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  • Promise Keepers Is Improving Lives

    Promise Keepers Is Improving Lives "If you make a vow to the Lord your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the Lord your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin.  But if you refrain from making a vow, you will not be guilty.  Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the Lord your God with your own mouth" (Deuteronomy 23:21-23 NIV). In a world where regular church attendance seems to have taken a back seat to simply not being inconvenienced, it’s important...
  • Revival Starts With Your Heart

    Revival Starts With Your Heart "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land"  (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV). I once heard a pastor on the radio say that a great Christian revival will begin when everyone that attends church follows God’s word and tithes 10 percent to their church.  I thought to myself - yes, that would be a tremendous thing and the church universal could do great things with...
  • Dealing With Toxic People

    Dealing With Toxic People "Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character" (1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV). Many years ago as a college student I took a biology class, and we spent some time learning about toxicology.  I remember learning about the toxic threshold, which is the exposure level or dose of an agent above which toxicity or adverse health effects can occur. I recently listened to a radio show about “toxic” people on a local Christian station.  Clearly, exposure to these people is not lethal, but it is very problematic.  All of us can be toxic to others at times, and Christians are not...
  • The Biblical Roots Of Trust

    The Biblical Roots Of Trust Trust is an essential component to any relationship. Trust is essential for a relationship to move past a superficial level to a more intimate and personal basis. Our relationship with God is based on our trust that first, He lived and died for our sins and second, He has our best interests at heart and loves us unconditionally.The actual phrase “Jesus loves me,” cannot be found in the Bible but there are examples that support this fact. In John 13:34 Jesus said, “As I have loved you, you must love one another” and in John 15:9 He said, “As the Father has...
  • “Four Ways To Turn Father’s Day Into A Celebration Of The Selfless Service Men Do Daily”

    “Four Ways To Turn Father’s Day Into A Celebration Of The Selfless Service Men Do Daily” While we’d rather see more than one day per year dedicated to recognizing the fathers in all our lives, we’ll take one and seize upon it for now.With Father’s Day just around the corner, now’s the time to start planning the best ways to mark the occasion. From family outings to intimate sit-downs with like-minded family and friends, Father’s Day is a chance to show respect, appreciation and utmost gratitude for the sacrifices our fathers have made throughout their lives and ours to better our quality...
  • Opportunities Abound For Those Seeking Volunteer Roles With Christian Organizations

    Opportunities Abound For Those Seeking Volunteer Roles With Christian Organizations "The greatest among you will be your servant" (Matthew 23:11 NIV) Volunteer work should be seen as a hallmark of every good Christian’s character. Those who want to live a life in God’s good graces should feel compelled to help out their brothers and sisters around them. The next question then is how to get involved with a volunteer effort, as it’s often one of the only ways to accomplish the goodwill work that needs to be addressed in this world. Fortunately, there is no shortage of organizations that need volunteers. I would...
  • Finding Peace in Times of Adversity

    Finding Peace in Times of Adversity "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7 NIV ).We learn at a young age that there are two things certain in life - death and taxes.  I would add a third to that list:  adversity.  We all have experienced some form of adversity in our life from death of a family member, loss of a job, divorce, etc.  My first real experience with adversity was when I was 9 years old and my sister died in a car crash.  My Christian roots were shallow and so my coping skills...
  • A Joyful Life

    A Joyful Life "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10 NIV).Our society has achieved a point of technological advancement that was unthinkable a mere 10-20 years ago.  In the Western world, we have freedoms of speech and access to clean drinking water that are unheard of in other countries.   All of us, even those barely out of diapers, have smart phones.  However, many Americans are without joy and are seeking answers from pharmaceutical companies to the bottom of a beer bottle.  I...
  • What Is A “Real” Man?

