Monday, October 10, 2011


When God Interrupts:
Finding New Life Through Unwanted Change
M. Craig Barnes
Downers, Grove, IL:InterVarsity Press, 1996.
160 pp.

“But pastor, we have always done it this way.”

“We don't want to change the order of the worship service.”

“Nobody wants hardwood floors; we prefer carpeting.”

Many pastors can relate to these objections by church members when new ideas are presented. Most people get annoyed or angry when there is any interruption to the normal flow of life. We are creatures of habit and routine. We dislike, and even dread, changes that disrupt our lives.

Something as minor as an interruption in a conversation annoys us. The TV program that we are watching is interrupted by a commercial. Our sleep gets disturbed by a baby's cry or the dog barking next door. As annoying as they are, we deal with these interruptions as a part of life.

Recently, a friend and co-worker told me that his wife wants to move to another city, but he refuses to even consider it. He loves where they live now. He's comfortable, and he doesn't want his life to be interrupted by such a huge change. (I told him that if his wife wants to move, he'll be moving. And he is.)

When God interrupts, it can sometimes bring fear into our hearts, because we don't know what He wants and what is going to happen next, and that is frightening. We can become too happy and comfortable and then when God shows up, we sometimes fear the worst. “I hope that he doesn't want me to leave this church, I'm comfortable here.” “I don't want to move from this city, I love living here.” We don't want to be interrupted, especially by God.

People do not like change, especially when things are going well. As Christians, we are quite comfortable within the stained glass windows of the church. It's our comfort zone and we don't want to be disturbed.

We don't want to go to Nineveh. We would rather not leave the familiarity of the desert to go back to Egypt to rescue God's people. We don't want to sell all that we have and give the money to the poor. And we certainly don't want to go to the cross to die to sin and self.

I like what Christian author and apologist C.S. Lewis said about the Lord bringing change to our lives. "We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be."

I first read When God Interrupts when it came out in 1996. I've read it closely and have underlined and made notes on the pages. When I browsed through it as I was writing this blog, I was blessed even more than when I read it the first time. The words on the pages leaped out at me, as they sometimes do when reading the Bible.

During the first reading of this book, the Lord had already interrupted my life and brought about changes, many unwanted. But I learned that as I follow the Lord, not knowing where I'm going, it's best to trust and obey. You come to realize that He knows where He is taking you and it's to a better place than where you are now. As C.S. Lewis wrote, "There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind."

Yes, there is uncertainty along the way. The doubts do creep in. Fear rears its ugly head. There is more darkness then there is light. But, you keep going. It can be compared to a wilderness experience or in the words of St. John of the Cross, it's the dark night of the soul, where things are obscure. We may even feel that the journey is taking us through hell itself. But, as Sir Winston Churchill said, “If you are going through hell, keep going.”

With the interruptions and changes that the Lord brings we have three choices: we can turn back (and miss God), stand still (not progressing in our walk),or go forward in faith.

The Rev. Dr. M. Craig Barnes is pastor and head of staff of Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, PA, and is a professor at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
He is the author of several popular books, including Searching for Home: Spirituality for Restless Souls (Brazos Press, 2006), Sacred Thirst: Finding God in the Desert of our Longings (Zondervan 2001) and Hustling God: Why We Work So Hard for What God Wants to Give (Zondervan 1999).

Here are some excepts from his book When God Interrupts that I have found especially encouraging.

...grace often comes in severe ways. We really don't have to seek abandonment. It finds us easily enough. Usually it comes as God's uninvited angel with the announcement of “good news” that we are about to lose our lives. (p.18)

To follow Jesus is to enter the lifelong process of discovering more about God than we know, discovering that “my ways are not your ways,” discovering that we have been worshiping not God but an expectation of God. Nothing makes it harder to see God than our expectations of him. (p.30)

It is impossible to follow Jesus and not be led away from something. (p.21)

Life as they knew it was over. In its place they were given not just a new life, but a new purpose to life. (p.22)

...he takes them to a place they would rather not go and gives them a vocation that changes everything. (p. 27-28)

...conversion is the lifelong process of turning away from our plans and turning toward God's maddening, disruptive creativity. (p.28)

I believe that this book will be a blessing and an encouragement to you as you “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) Amen!

