Friday, July 31, 2015


"The purpose of my instruction is that all the Christians there would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and sincere faith." (1 Timothy 1:5)

Today we get an inside look at Paul's intent as the Holy Spirit inspired him to write to Timothy.  Paul says his purpose was to fill Christians with love.  His purpose is not to fill us with knowledge. It's not to fill us with pride. He isn't trying to fill us with religion.  No, Paul is writing in order that we might be filled to overflowing with love.

That said, Paul suggests three sources for the love that is to fill us.

#1--a Pure Heart. A pure heart is a heart that is clean--one that has been purified by fire.

#2--a Clear Conscience. A clear conscience is one that is good--one that discerns that slightest error.

#3--a Sincere Faith. A literal translation of "sincere faith" would be "undisguised conviction". 

Love comes as we allow our heart, soul, and mind to be brought into complete submission to the work of the Holy Spirit.  As we allow the love of God to transform us, we will in fact become the love of God.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


"By my great power I have made the earth and all its people and every animal. I can give these things of mine to anyone I choose." (Jeremiah 27:5)

I think sometimes we forget how big God is in all of His greatness.  He owns it all!  And if He owns it all, then He can give it all!  Your need, whatever it might be, is a drop in God's heavenly bucket.  In an instant, God can reach into your world and solve all of your problems . . . in a single moment!  He is a big God!

So what is He doing and why hasn't He met your need?  That's simple.  God is solving a bigger problem.  He is teaching you how to trust Him, how to love Him, and how to come to Him.  You want your needs met and God wants to meet you.  You want to live a life of comfort and ease and God just wants you to begin to live.  He knows that what you see as the big problem is just a symptom. God wants to heal you through and through, completely. 

Let me encourage you to make God the focus of your day.  Meet Him later this morning for coffee.  Share your hopes and dreams with Him and listen to His ideas for your abundant life.  Don't get in a hurry, and don't watch the clock--just get lost in His presence.  Experience God today!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Valley of Weeping

"When they walk through the Vally of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs, where pools of blessing collect after the rains!" (Psalm 84:6)

Have you ever walked through the Valley of Weeping? I'm sure we all have experienced times of devastating grief when a loved one dies, a cancer grows, a job fails, or a relationship skips town. I often say that these difficult experiences either make us "bitter" or they make us "better". When the "better" happens, it's like pools of refreshing blessing to a thirsty soul. I've gone swimming in those pools, more than once. What I thought was going to be the death of me turns out to be my rebirth. Today, if you are wandering around lost in the Valley of Weeping, don't lose heart. God never wastes a hurt! He sees you and even now He is leading you to a refreshing spring. Keep going!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

God's House

"How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord." (Psalm 84:1-2)

Today is a good day to head over to God's place and spend some time with Him.  The psalmist "faints with longing" to experience the house of the Lord.  When we understand the goodness of God and the gifts he gives, we too will long to enter His presence.  We bring our neediness and our brokenness and God restores us and provides for us.  He is a good God!

Let me encourage you to carve out some time today to hang out with God. Blessing awaits!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Think Clearly

"But let us who live in the light think clearly, protected by the body armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation." (1 Thessalonians 5:8)

Today, let us live in the light of faith--trusting God to watch over us, protect us, and provide for us.

Today, let us live in the light of love--receiving God's love until our cup runs over spilling love into lives all around us.

Today, let us live in the light of salvation--confidently expressing our status as children of God.  There's no need to defend ourselves, argue, or try to justify.  All of us who have joined Jesus are declared righteous.

Faith! Love! Salvation!

Think clearly and Live clearly.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


"The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 'Go down to the shop where clay pots and jars are made. I will speak to you while you are there.' So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so the potter squashed the jar into a lump of clay and started again. Then the Lord gave me this message: 'O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand.'"  (Jeremiah 18:1-6)

Have you ever had to start over? There are times, I suppose, when we make such a mess of things that God chooses to start all over with us.  We become a squashed pot.  I've been there and perhaps you have as well.  The encouragement from the text is not that we're squashed, but rather that God begins anew.  We're not thrown away--we're reshaped, restored, reborn, renewed, and revived!  If you've been squashed, it's time to get up and start again.

“When you have nothing left but God,you have more than enough to start over again.”  --Mother Teresa

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


"This should be your ambition: to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we commanded you before. As a result, people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others to meet your financial needs". (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)

Are you ambitious?--What's your passion?--What is your life all about?  Regardless of your answers, Paul gives us a three-fold check on our ambitions. 

