whereas the Bible says to quietly wait for the salvation of our God. (Lam 3:26)  Let’s settle down and settle in to the fact that our God reigns and is in control!   

Thursday, May 12, 2016



(James 4:2-3) You lust and do not have…Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
There will times in our lives where we will really have to budget because certain things have transpired in our lives.  It could be a job loss, your salary was cut, you want to go back to school, pay off debts, retire early, a mother wanting to quit her job to stay at home with the kids, or some other kind of life transition. You need to know that you really can live on less if you take these simple steps:
RECOGNIZE THAT GOD PROVIDES ALL YOUR NEEDS: (Phil 4:19) And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  The basic thing you need to know when your budget is drastically cut is that God is in control and that He has promised to provide for your every need.  It is time to trust God for everything in your life and to walk by faith.  Being dependent on God is a good place to be.  So often we are so self-sufficient but there are times when God will bring us to the place of total reliance on Him.  It might be scary at first but you have to remember if God brought you to it…He’ll bring you through it!  You will see miracles of provision like you’ve never seen before.  These will be stories you will tell your kids and grandkids about.  They too will be encouraged by how God takes care of His own! (Mat 7:7-11)
REEVALUATE WANTS VS. NEEDS:  The apostle James says it the best.  He says we have desires that we have to put down because those desires can get us into trouble.  And that can includes living for greeds instead of needs.  We live in a covetous culture that teaches more is better.  But in God’s economy less is more.  We can live without all the things we think we need.  What we have to do is curb our desires and use discipline to say no to our impulses.  You’re craving your favorite burger.  But you drive by that fast food place and head for home to make your self a sandwich instead.  And that is a thousand times over when you’re at the store, online, and etc.  You learn to say no to yourself.  It’s that time in your life where you just have to let go a lot of things you want and desire.  But that is being a true disciple of Jesus Christ! (Mat 16:24) 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.
BUDGET TIME!:  It’s time to get a budget.  When you have a budget you tell your money where to go instead of it telling you where to go.  You have allotments for certain items and you stick with it without budging. (Pro 6:6-8, 27:23-27; 1 Cor 4:2; Eph 5:15)
On a personal note, Cheryl and I have had to live on half our income more than once and God has provided each time for us.  He brought us through to greater abundance! (Gen 26:13)




(Luke 2:48)…His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”
It’s hard to perceive Mary the mother of Jesus as being an anxious woman.  But that’s exactly what the Bible portrays and what she even said of herself.  They had lost Jesus in the crowd of Passover pilgrims returning home from Jerusalem.  The parents panicked and retraced their steps back to the city and eventually found Jesus in the Temple after three days interacting with the teachers.  When they found him Mary chided her son.  Jesus replied that He must be about His Father’s business. 
Well, you really can’t blame Mary for her anxiety.  Jesus was a special child with a special birth.  This was probably the first time something like this happened between Mary and Jesus.  He was twelve years old and was now considered almost an adult.  And yet you see Mary’s worry surfacing and overflowing by the incident.  I hope this will encourage the most spiritual of moms that anxiety will be something to deal with when it comes to growing children. 
There is so much to worry about as a mother.  With that beautiful mother’s heart you are after your child’s constant safety and security and progress in every area of life.  You’re happy when your child succeeds and concerned when they are struggling.  But when does that concern cross the line into anxiety?  It’s almost imperceptible because you are so wrapped up in your child’s life.  But you start feeling negative emotions and it begins to ring through your body and breed uneasy thoughts in your mind.  Your apprehensions begin to get the best of you.  Perhaps your husband tries to cool your jets but you dismiss him by saying what does he know?  So what is a mom to do at this juncture?  It’s time to pray!  Here’s a verse for you. 
(Phil 4:6-7) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
As you turn your cares into prayers you will find peace coming back into your mother’s heart.  Then you can focus on God’s promise for your children:
(Isa 54:13) All your children shall be taught by the Lord, And great shall be the peace of your children. (see also Psa 112:1-2; Pro 22:6; Isa 49:25; Jer 31:17; Joel 2:28; Acts 2:39, 16:31)
There is peace for you, mom, and your anxious heart.  Don’t be overly concerned about your kids.  God is watching out for them and they will grow up to be about their Father’s business!


