Tuesday, January 31, 2017



Genesis 19

God was pretty specific in what he was communicating to Lot. Sending two angels as messengers, God wanted Lot out of town. There was not time to argue or debate the merits of his work among the unbelievers. It was time to go. God wanted Lot out of their lives and he wanted him gone now.
As is the case with us humans, we don’t always want God in our lives. When it is convenient and when we have a specific need, we will allow God in our affairs, but only for a season. So it was with the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. They did not need Lot in their lives nor his God. They felt perfectly content in their disobedience and wickedness. In fact they had built an entire culture around their perversion and self-centered living. Anything was acceptable, even sexual relations between men or between women. One of the most grievous sins had become an acceptable lifestyle among this people. God had had enough.

Before Lot could leave, he wanted another shot at those wicked inhabitants. Lot was reluctant to give up on them right when God wanted him to act. He was not willing to change his thinking and give up on those God had determined were no longer deserving of His common grace. There came a time when nothing more could be done for those who had turned from God.

There comes a time in our lives when those we have tried to witness to will have to live with their rejection of Christ. God allows them a season for repentance but like earthly season, they change. In God’s plan for them judgment is the next season. Judgement will come when it is least expected. Although we will stand before the judgment seat of God, we are assured that Christ will be there to show that the penalty due us has been paid by him. Such a great salvation will not be available for the unbelieving. There opportunity will end at death. What is left for them is to stand alone before God without Christ. They will walk like dead men right into the trap they have set for themselves.

Prayer: With so little time in our lives to accomplish your will, allow us the strength and wisdom to act on your behalf when the opportunities for witness are given to us. Do not allow us to shrink for these times but to stand and profess our faith and call the unbeliever to repentance in Christ. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Keeping A Tight Line

Keeping A Tight Line

Fishermen sometimes tell one another “Keep a tight line!” They are encouraging their fellow fishermen to always have a fish on the line.

The older I get, I must confess that a tight line does not mean as much to me as it once did. I get as much enjoyment from fishing as I do from catching.

When I am fishing, I have more time to walk along the stream and enjoy the solitude and silence. I also look for places where fish might be lurking in the water. The harder I try to catch a fish, the less fish I catch and the less enjoyment I have that day fishing.

Jesus calls us to be fishers of men, not catchers! (Matthew 4:19) My job is to go where the fish are, walk among them, study their habitat and learn their ways. And then to toss out a line and see if one rises to the surface. There is more enjoyment in that easy effort, and I have better results.
This translates over to how we are to fish for people in our daily lives and ministries. I look for opportunities to speak a word about Jesus, casting here and there, and leaving the “catching” or results with God. It’s more calming for me and for the fish-the folks who might get spooked by my clumsiness.

A better word to fellow fishermen is “Keep your line in the water.” Or as a friend by the name of Peter once said, “Always be ready.” (1 Peter 3:15) 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Living A Strange Life

Living A Strange Life

1 Peter 4:4 “They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you.”

Jesus would not conform to this world. His temptation at the hand of Satan reminds us that our daily existence is provided not by the food we purchase but is determined by the God who feeds our souls. Our desire for worldly recognition is replaced by the truth that we are known by God himself. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture and this alone gives us inner strength and assurance that no matter what we experience in life, God is present in supporting, encouraging and comforting us.
Jesus’ intention throughout his ministry and earthly life was to live out His Father’s will for his life. His suffering in the flesh revealed his victory over sin. He was tempted, as we are tempted, but his suffering proves his victory over temptation and His lack of sin. Who struggles over doing wrong? Who agonizes over what lie to tell, what adulterous encounter to have, which person to rob? The people who suffer are those for whom a choice is available. Christians suffer in making the right choice, the Godly choice that lines up with God’s will. Suffering reflects the daily battle over sin and the victory we experience in daily skirmishes.

“Christ’s suffering is the sharing of his ministry of love, forgiveness, embrace of the marginalized, and his call for equal justice for all people, a ministry that then and now brings opposition from vested interests and threatened prejudices... the fellowship of Christ’s suffering is not joined at the time of suffering; it is joined at the time of service and witness, and the suffering follows. The suffering at the hands of the critical and abusive culture was interpreted by the church as evidence that they were being faithful to the will of God as it had been lived out by Jesus Christ. It was this understanding that gave them joy… The sufferer has to ask, What did I do right? as well as, What did I do wrong?” Suffering for doing wrong is not suffering but justice.

