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For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. Psalm 84:11

Small stuff 2.9.2016One time I was being my father’s chauffeur to a speaking engagement. We decided to stop for lunch at a favorite chain restaurant of ours. Rather than order my ‘usual’ I decided to try something different. It was close to Thanksgiving and I decided to try the daily special, a Turkey Omelet. I’ve always been an omelet fan and I like turkey. Seemed like a winning combination. It wasn’t. While the picture looked good and the presentation was good, something in the recipe made it virtually inedible for my taste buds.

I’m sure we’ve all run into situations like that. It may be food, a different route, a new piece of clothing, a relationship or any number of other things. From a distance it looks good to us but once we’ve made the commitment we realize we’ve made a mistake.

David had that experience on night when he was relaxing on the roof of his castle when his eyes wandered to the house next door and a woman bathing. His mind wandered and his feet followed. What seemed like a good idea in a moment of carelessness, led to a series of actions that nearly destroyed his kingdom, badly tarnished his kingdom and caused life-long problems to his family.

The Psalmist writes “For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.”(Psalm 84:11)

The sun offers us warmth, guidance, life and encouragement. A shield gives us security and protection from the enemy. David learned the secret to holy living in a human realm wasn’t perfection but confession and repentance

While our perception of what is good is finite; God’s perception of what is good is eternal. Like David, we make mistakes in life. Some of those mistakes lead to harsh consequences. Regardless of what we have done the warmth of the SON gives us new life through forgiveness. The SHIELD of the Holy Spirit protects us from the enemy, and sometimes the biggest enemy we face is ourselves.

God always gives us the way out. He always gives us something that we can use to get through the struggle we are in. He’s our strength and our shield when life gets hard. When we learn to give him all our secrets we find him more than faithful to bless us.

PRAYER: Father God, I thank you for the forgiveness we have in you through Jesus. So many times I find myself focusing on things that look good to me but aren’t best for me. Help me to see things through the light of your Son. Protect me from the schemes of the enemy. Amen.



People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives. Proverbs 16:2

passion 2.3.2016I remember sitting in the pew listening to the old preacher. I have to confess I did what many of us preachers/speakers do. Rather than listening to the message I critiqued the message, the content and the delivery. I came to a conclusion that, while my friend was a godly man and had a passion for Jesus and others, he wasn’t an effective speaker.

As his presentation drew to a close he did what I considered would be ‘ministerial suicide’. He gave an altar call and asked people who had been spoken to by his message to come forward for prayer. I remember thinking how bad I felt for him as I bowed my head. I’d been there many times before. You preach your heart out and when it comes to decision time, no one responds.

I heard some rustling, which I assumed was the sound of people shifting uneasily waiting for the pain to be over. Someone whispered, ‘excuse me’ and I moved so someone could move quietly past me. As they did I looked to the front. The entire stage area was crowded with people kneeling and praying. Some were weeping!

I remember thinking, rather flippantly I admit, ‘How on earth did this happen? That may have been the poorest presentation I’ve heard.’

Later, I talked with my friend and he asked me how I thought it went. I avoided telling him my critique notes that had been accumulating in my mind and simply said “Well, you certainly made an impact on the people. I was amazed at how many people came forward for prayer.”

My old friend smiled. “You know, I think that may have been one of the worst prestations I’ve ever made, but I agree. God certainly used my efforts for his good. I guess the old adage “passion beats technique every time’ was true in this case.

His words hit home. There are so many times in our lives when we have a passion to influence people. When those passions are built on selfish motives such as gaining popularity, ‘atta boys’ and prestige we have our reward.

When our passions are built on Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, great things happen. I’m still learning that time spent at my desk in study is vitally important, but the most important time is the time I spend on my knees. God doesn’t pay as much attention to ‘how we do things’ as he does ‘why we do things’. Passion [for Jesus] beats technique every time.

PRAYER: Father God, thank you for the many opportunities we have in life to be examples of your love, grace and mercy. Help us to focus more on our motives than our actions and to rely on your Holy Spirit to guide us in how we can influence others for the Kingdom. Amen.



Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish. Isaiah 46:10

Be Still.2.1.16I’m an idea person, but not much on planning. That’s why I rely heavily on people who can think of the details needed for a project. The reason is obvious. Ideas are great. They are the stuff that made this nation great. But not thinking through the details on how to make something happen can be disastrous.

I have a friend who is a drama director at a local high school. I admire his ability to get his young actors and actresses to perform a variety of plays from mysteries to musicals and comedies. The thing I admire most about him though is his attention to detail. He’ll add a line here or there, or have a person move in just a certain way to add emphasis to a scene. His productions are almost always excellent, but even with all his planning and direction, things go wrong. A prop may be forgotten; a cue missed; a technological failure and more can all add up to a less than perfect performance. Sometimes those failures go unnoticed by the audience, other times they are obvious.