Wednesday, April 27, 2016


                                                             SHEPHERD TO SHEEP

(1 Sam 1:2) …Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
Mother’s Day can be so hard on women who do not have children.  You see, some women want kids but are not able to and other women will choose not to be a mother.  So when this special day comes around it can kind of rub the woman the wrong way and for different reasons.  
Let’s talk first about the woman who is not able to get pregnant.  Well, you just can’t read the Bible without seeing the obvious in its beginning pages.  You see Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel childless.  Later on you see Hannah and then when you roll over into the New Testament you see Elizabeth right away.  As you read their stories you find the anguish that emerges:  (Gen 30:1) Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister, and said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die!”  (1 Sam 1:10) And she (Hannah) was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish.  
So what happened to these women?  They eventually had babies and it was from God.  Kind of like what we have seen in the church today when couples come up for prayer who are struggling with infertility.  God has answered prayer and so many “miracle babies” have been dedicated to the Lord.  It was truly a work of the Lord.  Others have had answered prayer through medical help or by adoption.  Whatever way, that couple has received a bundle of blessings from above:  (Psa 121:2) My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
Other couples have talked together and have decided to not have children.  For whatever reason they just want it to be a two-some and three’s a crowd.  It kind of reminds me of Aquila and Pricilla in the Bible.  They were a couple with no kids that were free do so much ministry and to travel.  Every time they pop up they are doing something for the Lord and for God’s people.  They helped the apostle Paul, were influential in Apollos’ life, and even had a church in their house.  But they sure couldn’t do that with children around!  I remember the few years before Cheryl and I had kids and how were able to jet around for the Lord and do so much.  But when the kids were added the brakes came on!  
But there is a stigma that the couple will have to work through.  Especially when people who don’t mind their own business ask you when you’re going to have kids.  That can be annoying as well as upsetting because some people just don’t get it.  Children are their life and they just can’t believe anyone can be happy without them.  (Rom 14:5)…Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. (1 Cor 7:20) Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called.
So you’re not a mother?  That can be a good thing or a hurtful thing.  But whatever way it is for you, remember God ordains our life and we have to follow that course and trust His plan.    

Thursday, March 24, 2016


(Mark 16:3) And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” 
Have you been trying lately to gain entrance to somewhere in life you’ve been wanting to go but it’s like a big stone is blocking the door?  That’s how the women felt on resurrection morning.  Jesus had been crucified and laid in a tomb but they wanted to give Him a proper burial with the anointing of spices.  They had a willing heart and the materials on hand but one big problem kept shutting them out.  So they asked…who will roll away the stone?   
Maybe that’s how you’ve been feeling recently.  You are willing as your heart could be.  You have everything on hand as far as resources are concerned.  But it’s that one big heavy thing that is obstructing your progress.  So what do you do?  Well, do what the women did: 
-STEP OUT IN FAITH:  The text says “they came to the tomb”.  That means they got moving toward their goal instead of their goal dropping into their lap.  In this life of faith we cooperate with God by doing our part in response to His leading in our lives.  Remember Peter?  He had to get out of the boat before he could float!  (Mat 14:28-29) And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.  Maybe God is waiting for you to do that part of faith that needs to be done.  (Heb 11:6) But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. 
-LOOK UP:  In the next verse it says they “looked up” (v. 4).  To have that stone roll away from our lives we must look up to Jesus for it is He alone that has the power to effect change.  (John 12:21) Then they came to Philip…saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”  When things don’t go our way it’s easy to count the cracks on the sidewalk instead of the clouds in the sky!  (Luke 21:28) Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”  When you look up to Jesus, things start looking up!   
Well, what happened in the rest of the story of the women at the tomb?  The next verse says it all:  (Mark 16:4) But when they looked up, they saw that THE STONE HAD BEEN ROLLED AWAY—for it was very large.  God took care of the problem and they walked right through that door!  Isn’t that great how the Lord goes before us and takes care of the problems we face?  No need to worry. No need to strive.  God has it all figured out from the very beginning.  (John 6:6) But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.  HE IS RISEN!  And your door will be opening soon! 


Friday, March 11, 2016



(Mark 16:14) Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table… 
This is one of the saddest verses in the Bible.  It says Jesus appeared to the eleven.  That means one was missing.  And we know who that was…Judas.  In our churches we have empty seats that used to hold people of faith who no longer walk with the Lord.  They have rejected the Christian faith and have walked out into the night from the light they once knew.  So how does it all begin and what should we do when someone turns away from the Lord? 
The first thing we notice is a progression.  Demas in the Bible is a good example.  He is only mentioned three times in the New Testament but notice how he advances in the wrong direction:  (Phile 1:24) as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow laborers…(Col 4:14) Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you…(2 Tim 4:10) for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed…  First Demas is a fellow laborer.  Then he only sends greetings.  Finally he has forsaken Paul and has gone back into the world and has departed.  Does this describe someone in your life?
My best friend and best man in my wedding did the same thing.  He taught a home Bible I attended when I was in college.  He then graduated from Bible college and seminary and had a wonderful calling to the ministry.  But soon he had an affair and left his wife and I then lost all contact with him and for many years now he has never surfaced to reclaim his faith.
The big question is did these know Christ and then reject the faith?  Or did they never know the Lord to begin with?  Well, only God knows!  (2 Tim 2:19)…The Lord knows those who are His…  So since we don’t know what should we do? 
-PRAY:  The best thing we can do is keep praying for them.  If they are truly the Lord’s they will come back.  (Luke 15:20) “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.
-BELIEVE:  Since they don’t have faith anymore then we must have faith for them.  God can change the hardest of hearts!  (Eze 36:26) I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
-AVOID GUILT:  Many of us feel guilt because we think we could of done something to prevent them from slipping away from the Lord.  Christian parents are especially susceptible to this.  But remember they made a choice out of their own free will.  (Rom 8:1) There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…