Prayer: When ridicule and persecution for living to your glory should confront us, Lord remind us of Christ’s passion for obedience to your will. Help me to know your power in the midst of right living and may my witness not be darkened in these difficult times. Amen. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017



Proverbs 18:15
There is all kinds of knowledge. But there is a limited amount of knowledge that is beneficial to people. This type of knowledge is the knowledge God reveals about himself and the knowledge he reveals about us.

Psalm 139
Vs. 1-6 God’s knowledge of us is complete. Our actions, thoughts, motives and goals are as clear to him as the hand in front of our faces.

Vs. 7-12 God is present wherever we are or wherever we go. We can never hide or get away from God. He is ever-present not to torture us but to guide us and to comfort us.

Vs. 13-18 God’s plan for our lives is a comprehensive and complete plan. He drew them up before we were even born. These plans cover every detail and contingency. He has arranged for everything that we will face. His presence is to insure that we do not stray from the best path he has prepared.

Vs. 19-24 Man’s purpose, therefore, is simple. We are to guard God’s plan for our lives and seek his direction. In doing this we affirm his honor and goodness in our lives. We can then protect His name, stand against the rebellious and those who oppose him in this world. 

Friday, January 27, 2017



We live in a culture that loves formulas for success in life. If we are to meet this culture where they are, why not give them steps to the fullness of life that God offers each of us through a personal relationship with God.

1. We Are Powerless:
Romans 7:18 I know nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

2. An All Powerful God Exists
Philippians 2:13 For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

3. Choose God’s Help
Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God -- which is your spiritual worship.

4. Take An Honest Look At Yourself
Lamentations 3:40 Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.

5. Specifically Identify The Root Of Your Sin
James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

6. Know That God’s Help Hurts

James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017



You’ve failed many times, although you man not remember. You fell down the first time you tried to walk. You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim, didn’t you? Did you hit the ball the first time you swung a bat? Heavy hitters, the ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out a lot. 
R. H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York caught on. English novelist Hohn Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books. Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, but he also hit 714 home runs. Don’t worry about failure. Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Whose Rights?

Whose Rights?
Psalm 50: 12-23
God does not need the sacrifices we make, sacrifices that are nothing but blind efforts and actions to entice Him to respond as we desire. Such efforts are empty and amount nothing more than God’s displeasure.

God wants your heart filled with thanksgiving and praise. Such a heart is backed up by truthful living, the living of faith in any and all situations. It is living and verbal profession of who we trust in.
If you do this, God will know your heart and will. He will acknowledge and accept your honest confession of faith. He will deliver you from your past and lead you through the results of your sinful actions into a land of “milk and honey.”

The unbeliever has no rights before God. No amount of ordained ritual and practices will entice him to respond to those dead in their sins. The unbeliever has no rights before God because they hate God’s disciplined instructions for their lives. Such people ignore him and seek to understand the application of his words for their lives. Ignoring him they continue to whole-heartily associate with the wicked. They speak words that reveal the deceitful hearts they possess. They lie and slander to gain for themselves.

God’s slow response to evil is not grounds for denying he can see or know that evil exists. It is not grounds to claim that God does not concern himself with our thoughts or actions. What they think is God’s silence is really His patience and tolerance until the day when he will speak for their eternity. God will have the final word!

Before he speaks for the final time, he offers warnings for all to hear and respond to. Without a heart of repentance, they will leave this world with no hope for Rescue.

Honor God with thanksgiving and praise. This opens the way for you to see and receive God’s salvation.

How do you respond to ......
False accusations about you?
Lies spoken about those who do good?
Ridicule targeted at the helpless?
Anger directed toward the weak?

