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Pardon me but your log is showing. Have you ever noticed that the person who is the most critical of everything and everyone is often angry? There is an old saying that goes “unhappy people make people unhappy” and there is truth in that old adage. The psalmist writes “search me and know me.” Those are wise words for they invite divine and personal introspection. When we see ourselves as God sees us it is hard to be arrogant and critical because we realize the depth of our own depravity. The arrogant have no filters. They scream out all the faults of others with complete disregard for their own faults. The humble speak truth in love realizing that only Christ can change the hearts of those who attack us. Arrogance attacks; humility builds up through love.

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Desire. It’s really the driving force in all we do. It’s desire that drives our relationships. It’s desire that keeps us going through the tough times. When we lose desire we lose the will to go on. But desire is a cruel taskmaster. It often drives us down the road most easily traveled rather than the way best for us. It entices us to grab for the things that hurt rather than nurture; that poison us rather than help us. Jesus came to show us desire in its purest, most excellent way.


For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. John 3:34

I was watching one of those television shows about the rich and famous the other day. I don’t usually do that but I was channel hopping and something caught my eye. It is amazing to me how that side of society lives. That side of life in which you don’t have to count pocket change to see if you have enough money for a cheap cup of gas station coffee. That side of life where you don’t have to decide how you can take your kids to McDonalds and pay the electric bill the same week.

It’s easy to get caught up in the trap of wishing for more. We want more money, more land, more toys, more from our relationships, our church, our children, our government.

M.O.R.E. MOnly Reason to Exist!

So much of our world is built around the idea that what we own is what we are; that what we’ve accomplished is our legacy; that the only way to push through life is by our own strength.

If King Solomon were here, he’d tell you different. He had all the wives he wanted, he had the financial resources to acquire anything he wanted and so he did. He bought, he built, he conquered. And when it was all over, he looked at what he possessed and saw that in reality he had nothing of any value.

On the other extreme was Jesus. Jesus and his disciples often used stones as pillows, ate raw grain from fields due to hunger, were ridiculed and looked down upon by society (especially the church) and were homeless! Yet, Jesus spoke of life and fulfillment. Even on the cross he looked out in his pain and said “it is finished.”

Forget, for a moment, all the theological implications of that statement. Focus instead on what Jesus was saying in his heart. “I’m done. The work that I came for is complete. I have accomplished everything I intended to accomplish.”

So what did Jesus accomplish? He didn’t acquire great wealth. While he was very popular among those he touched, the group was relatively small and made up of prostitutes, farmers, the sick, the lame and the destitute. Not extremely impressive, not so that is unless you consider that his lifestyle and his teachings changed the world. Regardless of what liberal theologians, scientists and professors tell you, much of the world is the way it is because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

So what was it the drove him to greatness? What power was it that kept him going when all seemed hopeless? It was God’s Spirit working in him and through him.

Now, here’s the good news. The same Spirit that empowered Jesus to make a difference in his world is the same Spirit each of us are filled with when we accept Jesus Christ as the Lord and Master of our lives. And we don’t get just a little piece of the ‘Holy Spirit Pie’! John tells us that God’s servants, those that live under the forgiveness of Christ’s sacrifice, are filled to overflowing with that power.

So, still think you are too weak to accomplish much for God? Think you past, or your present are too insignificant to make a difference? Guess again. God’s Spirit is given to each of us with no limits!

PRAYER: Father, forgive me for the times I feel too insignificant to accomplish great things for your Kingdom. Help me to live in the power you have given me for your glory. Amen.


Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. Romans 12:12 (NLT)

“I hope”

Two little words ripe with expectation and emotion.

“I hope the car starts this morning.”

“I hope the doctor calls with good news.”

“I hope the job offer comes through.”

“I hope the bank accepts our offer.”

“I hope my son/daughter grows up to love God.”

“I hope [fill in your own words here.]”

