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Rock climbers amaze me. I watch as they scale a seemingly sheer cliff simply by finding small cracks and crevices to grab a toehold in the rock and inch their way to the top and conquest. The enemy is like that. He finds cracks in out armor that he uses to slowly conquer our attitudes and outlook on life. An inch here, a couple inches there and soon he has you. Your alarm doesn’t go off because the kids were playing with the clock again. You can’t burn your toast because you are out of bread. The traffic is horrible. If only your co-workers would do their jobs! Anger creeps in unless you focus on the power of God working through your life. Take heart. Nothing you encounter today is more than God can help you through. 


Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. Proverbs 3:27

help1I have a friend who has been a nurse for over 30 years. It’s always been interesting to sit and talk with him about his work. He’s seen a lot of things few of us would hope to see. He has one of the most compassionate hearts I think I’ve even seen. Soft-spoken, understanding, kind and respectful are all words I would use to describe Ben (not his real name).

Although been would rarely talk about individual patients or their situations, he’d tell about general situations that would tug at his heart. One of these was a life-changer. Ben had always considered himself to be non-judgmental towards other people but one shift taught him a valuable lesson about who he really was.

A patient had been brought up from ER and placed in his ward. Two police officers were stationed outside his room. When he inquired about the situation he found out that the patient assigned to him was the drunk driver in a fatal collision that took the lives of a young mom and two children. It was a sad story indeed, and one that is played out hundreds, if not thousands, of times every day. The drunk driver survived, the innocent did not.

As his shift progressed he knew it was time to go in and check on ‘the patient in #302’ but he kept putting it off. Finally, he could put it off no longer. Begrudgingly, he entered the darkened room to check on his patient. He was surprised to see a small dark form in the recliner beside the bed. As his eyes adjusted to the light he could tell it was a young girl. He asked the officer standing guard about her and found out she was the man’s only daughter. She’d been there since he was admitted and refused to leave for even a minute. Her mother had just died of cancer the week before.

My friend Ben removed himself and found an empty room where he could weep for a few minutes and regain his composure. His ‘hatred’ of the ‘drunk’ changed markedly when he realized the loss this man must have felt and the pain the little girl in the recliner felt. Why had he not checked on him sooner? If he had he could have perhaps offered some comfort to the little girl.

Proverbs 3:27 is one of the hard sayings of the Bible. On the surface it looks easy enough. If you have the means to help, help those who deserve it. Then the question comes. Who deserves it? In our humanness we can answer that question. If we look at others the way God looks at us, none of us deserve any help at all. But when we look at others the way God looks at us through the lens of Jesus’ love, then all of us are on equal footing. The man making a stupid decision to drive drunk is no better or worse than the self-righteous nurse refusing to care for him.

Who do you know that needs your help today? Perhaps just a prayer, a smile or a helping hand is all that is needed to show the love of Jesus. The key to this verse is that ‘when it’s in your power’ to help, help is required not optional.

PRAYER: Father God, every day we are surrounded by people in need of our help in various ways. When we encounter them give us the wisdom and strength to help them to the best of our ability regardless of their circumstance. In Jesus name, Amen.


Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool. Ecclesiastes 7:9

When I was in high school many years ago, I remember a game our school played against one of our rivals. We knew each other well. Perhaps too well as a matter of fact. The opposing team had a player who was one of the best, if not the best, player in our area. He had one flaw though and that flaw evened the playing field considerably.

Even though he had the skills to beat any of us, he also had a temper. The coaches never told us to take advantage of that of course, but we all knew that an occasional push under the basket or a derogatory comment made under our breath would rile him up. If we could get him angry he would likely foul out or his anger would force him to make mistakes.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

Those words reflect nicely the wisdom of Proverbs 7:9. Once we allow others to influence our attitudes it can affect how we function in our workplace, families or any other relationships.  Once that happens, it’s often ‘Game Over’.

The Bible is full of constant reminders and examples of people and situations that can attack our attitude. Once that happens we have a decision to make. Are we going to respond to the situation or react to the situation. Responding has the idea of taking the time to plan and wise and timely action. Reacting is more about quick (and often inappropriate) action.

Responding may require you to take time to think about next steps. The silence when you are pondering next steps may cause others to think you are a fool for not acting quickly. But it’s better to take your time and think things through than to prove to others that you are a fool by acting too quickly!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I have to confess to you that there are times I’ve hurt others, my reputation and most importantly, you, but rash actions. Forgive me for not taking the time to think wisely. Help me, by your Spirit, to show patience, mercy and grace in situations where wisdom is needed. Amen.