Violence against the innocent? 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

God’s Mercy

God’s Mercy

This is the loving-kindness of God: He never turns His face away from a sincere repentance. God accepts and welcomes anyone who has become wicked to the greatest extreme and chooses to return towards the path of holiness. He does everything to restore such people to their former position. But God shows an even greater mercy: For those who demonstrate incomplete repentance, He still won’t pass by their small and insignificant turn. Instead, He even gives these people a great reward. This is evident from what Isaiah the prophet says concerning the Jews. He said, “On account of his sin I put him to pain for a little while, and smote him, and turned my face away from him, and he was pained, and walked sorrowfully, and then I healed him, and comforted him.” And we can also cite that most ungodly king who sinned by the influence of his wife. However, when all he did was morn, put on sackcloth, and condemn his sin, he received the mercy of God and was released from all the evils that threatened him..

Proverbs 12:24-28

Psalm 130

Faith is required to receive and give forgiveness.
vs.5 God forgives those whose hope is in Him.
vs.3 No record of our past sins is remembered by God our relationship.
vs.1-2 God’s forgiveness comes to those who cry for his mercy.
God does not have to forgive us - that is why his forgiveness is merciful and gracious.

2 Peter 3:1-10

Why did God bring you to this Place?
Why did God bring you to this Time In Your Life?
Why did God bring you to this Position of Isolation?
Why did God bring you to this Form of Suffering?

Do you believe God has a plan for your life? If you do you must recognize that His plan entails significant changes in your life. The process of an unfolding plan for your future begins with a change, Repentance.

To begin this new life and process requires faith. Faith that the plan of God is sure and perfect. Faith to submit to God’s plan not your own. Faith to begin the process that will entail stress, hurt and discomfort. God’s plan will stretch every part of you physical, emotional and, most importantly, your spiritual being. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Victory In Death

Victory In Death

Judges 13-16:28-30 Then Samson prayed to the LORD, "O Sovereign LORD, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes." Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.

The dedication of His parents to God
Samson’s wayward life that revealed the good and bad of human nature
Samson’s leadership is sporadic
Samson dies in victory

Psalm 62:5-8 Mankind is restless chasing the beauty of this world. Samson, God’s chosen leader, sought hope and rest in women.

His strength was in his hair, or was it. His strength was in the oath he took as a Nazarite and the life of obedience to God through his vows. Not his hair but God alone was his rock, salvation and fortress.

In flight, Samson returned to God. His honor was crushed by the people and the women who sought only physical, human pleasure and honor. Samson knew that his honor depended on God and his own obedience to Him.

In the end, Samson placed his final willful act of trust in Him. He poured out his hearts to him, and found God to be his final refuge. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

“Christian Perfection”

Oswald Chambers: “Christian Perfection” (Dec. 2)

Proverbs 20:1-7 Psalm 100

Philippians 3:12-21 God is pulling us through our life and struggles. Our cooperation with His will is seen in our struggle to follow him obediently. God holds us accountable for the truth we know today. Beware of wolves who masquerade as sheep, their lives are plain to see and their motivations can well be discerned. Our duty is to follow Christ. Leave the changing of ourselves and others to Him. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017



1 Peter 4:12-5:11 Suffering comes about in a variety of ways. We suffer as a result of our past actions, sins, addictions and choices. We suffer for being a Christian, living as God calls us to live for Him. Suffering because of ourselves is to be replaced with Godly suffering. As Christians, we will suffer from resentment by others for our steadfastness to the truth. Our nature and life of faith, love, patience will be resented by the less faithful and the unfaithful alike. But doing good as a Shepherd means we accept this reality of the Christian way of life. We go ahead anyway living as servants, examples, reminders, submissive, humble, not self-seeking, alert and in love. 

Friday, January 20, 2017



Proverbs 29:24-25

The accomplice fears _________.
He goes along with others to gain their _______________.
The accomplice fears men more than he fears _______.
Trust in God overcomes the _______ _____ ________.
We are our own worse enemy when we do not __________ God.

Psalm 141:3-5

Human sin invites us to partner with other’s in _______ actions.
The words we speak reflect what lies within our __________. God’s people are put in our lives to remind us of how we should relate to _________ and to _________ __________.

2 Thessalonians 3:6-5

The type of people you need to stay away from are:
_______________ and ____________________
Living in community or with another person your relationship should not be a ____________ to the other person.
If you live in community according to God’s standards you will become what to others: _____ _____________
If a man will not __________, he shall not __________.
You should never get tired or frustrated when you do what is ___________.