Monday, August 8, 2011



The Wounded Healer
Henri J.M. Nouwen
New York:Image, 1972.
100 pp.

The Wounded Healer, by the Dutch priest Henri Nouwen (1932-1996), has been a great source of inspiration for me in the ministry of Restoration and Encouragement.

This slim book is for all believers who desire to minister to the body of Christ, “but who find the familiar ways crumbling and themselves stripped of their traditional protections.” (from the introduction)

The front cover reads “In our own woundedness, we can become a source of life for others.” This almost appears to be a contradiction in terms. Woundedness and life don't seem to fit in the same sentence in a positive way. But Nouwen shows otherwise throughout the book.

...the minister is called to recognize the sufferings of his time in his own heart and make that recognition the starting point of his service...his service will not be perceived as authentic unless it comes from a heart wounded by the suffering about which he speaks...nothing can be written about ministry without a deeper understanding of the ways in which the minister can make his own wounds available as a source of healing.(p.xvi)

The body of Christ has had so many wounds inflicted on them in one way or another, and through these wounds we can be a source of strength to our brothers and sisters in the faith. Our suffering and wounds have a purpose in them. As Paul wrote to the church at Corinth:

Just as we have a share in Christ's many sufferings, so also through Christ we share in God's great help. If we suffer, it is for your help and salvation; if we are helped, then you too are helped and given the strength to endure with patience the same sufferings that we also endure. So our hope in you is never shaken; we know that just as you share in our sufferings, you also share in the help we receive.
2 Corinthians 1:5-7

Nouwen writes:

But what are our wounds? They may have been spoken about in many ways by many voices. Words such as "alienation," "separation," "isolation," and "loneliness" have been used as the names of are wounded condition. Maybe the word loneliness best expresses our immediate experience and therefore most fittingly enables us to understand our brokenness.(p.83)

Walking with Lord for so many years, I have come to see that you can't take someone somewhere unless you have been there yourself. It would be of no help to you if I tried to soothe your wounds if I have no wounds of my own. Nouwen makes this very clear, “Who can take away suffering without entering it? The great illusion of leadership is to think that man can be led out of the desert by someone who has never been there...we have forgotten that no God can save us except a suffering God, and that no man can lead his people except the man who is crushed by its sins.”(p.72-73)

As a pastor of restoration and encouragement, I like what Nouwen says about the one who desires to show compassion to the wounded (Compassion a title of one of his many books), that person must "not be'up there' far away or secretly hidden from people, but in the midst of his people, with the utmost visibility."(p.40) (Which is where the Lord ministered). This brought to mind the saying that shepherds need to smell like sheep. Mingling with them, rejoicing with those that rejoice, laughing with those filled with joy, and crying with those who are grieving.

Compassion is something that all who desire to restore, encourage, and minister must possess if we truly want to help people. Compassion is a virtue that, for the most part, is missing in the body of Christ. To have compassion is to be Christ-like.

One cannot help but be moved by Nouwen's writings. They will have an effect on you that will inspire you to be more like Jesus, ministering in love and compassion, not ashamed of your wounds, but using them as instruments of healing.

For more about Henri Nouwen and his ministry and books visit


City streets, country roads, and highways are lined with many signs telling us to stop, yield, and slow down. Signs warn us that we are approaching railroad tracks, dangerous curves, and hidden driveways. Others are demanding: “Keep Out!” “No Trespassing!” Some convey a message with a warning: “Police Take Notice!” “Proceed at your own risk!”

A sign outside the controversial military base known as Area 51 reads, “Use of Deadly Force is Authorized.”

