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No one goes into battle half dressed. No one enters a game without the proper apparel. Champions know their enemy. Champions have a game plan, a strategy that will assure them victory. Champions never play to their opponent’s level. They know their weapons and limitations. Everyday we face a formidable enemy in our minds, our workplace, and in our circles of influence. Our enemy is deceitful. Our enemy is ruthless. Our enemy is cunning. He’ll do whatever he can to destroy our faith in God and ourselves. But, and this is the game changer, greater is he that is within you than he that is in the world. Arm yourself with the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s promises. You’ve got this! Not because of your power or expertise but because of the battle armor you’ve been given. Go forth and conquer!


He HAD to go through Samaria (John 4:4). Well, geographically he didn’t HAVE to go through Samaria. In fact, the more politically correct route for any self-respecting Jew would be to go on the east side of the Jordan River. It was a longer route but avoided Samaria all together. If you did choose to go through Samaria you certainly wouldn’t stop for lunch, or talk to a woman.

But Jesus did.

He had to go through Samaria because someone was ready to hear his message. That someone was a woman that had gone through five divorces. Five. One is devastating enough. Two raises eyebrows. Five? There are words for women like this but none of them are appropriate for this space.

Take a moment to put yourself in the woman’s place. Hopefully you will have a hard time with this, but imagine how rejected you would feel. Remember the first time you broke up? The first time you were dumped for better pasture? Multiply by five! And now, the guy she was ‘with’ didn’t even respect her enough to marry her.

That’s why she went to the well during the hottest part of the day. She no doubt suffered in silence and this was her coping mechanism.

But Jesus went out of his way to meet her in her comfort zone, on her terms to share the one thing she needed above all else…acceptance and true life.

He does the same today. You don’t need to suffer in silence. He wants to hear from you. He wants us to see those who may be suffering and offer the fresh water of his grace. Silent sufferers never escape the notice of Jesus.


The story of Joshua is one we should all learn from. As a young man he watched and learned from Moses, whose story is equally amazing. Born with a golden spoon in his mouth, he blew it all in a fit of rage. Then he ran for his life only to be called into service by God to lead a rebellious, stubborn people to a land he would never enter himself because of … a fit of rage.

Enter Joshua. He’d stood with Moses through much of the wilderness wandering In the midst of seeing Moses’ failures, he saw a God of power, strength, provision, holiness, and most of all, grace!

Chapter one of the book that bears his name is, in a sense, God’s motivational speech in the locker room before the big game.

He reminded Joshua that he should be strong and courageous. Not because of Joshua’s strength but because he was chosen by God for this task. ““Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Joshua‬ ‭1:6

He was reminded Joshua that his power would come through his obedience to God’s directives, not because of any knowledge or wisdom he had within himself. Be strong and very courageous. Success in God’s kingdoms comes from obedience. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Joshua‬ ‭1:7

He reminded Joshua that no matter how bad it gets on the field, God is by his side reminding him of the game plan that would never fail. No matter how hopeless the situation, Joshua was God’s man and was never alone. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua‬ ‭1:9

God reassured Joshua that there would be those who would rise up against him. Whenever you are doing God’s work, there will be those who oppose you. The closer you grow to God, the more his power will be evident and the more his power is evident, the more people will try to pull you down. But don’t spend your time defending yourself. God’s got your back. Just do what you do. Anyone who rebels against your orders and does not obey your words and everything you command will be put to death. So be strong and courageous!”” Joshua‬ ‭1:18‬ ‭

Are you up against a struggle? Does the future hold lots of questions and possibilities? Are you being oppressed by fear?

Be Strong. Be Courageous. With God on your side, failure isn’t an option.


Uncertainty is a great crippler of change.

How much easier would it be to choose a new career if we knew it would bring us total fulfillment? How much more confident would we be in choosing a mate, raising a family and planning for retirement if God gave us a white sheet detailing every aspect of our future.

In our human finiteness we can’t possibly know what the future holds. It’s as though we walk through a wilderness with no path to follow, no landmarks to guarantee we aren’t simply walking in circles. It’s like pushing through the underbrush of the forest, being scratched and confused along the way.

Here’s the good news. When you put your faith in God and follow his lead, you can be assured of reaching the promised land. That doesn’t mean there won’t be times of doubt or times of confusion, but even in those times you can be assured he is walking through life with you.

He’s ready to do something new in your life. He’s blazed the trail. He’s provided rivers of provision. The question isn’t if his way is best, the question is, are you ready to make that first step. Books written begin by picking up the pen. Journey’s start with the first step. Seeing God work in mighty ways won’t happen until you step out of the boat.

Are you ready to follow his path out of the wilderness in faith?


Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel. 2 Timothy 2:8 (NIV)

Just two little words but they mean all the difference in the world. Two little words that can change how we push forward during those times of grief when a dearly loved person dies and leaves us with a huge hole in our lives, a hole that will never be completely filled.

Two little words that give us strength to endure a relationship that is far from fulfilling; that shatters our dreams; that saps our lives of the energy we need to use our gifts to reach the potential long buried under the sands of time.

Two little words that offer hope as we kneel by the bed of a sick child, or read a letter from a distant son or daughter. Two little words that help us see new light in the midst of old struggle.

Remember Jesus.

Remember the one who promised he would never ever leave you or forsake you. Remember the one who lifts you up, looks you in the eye and says gently, “Then neither do I condemn thee.” Remember the one who stops from his busy schedule to touch you so that you can see. Remember the one who cries with you, rejoices with you and encourages you on the way.

Sitting on the mantle in front of me as I write this is a US Flag folded into a triangle. It’s a special flag given to the families of veterans when they die. The flag is special. Not because of the nation it stands for, or the freedom that flag represents. It’s special because that flag was given when my dad died. Sitting beside that flag is a picture of dad. When I look at those two items there is almost always a memory of all he meant to me, and a reminder that someday we’ll be united again in glory.

Paul, in perhaps his final hours tells his young pastor friend to always remember Jesus. Always take him with you, remember that he is the basis for all we do. He is the motivation for our existence, indeed he is the very reason for our existence.

Take the banner of heaven with you today. Have a picture of Jesus placed firmly in your mind. Regardless of the hurdles you encounter on the journey, he will always be there with you. He’s the shoulder you can cry on; the friend you can vent to; the partner you can celebrate with. He loves you. Never ever forget that, and because of his great love for you, you are always on his mind.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I have many challenges ahead of me today. Thank you for the promises you have given me of your constant companionship and unending love. Fill me with your Spirit and empower me to see your way on the journey. Help me remember you. Amen.

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