Those who are disobedient should be ___________, and made to feel ___________ about their behavior. They should be __________ by you. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Learning To Be Content

Learning To Be Content
Philippians 4:10-13

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,
whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
The Apostle Paul has arrived at a specific state of mind.
He has gotten there in a specific way.

Contentment: A Specific State of Mind

The Way To Contentment:

Principles For Learning The Way To Contentment
Ecclesiastes 1:3-9 __________________________________
James 1:17 ___________________________________
Matthew 10:29-30 ___________________________________
Romans 8:28 ___________________________________
Titus 3:4 ___________________________________
2 Corinthians 12:9 ___________________________________

Romans 8:18 ___________________________________

Wednesday, January 18, 2017



1 Thessalonians 5:12- 18 Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

The early church at Thessalonica was anxiously awaiting the return of Christ. Jesus had promised to return to take his people with Him to be with God the Father. Look outs were placed around the town. People talked much about Jesus’ teachings. They wondered from which direction he would come. Would it be out of the clouds as he had left them? Or maybe he would show up walking down the road. The people were preoccupied with his return. They ignored they leaders. They stopped working. They ignored the needs of themselves and others. Life was placed on hold.

The world has changed since those early days of the church. In fact life has really taken a 360 degree turn. We are preoccupied today, but with different things. People waste their days with leisure activities. They chase after happiness and comfort from short-lived pleasures like money, food and sex. The world has lost focus of Christ. The poor get poorer. The sick get sicker. The large percentage of the world today remains in poverty while the rich and comfortable few occupy every minute of their lives with selfish pursuits. The world has not really changed all that much.

God calls us back to the responsibilities of peaceful Christian living. We are not to be idle in play but are to work in order to provide for our family and our church family. We are to remain focused on Christ. But all this is to be done with the proper balance and focus. We are to listen to the spiritual leaders God has placed over us. We are to serve one another in love. We are to encourage the timid and help the weak. And most importantly, we are to always joyfully pray, giving thanks in all circumstances to our God.

Prayer: Help me to look beyond my needs towards the needs of others. Help me to pray that your will might be fulfilled in their lives and that together we may live at peace as you desire. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017



Romans 4:18-25 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be." Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead--since he was about a hundred years old--and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why "it was credited to him as righteousness."

Hope gives us a vision of the future as God has promised. The obedience that pleases God does not come before faith in God. If it had, Abraham would have needed the Law of Moses to have known how to act and find favor with God. The promise of God was spoken first to Abraham. The promise would be received by Him after faith was lived out. Abraham placed his vision for his future and the future of his family in the promise spoken by God. It was a promise of provision, plenty, a home and blessings for all who came in contact with Abraham. Despite the overwhelming circumstances of his life, he did not doubt God’s promise, God’s word.

Abraham believed. He knew God. He believed God was powerful enough and gracious enough to bring about what He had promised to Abraham. God’s ability and power were sufficient reason for Abraham to place his hopes in God. He believed God could provide.

In faith Abraham lived. He ordered his life in hope around the vision God gave him of the promise for the future. Believing God was able to provide, Abraham faithfully listened and followed God’s direction. Abraham believed that his hopes were being fulfilled by God so he lived in faithful anticipation of realizing all the goodness that God had promised.

This way of thinking and living was pleasing to God. It shows the righteousness that God seeks in His people. Hope, Belief and Faith are the elements of a life that is justified before our God.

Prayer: Establish in me hope for the vision of your will for my life. Sustain my believing heart that I might live my life with faith in the promises you have given through my Savior. 

Monday, January 16, 2017



Genesis 4:2-7 Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."

TURN TO GOD: Do not ignore the reality of His existence in your life.
Proverbs 8:12-21 I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.

DON’T CHEAT GOD: Don’t take him for granted, give Him his due.

GIVE GOD YOUR BEST: Give to God first, not as an after-thought.

DO WHAT IS RIGHT: God blesses and rewards those who do good.

EXPECT GOD’S REWARD: God grants greater faith and peace a reward.
Psalm 37:1-6 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you
the desires of your heart.

Sunday, January 15, 2017



1. The “Perfect Appearance” Trap: Romans 5:8
The better your appearance the more accepting people will be.
You must look a certain way to fit in and feel a part of the group.
Certain levels of wealth must be maintained to be accepted.
Love is conditionally granted based on your appearance.