    What Is A “Real” Man? I recently heard a term that caught my attention.  A friend commented on a movie actor that he liked because the actor is a “real man.” He plays tough-guy characters that don’t put up with any nonsense.    A segment of pop music encourages boys and men to be “real men” by selling drugs, killing rivals, and prostituting women.    Some TV sitcoms portray “real men” as clowns, grouchy, or unable to communicate with their family.   I reject all of these notions of a man and submit to you five characteristics of a real man:A real man honors...
  • Breaking Down the Components of Love

    Breaking Down the Components of Love Perhaps the most common scripture that is read at a wedding is from 1 Corinthians 13.  This is beautiful scripture that defines what is and what is not love and is a favorite of mine.I encourage you to read 13:4 and substitute your name for “love.”  Our goal in life should be to achieve the characteristics that are described in this scripture.  God is love and if we want to be closer to God we must show His love to the world.13:1-13:3 are very close to my heart.  I think far too often we focus...
  • The Purpose and Daily Use of Prayer

    Purpose And Proper Daily Use Of Prayer Perhaps one of the most intimate means available for us to communicate with God is through prayer. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, 55 percent of all Americans report that they pray each day. The same study also states that, at a rate of 14 percent, more American women pray daily compared to men. According to Todd Shupe however, a 55 percent would be a failing exam grade for us overall. That’s an F, folks. “I think many of us have a false perception of God.  We see God as Santa Claus and approach...
  • Evangelism Begins With Discernment

    Evangelism Begins With Discernment "Calling the Twelve to Him, He began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits"  (Mark 6:7 NIV) Evangelism is typically defined as the spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching or personal witness.  Many Christians are uncomfortable with active engagement in evangelism because they do not consider themselves a preacher and are too timid to engage in personal witness. The gift of evangelism is directly from Christ:  “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors, and teachers.”  (Ephesians 4:11).You may not be called to pastoral ministry...
  • A Christian Perspective on Marriage

    A Christian Perspective on Marriage "That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh"  (Genesis 2:24 NIV). At almost every marriage ceremony that I have attended, the words “What God has put together, let no man separate,” are often spoken by the pastor or person conducting the ceremony. Rings are also exchanged by the happy couple. The rings are essentially a circle which has no beginning or end and is therefore a symbol of infinity. It is endless and eternal -- just the way love should be. The wedding ring is worn on...
  • Forgiveness

    The Power of the Mind "Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times" (Matthew 18:22 NIV).It is inevitable that we will accidentally hurt someone’s feelings, often of those who are closest to us, and need to ask for their forgiveness. Sometimes they are forgiven and, unfortunately, sometimes not. But what happens when the person who hurt us does not seek our forgiveness? In either case, we have a decision to make:...
  • Understanding Love Through Reading Scripture

    Understanding Love Through Reading from the Scripture "So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love"(1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV).Perhaps the most common scripture that is read at a wedding is from 1 Corinthians 13. This is beautiful scripture that defines what is -- and what is not -- love.   This scripture reveals the deep and unbreakable love that God has for us.   Love is the heart of the Gospel because God is love.   When Jesus was asked to identify the greatest commandment in the Law, He responded, "Love the Lord your God with all...
  • Know Your Enemy

    Know Your Enemy "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms  (Ephesians 6:12 NIV). Coaches of all sports will study game film of their upcoming opponent. Their goal is to understand their opponent and the better you understand them, the better you make the necessary adjustments and preparation to defeat your opponent. It’s much the same in the game of life.  We often mistakenly label our neighbor as our enemy when they are not our enemy...
  • Joy Of Being ‘Saved’ Just One Stop On Long Road Toward Salvation

    Joy Of Being ‘Saved’ Just One Stop On Long Road Toward Salvation One of the phrases that I hear from fellow Christians quite often is one that gives him both joy and concern: “I am saved!” Quite often, the person has recently been born again and is joyous and with good reason: They have accepted Christ into their life and have accepted Him as their Lord and Savior. However, after speaking with the person, I begin to realize that they feel that they are now “good with God” and there is no need for anything else.“I rejoice when another brother or...
  • Benefits of giving back to the church are many

