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Desire. We all have it at different levels. It’s desire that drives us to work every day. It’s desire that fuels our relationships. It is desire that drives us to fulfill, or attempt to fulfill our dreams.

Desire in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. It’s an emotion God has created and placed within each of us. Desire can be destroyed by constant criticism. Desire can be wounded by our tendency to focus on failure and our past. Desire can be crippled by outside forces beyond our control or choices in our past that disqualify us.

On the other hand, the psalmist frequently tells of his desire for a closer relationship with his God. The Apostles tell us in the New Testament writings to ‘earnestly desire’ the things of heaven.

Society tells us to desire those things our eyes can see, our hands can touch, our pride can rest in. If you gain all those things, we are told, you will find fulfillment, contentment and happiness.

But those things will never give us the peace and satisfaction we seek because they are temporal. The secret to contentment is a close walk with Jesus Christ Don’t be sucked in by the things of the world, bask in the fulfillment of eternal things: love, grace, mercy, goodness, kindness, gentleness, peace, joy. These things can’t be bought or stolen, and they last for eternity.


We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. Romans 5:3

walk“The first 25 feet are the hardest part of a walk.”

These words came from a friend of mine who had recently reached a milestone he was very proud of. Six months earlier he’d suffered a heart attack that nearly took his life. His doctor told him in no uncertain terms that unless he changed his lifestyle he would have another heart attack and that heart attack would most likely kill him.

The main ingredient in the lifestyle change, according to that doctor, was exercise. He told my friend that he should walk at minimum of 30 minutes a day four to six days a week. A sixty minute walk daily would be best.

My friend’s milestone? In the past six months he’d lost 40 pounds and his last health check-up revealed his blood pressure and other vitals were better than he’d had in years. The key was consistent exercise and discipline.

It wasn’t easy. As his statement reveals. There were many days he didn’t want to walk. There were days he was too tired, the weather wasn’t pleasant or he didn’t have time to walk. But he forced himself to walk because he realized his life literally depended on it. “The first 25 feet were the hardest” because that’s how far it was from his easy chair to the door!

Exercise in the physical sense isn’t pleasant for most of us. Some of us have way too many things going on to ‘waste time on that particular activity.’ However, when we realize its importance and we see our lives as depending on it, it makes it easier to make the first 25 feet.

What’s true in the physical realm is also true in the spiritual realm. There are times in our lives when reading God’s word or joining with God’s people in corporate worship simply seems like too much work or a waste of valuable time.

My friend’s heart sent him a message in a very real and blatant way: Change your ways if you want to be healthy. In the same way, God sometimes allows problems into our lives in order to bring us to a point where we turn our focus towards our spiritual health with him.

Life will deal us cruel blows. There will be problems. The Bible talks repeatedly about the fact that we will encounter ‘trials and tribulation’ in life. Those struggles aren’t as important as how we react to them. We have a choice when problems come into our lives. We can either use those struggles to reject God (and thus live in frustration, guilt and anger) or we can use those struggles to learn to lean more completely on God’s power through faith in Christ and the empowerment of his Holy Spirit.

As one write said, character is formed by the following equation: Trials + Endurance = Character. Trials, in a sense are God’s part. Endurance talks of our response to the trials. Character is built when we learn to lean more fully on God as a result of the trials we encounter.

Begin your path to spiritual health by taking those first 25 feet. Get an easy translation of the Bible and begin to read it. Seek out a house of worship where the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ is preached. Don’t take your spiritual health for granted. It takes work that will pay off eternally!

PRAYER: Father God, I thank you for the grace I’ve received through your son. I confess that too often I don’t take my walk with you seriously. Help me to take the struggles the come my way as opportunities to draw more fully on your power. In Jesus name, Amen.


“Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

In Old Testament times Shepherds would often poor oil over the heads of the sheep in their flock. Insects and lice would often burrow deep into the wool of the sheep and, if they burrowed into the ears of the sheep they could kill them. The slippery oil made it impossible for the insects to get near the ears and protected the sheep from harm.

Not only did the oil protect, it also soothed the insect bites that the sheep endured. As a result, anointing became a symbol of blessing, protection and empowerment. This meaning was also passed on into daily life. Whenever one was anointed it brought with it the idea of healing or of empowerment. Oil also carries the meaning of being chosen.

Each of the kings of ancient Israel was anointed to show God’s special favor and choosing. Jesus was said to have been anointed by His Heavenly Father with the Holy Spirit as a sign that he was God’s chosen, the Messiah, the Savior of the world.

Oil, of course, offers no special power of its own. It is symbolic of the source of all power, the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Master designer of the universe. Paul writes, in 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 that, “He who establishes us with you in Christ has anointed us!

The fact that we are anointed by God should encourage each of us. Not only do we have the promise of strength in adversity because we are established by God. We are protected and healed because we are his chosen ones!