2. The “Perfect Performance” Trap: John 6:28-29
Perfection in what we do are needed to not feel as if we are failures.
Best efforts are never enough.
People internalize the failures of others as a reflection on them.

3. The “Perfect Status” Trap: Galatians 3:26-29
“Keeping Up With The Jones’”
Associating with only one specific group of people.

Why is living the “Perfect Trap” futile?
1. ________________________________________
2. ________________________________________
3. ________________________________________
4. ________________________________________

Saturday, January 14, 2017



Working at Waste Management on the annual budget I experienced a dramatic failure. After hours of work with four other staff we lost all our work on the computer when I tripped and kicked the power cord out of the wall. The computers went dark. The darkness of the moment overwhelmed me. I felt a tremendous flood of failure overwhelm me. I felt I let others down. I felt all our efforts were wasted. I felt incompetent. I believed the angry words voiced at me by the group. I acknowledged their “stinkin’ thinkin’” to myself. I had let my ability to produce determine my self worth.

What led up to that moment in my life were years of learning how to value others and be valued by what I do. Simple inabilities were shown to be defects in by ability to do anything. Simple misunderstandings were taught to me as deficiencies in by knowledge or ability to learn. If could not measure up to the impossible standards of others, then I believed I was of no value or worth to others or myself.

Causes of low Self-Worth include:
Neglect: Children are taught the wrong things by the actions of neglecting adults.
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5
Failures: Was Moses a failure?
Failure is something we do, it is not something we are.
“I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 

Friday, January 13, 2017



Luke 13:1-5 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them--do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."

Life is a fragile possession. What awaits us in the minutes, hours, days or weeks ahead is a mystery. This very moment you are reading these words. By God’s grace you can reflect on his gift of life to you. Death awaits each of us. This world will soon pass. The world and life ahead is as real as these pages. But what is it that God requires of us to know the meaning of life and death? What is the pivot point on which our life is balanced? Repentance is God‘s answer. Unless we recognize life as He has given it, we can never fully enjoy this life or the life to come. As a people in need of deliverance from sin, repentance begins our new life with God. 

The Pivot Between Life And Death is our repenting of our sinful life and turning back to God. It is coming to terms with our own mortality. It is coming to terms with the fragile nature of our every step and breath. Can we see or control our future? Is it within our ability to really determine our own destiny? Many questions with just one answer.

Life is more than breathing air and going about the plans of our heart. Life is knowing God in Christ and living with him and for him. Life continues after the curtain of death is lowered. Repentance enables life to begin now and continue after the curtain has dropped. Death can be now and forever, too. But God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him will not perish, but will have life and eternal life. Praise God for the opportunity to know Him. Praise God for the opportunity to repent.

Prayer: Lord, forgive my ignorance in thinking I can live life without you. Forgive my desire to live as an island to myself. Call me back to you that you might be glorified in and through my life to the glory of my Savior. Amen. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017



John 11:1-45 Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me." When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go." Therefore many of the Jews who ... had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him.

The power of God is now and has always been the power to raise us from the dead. Period. It is not about us. It is about God. Our only role is to stick our feet straight up in the air and admit that without God we might as well be put to bed with a shovel. Now that is a message that can empty a church out fast.

This story is not about Lazarus, Mary, Martha or the crowds. This story is not even about you and I. The story is about God. This event is given to shake us awake from disbelief. This and other Scripture events are spiritual darts designed to puncture our self-centered understandings about the world, ourselves and about God. This story goes beyond the realm of physical death. It is not merely given to reveal the power of God in Jesus Christ. The story is designed to reflect the glorification of God by an individual’s belief in Jesus Christ’s power to overcome even death.

Death is disbelieving. Disbelief is the reality of spiritual death. It is disbelief in God that must be overcome. Death is merely another obstacle to our faith in God. The people attending the funeral were absorbed with the circumstances of Lazarus’ death. They saw their faith in Jesus conquered by his death. But, this story transcends the circumstances of his death. Jesus himself says that Lazarus’ death was designed to show God’s glory, overcome disbelief and bring faith in Himself.
Remember, Lazarus came out!