So it goes with life. No matter how hard we try to make the perfect meal, write the perfect blog post, present the perfect lesson or sermon, something always seems to go wrong. All of us are much more likely to act with confidence if we can be assured we will succeed at our endeavor. The more confidence we have in the outcome, the more likely we are to move forward.

In Old Testament times, military leaders would often inquire of God as to whether or not they should go to battle against a particular enemy. If God said go, they went with a full assurance that victory would be there’s. If they were told to hold back and make peace, they knew to act wisely in negotiating a peace. The underlying motivation for their actions was knowing God was on their side.

There are many times in each of our lives when we face difficult decisions regarding our relationships, careers, and other events. As believers in the Lord of the universe we can come with confidence to seek his wisdom because we know his plans have always…that’s right ALWAYS come true. The real beauty of that is that he will guide you in the best way and if failure does come, he’ll help you through that too.

PRAYER: Father God, I think one of the things I appreciate the most about you is the fact that I can trust you to do and be exactly what you say. With you by my side I can move confidently knowing you will walk with me through success and failure. Thank you for your guidance through your Holy Spirit. In Jesus name, Amen.


For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust. Psalm 103:14

understandsHave you ever felt like a complete and utter failure? Ever looked at what you are supposed to accomplish and realize that there I no way you’ll be able to fulfill the task before you?

A friend of mine told me about a situation he had to face at a new job he’d recently started. His responsibilities included marketing a particular event and although he did everything he could to promote it, the numbers didn’t look good. In fact they looked horrible.

“I remember losing sleep over the whole situation. Did I do enough? Would my boss see my efforts? Was my job in jeopardy? Those were the thoughts that plagued me throughout the night.”

The next morning my friend got a phone call from his boss. In the course of the conversation his boss told him several stories of his own failures as he started his business. “We’re going to stumble before we walk and walk before we run.”

My friend’s faith in himself and his job were restored that day because he realized that his boss understood what it was like to endure disappointment and failure.

That situation is an excellent example of God’s response to our own weakness. We fail on a daily basis. For some of us those failures are huge and cause destroyed relationships or consequences that will follow us for a lifetime. Some of us struggle with addictions that would embarrass us if they became public. Regardless of how hard we try to change, it’s impossible.

Not only do we struggle with weakness, a natural consequence of those weaknesses is the guilt, frustration and shame that go along with it.

When you look failure in the face for the hundredth time, remember this. You were created by the God of the universe. He knows how work inside and out. The Psalmist writes “For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.” (Psalm 103:14)

Of all the reasons I believe God is good, this is perhaps the best one. He knows I’m weak. He knows how I work. I don’t need to explain myself. Even though my actions may surprise me they never surprise him. He understands me better than I understand myself.

God is good. He understands.

PRAYER: Father God. There are so many ways in which I feel too weak to accomplish all I have to do. So many times I’ve failed you, others or myself. Thank you for understanding me in my weakest moments. In Jesus name, Amen.



The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. Psalm 103:13

“I told her she needs to leave before she gets hurt, but she said her dad beat her mom and it was okay, so this must be okay too. I’ll be alright”

dadThose words from one of my youth group kids still haunt me. She was telling about the latest fight her aunt was having with her uncle. The aunt would quite frequently end up bruised and battered from his beatings but did nothing about it. A couple times the police were called but by the time they arrived the fight would be over and the aunt would take full responsibility for the uncle’s actions.

There are so many things wrong with that picture, but the one that stands out to me is this poor woman who watched her dad beat her mother and thought it was okay. Her small children were learning the same pattern!

Many churches say the Lord’s Prayer as part of their weekly worship. The first few words “Our Father, who art in Heaven” must create a huge disconnect for some. Unfortunately, the vision of a father is bruised and battered by men who abuse their wives and children or abandon them. One type of abuse is physical, the other emotional. But both leave lasting scars.

Proverbs tells us two attributes God possesses as our father. He is both tender and compassionate. To be tender means to be sympathetic, caring, gently, generous and warm hearted. To be compassionate means to be understanding, sensitive, loving, merciful, and considerate (among other things).

If God was your dad he would never miss a concert or school activity; he would never fail to understand you even though the struggles you are going through are nothing compared to what he went through when ‘he was young.’ Your heavenly father disciplines in love and never punishes in anger. He lets you hold the remote and watches the cooking channel with you. When work beckons he chooses you over status, money or power.

That’s the kind of dad he is because God is good. I was personally blessed with a good, caring, compassionate earthly father. But even my earthly father was imperfect. Not my heavenly dad. He’s everything I could hope to have and more.

PRAYER: Father God. I can’t comprehend the extent of your love and compassion. My view of fatherhood is skewed by my own imperfection and the examples of ‘fathers’ I see around me. Help me to see you as you are so that I can rest in your love and compassion. Thank you for being my dad. Amen.

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