Monday, December 31, 2012

Living With Purpose – Live It

Living the life of faith includes risk. We don’t like to think of what it might cost us to step up and step out in faith, moving in a direction where we can't see the result, but that is exactly what the life of faith is all about. For some, life is quite the adventure, for others life takes on a more foreboding tone, something to be maneuvered and controlled. Most of us find ourselves somewhere in between wanting the adventure but dreading the risk.

I think on the words of Jesus, when he said “I have told you all this so that you will have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows, but take heart because I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33 NLT).

The writer of Hebrews explained it this way, “What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of the things we cannot yet see” (Hebrews 11:1 NLT). We rarely move in a direction that we can not see the result, mostly fear of the unknown works in our heart and become paralyzed, seeking only the safety and security of the known.

I guess the question we have to ask ourselves is, “Do we believe God is good?” a simple question, but the answer will challenge us. If we truly believe that God is good then living the life of faith should be quite simple. Whatever we are called to do, we do it. Whatever challenge comes our way, we immediately overcome it. Fear would not prevent us from moving out. We would be an unstoppable force on the planet. The reality is in our minds, we know God is good, but we sometimes struggle with it in our heart.

We suffer devastating losses, plans fail, people disappoint us, things happen to us that we did nothing to deserve. We did step out in faith, we believe, we behave according to the standards God has called us to and still we suffer. Shaking our heads in shock, wondering where God is in all this?

Jesus knew the cross lay at the end of his path on earth, but he walked boldly and with purpose each and everyday, including the long walk to Golgotha, where his mission would be complete. Even God’s own son suffered as we do and he lived a perfect and pleasing life to the Father. Never once did he sin in mind or body, yet he was rejected, threatened, lied about and abandoned in the hour of his greatest agony. Jesus knew without doubt that God is good.

Living the life of faith is the only way we can please God. We must trust him no matter our circumstances, whether deserved or not. We must train our hearts to believe that anything that comes our way is filtered through our loving Father and know that everything he does is good and for our good.

“So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs. Mark out a path for your feet. Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong” (Hebrews 12:12-13 NLT)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Celebrate the New Year

Hello everyone

To celebrate the New Year, I am offering  "Am I Really Saved? Answering Questions of Christians" as a free download on Amazon.  December 31 - January 2, 2013 Please follow this link

Don't have a Kindle? Free Kindle software for PC
MAC  Link


I have planned a series for January called "Living with Purpose"  I hope you join me.

Peace and Blessings

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Where's the Joy?

If someone spent too much time in the Old Testament, it is easy to get the impression that God is a merciless taskmaster, one looking to punish for any infraction of the rules. Throughout scripture, there are many references to God's command to destroy, like the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah and others, which makes it hard to understand the compassionate heart of God as revealed to us in the New Testament.

If you know the story of Job, you’ll remember that everything he had was taken in one afternoon, all his livestock, servants, including his sons and daughters. The only survivors of that fateful day were his wife and a couple of servants that broke the news to him. With all this devastation, he maintained his joy. But, later as the trial intensified, when his health was affected and his good friends gave him bad council, his faith wavered. Job had lost sight of the loving-kindness of God when he said:

“Yet your real motive-I know this by your intent-was to watch me, and if I sinned, you would not forgive my iniquity. If I am guilty, too bad for me, And even if I am innocent, I am filled with shame and misery so that I can’t hold my head high. And if I hold my head high, you hunt me down like a lion and display your awesome power against me” (Job 10: 13-16 NLT).

Those who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior or have a limited knowledge of him, believe Job’s statement to be the truth of how God feels about all humanity. I think that is why so many stay away from the Lord, believing he is just waiting for them to stumble under some heavy ritualistic demands. I love this statement of Jesus, exposing the lie that God is waiting for us to fail.

“Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11: 28-30 NLT)

This reminds me of a loving Father calling to his children. It's like a breath of hope for those seeking safety, security and peace that the Lord offers and another proclamation of God’s original plan and design.

We were not designed to carry the heavy burden of sin on our shoulders. Our purpose was to be in relationship with God and he would supply all our needs. If we let him, he will carry all our fears, correct all our misunderstandings about him, and in turn give us rest. At the end of Job’s story, the Lord restored twice as much than what Job had before.

True joy comes from a right relationship with our Heavenly Father through our Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus explained it this way, “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey me, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father and remain in his love. I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” (John 15:9-11).

Where is your joy? Are you remaining in the love of Jesus? Can you sing with David, “May all who search for you, be filled with joy and gladness. May those who love your salvation, repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!” (Psalms 40: 16 NLT)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude

We say we are thankful with our mouths, but are we truly thankful in our hearts? It is the heart of a person that God sees. He knows the intention and motivations of everyone. (Proverbs 24:12) We cannot fool God by our words.

We have seen the Lord's goodness and received His salvation through Jesus Christ. If for only that one act of love, we should be giving continual praise regardless of our current temporary circumstances. God knows our needs and has supplied if we keep our thoughts on Him. Praise should not be based on our circumstances but on who He is.

Start giving thanks for everything good thing you have in your life, and give to the Lord those things that trouble you. You will see that the more you trust Him with your life, the more reasons He will give you to praise.

“I will praise the Lord at all times; I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord. Let all who are discouraged take heart. Come let us tell of the Lord’s greatness, let us exalt His name together. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys those trust in him!” (Psalms 34:1-3, 8 NLT)

Dear Friends:

Happy Thanksgiving- To celebrate this season of giving, I am offering  a free download my new book, “Footsteps of Jesus – Becoming a Disciple”  exclusively on Amazon. If you don't have a Kindle or another ebook reader, Amazon offers a free reader download for your laptop or desktop computer.