Established and anointed. Strengthened and protected. Chosen and healed. Anointed for eternity.

King David was anointed by Samuel as King long before he ascended the throne of Israel. During that waiting period he was threatened, misunderstood, accused falsely and rejected. Eventually however, the promise associated with the anointing came true.

What are you hoping for? What struggle seems to great to endure? What is sapping the strength from your body and robbing you of sleep? Remember, during those toughest times of your life, that you are God’s anointed. There is nothing you can do to deserve this anointing. All you have to do is accept it.

PRAYER: Father God. I praise you today for the reminder that I am your anointed one. I am protected and healed by the oil of your love and have hope for my future because you have chosen me. Empower me to live in the strength of that anointing. Amen.


Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. Hebrews 12:3 (NLT)

While doing my student teaching I was also a volunteer for the schools football team. The team had a rich history of dominance in the region and won the state championship the year I helped. One of the drills that I remember the team running through was a drill in which a single blocker was matched up against two or three other teammates. Their assignment was to protect a football on the ground three feet behind him. One man against three. Not good odds.

The amazing thing to me is the number of times ‘David beat Goliath’. There were no trophies involved. No newspaper interviews. No accolades. Why did they work so hard? Pride. Pride in saying I accomplished my task. I reached my goal. I protected the ball.

In a speech to his alma mater Winston Churchill stated, “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.”

You may be up against some seemingly insurmountable obstacle today. Perhaps you are in conflict with someone you love, or you are in financial crisis. Maybe you or a loved one are facing an illness that has little chance of successful treatment. It could be that you have a strong desire to change the world for Jesus, yet you feel all your efforts are futile. You want to do so much for Jesus but all our efforts seem to fall short.

The enemy of our souls wants to keep us in bondage to the feelings of insecurity and failure. He delights in seeing us question our abilities and our chances at success. He whispers words of discouragement and doubt every step of the way.

When the enemy encourages you to give up remember the goal you are striving for. Remember that our hero in the faith; our teacher; our source of power also endured ridicule and resentment. He battled the whispers of doubt, the rejection of family and friends; the misunderstanding of those who claimed allegiance. Yet in all this, he didn’t give up. Why? He remember the goal. He remembered the prize. He remembered who he was doing all this for…and that person was you.

Again, from Churchill, “The pessimist sees the problems in every opportunity. Whereas the optimist sees the opportunity in every problem”

As believers in Jesus Christ we have access to the mightiest power in the universe. As you go forth to face the challenges of the day remember that you have one walking beside you that knows the bitter taste of adversity, but also has experienced ultimate victory – Jesus Christ, our Lord.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, as I face the temptations, the doubts and all the other obstacles of my day, may I remember that you were not only victorious over your battles, you fight beside me in mine. Amen.


He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. Isaiah 61:2 (NLT)

My son was very upset the night he called. He’d received his driver’s license just weeks earlier. He was on his way to a church youth group party, and missed a ‘speed reduced’ sign. As fate would have it, a policeman was sitting in the darkness. My son received his very first speeding ticket that night. We’d established a rule before his very first trip regarding just such a situation.

Both he and his sister were well aware that if either of them were to receive a ticket in the first year of driving their license would be ‘revoked’ by me for one week. The penalty for a second offense in that first year? Two weeks of revocation. A third offense? Three weeks. You see the pattern.

When my son called that night he tearfully explained the situation and told me he was coming home. My response may have surprised him. I told him something like this: “Why come home? You are there with your friends. Enjoy the night. We all make mistakes. It happens all the time. When you get home, I get your license. But for now put that aside and enjoy your time.” He followed my advice…and I followed my rules.

One day Jesus was teaching in the temple. He opened the scroll to the book of Isaiah and read from what we refer to as chapter 61:1-2. Something interesting happened however. Luke records it for us in Luke 4:18-19 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”

Did you notice anything different in what Jesus read before he sat down? He stopped just before he read the part about Gods’ judgment. Jesus only read about encouraging the weary and poor. Why did he stop at that point? Because Jesus didn’t come to judge. He’ll take care of that when he returns a second time. His first visit to planet earth was not to condemn but to bring release.

Does that mean Jesus was light on sin? Certainly not. One only has to read the Gospels to see the number of times Jesus said “Go and sin no more.” Jesus’ primary purpose in coming to earth was to encourage those who were weak.

My son learned a valuable lesson about driving 20 years ago. To the best of my knowledge that was his only speeding ticket. However, he also learned that although there is a time for judgment, there is also a time for encouragement.

We are called to comfort the mourning; to encourage the weary; to strengthen the weak while we still have time. The time of judgment is coming. The Father will execute his judgment through the Son. We are called, as was Jesus, to be encouragers.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you showed us that encouraging the weak isn’t a sign of being soft on sin, but an example of grace. Thank you for your gift. Help me to extend that grace to someone who needs it today. Amen.

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