“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Sometimes we get the idea that ‘Bible People’ were somehow a different species of animals. Not really human, not really susceptible to the same emotions, struggles and trials we have. They were from a different time with fewer struggles, they had a closer handle on life and faith…and God. Some of us even write them off as good characters from some novel. Not real, even though realistic.

Fact of the matter is, the stories of the Bible are stories of real people with real struggles surprisingly like our own. Sure, they didn’t have internet or electricity. They didn’t have to worry about a global economy. High gas prices wouldn’t be developed for centuries. But don’t let that keep you from the realization that these are real people with real problems.

They still struggled with relationship issues like divorce and dysfunctional families. There were still time issues and disease to contend with. Politics were just as dangerous as they are today, maybe even more so for some. There was worry and racism and gossip and religious intolerance.

So how did they manage? How did people like the Apostle Paul deal with the issues in his life of several near death experiences, enduring the verbal attacks of people who he sought to love and extend the Grace of God too? Where did he turn when tempted to lash out or lust attacked, or disappointment set in? What encouraged him when he was afraid of the future?

Paul tells us that he learned the secret. There were times in his ministry when people around him supported him emotionally, physically and spiritually. During those times he enjoyed the comfort and contentment of having a warm place to sleep and a full stomach.

There were other times when the hunger was unbearable. The only thing that hurt worse were the accusations, the harassment and the lies that were told about him. There were times he felt completely alone and wondered if his work of ministry was worth the pain.

So what was this secret of Paul’s stability? He learned that in times of need or times of plenty it was his reliance on Christ that kept him strong. The human soul was never created to endure life struggles alone. By our very essence we need a helper to keep us strong during the tough times. Sometimes that strength comes from leaning on others, but there are times when the only solace we have is in Christ. He longs to comfort you, embrace you and lift you up.

Regardless of what you are struggling with; or what others have done to you in your past; or what worries you about the future, Jesus Christ came to strengthen your heart to endure. He didn’t come to remove the trials; he came to walk through them with you.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank you for the power you have to support me. During the trying times may I remember that it is you, only you that I need to make my way through life. Amen.


Now take seven bulls and seven male sheep, and go to my servant Job, and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will listen to his prayer. Then I will not punish you for being foolish. You have not said what is right about me, as my servant Job did.” Job 42:8 (NCV)

One of the most powerful things we can do for ourselves is to forgive others.

Forgiveness doesn’t say the other person is deserving of forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t condone their actions. Forgiveness doesn’t mean in any way that the relationship can or will ever be the same.

Forgiveness brings freedom.

Forgiveness allows us to become instruments of grace.

Imagine the pain and agony Job had endured. He had lost his children. Nothing is more devastating to a parent than to lose a child. Job lost ten of them all in one tragic moment. He lost his fortune. While still grieving the loss of his children he was met with financial calamity. While his head was still spinning, his health was taken from him. Then, to add insult to injury he was visited by three friends who continually reminded Job that things like this only happen to sinful people. Job should repent. Job should admit he was nothing but a filthy rag. Job should have faith.

Ironically, that’s all Job did have by this point was his faith. Job didn’t understand why God was allowing all this to happen to him, but he never lost sight of the fact that His God would deliver him. He never lost his trust in this God who’d gone silent.

God humbled Job with a series of questions and Job bowed in worship and admiration of this God who’d been so absent during his struggles. God never explained why he allowed such tragedy, and Job never again asked the question we all ask: “Why?”

Perhaps one of the most stunning parts of the story happens after the dialog between Job and God. God turns to Job’s friends and demands they bring sacrifices for their actions. They had spoken ignorantly of God and sacrifice was required for forgiveness. But not just any sacrifice. The sacrifice had to be administered by Job.

Amazing. The very people who had accused Job wrongfully would now humble themselves before him (and God). Their forgiveness was dependent on Job’s offering up of the sacrifice. Can you imagine how hard it was for the victim and the aggressor to approach the altar together?

That’s the power of forgiveness. We may not be able to physically approach the altar of forgiveness with those who have wronged us, but we can do so in the spiritual sense. To experience the freedom Christ gave us through his death and resurrection we must forgive those who have willfully or ignorantly wronged us. This is impossible to do through human will. This kind of forgiveness can only happen through the power of the Holy Spirit of the Living God. This kind of forgiveness allows us to become instruments of grace.

PRAYER: Father God. I confess to you that there is a need for forgiveness in my life. I harbor hurts, grudges and bitterness. I nurse feelings of judgmentalism. I gossip. Like Job, I need your power to bring my enemy to the altar of your forgiveness so that I can be free. Amen

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