Follow this link to get your free download.

Hurry the free promotion is only available November 22-24, 2012.

Peace and Blessings!!!


Monday, October 15, 2012

Discover Adventure

Welcome to the October Christian Writer's Blog Chain. This month's topic is Discovery. I would like to invite you to follow along with the other gifted writers listed on the right sidebar. As always, I appreciate comments and pray that you are blessed.

It is no secret that these are troubling times, not only in America, but throughout the world. At times it seems like we're spinning out of control, heading for disaster. Lately everywhere I turn families are being tested extremely hard and some fold under the pressure of financial burdens, health crisis, infidelity and social bullying. It seems more prevalent lately than in the recent past and Christians are not immune.

As a Christian, my hope is in the Lord, first and foremost. I know it sounds almost cliche, but I will not candy coat scriptures or what the Lord speaks to my heart. I have discovered many people who say they know the Lord or scripture, but don't apply the Word to their lives. Application of the Word of God is the whole purpose.

I want to share a bit of my adventure. I don't mean that sarcastically, but truly I see life as an adventure. The Bible reminds us that we are sojourners as believers, so I try to take everyday in stride. I look for the possibilities and the blessings of God. I find them daily, not in big Broadway productions, but I find them in the wonder of creation, people who cross my path, the love from family and friends, the people I am blessed to bless. The Lord has a special way of sharing His love with us everyday.

As with any adventure the hero and heroine start on a path the appears simple, then tragedy strikes. Faced with the challenge to either give up and go home or stay the course they continue on being tested in their ability to endure. Somewhere along the way they discover the truth, finding the strength to finish their quest, and everyone lives happily ever after.

I know I paint a rosy picture, that’s my job as a writer, but things have been rough for my family as well. We have felt the awful sting of the current economic problems facing America and the World for that matter. We have moved several times, leaving friends and things behind. We have cut out many luxuries that we once enjoyed and tightened our belts. We have discovered how live happy on little – which is a blessing in itself.

I have discovered in the most difficult decisions we have faced in the last few years, the Word of God has proven true. He promised never to leave us or forsake us as believers in Christ. In the hardest moments He has been there to guide our decisions. Sometimes its a Word spoken to my heart. Sometimes its changes in circumstances. Sometimes its the “peace that surpasses all understanding” to quote the Apostle Paul.

God has moved us forward along the path of this adventure, giving us the strength to continue our quest until we arrive safely home.

Peace and Blessings!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Boundary of Change

As part of the September Christian Writer's Blog chain, it is my pleasure to be a part of this group. Our monthly topic is "Change" Please follow the links at the right sidebar to follow the chain.

Change is the fundamental ingredient of life – we can not live without it, life would not exist without it. From the moment we are conceived to the moment we die, Change comes. Of all the topics I've written about boundary's, Change is boundless – Change is never ending, without limits or exceptions – Change will happen. Every breath creates change, every movement involves change. We can not stop or prevent Change because Change is it's own entity.

I can't remember a moment that did not involve change. From changing my mind about what to wear, what to eat, where to work, where to live or who to marry. If change were not involved, life would be rather dull. With that being said, change comes at some intervals we are not comfortable with or expected.

In a book called “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson, the author deals with four types and reactions to Change. He explains most debilitation to change are from poor role models. Excellent book I highly recommend.

I think most people would agree, that we don't like the unexpected – Sudden loss of a job, the ending of a relationship or change in living situations. We adapt, but sometimes the change is devastating which takes years to recover.

With the negative effects of change, also comes the good things life has to offer. Change brings with it accomplishment, fulfilling a long held dream and discovery of what God created us for. These things wouldn't be possible without Change.

With all the Boundary's God established, one might think that He would put a limit on Change – but there isn't any. I believe God in His perfect wisdom established change as a form of protection. That may sound strange, but without changing our mind or circumstances, we may not ever desire to seek the truth which gives us the strength to carry on through the good times and bad. Truth that gives hope of a future without change in the presence of the Lord.

These are my thoughts anyway – Shalom

Friday, September 21, 2012

Boundary of Protection

Life is all about boundary's and the way we operate in them. When we live within God’s boundary we find peace and fulfillment, when we live out of bounds we find chaos, confusion and pain of every kind.

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Europe. I prepared for the trip by learning a bit of the language and customs so that I would “fit in.” But with all my preparations once I arrived, I quickly realized I was in a foreign land. Trying to live a godly life without trusting Jesus is like being in a foreign country unable to speak the language.

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Don’t be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.” (Psalms 32: 8-9 NLT).

So what is the boundary of protection? Jesus said, “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey me, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father and remain in his love.” (John 15: 5, 9-10 NLT). (Emphasis mine)

If we have trouble, illness or struggles in our life, does it mean that we are out side of the protective boundary. No not at all, we have the peace of God that keeps our mind and heart focused on the Lord. Evil will come against us, but will never triumph. Paul wrote:

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or are in danger or threatened with death? Even the scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day: we are being slaughtered like sheep” No despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”” (Romans 8: 35-37, Psalms 44:22 NLT).

When we purposely cross the protective boundary there is fear, disappointment, anger and strife. We question and blame God for our trouble and trials. When we live within the boundary, we find joy, hope, peace, encouragement and blessing of every kind, knowing if God has lead us to it, and he will lead us through it.