Prayer: Lord I will remember that Lazarus came out of the tomb. He was raised from the dead by you. I will live by nurturing my faith in you! Bless me with more faith. Amen.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

God’s Grace

God's Grace

 Romans 5:6-8 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church.... Cheap grace means grace as a doctrine, a principle, a system. It means forgiveness of sins proclaimed as a general truth, the love of God taught as the Christian “conception” of God. An intellectual assent to that idea is held to be of itself sufficient to secure remission of sins.

Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner.... Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves.... Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which cause him to stumble, it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.... Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.... Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ.... Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son...and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us.

Prayer: In this life I will never fully understand the value of your love for me. Thank you for giving of yourself to save me from the penalty of my sins. Help me to live each day in the richness of your loving gift of Jesus, my Savior. Amen. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017



Isaiah 9:2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

Recently you were stopped at the red light of an intersection. You saw a man who was sitting on the street corner with a sign: Will Work For Food. He was not an unusual sight for you. You have passed that intersection often and had seen others with similar signs.

This night you found yourself staring at the man. He was about your height with a wrinkled and weathered face, slick hair, dirty clothes and a ragged overall appearance. For a moment you put yourself in his shoes. You thought what it would be like to sit there hour after hour, without sufficient supply for your life. You imagined looking at people in there cars who refused to look you in the eye or who stared at you blankly. Your tried to imagine what it would feel like to sit there hungry, without work or money, without someone to care enough for you to take you in or offer help. What does it feel like to be empty inside, without accomplishments or purpose, without direction or future, perhaps with an addiction to alcohol or drugs? You wonder what it would be like to sit there in the early evening and gaze at a well dressed family on their way to a place where they were wanted, needed and loved. How would you feel being ignored by such a family and other people?

Was he looking for a handout to by a bottle of liquor? Perhaps. Was he looking for money so he did not have to work? Maybe. Was he looking for help in the only way he knew? You don’t know. The light changed. You drove away. He was still sitting in the dark.

Prayer: Lord God, give me the desire to stop and reach out to those around me lost in the darkness of their lives, to those lost in sin, hopelessness and sorrow. May the light you have give me be a light for them to see You. Amen.

Monday, January 9, 2017



Ezekiel 33:10-11 "Son of man, say to the house of Israel, `This is what you are saying: "Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?" ' Say to them, `As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?'

“In the days of the Old Testament prophets, as well as now, there were people so foolish as to say, “God is too good to send anyone to hell.” The prophet Ezekiel was quick to emphasize that God had no pleasure in the death of the wicked. God longs for men to turn from their evil ways and to live. A discerning prophet of a loving God never gives people the impression that God hates sinners. God loves sinners with an undying love; it is death-dealing sin which God hates with a fierceness born of his righteous love.”

Hell is proof that God hates sin. Those who persist in sinfulness will receive what God has ordained for sin and sinners. Separation from God’s presence for all eternity. It was Satan who challenged God’s position and authority when he tempted Eve. Century after century people continue to listen to Satan rather than God or his prophets.

Jesus Christ is proof that God loves sinners. Allowing him entry into our hearts and lives brings an end to the rule of Satan and sin in us. Yet, people still reject His offer of salvation. Instead of life, people choose careers, people, wealth, drugs, pleasure, knowledge, fame or power. In themselves, these activities may not be sinful. But allowing them to replace God is sinful. It is this willful choice on a sinners part that leaves them without hope, still lost in sin and apart from God. What is getting in the way of your continued devotion and faith in God?

Prayer: The reality of hell is difficult for many to accept. Father help mankind understand not only the punishment that awaits the unrepentant but the love and grace that awaits those who turn from their sins and embrace your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Sunday, January 8, 2017



Psalm 42:1-5 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. 

When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, "Where is your God?" These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

“Thirst for God. We know the body’s thirst when there is no water; we know the thirst of our passion for life and good fortune. Do we know also the soul’s thirst for God? A God who is only an ideal can never still this thirst. Our soul thirsts for the living God, the God and Source of all true life. When will God quench our thirst? When will we come to appear before his presence: To be with God is the goal of all life and is itself eternal life. We are in God’s presence with Jesus Christ, the crucified. If we have found God’s presence here, then we thirst to enjoy it completely in eternity.” 