Some signs are ignored by people. We drive down one-way streets, pretend that we didn't see that stop sign, and risk our lives driving above the speed limit.

In our travels, we need to obey the local and state police, and in some cases the U.S. Military. They have the power and authority to ticket, arrest, and even, as noted above, shoot at us. The authorities tell us and enforce what we can or cannot do as we drive on the streets and highways of America.

Many of these signs, of course, are for our safety and well-being. They can save lives and prevent injuries, if we obey them. Ignoring them can bring harm to us and others.

The Lord, however, levies no restrictions as far as entering into a certain place. A place far greater than any place on earth, or the universe, for that matter. The Holy of Holies! Where the Lord is high and lifted up! The Lord God invites us to come to the throne of grace! There we will find grace, mercy, and help in our time our need.

We have seen TV programs or movies where someone will post a sign that reads “Detour:Road Work Up Ahead” even though there is no work taking place. It was done to trick and deceive someone to travel where their enemy can do them harm.

The enemy of our souls is like that. The deceiver posts signs so that we can take a detour off the road heading to the throne of God. “Turn Back, God is Angry With You!” “Road To God Is Closed Up Ahead!” “Danger:Bridge That Leads To Jesus Is Out!”

These signs posted by the devil are to be ignored and we must continue ahead on the straight and narrow road that leads to life in Jesus Christ our Lord!

There are no warning or threatening signs to scare us away as we proceed to the throne of grace. There are no signs that say “Do Not Enter, This Means You Sinner” or “Proceed At Your Own Risk, Loser” or “Keep Out, Archangels Take Notice.”

Under the old covenant, a person could not personally come into God's presence.

If a person had sinned, he or she could not go before the Lord and confess and be forgiven. The guilty one needed to go to the High Priest.

However, under the New Covenant, which is established on better promises (Hebrews 8), even though guilty of sin, a child of God can humbly and boldly (with confidence) enter into His presence. There is no need for an intercessor, for Jesus now intercedes on our behalf.

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5 (NIV) Hebrews 7:25 tells us that Jesus, our High Priest, is always interceding for his people.

Unlike the High Priests, who entered the Most Holy Place year after year with blood that is not their own (Hebrews 9:25), Jesus, our High Priest, entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood thus obtaining eternal redemption for us (Hebrews 9:12).

Hebrews 9:9 also tells us that these gifts and offerings by the High Priests were not able to clear the consciences of the worshipers. So matter how hard we try and what good works we perform, they will not take away our sins. It's only through Jesus' shed blood—nothing else.

I want to encourage you that in your time of need go boldly and directly to the throne of grace. There the Lord waits to receive us and embrace us because we belong to Him, and nobody and nothing can separate us from His eternal love!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


My uncle Joe was an accomplished painter. His specialty was portraits and his work was so lifelike, so much so that a woman in one of his paintings used to frighten me as a child. (That same painting now hangs in our living room. Here is the painting).

When he passed several years ago, I was blessed by my aunt who gave me most of his paintings. Because most of his work was from the 1940s and 50s, some of the original frames needed to be replaced and some minor work needed to be done.

I took them to a local frame shop, and on one occasion the owner of the store happened to be there to view the paintings. He commented that my uncle's work was museum quality, but because he was unknown and probably lacked sufficient funds, a museum would have rejected his work.

Out of all the paintings that I have (mostly my uncle's) if it came down to keeping only one, I would choose the one depicting Annisquam(Massachusetts) Lighthouse that my wife Judy painted for me at the time we got engaged. (Here's Judy's painting).
There are two reasons for this. One, of course, is that my wife painted it for me, and two, because it portrays a lighthouse. Living in New England (God's country, :) ), just north of Boston on the coast is so much of a blessing. There are approximately 50 lighthouses in all of the 6 New England states. There is great beauty in these structures that jut up from the water with elegance and grace.

In addition to their sheer beauty, there is also a deeper significance to the lighthouse.