Are you living within the protective boundary's? Do you have peace in your life and peace with others? Or are you pointing the finger of blame because of your bitterness and discontent.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Boundary of Creation

O Lord, our Lord, the majesty of your name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens” (Psalms 8:1 NLT)

I stand in awe of creation. Every single minute detail is perfect in form and function. Everyday begins with an awe-inspiriting sunrise and ends with a magnificent sunset. The tilt of the earth and its path around the sun, predicting the changing seasons. The vastness of space and breathtaking feeling of being so insignificant against the billions of stars in the night sky. Soaring birds in flight, a cool gentle breeze, and a newborn baby’s cry, are the many wonders of God’s creation.

It doesn’t take a genius to realize this orchestrated perfect balance did not occur by chance, but was designed with a specific purpose. We become so caught up in the cares of life, that we fail to see the magnificence of God' handy work all around us.

In all of creation, man is God’s crowning jewel, and is the only being that has special privileges. We are designed to commune with God as his children and friends. We are his masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10).

The scriptures say that when God made the earth and the universe, he said it was good. When he created the animal and plant life on earth, again he said it was very good, but when he created man and saw everything that he had made, he said it was excellent in every way (Genesis 1:31).

In our modern society with all the scientific and technological advancements we have been made, it’s easy to remove God from the equation, but everything is in its place just as God ordered it. All our discoveries should bring glory and praise to God, but our own arrogance takes credit.

Before we go forgetting about the wonders and boundaries of creation, this is what the Lord asked Job when he thought he had all the answers;

Who is this that questions my wisdom with such arrogant words? Brace yourself I have some questions for you. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Do you know how its dimensions were determined and who did the surveying? What supports the foundation and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and the all the angels shouted for joy? Who defined the boundaries of the sea? I said “this far and no farther will you come. Here your proud waves will stop” (Job 38:2-10 NLT).

Let's never forget we are not the founders nor creators of all we possess, but are mere benefactors of a the wonders of God.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Boundary of the Physical

Of all the religions on earth, there is not one whose God became flesh, lived with his creation, died to save their lives and rose to life again. But this is what Christianity is all about.

Our Almighty Eternal God became a man, talk about physical limitations. He surrendered his omnipotence to become a servant, and his omnipresence walk the earth to seek and save the lost, fulfilling ancient prophecies about the one who was to come.

While Jesus walked the earth, he submitted to the same physical boundary's we are bound to identify with our weakness and frailty. The Lord truly knows how it feels to be tired, hungry, pawned, hassled and not given a moments peace. The scriptures note that Jesus often sought refuge alone to pray. (Mark 6:45-46) If Jesus needed that time of refreshment, we do also.

I have known many dedicated loving Christians who refuse to take a break, thinking its a weakness and not a godly attitude to say they are overwhelmed. The Bible calls this “walking in the flesh” seeking our own ways of serving God.

We are mere flesh and blood and our strength is limited. We grow tired, hungry, and age. But with Christ in us, we can accomplish more than our physical limitations. Jesus is the one doing the work through our bodies as we yield our life to him.

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33 KJV). Everything we need is already ours in Christ. The Lord knows the balance of a fulfilling life is dependent on our relationship with him.

Serving God is our highest privilege, the joy of our life, not a painful pilgrimage.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Boundary of Arrogance

The Holy Bible is full of stories of arrogance and self reliance, but one of the most arrogant rulers, I believe was King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Like most ancient rulers, they believed that the sun and moon were at their command, but there is only One Lord, God and King of the Universe. Fortunately these earthly rulers learned a painful lesson of who really is in charge.

Similar to Pharaoh Ramses, the Lord had used a powerful earthly kingdom to prove His authority. Through Pharaoh, the Lord revealed His power to keep His word and through King Nebuchadnezzar He revealed His power to discipline those He loves. Through scripture the Almighty God reminds us that He will use many sources of correction to wake us up, like He did the Israelites, who had slipped away from believing the Lord.

As the story of King Nebuchadnezzar unfolds, he is allowed to besiege Jerusalem and take the Israelites away as captives. (Daniel 1:1-2). While the Israelites were captive, the King knew they were a special people and wanted the finest in his palace.

The king had already witness the power of God to protect those who honored him, when he protected Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the fiery furnace (Daniel 3: 26-30), but his praise of the Eternal God was short lived because of arrogance.Soon the king was back to self-worship.

King Nebuchadnezzar became quite enamored by a young Israelite named Daniel who could interpret dreams (Daniel 3:46-49). The Lord wanted the King to know, who was the real authority on earth once and for all, and so he sent the king a dream. Daniel again was given the ability to interpret this terrible dream and had the unpleasant job of informing the king what God was going to do with his arrogance.

In the book of Daniel, the prophet described the dream to the King, ‘This is what the dream means, Your Majesty, and what the Most High has declared will happen to you. You will be driven from human society, and you will live in the fields with the wild animals. You will eat grass like a cow and be drenched by dew from heaven. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses” (Daniel 4:24-26 NLT).

King Nebuchadnezzar was humbled when the dream came true. The king learned that the Lord keeps his word and supplies all needs according to his grace.

For God can use sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek salvation. We will never regret that kind of sorrow. But sorrow without repentance is the kind that results in death” (2 Corinthians 7:10 NLT)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Boundaries of Time

Welcome friends,

This post is part of the Christian Writers Blog Chain for August and the topic is Memory. I incorporated this topic with a series on Boundaries. I hope you enjoy my take and please visit the rest of the gang listed on the right side bar. Peace and Blessings!

There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). We live in the confines of time, we remember our past, but we cannot see the future the way God does. Time is part of God’s creation whose purpose defines the physical realm.

