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In our humanity we often tend to think God only uses those who have their act together. We look for pastors and church leaders that have squeaky clean records, are financially stable and have 15 children, all of whom are on the ‘A Honor Roll’ and in the ‘Who’s Who of American Scholars’.

Especially in our culture that is harder and harder to find, or maybe it’s always been harder to find now that I think about it. Looking back in Biblical history, few, if any of the ‘great men of God’ were all that great. The list is made up of murderers, adulterers, cheaters, and those who struggled with mental health issues (to name a few).

We are never expected to ‘clean up our act’ so God can use us. Peter demonstrated amazing faith when he stepped out of a boat during a storm. David chose to go into battle without any armor. Issac followed his dad to the mountain for sacrifice when they had no animal and then allowed his dad to tie him up! The Apostle Paul did some of his best writing strapped to a couple of Roman Guards!

The point is, God seems to use do his best work in people who are at their worst and bless them in the process. With the power of God’s Holy Spirit within us we can plant seeds of love, mercy, forgiveness and grace in those around us. How we react to life’s struggles are an amazing testimony to the God we serve.

When He puts you in a place of struggle keep one hand in his and reach out to someone else that needs to see the way through the darkness and tears. You’ll both be better off!


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!


Have you ever been really thirsty, so thirsty in fact, that you began to feel the effects of dehydration. Dehydration can be harmful to the body. The human body can survive for up to 21 days without meaningful food, but only a couple weeks without water. Water is essential for survival.

Not just any water will do of course. Water can look crystal clear yet contain harmful bacteria or chemicals that can make one sick, or even lead to death. People learning survival skills know the importance of testing water in a variety of ways to make sure, as much as possible, that the water is safe for human consumption.

It’s no surprise to me that Jesus refers to himself as ‘living water’. In John 7:38, he says “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” Living water. When I think of living water I think of a rushing stream cascading over a waterfall. Crystal clear. Beautiful, yet powerful. A never ending sign of strength yet in some strange way, serenity.

In the physical sense, water is beneficial to the body in many ways. It helps to cleanse your organs. It refreshes you. It gives you strength. It satisfies.

In the spiritual sense, a personal relationship with Jesus does the same thing to our souls. In the midst of the wilderness, a refreshing drink of water helps us to carry on. When our souls are in the wilderness, Jesus becomes that source of refreshment that helps us carry on. This living water becomes a source of strength when we don’t think we can carry on.

Jesus is the source of purity. There are other religions. There are other philosophies. There are other ways of thinking. But only Jesus offers the guaranteed love and forgiveness of sin that is available through his sacrifice.

Water refreshes the body, but Jesus refreshes the soul when you don’t feel you can go on.

It’s no wonder the psalmist writes, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:2)

Is your soul thirsty? Do you long for some relief from the wilderness you are in? We were created in God’s image and the only way to fill the void in our souls is with the living water of his Son, Jesus.


Light is an amazing thing.

On those bright sunny days we wear sunglasses to protect our eyes from the sun. Where I live, it’s especially necessary in the winter when the sunshine reflects off the bright snow. Almost unbearable light!

On the other hand, too little light is also a problem. For those of us with waning eyesight, low light makes it impossible to read. Driving at night is always more confident with high beams than low beams because you want to see the road ahead as well as any critters deciding to cross in front of you.

So, light appears to be relative to the person or the situation. That sheds a whole light on Jesus claim that he is the light of the world. (Yeah, I know. Bad pun. Live with it. 🙂 )

With Jesus as the light, he illuminates my life just the way I need it. Light should never be used as a weapon as some have done by beating people over the head with the gospel. Light should never be hidden (I don’t want to offend. Religion is personal business.) Since when is offering someone life saving measures a personal issue.

Shine your light in a way that is attractive, illuminating and beneficial. Jesus never wavered from the truth, yet he attracted those who were living in darkness.


I think, in all of scripture, the one passage that spoke to me most on my journey out of the self-imposed wilderness I was in was the passage in Luke 22 where Jesus predicts Simon Peter’s failure. But the story didn’t stop with his failure. Peter’s failure (by human standards) was God’s tool for greatness. Peter’s failure was the means by which his Heavenly Father made him the leader God needed to empower and encourage his church in the early years.

The best part of the story is that Jesus prayed for Peter. He didn’t pray that Peter would be delivered, he prayed he would be strengthened. He didn’t pray Peter would fail, he prayed that WHEN (not if) Peter returned, he would encourage us.

Peter’s spiritual failure didn’t make him perfect, but it gave him an new outlook on life; a new appreciation for grace and forgiveness; a new energy to reach out to the struggling.

Nothing much has changed. We still fail. Jesus still prays for our strength. We still have a ministry. I hurt when I think of all the wasted years; all the unwritten stories; all the changed lives that could happen if we realized God can use your weakness to be strong in him.

Have you failed? You are a valuable tool in God’s kingdom. Don’t stop at the sifting. Let the grace and power of Jesus Christ strengthen you for the work God has for you. Don’t live in failure any longer!

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