Wednesday, February 24, 2016


                                                             SHEPHERD TO SHEEP 
Many of us have emergency phone numbers to call in case of an emergency.  Beyond 911 there is the doctor, lawyer, plumber, computer tech, etc.  But what about when you are in need and you don’t know where to turn in God’s Word?  Keep this handy chart in your Bible or somewhere close and refer to it often.  The Word of God answers all our needs and dilemmas! 
When you need SALVATION (Romans 10:9-10) 
When you are DEPRESSED (Psalm 42 & 43) 
When you are ANXIOUS (Philippians 4:6-7) 
When you are LONELY (Hebrews 13:5) 
When MONEY is low (Philippians 4:19) 
When you’ve been HURT (Ephesians 4:32) 
When you need a JOB (Psalm 90:17) 
When you need PATIENCE (James 1:2-4) 
When you are WORRIED ABOUT THE KIDS (Isaiah 54:13) 
When you have an UNSAVED LOVED ONE (Acts 16:31) 
When you have BACKSLIDDEN (Jeremiah 3:22) 
When your goals have been FRUSTRATED (Psalm 37:3-8) 
When you have been DISAPPOINTED (Revelation 3:7-8) 
When your MARRIAGE is being tested (1 Corinthians 13)
When you have SINNED (Psalm 51) 
When you are feeling WORTHLESS (Matthew 10:29-31) 
When there is nothing hopeful in your FUTURE (Jeremiah 29:11) 
When you need GUIDANCE (Psalm 32:8) 
When things DON’T MAKE SENSE (Proverbs 3:5-6) 
When you are FEARFUL (Isaiah 41:10) 
When you are ANGRY (Ephesians 4:26) 
When you lack COURAGE (Joshua 1:9) 
When you need FORGIVENESS (1 John 1:9) 
When you are facing TEMPTATION (1 Corinthians 10:13)
When you need HEALING (Exodus 15:26)
When you are SUFFERING (Romans 5:3-4)
When you need STRENGTH (Isaiah 40:27-31)
When you lack PURPOSE in life (Ephesians 2:10)


Saturday, February 20, 2016


                                                             SHEPHERD TO SHEEP
(Mat 6:33) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Oh, the wonderful Internet.  When you need something you can just look it up and satisfy your knowledge.  You can buy and sell, interact with people through social media, pay your bills, watch entertainment, and a million other things.  But has the Internet replaced God?  I mean, when you have need of something do you go to Google or do you go to God?  
Now don’t get me wrong.  I love technology and I keep up with the latest devices.  They are so helpful to me on a personal and professional level.  It’s just that we have become so accustomed to running to the Internet before we seek the Lord on the things we need to be seeking the Lord about.  
Think about how the Lord is omnipresent (everywhere at the same time), omniscient (all-knowing) and omnipotent (all-powerful).  Well, the Internet can act like that, too.  The Internet is everywhere, full of wisdom, and a very powerful tool.  But the habit we need to develop as God’s children is to go to God first.  If not, the Internet becomes an idol because an idol is anything that replaces the Lord in your life.  (Deu 5:7) You shall have no other gods before Me.  
Here are some scenarios to ponder as case in point:
- A mom is concerned about a rash on her child.  She searches diligently on the Internet for what might be the cause and cure.  She researches all day and never really stops to pray over the child.  
- A couple looks online for houses because they want to move.  They spend countless hours investigating the socio-demographics of the community including schools for the kids etc.  Not once did they pray together.  
- A man is in the market for a commodity.  He compares all the deals out there and ends up going back and forth with different sellers.  He never took it to the Lord and prayed about it.
- A lonely woman is looking for a meaningful relationship.  No one at church pops up so she finds a dating site and spends hours viewing profiles of potential men instead of waiting on God for His direction.  
Oh, how God wants to be sought!  (Amos 5:4) …Seek Me and live.  (Mat 7:11)…how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

Friday, January 1, 2016


(Numbers 10:29) … the Lord has promised good things to Israel.”
(Psalm 65:11)  You crown the year with Your goodness, And Your paths drip with abundance.
(Psalm 91:9-12) Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, 10 No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; 11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. 12 In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
(Proverbs 3:25-26) Do not be afraid of sudden terror, Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; 26 For the Lord will be your confidence, And will keep your foot from being caught.
(Isaiah 41:10) Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
(Isaiah 42:16) I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, And crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, And not forsake them.
(Isaiah 43:18-19) “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert. 
(Isaiah 45:2) ‘I will go before you and make the crooked places straight…
(Jeremiah 29:11)  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
(Jeremiah 33:3)  ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’
(Habakkuk 1:5) “Look among the nations and watch—Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days Which you would not believe, though it were told you.
(Haggai 2:19) … But from this day I will bless you.’”
(Zechariah 8:15) So again in these days I am determined to do good To Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Do not fear.                                                                
(Ephesians 3:17-20) that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
(Philippians 3:13-14) Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
(Titus 2:13) looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
(2 Timothy 1:7) For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
(2 Peter 3:14) Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.
(Revelation 21:5) Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
(Revelation 22:20-21) He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.