Restless we are all the days of our lives. Because of our sin nature, we can never be fully satisfied in this life. Yes, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit but we still retain the blemish of sin in our nature. This blemish keeps us longing for full recovery from sin. We hunger and thirst after God. We seek comfort in his fellowship. Life’s journey is an up and down journey. It is because of our incompleteness in our human condition that keeps us thirsting after God until the day we can be fulfilled in His kingdom.

Knowing the spiritual restlessness that remains will help us continue to fight for the day of our complete healing in heaven. Each day this side of glory is a battle to be encouraged and faithful to the God who provides true refreshment and food.

Prayer: Heavenly Father help me to thirst for you. Help me to see the spiritual need that lives within me. May your spirit enlighten my will to seek the quenching power of your living water, Jesus Christ. May my thirst always be for him and not for this world. Amen.

Saturday, January 7, 2017



“Parable of the Workers for the Vineyard”

Matthew 20:8-16 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. `These men who were hired last worked only one hour,' they said, `and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.' "But he answered one of them, `Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?' "So the last will be first, and the first will be last."

The mother asked the class, "who hasn't received an invite to my daughter's Birthday party yet?" One girl in the back of the class raises her hand. The mother walks over and gives her an invitation to the party being held the next day. The little girl was overjoyed to be going to the party.
If this had been an adult the reaction probably would have been different. Questions would have come to mind. Why was I not asked earlier? An attitude of offense would have prompted them not to attend. They could have seen the gesture as an affront to their worthiness. They would have been mad. Unlike the child who was happy to have been invited at all, the adult is upset over not being asked first.

God invites his people at different times. Some are invited after many trials, after many years. Often they are seen as less worthy than those who have been in the fold for years. Many remain questionable converts because of their lateness. Our renewal timetable governs our response to them. Refusing to see them as God’s little children and we show ourselves to be carbon copies of the day-long workers in the vineyard.

Prayer: Father, help me to see in others what you see. Help me to embrace new believers as you have embraced them. Do not allow me to be blinded by my own position, but rather help me to see them as children invited into your kingdom party for your glory. Amen.

Friday, January 6, 2017



Matthew 14:25-33 "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.

"The local sheriff had decided to tighten the requirements for deputies. So the deputies gathered to try their hand at hitting the target at the increased distance. Each man had 18 seconds to get off 12 shots. The best shot in the area...had been fitted with his first pair of trifocal glasses. Suddenly, as he told me later, 'I began to perspire...There I was with a bead drawn on the target and all I could see was fog. Then I remembered what our old navy instructor had taught us: "If you ever lose sight of the target, just remember your position." ‘So,' my friend said, 'I just held my position and pulled the trigger...When I took off my glasses and wiped them, I saw that I had hit the bulls-eye every time.'
There are times when, for some reason, we lose sight of our target-which is to glorify our Lord. The world is too much with us. Tears blur our vision. Unexplained tragedy raises questions that cannot be answered and shakes our faith to its foundations. Then we remember our position, for a Christian's position is "in Christ." Though we may not see the target through the fog, if we just "remember our position", we won't miss."

Our focus at all times and in all places is to be on Jesus Christ. How would he respond? What would he say or do? In faith we can step out and live as he has told us to live. Without that focus we will flounder. We will hesitate and doubt. But with the proper focus we “can do everything through him who gives [us] strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

Prayer: Jesus, enable me to remain focused on you. Do not let me be distracted by unbelievers of this world who neither know you nor believe that you exist. Make yourself my all in all. Amen.

Thursday, January 5, 2017



Deuteronomy 7:6 The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.

All the heavenly bodies throughout the universe are unique in their own right. They have been created to reflect their makers glory, power and wisdom. The suns exist to reflect light. The moons rotate around the planets they are matched to. The planets, themselves, are each unique in relationship to the sun they orbit. The planet Mercury is unique in it's high surface temperature, being closest to the sun. Saturn is unique for having rings that reach completely around it's surface. And Pluto, being furthest from the sun, is covered with ice and other frozen elements. Then their is Earth. It's creator chose it out of all the heavenly bodies to be unique. This planet alone was created to sustain life.