Outside of time, God is everywhere at any moment without restraint in another dimension known as the spiritual realm. God sees everything as if it has already occurred. Having this understanding, we can know that the future prophecy's given to us in the Holy Bible are reliable because only God controls time.

The scripture frequently uses the phrase, “at the appointed time,” meaning  things occur on time and on schedule according to God’s plan. When the disciples questioned Jesus about the time of His return, He replied, “The Father sets those dates” (Acts 1:7). Even the time and place of our birth has a significant purpose. We may never know how intricately our lives are intertwine with the rest of creation, but God is multifaceted and glorious beyond our comprehension.

The Lord also brings comfort to us in the confines of time, when he said, “For I know the plans I have for you” declare the Lord. “Plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). We should rejoice in the knowledge He has good plans for us, but with triumph also comes hardship and trials.

We live in a fallen world with evil all around. It's not easy to believe for goodness and prosperity when all we see is trouble. People who we trust betray us, lives are ended much too soon and evil seems to get the upper hand. Thankfully we have the future promise of a new heaven and new earth.

When our memory is overwhelmed by loss and lack, remember the promise. “Be strong and courageous! Don't be afraid of them! The Lord your God will go ahead of you. He will neither fail you or forsake you” Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT

There is nothing in all creation that does not exist without purpose. Time has its purpose and it will bring glory to God.

Monday, July 23, 2012


As part of Christian Writer's Blog Chain, this month's topic is " Celebrate" I hope you enjoy!

Growing up I always dreaded playing sports. It's not that I didn't like sports or playing games, but those with the best skills were snatched up first, everyone wants to be picked to play on the winning team. I don't know about you, truthfully I never had much confidence in my abilities and as name after name was called, my anxiety grew. No one wanted to be the last called, otherwise known as the “Mercy Pick.”
It should be comforting to know that God chose us first, before the foundations of the earth. It was not based on our performance, but His love for us (John 15:16). Every single hair is counted (Matthew 10:30). Every day is numbered. He knew everything we would do before a single day had passed (Psalms 139:16). Still He chose us to play on His team.
When we think of all those great hero’s of faith that have gone before, we may not feel as if our life could possibly mean as much, but in deed it does. We have the benefit of hindsight as historians recant the tale of their lives within a few pages, but they lived and breathed as we.
Those hero's experienced the same uncertainty, hardship, betrayal, trials and victories that we do in our daily lives, yet we consider the steps they took as brilliant or somehow knowing they would succeed, yet they had no more insight than we, they just walked by faith trusting the Lord for the outcome.
The Lord has called each of us to be on His team, not based on our abilities but on our faith in Him. “For when we are weak” surrounded by flesh, “then we are strong”, built in faith (2 Corinthians 12: 8-10).
The Lord takes a great amount of pleasure in blessing us. So let us celebrate being surrounded in God's love and strengthened by the courage that we have been picked first!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Boundaries of Self

The most limiting boundary that challenges our growth is the self-imposed one. When we speak these words, “Never” and “Can’t” we've informed our subconscious mind to avoid seeking these things. Effectively saying they are harmful to our well-being.

Our subconscious is a type of guidance system which seeks to attain those things we say are good for us or things we want. The subconscious never sleeps, but works silently on our behalf to help us reach our goal. It does not differentiate between good or evil, but thought patterns can be changed. To test this theory, think about all the things you used to like or do, but changed your mind. What event happened to cause this change? Was it a positive or negative experience?

How wonderfully we are made! The subconscious is truly our friend as we fill our minds with the Word of God, it transforms our sinful thoughts into godly goals. Paul wrote, “Those who are dominated by their sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit” (Romans 8:5 NLT)

When we say “No” to God, we say “Yes” to something else, usually self-serving pleasure. If we truly understand the great gift we have been given through Christ, we should always say “Yes Lord, speak your servant is listening”

Sometimes we get wrong ideas in our minds about what God is like and what we should be doing. Without careful guidance from God’s Word we sometimes can be fed a bunch of religious doctrines that are focused more on our behavior and actions rather than loving Christ and loving people. If we are wise, we will feed only on the Word of God.

Crave pure spiritual milk so that you can grow into the fullness of your salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, just as a baby cries out for milk” (1 Peter 2:2NLT).

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Boundaries of Fear

It almost sounds impossible to believe that Fear has a boundary, especially to those who have been overwhelmed by the effects, but the good news is Fear can be extinguished once given the right information.

Fear is a natural reaction to the unknown. The first example of fear is given in Genesis after the fall of man, “Toward evening, they heard the Lord walking about the garden, so they hid themselves among the trees. The Lord called to Adam, “Where are you?” He replied, I heard you, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”” (Genesis 3:8-10NLT). The first reaction of fear is to hide or escape.

Fear, if used properly can save your life, removing you from a dangerous situation, but fear used improperly can rob you of your life. The sin that entered into all of creation brought with it the wrong kind of fear, the kind that breeds shame and confusion. This fear separates us from God, from his healing power to restore and renew our purpose.

John wrote, “Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid it is for fear of judgment, and this shows that his love has not been perfected in us.” (1 John 4:18).

John spoke of the godly love we should possess in our lives and reflect to others, but fear will disarm that love. When we live in fear, we become immobile and cannot grow and develop godly character.

The Fear of Failure plagues many of us as well as the Fear of Disappointing God. Both are detrimental to your emotional well-being and your spiritual life. There is only one remedy for those fears, are you ready? If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have pleased God! It may sound odd but that is the only thing God the Father asks of you.