Lighthouses guided ships into the harbor during the night, and were particularly important when the weather was stormy or foggy. Many ships have gone down in the North Atlantic, but many were saved thanks to the light that shined in the darkness.

In the natural order of things, darkness turns into light, but in our world the darkness seems to be getting darker everyday. It seems that everyday, something takes place in our nation and the world which is an abomination in the eyes of a holy God. The words of the prophet Isaiah ring true, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness.” (5:20)

John 3:19 This is how the judgment works: the light has come into the world, but people love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil.20 Those who do evil things hate the light and will not come to the light, because they do not want their evil deeds to be shown up. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light in order that the light may show that what they did was in obedience to God.

The only way for the darkness to turn into light is acknowledging our sins, repenting of them, and allow the light of the world—Jesus—to shine brightly. “Jesus spoke to the Pharisees again. I am the light of the world he said. Whoever follows me will have the light of life and will never walk in darkness.” (John 8:12)

Before our Lord ascended into heaven, he commissioned his people to proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth. This is a great privilege and responsibility; one that we should not take lightly.

When we view the moon we are seeing light that is reflected from the sun. The moon has no light of its own. If the sun were to stop shining the moon would not be visible (even as it's not visible during a new moon and during a total solar eclipse).

In the same way we have no light of our own to shine into a dark world, but we reflect the light of Jesus. The light that we reflect is so bright, that Jesus also said that we are the light of the world. Imagine the darkness there would be if we refused to obey Jesus' command to evangelize and did not reflect His light. We are not to hide our light, but let it shine just as a city on a hill cannot be hid. (See Matthew 5:14-16). May Jesus' light, reflected by the church, bring Him all the glory and honor. And as this light shines, may many souls that He died for be delivered from darkness into the Kingdom of God.

Romans 13:12 “The night is nearly over, day is almost here. Let us stop doing the things that belong to the dark, and let us take up weapons for fighting in the light.”

Thursday, June 30, 2011


“Foolish people don't care if they sin.” Proverbs 14:9, GNB

“Sin and shame go together.” Proverbs 18:3, GNB

With its tolerance for adult entertainment, Las Vegas proudly bills itself as Sin City.

We are invited to come to Las Vegas to gamble, visit strip clubs, sleep around, spend money, and nobody has to know about it. It's OK because, as they say, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”

Outlaw motorcycle gangs boast that they are “Hell's Angels” and “The Devil's Diciples” (Their web page states that the founders intentionally misspelled disciple so as to distance themselves from religious affiliation).

In a city near my hometown, there is a motorcycle shop called “Sinful Threads,” which is an authorized retailer of “Sin City Cycles.”

Various kinds of candy and ice cream are called “sinful” delights.

The government raises revenue with the creation of a “sin” tax. defines sin tax as follows:
“To raise revenue for tight government budgets, legislators sometimes attempt to raise revenue by imposing unusually high excise taxes on cigarettes, liquor, gambling, and so on. This type of charge, often called a "sin tax," appeals to voters who view it as a way of discouraging consumption of certain objectionable products.” (Kind of amusing, commit sin and you get taxed for it).

The cover of a magazine that I purchased last year, shows an apple with a bite taken out of it engraved with the seven deadly sins. The cover read “Born to Sin—Science explains why it's good to be bad.”

The story begins by quoting Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death.” It continues with a question,“But what if Paul and his contemporaries got it wrong? What if the wages of sin is actually life? What if humans need to be led into temptation to survive? In universities around the world, scientists are beginning to realize that the seven deadly sins could well be necessary evils for evolution and human development.”

Hmm, I think that they are called “deadly” sins for a reason. And didn't Jesus teach us to pray “and lead us not into temptation?”

People have this idea that when sin, Satan, the devil or hell are mentioned it is supposed to be more fun and attractive. Men feel like men; rugged individuals. It's shocking to me that some women find a sinful lifestyle appealing!