Christians are unique in the universe of humanity. We are a chosen people for God’s glory. We have been indwelt by the Holy Spirit to shine forth in a unique way. As reflectors of God’s glory, we are recreated to bring His light into the darkest corners of the human race.
God’s infinite love is the source of our light in this world. God loves his people so much that He gave his only Son to save us from the corruption and darkness launched by sin. We no longer walk in darkness, fear, doubt or uncertainty. Christ has shed the true light on our human condition. We see now that our struggles are with sin, with spiritual forces that swirl around us. No longer do we need to fear the next sunrise. Nothing in life is uncertain knowing that an infinitely powerful and knowing God is watching over our every step. God is protecting and guiding us. We may see troubling sights or encounter dangerous people, but doubting God’s presence is no longer an alternative. In faith we are certain that God is sustaining, guiding and leading us through this world.
With such encouragement and faith we can be the true reflectors of hope and love for a darkened humanity.

Prayer: Make me a bright vessel of your grace and love. May my walk with you bring the light of hope to others. Be pleased with my life. May your glory shine through me this day. Amen.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017



Acts 7:54-60 Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." ...While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.

An evangelist said: "A little girl of eight years was sent on an errand by her parents. While on her way, she was attracted by the singing of a gospel meeting in the open air, and drew near. The conductor of the meeting was so struck with the child's earnestness that he spoke to her, and told her about Jesus. She being the child of Roman Catholics did not know much about Him, but the gentleman told her of His love to her. On returning home her father asked her what had detained her. She told him, and he cruelly beat her, forbidding her to go to any such meeting again. About a fortnight afterwards, she was so taken up with what she had previously heard of Jesus, that she forgot all about her message. She saw the same gentleman, who again told her more about the Savior. On her return home, she again told her father, as before, where she had been and that she had not brought what she had been sent for, but that she had brought Jesus. Her father was enraged, and kicked the poor little creature until the blood came. She never recovered from this brutal treatment. Just before she breathed her last, she called her mother and said: 'Mother, I have been praying to Jesus to save you and father.' Then pointing to her little dress, she said: 'Mother, cut me a bit out of the bloodstained piece of my dress.' The mother, wondering, did so. 'Now', said the dying child, 'Christ shed His blood for my sake, and I am going to take this to Jesus to show Him that I shed my blood for His sake.' Thus she died, holding firmly the piece of her dress, stained with her own blood. The testimony of that dear child was the means of leading both father and mother to Christ. iv

Prayer: May my life and death reflect a faith in you that no one could deny. Let your blood cleanse me of fear and doubt. May it strengthen me to withstand whatever this unbelieving world brings my way. Amen. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017



1 Peter 2:11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.

"I've always felt like an alien myself. In fact, I often think of myself as an outsider in my own life." Words of actor John Lithgow after receiving an Emmy Award for his role of a visitor from outer space in the television comedy 3rd Rock From The Sun.

You know the feeling. At a gathering of people, a colorful joke is made and everyone begins laughing. Everyone but you. You feel awkward. You don’t understand what is so funny. The humor is lost in your mind. Maybe you understand their laughter but refuse to join in. You ask yourself why are they laughing at someone’s misfortune. Welcome to the “alienness” of the Christian life. There will be more times of such awkwardness.

I walked into the service garage to pick up my car. The mechanics were huddled together around a car. As I approached from a distance, I could hear an occasional curse word and laughter as one man was telling an apparently funny tale. As I got closer one of the men, he knew me as a Christian, looked up and saw me. He turned to the others. Their laughter and conversation abruptly stopped. They straightened up and welcomed me. What caused them to change their behavior and stop their discussion? The presence of an alien reminded them of our differences. It brought to their mind the differences between themselves and me. This alien did not laugh at their jokes, spoke a different language and was friendly to all. The alien was different then them. Not wanting to offend, they stopped for a moment in order to get the alien on his way again. As I talked to the mechanic in charge of my repair the others stood there watching in silence. After thanking him and paying the bill I turned to leave. In silence they watched me walk away and get into my car. As I drove away I noticed that they had turned away and had returned to their loud and boisterous discussion. Their world had been interrupted. But now, the alien was gone.

Prayer: In the image of Christ, remake me. May I appear to the world as an alien, an outsider that looks acts and loves not as they do, but as does Christ? Amen. 

Ministry Scenes

Have The Homeless Become Invisible?