#1--We should desire to live a quiet life.  The idea is to avoid chaos--to experience peace and order.

#2--We should want to mind our own business. This means to focus on the work that God has called us to accomplish. Don't concern yourself with others and their work. Mind your business.

#3--We should strive to work with our hands. This is the opposite of idleness.  We are to be engaged in constructive work.

The best part of our passage today is the promises: #1--Respect, and #2--Financial Freedom.  If you desire either promise, you have three clear areas of your life to grow.  Today is great day to get started.

Monday, July 20, 2015


"Your words are what sustain me. They bring me great joy and are my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God Almighty." (Jeremiah 15:16)

I read and meditate on the scriptures almost every day.  It's been my practice for more than twenty years now.  There was a time, however, when I only opened the Bible at church or when I was preparing for a study of some kind.  I'll tell you what made the difference and what has driven me to the Word of God for these past two decades.  As a young youth pastor at First Baptist, Monterey, Tennessee, I was really struggling to reach my youth group.  I wasn't connecting with them and I was ready to quit.  In desperation, I started searching the scriptures every day to gain God's perspective.  Then it happened! One morning God spoke clearly and personally to me through His word.  He spoke to my circumstances in such a relevant way that I knew I had heard from God.  It was real, it was clear, it was emotional, and it was life-changing.  I've been hooked ever since.

If you haven't had an experience of hearing God speak through His Word, let me encourage to persevere.  Seek Him and he will be found.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


"O Lord Almighty, you are just, and you examine the deepest thoughts of hearts and minds." (Jeremiah 11:20a)

We don't have any secrets as far as God is concerned. He knows it all--the good, the bad, and the ugly.  A realization that God knows our thoughts, our desires, and our deepest secrets, should drive us to our knees in broken contrition.  There's not much room for arrogance in our sin-sick souls.  There is room for confession, repentance, and restoration. 

We need to come before God on a regular basis (daily? or maybe hourly?) and agree with Him regarding our missteps and mistakes.  I find it helpful to close my eyes and to invite the Holy Spirit, (who convicts of sin and guides to truth), to walk with me through my previous days activities. As I think about my day, I'm alert to anything the Holy Spirit wants to discuss.  It usually doesn't take long before I become aware of bad attitudes, thoughtless words and actions, or other more blatant sins that offend the Holy Spirit. I simply agree with Him, ask forgiveness, and move forward. 

Give it a try today and see if God doesn't meet you at the altar of repentance.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


"I know, Lord, that a person's life is not his own. No one is able to plan his own course. So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle. Do not correct me in anger, for I would die." (Jeremiah 10:23-24)

We all need a course correction to our life from time to time--perhaps from day to day.  I've experienced many of them throughout my life and, believe me, they can be quite painful.  Praise God that He deals with us gently.  It doesn't always feel like love but it is. The alternative would be for God to either leave us to our own devises or to simply destroy us.  God loves us enough to provide correction. 

"Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.”  --Corrie Ten Boom

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


"My people bend their tongues like bows to shoot lies. They refuse to stand up for the truth." (Jeremiah 9:3)

"They all take advantage of one another and spread their slanderous lies. They all fool and defraud each other; no one tells the truth. With practiced tongues they tell lies." (Jeremiah 9:4-5)

If I'm remembering correctly, I recently wrote about truth-telling.  God has placed it before me again today and so let's take another look at it.  Truth appears to be one of God's highest virtues and thus receives a lot of attention in scripture.  At the same time, our enemy, Satan--the deceiver, is all about falsehood, deceit, and lies.  It seems pretty clear that God's children should be marked by truth vs lies.  Yet, our culture has come up with a thousand instances when it's better to bend the truth.  If we're not careful, we will adopt the world's practice instead Jesus' practice. 

Let's redouble our efforts today to tell the truth every time.  Let's tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth--even if it's painful!

Monday, July 13, 2015

More Than Enough

"So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires. Don't be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry." (Colossians 3:5)

As Christ-followers we are to kill the desires within us that are contrary to the desires of the Holy Spirit.  Lust has to be put to death whether it's sexual sin or the lust for more stuff.  Both are included in Colossians 3:5, likely because they have they same root cause--a discontent with what God has provided.  That's what idolatry really is--substituting something else for the sufficiency of God.   He declares that He is enough but something in our restless hearts wants more.

Today, should you find yourself wanting more, or maybe something different, say this, "Lord Jesus, You are more than enough!"  Say it often and say it by faith until you actually come to believe it.  It's a call to worship!