Why the infatuation? I believe that it's because we are sinners by nature, and sinners are rebels. That might be the allure to do things that deep down we know we aren't suppose to do. It's forbidden. It's exotic.

Sin, which is pleasurable for a season, appeals to our sinful nature, and the flesh gets aroused. The lust of flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life excite us, and we have to have these things or partake in them or else we won't be satisfied. They fill a void in our lives that only the Lord can fill.

As we continue to rebel against the Lord and His commands and desire to go our own way, He gives us up to a reprobate mind. See Romans 1:18-32.

Sin is a serious matter. Sin is deadly. The wages of sin is death, not life! James writes,”...we are tempted when we are drawn away and trapped by our own evil desires. Then our evil desires conceive and give birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death (1:14,15, Good News Bible, emphasis added).

Spiritual death. Eternally separated from God.

We should never take sin lightly. Because he loves us so much, Jesus died for our sins. The Word says that God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21. We should never sin willfully or deliberately because we know that the Lord will forgive us (He will of course, but that is abusing grace). Once we realize that we have sinned, we need to ask the Lord to wash and cleanse us with His precious blood. For without His shed blood, there is no forgiveness for our sins.

There is nothing glamorous about sin. We should never envy those who are living in sin as though we are missing out on something.

When faced with a temptation to sin we must immediately look to the Lord so that we won't fall into sin. (Remember that temptation is not a sin. If we yield to temptation then we have sinned).

When tempted be encouraged by what the Word of God says.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (NIV)
Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (NIV)

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Have you ever sat in church and thought, “What a phony I am?”

The person next to you may have their hands raised and are fervently worshiping the Lord. The person on the other side of you may have their head down and are crying tears of joy. And you're thinking “What a phony I am!”

First, don't look at other people. You have your own walk to walk. You need to lay aside all discouragement and frustration. We should instead focus our thoughts on the Lord and worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.

If anything let the life of a believer be a challenge to you to go on with the Lord and grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18.

Second, look to the Lord. The Lord does not think that you are a phony. As His child, your worship is received just as the one who is praying fervently and the one who is crying before the Lord.

It doesn't matter to the Lord if your arms are outstretched, or if you are jumping up and down, or if you are prostrate on the floor in complete silence.

You might be feeling like a phony when worshiping because you are grieved by your sins. Grieving over our sins should bring us to the cross so that we can be forgiven and continue walking with the Lord.

You are not a phony! That word should have no place in the vocabulary of a believer. You are not a phony—you are a child of the living God and nothing and nobody can change that eternal truth!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"It is easier to preach ten sermons than it is to live one."


Proverbs 19:11 If you are sensible, you will control your temper. When someone wrongs you, it is a great virtue to ignore it.

Proverbs 20:30 Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways.

Monday, June 13, 2011



“Hello again. Peabody here. And this, of course, is my boy, Sherman.”

“Hi! Where are we going today, Mr. Peabody?”

“Sherman, set the wayback machine for...”

...and so begins another exciting episode of Peabody's Improbable History, which was a cartoon featured on the program Rocky and Bullwinkle.

The wayback machine was a time machine that allowed Peabody and Sherman to travel back in time to make certain events come to past as history records them, but in improbable ways.

People in general, and scientists in particular, have been intrigued with the thought of time travel. It boggles the mind thinking about journeying into the future or going back in time. I've done some fascinating reading on the subject and there are some scientists who believe that it's possible. If so, like the Tower of Babel, I wonder if the Lord would intervene and not allow it to happen.

Mark, a brother in Christ and my best friend and I tell people that we are working on a time machine in our lab. (We are also working on saving summer heat and humidity for the winter and saving the cold in winter for the summer. You should see the looks that we get)! When we talk about a time machine Mark and I say how great it would be to go back in time and right our wrongs and avoid committing sins that we regret. How wonderful that would be! The Lord's heart would not have been grieved, people would not have been hurt, and we would have a clear conscience and peace of mind.