    Benefits of Giving Back To The Church Are Many "A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:45 NIV).At any church, “giving” is one of the more sensitive topics for many but is also very important to discuss. That’s because “giving” is fundamentally essential for the existence and the growth of the local church and the church universal. We often associate giving with money. Although money is...
  • Children of Incarcerated Parents Need Caring Volunteers To Improve Quality Of Life

    Children of Incarcerated Parents Need Caring Volunteers To Improve Quality Of Life "Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering" (Hebrews 13:3 NIV). The errors that parents occasionally make all too often end up on the shoulders of their children. Failing to secure a well-paying job before having kids, not having a home fit to raise children in or having kids while the relationship between you and your partner is failing are just some signs of a rough road ahead. While the ramifications of...
  • The ‘Fruit of The Spirit’ Attributes

    The ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ Attributes "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law" (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV). “The Fruit of the Holy Spirit” is a Biblical term that sums up nine attributes of a Christian. According to Paul the Apostle in his Epistle to the Galatians: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).  These are all characteristics of the Holy Spirit’s active presence in lives and a healthy Christian soul contains all of the...
  • Approach Prayer With Confidence And Thanksgiving

    Approach Prayer With Confidence And Thanksgiving Prayer is an essential component to our relationship with God. We offer prayers for those who are sick or in need of help and prayers of thanksgiving for our blessings. Prayer is also a time for us to be quiet and listen for the gentle voice of God. The Psalmist tells us in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” We all would be wise to focus on this promise while we wait on the Lord."Even if I don’t hear a response to my prayer, I can still come away with peace...
  • Loneliness: There’s A Time To Give And Time To Receive

    Loneliness: There’s A Time To Give And Time To Receive “May the LORD our God be with us as He was with our ancestors; may He never leave us or abandon us”  (1 Kings 8:57 NLT). Loneliness can be a problem for nearly everyone at some point. It is particularly problematic with widows, orphans and incarcerated individuals.  Good friendships can reverse feelings of loneliness.  We all yearn for a “wind beneath our wings,” to quote from a Bette Midler song. We must realize that that wind already exists. Ezekiel 37:1-14 and “The Valley of Dry Bones” is a great story. Ezekiel was...
  • From Flooded Out To Flooded With Faith: A First-Hand Recollection

    From Flooded Out To Flooded With Faith: A First-Hand Recollection In this blog I would like to explore the effects that the 2016 flooding in Baton Rouge had on my home and why it only strengthened his faith in the end. As I type this on August 13, 2017, I reflect on the one year anniversary of the "great" flood of 2016 that damaged so many homes in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana area – mine included. In my humble opinion there was nothing “great” about the flood; it was a terrible event for all and resulted in hardship for many.The “great”...
  • What Is The Meaning Of “Iron Sharpens Iron”?

    What Is The Meaning of "Iron Sharpens Iron"? I am a volunteer with a national men’s ministry known as “Iron Sharpens Iron.” The name of our group is based on Proverb 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”  Iron Sharpens Iron is a Conference Network made up of individual ministries that are working interdependently to most effectively offer local church resources for men.This group is accomplishing this by mobilizing ministries to resource local churches with a first-class one-day equipping conference that is designed for men age 13 and older.  These one-day conferences bring in world-class speakers to address...
  • What Does The Bible Teach About Race Relations?

    What Does The Bible Teach About Race Relations? "And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation" (Acts 17:26 KJV). We have had problems in this country with race relations for many years. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a landmark civil rights and federal labor law in the United States, which outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. In recent years, untold news reports have documented the civil unrest in New York...
  • My Dream That Carried A Message From God

    My Dream That Carried A Message From God "In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams" (Acts 2:17 NIV).I have lived 47 years and never felt that I had received a message from God.  I envied the people in the Bible that spoke to God either in person, through dreams or angels. I had decided that I was only going to hear God’s word through Godly friends, church, small groups, and reading the Bible.I longed to...
  • Water Under The Bridge

    Water Under The Bridge "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV). “This is just water under the bridge.” If you can say this one day during trying times and mean it, know that you’ve achieved something that so many of us strive for. Forgiveness is a skill that takes time to learn and patience to practice when offering it upon others. That’s because the world isn’t always fair and gut-wrenching situations can’t immediately be solved with forgiveness. However, time heals all wounds and those who practice...
  • Living Your Faith