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Liar! Liar!

"Lord, you are searching for honesty" (Jeremiah 5:3a)

Why do we have so much trouble telling the truth?  People lie all the time. People lie to get out of trouble. People lie to make themselves look better. Sometimes people lie to avoid conflict.  Other times people lie to incite conflict.  Human beings lie a lot.  An exaggeration is a lie just like minimizing is a lie.  A little white lie is still a lie.  We even lie to ourselves.

God, however, is truth, and He is searching for truthful people.  Today, let's focus on telling the truth, being the truth, and living the truth.

"Father in Heaven, give us truthful hearts and truthful lips. May the Holy Spirit guide us and convict us that we might live today as the honest ones your are seeking. Through Jesus, Amen!"

Wednesday, July 08, 2015


"Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns. Cleanse your minds and hearts before the Lord, or my anger will burn like an unquenchable fire because of all your sins." (Jeremiah 4:3b-4)

We should make it a regular practice to confess our sins to God.  Sin, all sin, is rebellion and should be dealt with on a regular basis.  Our backyard has a low spot where water gathers.  My dog, Gavin, loves to play in the puddle which quickly becomes a mud puddle.  It doesn't take long for him to cover himself in mud.  Of course, he has to be rinsed off before he can come in the house or even be petted.  I don't want to get dirty and so Gavin has to be cleaned up so that I can play with him.  In the same way, we have to bring our sin to God so that He can clean us up.

Today, take some time and review the past few days of your life. How have you failed to live up to God's standard?  How have you disobeyed Him?  How have you not obeyed Him?  Make a list as you invite the Holy Spirit to reveal His thoughts on the matter.  Confession is simply agreeing with God in regards to what offends Him.  Your confession prompts His forgiveness!

Tuesday, July 07, 2015


"This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is changing lives everywhere, just as it changed yours that very first day you heard and understood the truth about God's great kindness to sinners." (Colossians 1:6)

God loves you! He loves you so much that He accomplished the impossible to deliver you from your sins.  Jesus died, paying the steep price for your mistakes.  Jesus rose again, empowering you to life an abundant life through His life.  He is, in fact, kind to sinners like you and me. 

Today is my oldest son's 23rd birthday and I'm quite emotional over the fact that he is in Colorado while I am in Texas.  For most of the years of his life, Jaren and I would go to an amusement park to celebrate his birthday--Just him and me.  I am missing that experience today. I am missing him today.  In the same way, God longs to spend time with us today.  It's not that He needs us to do anything. It's not that He needs us at all.  He simply loves us--and thus He is kind!

Monday, July 06, 2015


"Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." (Philippians 4:8b)

You've heard, "You are what you eat."  Let me suggest, "You are what you think!"  All day long, we will each have opportunity to fill our hearts and minds with messages.  Choose wisely, my friends.

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”  --Albert Einstein

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Jesus Paid It All

"We put no confidence in human effort. Instead, we boast about what Christ Jesus has done for us." (Philippians 3:3b)

We trust in Jesus alone for our salvation.  All our good works and all our spiritual exercises don't add one single thing to the work Jesus did on the cross.  It seems too good to be true.  That's why it's the "Good News". 

"What do you do when the pastor rambles on too long? Elvina Hall wrote a hymn. Seated in the choir loft at the Monument Street Methodist Church of Baltimore, she had no paper to write on--only the flyleaf of the hymnal. There she wrote these stanzas." (The One Year Book of Hymns, Tyndale House)

Jesus Paid It All

I hear the Savior say, "Thy strength indeed is small!

Child of weakness, watch and pray, find in Me thine all in all."

Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain--He washed it white as snow.
Lord, now indeed I find Thy pow'r, and Thine alone,
Can change the leper's spots and melt the heart of stone.

For nothing good have I whereby Thy grace to claim--
I'll wash my garments white in the blood of Calv'ry's Lamb.

And when before the throne I stand in Him complete,
"Jesus died my soul to save," my lips shall still repeat.

Elvina Mabel Hall (1820-1889)

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

No Fear

"Yet I still belong to you; you are holding my right hand. You will keep on guiding me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny." (Psalm 73:23-24)

All of us have had times in our lives when perhaps our future seemed uncertain.  And yet the promise of God is that He is leading us forward to our destiny--a glorious destiny.  We are little children and He is our daddy in heaven holding our hands and leading us step by step.  There is no need to fear. There is no cause for anxiety.  God has this!  If you're willing, He has you.  Just place your hand in His and follow His lead.

"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." --Martin Luther