Well, there is no time machine. If one ever gets built it probably won't happen in our lifetime. And as I noted above the Lord in His divine wisdom and sovereignty probably will not let it happen.

Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth said, “What's done, is done.” Whatever transpired in our lives, it's over, it happened, it's done. We can't go back and undo the wrong. We can't go back and “uncommit” the sins we committed.

The word of encouragement that I want to share with you is we don't have to go back in time and “make things” right. The Bible says that if we confess our sins the Lord is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9.

We can therefore stand in the presence of a holy God as though we never committed any sin at all! Someone said that God wipes the slate clean once we confess our sins. I don't think he even has a slate; he doesn't keep a list of the sins that we committed! That calls for some rejoicing in the Lord!

Be blessed by these passages from God's Word.

“As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our sins from us.”
Psalm 103:12 (Good News Bible)

“...I am the God who forgives your sins, and I do this because of who I am. I will not hold your sins against you.” Isaiah 43:25 (Good News Bible)

“You will be merciful to us once again. You will trample our sins underfoot and send them to the bottom of the sea!” Micah 7:19 (Good News Bible)

Sunday, June 5, 2011



On the last play of the game I faded back to pass. As I followed through with the pass, I felt intense pain in the pinky finger of my throwing hand. It wasn't a pretty sight when a took a look at my finger. I won't even try to describe it.

My poor little pinky was broken and my career was over. (This is where you are supposed to laugh).

Although I am right-handed and it was the pinky on my right hand that was broken, I didn't think too much about it. It's just a pinky, not my thumb or middle finger, so I won't be hindered too much, I thought. Was I ever wrong! It was difficult to write and I got the worse shaves ever because I couldn't hold a pen or pencil or a razor that well. I came to realize how important my pinky actually was!

My broken pinky brought to mind the word that Paul wrote to the church at Corinth.
“For the body itself is not made up of only one part, but of many parts. If the foot were to say, "Because I am not a hand, I don't belong to the body," that would not keep it from being a part of the body. And if the ear were to say, "Because I am not an eye, I don't belong to the body," that would not keep it from being a part of the body. If the whole body were just an eye, how could it hear? And if it were only an ear, how could it smell? As it is, however, God put every different part in the body just as he wanted it to be. There would not be a body if it were all only one part! As it is, there are many parts but one body. So then, the eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" Nor can the head say to the feet, "Well, I don't need you!" On the contrary, we cannot do without the parts of the body that seem to be weaker; and those parts that we think aren't worth very much are the ones which we treat with greater care; while the parts of the body which don't look very nice are treated with special modesty, which the more beautiful parts do not need. God himself has put the body together in such a way as to give greater honor to those parts that need it. And so there is no division in the body, but all its different parts have the same concern for one another. If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it; if one part is praised, all the other parts share its happiness. All of you are Christ's body, and each one is a part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:14-27

Every believer has been given gifts by our Lord that we should use for His glory and to bless others. Never downplay your significance in the body of Christ and use the gifts the Lord has blessed you with.

Bible commentators suggest that there are as many as 19 spiritual gifts that are mentioned in the New Testament, as recorded in Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:1-14, and Ephesians 4:11. I believe also that we have gifts given to us that are not mentioned in the Bible. For example, I have been told many times by both believers and unbelievers that I have a gift to make them laugh. I always tell them that it is a gift from God and it is one of the reasons why the Lord put me here on this earth. It thrills me when I make someone laugh or smile and I believe that the Lord is glorified.

That may be your gift too. If so, don't bury it, use it!

Many times the gifts that we receive from the Lord are set aside like a child does on Christmas morning. Much money is spent to bring happiness to a youngster and after opening their gifts you might find those young ones playing with empty boxes or wrapping paper.

If you know what your gifts are or when you find out what they are, use them for the glory of God and to bless others. Don't bury your gifts. Don't be playing with the boxes and wrapping paper when you can have great joy using what God has given you.

