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“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James‬ ‭1:12‬‬

I hung up the phone and hung my head. Had I done enough? Was there something more I could have said…or said now to help? Psychologists have coined the term “Messiah Complex” to refer to individuals who have a firm belief that they are responsible for the physical, emotional or spiritual well-being of others. At this point I was in full blown “Messiah Mode!”

The phone call was from a friend who had been struggling for years with relationship issues, self-doubt and fear. On the other hand she was compassionate, understand had, on the surface anyway, a deep love for Jesus. The last few months had been tough. Her family life was hard, her job ended, and God seemed unwilling or unable to help. Her phone call was short but not sweet. She’d had it with God and with living the illusion that he existed and cared about her. She asked me to leave her alone and not bother to pray for her because prayer is worthless.

I have to admit, I don’t blame her. There have been so many times in my life when I’ve struggled or seen the struggles of others and asked the “Why?” question.

There aren’t easy answers. He’s wonderful and confusing all at once. Yet, for me anyway, one thing I’ve noticed is that God’s greatest blessings often seem to come during, or on either side of life’s greatest trials. Had I not known the depths of despair, I never would have experienced the strength of his peace.

I’ll respect my friends desire for distance, but I’ll continue to pray that she sees the God I see. I don’t understand him, but I’m nothing without him. As Peter said when many were leaving Jesus because he disappointed them, “Where else can we go?”


I’ve often looked at this verse from 2 Corinthians and focused on the beautiful promise of the first half of the verse. NEW creations! Not refurbished. Not remodeled. Not modified. NEW! That’s grace! My loving Heavenly Father took this worthless pile of flesh and made something new. And, might I add, God don’t make no junk!

Then one day, rather somberly, I spent some time on the rest of the story.

“The old life is gone…”

Is it? The question haunted me. Yes, I’m forgiven. The debt of my sin is eternally washed away. On the inside I’m new, but this battle raging inside me continues on. Some days I’m strong and watch the enemy retreat. Some days he wins the battle.

Jesus’ invitation to follow him is no party. Instead of balloons there is hardship; instead of cake, temptation; the ice cream is replaced by worry. That’s when I’m also reminded I was never called to walk this road alone. My strength was never a factor, only my reliance on him.

Paul had a similar struggle he tells about in Romans. He loses with the reminder that only the grace of Jesus will rescue me from the battle. Some days I lose the battle. Some days I win. But in the end the war is won because of the empty tomb!

Father help me to live worthy of this new body. Give me a Holy Spirit power to leave the old behind and dwell in the new!


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.


I remember it vividly. I’d had my eye on a certain truck at the local car dealership for some time. I couldn’t afford it, but had all sorts of good ‘ministry’ reasons to buy it. Finally I went in to talk to the dealer. He gave me a deal I chose not to resist. A deal that was right out of my budget range. You don’t get deals like that everyday! I signed the papers and drove it off the lot, completely ignoring the knot in my stomach. God never yells. God’s soft voice is often drowned out by the voice of desire.

Fast forward…i remember watching the repossession guy hooking my truck up to his truck and watching my dream truck being pulled away down the street.

Today is the first day of 2019! Many will be making resolutions to lose weight, eat better, spend more wisely and the list goes on. Goals are good. Plans are good. But the missing ingredient in many of our planning sessions is the ultimate question of ‘Where is God in my plans?

Each week we say the ‘Lords Prayer’ at our church. Each week we say “thy will be done” but in reality, our hearts are saying ‘my will be done.’ When our hearts are in tune with God’s heart our plans will naturally gravitate towards his desires and not our own.

Make 2019 the year that God shows himself mightily to you because you are close to his heart. Draw close to him and he’ll draw close to you.



Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13

incompetentAll of us have people in our lives who annoy us. Most of the time, our annoyance comes from the fact (in our eyes at least) that that person is incompetent in everything they do. One day, years ago now, I was coaching a little league baseball team. I received a call from one of the parents asking for the name and number of my immediate superior. I gladly gave him the information he requested and then asked if he’d mind sharing with me the reason he wanted to talk with my supervisor.

His response when something like this, “I want to talk to him about how incompetent you are as a coach.”

That set me back on my heels a bit! For one thing, the player in question was one of our better players and one that I felt I had a good relationship with. I’d also talked with this dad on occasion and never felt any animosity between us.

My nature, as I’m sure many of ours would be in that situation, would lead me to be very defensive and offended by his remark. Somehow that day, however, I remained calm and in the discussion that followed, was able to diffuse what turned out to be a lack of information and misunderstanding.

Sociologists will tell us that there are two main responses to attack, fight or flight. Jesus offers a third option, forgiveness based on the understanding that we have been forgiven for our faults as well. Jesus forgave us when we were at our worst so that we could be our best for him.

It’s not easy to accept others weaknesses, or as Paul puts it, “Make allowances for the faults of others”. “Making allowances for each other’s faults” involves two actions on our part. One is to realize that we too have been forgiven for many faults. The second is to rely on the Holy Spirit to work through us to forgive and through our antagonist to bring them to a relationship with Jesus.

PRAYER: Father God. I want to take this time to meditate on my faults and thank you for your forgiveness. I ask that your Holy Spirit would give me the power I need to forgive others when their actions are hurtful or offensive to me. Let me show them the love you’ve shown me. Amen.

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