The inherent problem with hope in the physical realm is that it almost always involves something in the present, in what we can see, hear or touch. Often times ‘hope’ is focused on the results of some action we’ve taken or tried to take in order to make our lives more complete, more whole, more comfortable.

But hope built on earthly standards is often subject to the whims of others. But in God’s economy hope isn’t about this world, it’s about eternity. Too often it’s easy to build our hopes for today on our own ability to accomplish something. We look to our past experiences to build future hope. That’s all fine and well if our past is squeaky clean, but for those of us who have a past littered with broken relationships and missed opportunities, building a hope for the future on the efforts of our past is risky at best.

“I hope the grades I got in school get me into the college I choose.”

“I hope the boss looks at my work record when he considers that promotion.

As a believer in Jesus Christ our hope is on the past, but not our past. Our hope is built on the past work of Jesus on the cross and the empty tomb. Our hope is built on spiritual position in Christ and not our ability to live up to someone else’s standards.

When our hope is built on what Jesus can do for us and with eternity in view it makes the troubles of this world pale. It’s the hope of our future, not the regrets of the past or the fears of today that give us joy and patience. It’s our walk with God built on study, fellowship and prayer that empowers us to forge ahead when the battle seems too big for us to handle.

Leave your past mistakes at the foot of the cross. Seek divine power to put your focus on the hope of our future with Christ. Let his word so richly dwell within you that you are able to withstand the attacks the enemy throws your way. Hopelessness comes from focusing on the past and present. Hope comes as we focus on eternal values and goals.

PRAYER: Father God, my past seeks to cripple me. The present tries to wrap me in worry and fear. Empower me by your Spirit to set my focus on a future with you. Give me patience to endure and wisdom to know how to pray as I forge ahead on this journey. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


For this reason Jesus had to be made like his brothers and sisters in every way so he could be their merciful and faithful high priest in service to God. Then Jesus could die in their place to take away their sins. Hebrews 2:17 NCV

People put a lot of stock in heritage. It seems like the smaller the town you live in, the more that is true.

“It’s really no surprise. You know what his father is like.”

“I went to school with her mother. She was the same way. Never finished school as I recall.”

“Don’t hang around with those kids. They come from bad families.”

It’s easy to fall into the trap of a critical spirit when we look at other people and their families. On one hand we look at them and make decisions on their motives based on their past. On the other hand we can go the opposite direction and compare our family to theirs (I wish my spouse would do that for me; I wish our kids could be as responsible as theirs.)

Families matter and today they matter more than ever because the very concept of family has fallen into disrepute, attack and confusion. Jesus knew about families. He grew up in one. He learned the struggle of dealing with younger brothers and sisters. He endured the mistakes of young, first time parents. But more importantly, he had a strong heritage before him.

Jesus had a direct line to David on both his mother’s side and his earthly step-father’s side. That’s impressive. But don’t forget about the others that lined the path to the manger inBethlehem. Some were swindlers that thought nothing of cheating their brother. Some were murderers. Even David, his namesake, was a poor parent, slept with a friends wife murdered to cover up his crime and quite often protected himself at the expense of his countrymen.

Jesus had a dysfunctional family heritage. That’s good news for us because most of us come from families at some level of being dysfunctional. The paths of our lives are lined with lust, affairs, failure, financial struggles, divorce, abuse and a wide range of other issues that keep us defeated. Since Jesus’ ancestors struggled with the same things he knows what your family is like.

You may say to those who judge your family, “But you don’t understand”, and from a human perspective you may be right. No one knows the pain you have gone through as the result of your family. But Jesus does!

Talk to him about your family. Tell him your struggles and fears. Remind him of the hurt others have caused you. He understands because his family, like yours, was imperfect.       

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I thank you for the fact that you understand the pain and frustration of my family. Empower me to overlook the accusations others throw my way regarding my past and my heritage. Give me the grace I need to accept my family, just as you have given me grace. Amen.

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