If that is true, you might ask, then why are so many suffering from this fear? The suffering continues because they have not understood nor believed this foundational truth. You cannot please God outside of Jesus Christ and to please God you must believe what he has said to be true; otherwise, you are calling him a liar.

Next, let us disarm the Fear of Failure. Have placed your faith in Jesus’ finished work at the cross? Then you cannot fail! The life and blood that Jesus paid on the cross is the complete atonement for the failures of men. Once you trust in his completed work, you reap the benefits! “Therefore there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Condemnation means: to declare unfit for use, useful for nothing, to be judged, cast off and the like. In Christ Jesus you cannot fail, his blood secures you.

The true meaning of failure is never attempting anything! Those who try and do not accomplish what they set out to achieve have not failed, they simply are continuing to grow. Are you continuing to grow? It takes time to learn how to overcome these fears and many others. No one is immune and we must constantly trust Jesus to lead us in his victory march. Let him show you what he wants from you. Grow in his love and live the life he gave you in complete victory over fear.

Further encouragement read Psalms 34 aloud, may the words encourage your heart and strengthen your faith!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Know the Word – Breaking Ground

This post is part of the Christian Writer's blog chain. This month's topic “pursue”. Please visit my fellow bloggers listed to the right.

This is the third try at a topic I thought would be rather simple to write about – Pursue- right? Not the case. I began with a quick run down on the typical themes, but something didn't feel right, something missing – something nagging me, calling me, pursuing me. For a writer getting the words right is a big deal, after all that is what we do.

Finally it hit me – the Proverbs of Solomon – the Book of Wisdom. How wise was Solomon, how true His council “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Only fools despise wisdom and discipline” (Proverbs 1:7). Some of my life verses are found in the book of Proverbs – pure nuggets of gold!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His ways in all you do and He will direct your paths. Don't be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead fear the Lord and turn you back on evil” Proverbs 3:5-8

It was many years ago, during a study of Proverbs that I learned the basics of Godly wisdom and discovered how much I didn't know. It was the Lord breaking up hard ground that had been compacted by many years of living in the world, so many erroneous ideas about the Lord and what He expected of me. I discovered that to FEAR the Lord is to honor Him – to Pursue a relationship with Him.

The prophet Hosea wrote, “Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him! Then he will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early Spring” Hosea 6:3

In pursuit of knowing the Lord I've gained wisdom and understanding while He continues to prepare the soil of my heart to receive more and more from Him. “Choose my instruction rather than silver and knowledge over pure gold” Proverbs 8:10

But, it's not a one way street, the Lord is in constant pursuit of us. “Trouble chases sinners, while blessings chase the righteous!” Proverbs 13:21

We have been chosen to receive God's mercy and blessing as we put our faith in His Word.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Know the Word: Setting the Record Straight

Investigation. Perspiration. Dedication is required to rightly discern what God has spoken to us. The Holy Word of God is a treasure of wisdom for living and thriving in this ungodly world. When we open up His Word we are immediately confronted with eternal truth – the knowledge of the Holy One. But how did this come into being?

For thousands of years each generation told the creation story, the fall, the flood, the call of Abraham and the creation of the nation of Israel – God's chosen people. According to the historical record of the Bible, there was no one writing the Creation account or the Flood account or even the Covenant account until approximately 2800 years later when the Lord chose the time and appointed the messenger – Moses.

Moses sat in the presence of God as He told him what to write as the true and accurate record of God's work with the people of the world. We have the benefit of complete council of God, because God wanted to set the record straight.

Genesis is the account of how all things came into being, the first people and the tragedy of disobeying God. The first recorded murder and the miseries that accompanied that decision. The genealogy of those who knew God and their relationship with Him prior to the flood. The evolution of the sin nature to incredible levels in less than two thousand years after the garden, God could not find anyone, except Noah, who listened to His voice. After the destruction of the flood, (by the way, all cultures have a flood story) it was a time of renewal. Within a few generations, evil was back to pre-flood levels.

As tragic as it all seems, God in His wisdom had plans, but He just needed someone to get on board with Him. After the flood, people were blessed by God to be fruitful and multiply – God want's Kids! More importantly, He wants kids that will listen to His voice.

In a seemly insignificant incident where Noah in a moment of indiscretion was found naked by his son Ham who disrespected his father by snickering, resulted in a curse. Ham's descendents did not receive the blessing that Shem and Japheth received. Talk about 'Watch your attitude!”

The Bible continues to list the tribes of each of Noah's sons and through Shem came Abraham, the one God chose to reveal His plans. God established a covenant (contract) with Abraham, that He would care and establish his descendents in their own land.

Digging into the Word of God, I've discovered that prior to establishment of the Nation of Israel, there was no such thing as “religion”, it was relationship with God. There were those who listened to God and those who did not. According to Romans 1:19, people have always had an intuitive knowledge of God, but refused to worship or honor Him in any way – so God in His mercy, let them believe their own foolish ideas. It wasn't until the establishment of the written Law that God began to hold all people accountable.

The beauty and perfection that God established through the nation of Israel is unsurpassed. A family line that God chose to reveal himself through to bless all people. The family line that God Himself would enter into His creation. The law gave them the standard of living that pleased God, so that He could bless them in every way. God's blessing and promises reveal His love for all people and through this one nation, He wanted to draw all people to Himself.

The story revealed in the Old Testament is one of triumph and tragedy that continues to this day. Instead of accepting God's gracious favor and becoming a blessing to all generations, their hearts were hard towards Him. God constantly struggled with the decedents of Jacob/Israel, but they are His beloved people. God keeps His promises as you can see that God brought Israel back to their homeland, after centuries of being put in “time out.”