Regardless what your ministry is in the body of Christ, you are an important member of the church. You are needed. You may not be the pastor or a Sunday School teacher, but your prayers are needed and welcome. Your organizational gifts are a blessing to your church. Your gift to speak to strangers about the love of Jesus is a great gift; not everyone is able to talk to strangers. Perhaps you have a gift to teach children about the Lord or if you have the ability to touch the heart of an elderly person—use your gifts!

We were all put here on earth for a reason. All of us have been called by the Lord for a particular work. Let's use those gifts and talents that He has blessed us with to honor the Lord and advance His kingdom on earth.
Lord bless you as you serve the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords! Amen!

If you don't know what your gifts are ask the Lord to show you what they are. Surely He wants you to know what He has given you so that you will use it to glorify His name and bless others.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


On several different occasions Jesus used this phrase when speaking to the people. Once the Pharisees complained that the disciples were picking heads of wheat on the Sabbath. Jesus reminded them of the story when David and his men were hungry they went into the house of God and ate the bread that only the priests were allowed to eat.

Read the story in Matthew 12:1-8.

On another occasion, Jesus was asked by the Pharisees, who were trying to trap him, if the Law allowed a man to divorce his wife. Once again Jesus began His answer by asking if they had ever read the Scripture.

This story is found in Matthew 19:1-12.

Jesus also asked the question in Matthew 21:42 as He was teaching the parable of the tenants in the Vineyard, and again in Matthew 22:31 when He spoke to the people about the dead rising to life.

The Pharisees surely knew the Scriptures that Jesus was referring to. They had indeed read these Scriptures, and they were not ignorant as to what the Lord was saying.

With apologies to my homiletics professor, Samuel Hogan, (who taught us to never lift a text from a passage to preach a sermon), I would like to “lift” these words of Jesus (have you never read) to bring forth encouraging promises from the Lord's Word.

I'm sure that you are familiar with all or most of these passages, but perhaps a reminder is necessary. It certainly won't hurt us to see what the Word has to teach us. And it would be wise to look at these Scriptures and hide them in our hearts.

Be encouraged by what the Word of God has to say to you today. His Word is eternal and true. Don't let the devil or anyone rob you of the joy of the Lord's salvation.

May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ bless you as you study His Word. Amen!

If you are being tempted, have you never read 1 Corinthians 10:13 and Hebrews 4:15, 16? “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (NIV)
“...we have a High Priest who was tempted in every way that we are, but did not sin. Let us be brave, then, and approach God's throne, where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it.” (Good News Bible)

If you have sinned, have you never read 1 John 1:9? “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (NIV) See also Matthew 12:31.

If you are troubled by past sins, have you never read Psalm 103:12? “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our sins from us.” (Good News Bible)

If you have doubts about your salvation, have you never read John 5:24 and 1 John 5:11-13? “I am telling you the truth: whoever hears my words and believes in him who sent me has eternal life. He will not be judged, but has already passed from death to life.” (Good News Bible)

“The testimony is this: God has given us eternal life, and this life has its source in his Son. Whoever has the Son has this life: whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I am writing this to you so that you may know (italics mine) you have eternal life—you that believe in the Son of God. (Good News Bible)

If you are afraid of the future, have you never read Matthew 6:34, Matthew 28:20b, and Hebrews 13:5b? “So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.” (Good News Bible)

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)

“God has said, I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.” (Good News Bible)

If you are concerned that your prayers aren't being heard by the Lord have you never read 1 Peter 3:12 and Matthew 6:8b? “For the Lord watches over the righteous, and listens to their prayers.” (Good News Bible)

“Your Father already knows what you need before you ask him.” (Good News Bible)

If you have doubts about your faith in God have you never read Luke 17:5,6? “The apostles said to the Lord, 'Make our faith greater.' The Lord
answered, 'If you had faith as big as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, pull yourself up by the roots and plant yourself in the sea and it would obey you.'”