What a love story! What an awesome Father of us all! How patient and long-suffering He has been with everyone. Through Jesus God established the final covenant so that He could give us, all those who would believe Him and accept His gracious love - More!

We are so important to the Father, that He will not leave one stone unturned. He gave us the evidence of His power through creation, and He gave us His eternal Word in a tangible form and in these last days He has poured out His Spirit through His Son to further move in the hearts of those seeking to know God.

Next in this series: Know the Word – Breaking Ground

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Discipleship Series – Start Walking

 As a special announcement commemorating this series, beginning today May 25th- 2 copies of this book is listed for Giveaway on Goodreads – join the fun and try to win a copy. Link at bottom of this page.

So far in this Discipleship series I've share some very fundamental information about a disciple/student; Definition of disciple, Choosing leadership, Deciding on a field of study; Seeking education, Following the leader, Listening to instructions to begin laying the groundwork for becoming a successful disciple/student.

This last article in this series will focus on using what you have learned. I hope you have enjoyed this series on discipleship and gained a new prospective on the life of a disciple.

There is little doubt that our generation is the most godly educated generation in the last several centuries. We not only have our weekly fellowships, Bible study groups, Devotional and prayer meetings, but we have more access to more information via the internet, radio and television programs. What a great time for the body of Christ!

The Kingdom of God has continued to advance, yet with all this access and teaching why does there seem to be less and less impact in the world? There are varying reasons why I believe this to be true, but what I see most in the body of Christ is lack of wisdom and courage. Courage is knowing who you are in Christ and Wisdom is the use of knowledge.

“Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in understanding” Proverbs 9:10

Excerpt from Footsteps of Jesus – Becoming a Disciple

Chapter 20 – Forsake Former Ways of Life

You never know when you set out on a journey where the road will lead. What things you may encounter, triumphs and tragedies; friends and foes; or how it will all play out. I think we step out on the road hoping for the best, but are willing to accept the worst. That is not the life that Jesus died to give us.
After the resurrection and the birth of the church. Peter took his boldness to a Holy level, standing up to proclaim Christ to the crowds who gathered outside his house. Peter held a leadership position in the new church in Jerusalem, and continued boldly serving Christ with the rest of his life; sharing the Good News with everyone, even those who would eventually take his life.
Peter wrote letters to the growing family declaring what he had seen and knew to be the truth of the One who he had lived with, saw die and raised to life again. He was not ashamed of the ignorance of his former behavior, but walked in the forgiveness that Jesus gave him. Peter, as well as the other apostles, encouraged others to realize their tremendous potential in Christ.
There was a time in the middle of my studies when I forgot why I was there. I had focused so much attention on studying, preparing for exams, writing papers and doing research that I didn't see any result of the hard work and effort I had put forth.
Sometimes it seemed all too much, I wanted to quit, throw my hands in the air and go play with my friends, but something inside me would not let me quit. Something kept giving me strength to move forward. I had to keep my eye on the goal, being closer to graduation than I was when I first began.
What I began to discover along my journey to becoming a disciple of Christ. It was not me who is living, but Jesus living in me (1 John 4:15, Romans 8:9).
No longer was my life about my goals and aspirations. Jesus showed me I had a purpose and my life has meaning. I had forsaken my former way of life and set my sights on a much higher calling, a Holy calling.
These are the very things the first Christians experienced during the early days of the church. Those who had placed their trust in Christ alone experienced real life, joy, peace and a reason they were here on earth. They walked away from their former way of life and grew in the new life in Christ.
To be Christ’s disciples we all must make that choice. Paul wrote, “If you were a thief, stop stealing. Set your hand to honest work” (Ephesians 4:28)
This is the attitude that a disciple must have, forsake your former way of thinking about life and focus on the kingdom. Being totally committed to Christ will cost something, but the benefits outweigh the investment.
This Holy calling is more than we can imagine. Sometimes we want the short route to the promises of God, but He is with us continually leading us on, showing us the way, encouraging our trust and building our endurance for His purposes. That’s how we are called to live. There is not one person alive who can claim perfect allegiance or obedience to Christ.
Through His forgiveness and our continued purpose in renewing of our minds, by reading and meditating on His Word, we can break free of that old life and walk in freedom, serving God and growing in His love.
# # #
In my book I contrasted the joint responsibility between the teacher and student. Once the teacher has completed their work of instruction, the student must use the instruction in order for it to be of benefit. If the student just sits on the knowledge and never puts it into action, the whole course was not only a waste of the teacher's time, but also the student's.

We've gathered enough knowledge about God and His ways, now it's time to use it. Step out in faith, believe what the Lord has instructed you to do – It's time! Pray for courage if you need it, but trust the instructions you have received. The truth is you have all the courage you'll ever need once you believe.

“My child never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart for they will give you a long and satisfying life” Proverbs 3:1

This book is available in paperback or ebook through Amazon

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Discipleship Series – Passing and Failing Tests

Today's post is part of May's Christian Writer's Blog Chain, the topic “Nurture” I hope you will follow the links on the right side bar to the other bloggers on our chain. Be blessed.

Life is full of choices. Every action we take is based on a decision we have made through the information and experience we have stored in our memory. We are trapped in this scenario until something changes, either positive or negative to the experience modification portion of our memory. Each experience changes our process in making a choice.

This experience modification begins at birth and continues throughout our entire lives. Infants cry because they want something. They have learned that crying brings results either, food, attention or removal of an uncomfortable situation. As infants, we've learned how to get what we want, but as we grow in experience, we've also learned how to modify the results aka the sin nature.

During the course of our lives, we've learned what we can do and what we can't. What things are socially acceptable and the things that are not. We develop a process of living, either choosing a moral standard or going against moral convention. All these choices are a result of our memories and how we use them. There is one important factor that comes into play, the God factor.

Although we make choices based on our experiences, God is always present. He has spoken into each of our lives at many important junctures. He was the one that placed another option in our path. He was the one who opened doors and gave us talents, we have to choose to follow or not. God loves us so completely, He never leaves us without an option. He wants our recognition and praise, but most of all, He wants us to nurture our relationship with Him.

Jesus nurtured His disciples with love, patience, acceptance and revealing to them the invisible Father. His disciples received what He gave, yet there was reciprocation, they needed choose to accept the experience modification by choosing to use the things He had taught them.

The following is an excerpt from Footsteps of Jesus – Becoming a Disciple

Chapter 19 – Forsake Former Goals

Meeting Jesus changed everything. In His presence, my broken moral compass was exposed. I had a perverted sense of right and wrong. With the help of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word, my compass was corrected and I was set on a new path.
The conflict came not with my spirit but with my flesh. The old self and emotions still wanted control. My mind had not been renewed to the truth, which directed many of my actions of what I thought were best for me. This sinful thinking drove my moral compass off it's designed course, which made it difficult to trust anyone.
There were many years of broken relationships in my wake. Some of my doing and some that were done to me. When Jesus wanted my complete trust, my old mind said, “Well that was OK for salvation, but life choices, those were still mine— or so I thought.
When I had enrolled in college, I wasn’t completely on-board with some of the courses they told me I needed. One of the administrators explained that some life experiences or previous coursework could be transferred in toward graduation. I pursued all the credits I could get with the hopes of shortening the length of training.
Most of the previous experiences or coursework I submitted were rejected which upset me. Using the persuasive skills I had learned in the world, I tried my case.
Isn’t that the way we sometimes approach the Lord, explaining our service resume and things we’ve accomplished? We go about presenting our case to be spared from a difficult time or intensive training that may be painful. We begin praying (begging) unceasingly when we are presented with a challenge to our comfort or status.
# # #
The Lord never leaves us where we are, but always shows a better way. We must prepare to receive, accept what His Word says and nurture the seeds of His love and truth for the change modification to occur in our hearts. Nurturing a relationship includes trust and action.

Final post in the Discipleship Series – Start Walking

This book is available through Amazon in Paperback or eBook

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Discipleship Series: Choices of the Disciple

I hope you are enjoying this series, but more importantly understanding more about discipleship. In the last article, I pointed out the importance of taking notes and listening to the instructor. We become overwhelmed with too much information, that it is difficult to sort everything out. As we allow the Word of God to transform our thoughts we grow. Through His instruction we discover more hope and more strength to go through the difficult periods that will come.

I like to keep outlines from sermons in my Bible for months or even longer, especially if something really spoke to me, but taking notes is only the beginning. As a perpetual student, I find myself continually taking notes. Perhaps it's because of my perfectionist tendencies or because it's the way I learn. I've got a note pad or a scrap of paper near at all times to jot things down. If I don't review my notes of often, I will lose what inspired me in the first place. Unfortunately, many times, I just don't follow through.

John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit before birth. He was chosen for a spectacular mission- to announce the King of Glory was coming to his people. Living in the wilderness without creature comforts, he continued to listen to the Master for instructions. Not many people would agree, his ministry was spectacular, but Jesus said of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John” (Luke 7:28) What an endorsement!

While in prison, John sent a few of his disciples to ask Jesus the most important question of his ministry. “Are you the one, or do we look for someone else?” He needed assurance that he had called it right. Keep in mind that John was the one who said “Look there is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John1:29). By that statement, John literally handed his ministry over to Jesus, which fulfilled his mission.

Although, John had a very successful ministry, when things weren’t going as he thought, he was troubled with confusion. Once John received conformation that Jesus was the One, he was content with his situation. He knew that Jesus must increase in influence, while he decreased. (John 3:29-30)

The following is an excerpt from “Footsteps of Jesus – Becoming a Disciple”

Chapter 6 Prepares for Tests

Jesus constantly engaged His disciples to use what they were learning. Scripture records He was perplexed by the disciple’s lack of response when they faced certain obstacles, such as feeding a huge group of people.
Instead of using what they had already saw Jesus doing, their response to the problem was to send the people away, but this was their mid-term exam.
Sending the crowd away was not the answer that Jesus was expecting. He told the disciples to feed the crowd. I am sure they stood there dumbfounded by His direction because they pondered the resources they physically had.
The conclusion was it was impossible They exclaimed,“it would take a small fortune to feed all these people”, but that wasn’t the issue. Jesus continued to refocus their attention on the resources they did have, who is the source.
I have found this same scenario in my life. The Lord will lead me to remember what resources I do have in order to do what He asks. He is not going to ask me to do something I am unequipped to do.
The Gospels didn’t mention their lack of faith in this instance, but Jesus did on other occasions. What do you think would have happened if they had recalled everything that they had experience with Jesus up to this point?
Where was outspoken Peter saying, “I’ve got it Lord?” I don't know, but perhaps fear, unbelief or intimidation of Jesus, held them back.
I believe if they had stepped out in faith and believed they could feed them, it would have been an amazing miracle and Jesus would have been very pleased.
Many more great miracles may have happened, but instead Jesus had to continually show them the power of God which was with them.
# # #
Those are are very areas we all struggle with when things appear impossible. Fear comes when we think we're alone and thinking it's up to us to make great strides for the Kingdom. That is way too much pressure. We tend to focus on our limited ability and not the unlimited resources we have in Christ. We must review our notes and believe nothing is too hard for God.