If you are feeling discouraged have you never read 2 Corinthians 4:14, 16, 17? “We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus to life, will also raise us up with Jesus and take us, together with you, into his presence...For this reason we never become discouraged...And this small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble.” (Good News Bible)

If you are feeling overwhelmed and are experiencing stress have you never read Matthew 11:28-30? “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (NIV)

If you are feeling useless and inferior have you never read 1 Peter 2:9,10? “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (NIV)

Thursday, February 10, 2011


John 12:44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. 47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

"To be loved by God, to be united to God, to live in the Presence of God, to live for God. Oh! how wonderful life is--and death!"
John Vianney


Matthew 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Friday, February 4, 2011

"I should like to bring the routine of my daily life before You, O Lord, to discuss the long days and tedious hours that are filled with everything else but You."
Karl Rahner


Romans 14:8 "If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living."

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Romans 8:23...we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Phil. 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Matthew 25
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Saturday, January 29, 2011


1 Kings 18:20
So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”

Friday, January 28, 2011


Daniel 7
9 “As I looked,
“thrones were set in place,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was as white as snow;
the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire,
and its wheels were all ablaze.
10 A river of fire was flowing,
coming out from before him.
Thousands upon thousands attended him;
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
The court was seated,
and the books were opened.

13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


“. . . there is an equally reliable, though less creditable, way of learning how temptation works. ‘My heart’—I need no other’s—showeth me the wickedness of the ungodly.’ ”
C. S. Lewis
The Screwtape Letters


1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Hebrews 13:5
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Isaiah 44
23 Sing for joy, you heavens, for the LORD has done this;
shout aloud, you earth beneath.
Burst into song, you mountains,
you forests and all your trees,
for the LORD has redeemed Jacob,
he displays his glory in Israel.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Jeremiah 17
7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
8 They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”

Sunday, January 23, 2011


2 Peter 1
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Psalm 34
15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
16 but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.

17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all;
20 he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.

21 Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
22 The LORD will rescue his servants;
no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Mark 9:22...Have mercy on us and help us, if you (Jesus) can. ”
23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Psalm 13
A psalm of David.

1 How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

3 Look on me and answer, LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
4 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the LORD’s praise,
for he has been good to me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Acts 1:9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”MARANATHA 2011!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Titus 1:15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They ar...e detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


It's Sunday morning and time for church!
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Maranatha! 2011 could be the year of the Lord's return! Are you ready?


The Word of the Lord says....
1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith.
Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
Why then do some teach that the enemy is "toothless" and powerless against us? If that were the case why should we be alert and resist him? Why should we put on the full armor of God?

Saturday, January 15, 2011


2 Corinthians 13:11
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

Friday, January 14, 2011


John 6:53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.Many Disciples Desert Jesus 60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Revelation 21
A New Heaven and a New Earth
1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Acts 8:34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Psalm 108
1 My heart, O God, is steadfast;
I will sing and make music with all my soul.
2 Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
3 I will praise you, LORD, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
4 For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Galatians 6:1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


"Live as though Christ died yesterday, rose from the grave today, and is coming back tomorrow."


1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Friday, January 7, 2011


1 Corinthians 9:16 For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Isaiah 1:16 Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong.
17 Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.

18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the good things of the land;
20 but if you resist and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword.”
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Genesis 18:13 Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”


"Before me, even as behind, God is, and all is well."
John Whittier

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.

Thank the Lord for godly wives who love the Lord!

Monday, January 3, 2011


Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. 4 The LORD works out everything to its proper end...5 The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. 6 Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the LORD evil is avoided.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


The poor broken-hearted sinner, going into his bedroom, bends his knee, but can only utter his mournful cry in the language of sighs and tears. Look! that groan has made all the harps of heaven thrill with music; that tear has been caught by God, and put into a vase made especially for tears, to be perpetually preserved.
C. H. Spurgeon


Romans 12:13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity? Our attitude toward it. Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity.

-J. Sidlow Baxter


Romans 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.