Next in this Discipleship series Passing and Failing Tests

This book is available through Amazon in Paperback and eBook

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day Blessing

 "She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed, her husband also, and he praises her" (Proverbs 31:27-28 NIV) 

 Mothers are a special gift from God. They're there when we take our first breath, first step, and first words. They seem to know exactly what to do in all emergencies, like boo boo's, ouwies, and tummy aches. They instinctively know what their children need at all times. 

  Mother's give wise advice, even if we don't agree and always long for the best for their children. Mother's are our biggest cheerleaders! They are the first one to cheer our victories and mourn our defeats. They worry, pray and can't sleep until everyone is home, safe. Mother's never stop caring for their children, even long after they have left the nest. 

 I find it interesting that God patterned a women's heart after His own - because like a mother, His faithful love endures forever! We have been blessed with an awesome treasure - the heart of a mother!

Pass this blessing on to the Mother's in your life!


Monday, May 7, 2012

Discipleship Series – A Disciple Listens to Instructions

In this series I've mentioned the importance of choosing eduction and following godly leaders, taking good notes, but the final results lay solely in the hands of the student. Learning, growing and changing begins with listening and following instructions.

Trust is essential to growth, especially our spiritual growth. If we don't trust our instructor, the Holy Spirit, and don't follow his instructions, we begin to follow what we see is the right way, choosing our own understanding. We become wise in our own eyes.(Proverbs 26:5), but by following the instructions and obtaining successful results, the student is encouraged to continue.

This is an excerpt from “Footsteps of Jesus-Becoming a Disciple”

Chapter 4 Committed to Learn

In the untrained mind is where we live most of our daily lives. It is the place where decisions are made and actions are taken. It's the place where Satan can deceive us.
For us to have victory in this area, we need to learn what the Master wants us to know about His ways. He has given us a reliable source—His Word.
Although absorbing the Word of God is a massive undertaking and many principals are difficult for us to understand, He patiently teaches us at a level we can comprehend. Through careful study you'll discover on going themes in His Word, some of which I've highlighted in these chapters.
One of the commands of God was for the people to constantly keep His Word before them. They were to think about His laws upon rising and lying down. Talk about Him with children and foreigners among them. (Deuteronomy 11:19-21). His ways were to be always on their lips.
Whatever is important to us, we will keep it in focus. This is the Lord’s way of training – through meditation [thinking about] and by believing His instructions.
Recognizing He is the source of all that we have. His Word is the power that provides and protects us. If we do not value Him or focus on Him, our hearts are bound to wander in dangerous areas of unbelief, just like the Israelites.
# # #
Growth is marked by changes in attitude. The willingness to let go of non-beneficial ways of living, in pursuit of our individual mission – our Holy calling. With growth also come more challenges. We have been equipped with all we need for success, we just have to follow the instructions without doubt.

Next in the Discipleship series: Choices of the Disciple

This book is available at Amazon in paperback or ebook

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Discipleship Series – Taking Notes

So far in this Discipleship series I've share some very fundamental information about a disciple/student; Definition of a disciple; Choosing leadership; Deciding on a field of study and Seeking education. Laying the groundwork for becoming a successful student. In the next few articles I will focus on the student's actions.

At church, I love it when an outline is included for the teaching. Some people just like to listen to the sermon, following along in their Bibles. I hang on every word, not wanting to miss a single thing, I jot down every point that is made. The Lord will speak to our hearts through the teaching and scriptures. 

I just wonder of all those who just sit in the pews, listening to the message, actually retain the information or even remember what it was about, minutes after the last song?

I've discover many things about our human nature, especially when it comes to scriptures. When we hear a lesson taught from the Bible, sometimes we will categorize those things as happening to someone else and not personalize the events.

The story of humanity is an unending story of failure and success. As we follow the guidelines set out in scripture we find success. If we don't take it to heart, we find ourselves going through the same trials and obstacles that the people in ancient times encountered.

The following is an excerpt from my new book “Footsteps of Jesus – Becoming a Disciple

Chapter 3 – Developing Discipline

A good disciple is focused on what the master/instructor says is important. His thoughts become their thoughts. His actions become their actions. Their hearts begin to beat as one. Jesus said “The Father and I are one” (John 14:11), meaning their hearts beat as one heart. Their thoughts of us were exactly the same and the mission for our salvation was their highest priority.
It is hard establishing new habits, but it is important to our spiritual health (Ephesians 4:22-23, Romans 12:1-2). As we focus on the things that are important to our Master, our heart begins to beat the same as His. We take on His attitude and actions, making His priority our priority. We develop discipline in our thoughts and actions, which leads to more freedom and opportunities.
I’ve struggled with being patient. I’ve thought “Well I have been a Christian for so and so years, why am I still struggling?” Other times I’ve thought “OK, I’ve read the Bible, I know what is says, what more is there to learn?”
The hardest part of discipleship is implementing the Word of God in my life. I try to be a good, loving and faithful Christian, but it is tougher than I thought, because it seems life is always coming at me. How soon I forget things and need to be re-taught.
# # #
I find it interesting that the Lord told his people to write down what he said. To meditate, savor and learn from his instructions. So there is something to this note taking after all.

Next in the Discipleship series: A Disciple Listens to Instructions 

This book is available at Amazon in paperback and ebook