    Living Your Faith "What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead" (James 2 14-17) I think I can speak for most of us when I say that we typically have an easy time...
  • Partner With God While Waiting

    Partner With God While Waiting "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1 KJV). Waiting is a daily occurrence: We wait in line at the grocery store, post office or on the phone. Sometimes, we are waiting long-term for news regarding a loved one who has suddenly become ill or was in an accident. Waiting is also a part of joyous occasions such as the birth of a child or marriage. In any case, worrying almost always leads to anxiety. I have five favorite scriptures that I go to while waiting. 1) In Isaiah 40:31, it says:...
  • Dealing With Anxiety: Have Faith, For ‘God Is Our Partner’

    Dealing With Anxiety: Have Faith, For 'God Is Our Partner' "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" (Isaiah 40:31 NIV). Waiting is a daily occurrence: We wait in line at the grocery store, post office or on the phone. Sometimes, we are waiting long-term for news regarding a loved one who has suddenly become ill or was in an accident. Waiting is also a part of joyous occasions such as the birth of a child or marriage....
  • Getting To The Heart Of The Issue

    Getting To The Heart Of The Issue Over the years, I have spoken with many Christians and enjoyed having the opportunity to hear their testimony. Some are “intellectual Christians,” so to speak, and believe that science has proved the existence of Christ and therefore they also believe. Many have provided me with compelling arguments for their Christian faith.   I also believe in Jesus and in science. However, at the heart of the issue is our heart.  Do you believe in Him in your heart and seek him with your whole heart? Jesus taught us in Matthew 22:37, "Love the Lord your God...
  • How To Turn Bad into Good

    How To Turn Bad into Good "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28 NIV). I think we all have been the recipient of bad behavior by others. Perhaps your spouse cheated on you or a dear friend was unable to keep a secret. My heart breaks for those that have been incarcerated for decades for a crime and then are finally released when DNA evidence, which was not available at the time of the trial, proves they are innocent. The Biblical story of...
  • The Walk to Emmaus: The Best Spiritual Weekend Retreat

    The Walk to Emmaus: The Best Spiritual Weekend Retreat "When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:30-32 NIV).The Walk to Emmaus “Walk” is a three-day spiritual retreat that came out of the Roman Catholic Cursillo movement. The Walk to Emmaus is held numerous times during...
  • The Traits Of True Leadership

    The Traits Of True Leadership "Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant" (Matthew 20:26 NIV).If you are like me, you have seen several books on leadership. The books are typically authored by successful CEOs of large companies or military leaders. These books are often best-sellers and contain very useful information on the principles of secular leadership. The themes are typically along the lines of this: A leader is a visionary. A leader knows how to delegate. A leader surrounds himself/herself with good people. A leader leads by example. A leader is trustworthy....
  • Dealing With Your Own Judas

    Dealing With Your Own Judas “but Jesus asked him, ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?’" (Luke 22:48 NIV).Perhaps one of the most memorable stories of the New Testament is the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot.  Jesus was also denied three times by Peter.  In fact, all the disciples fled for their own safety after Christ was arrested.    We know as humans that others will disappoint us and we will surely disappoint them.  We also know that as Christian we are called to forgiveness.  However, betrayal takes on a whole new meaning when the person that...
  • Five Challenges Facing the Church Universal

    Five Challenges Facing the Church Universal "I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought"  (1 Corinthians 1:10 NIV). Every church is the Holy House of God. However, the real church is the people and not the building. Therefore, each church has challenges that it must overcome to be successful. The church universal is a blessing from God. The Holy covenant of marriage is applied...
  • ‘Stealing’ Credit From God

    Stealing' Credit From God "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" (James 1:17 NIV).As a young man I was proud of ‘my’ accomplishments. I worked hard, graduated, and got a job.   I bought a nice house and we had a nice summer vacation. I was proud of “my” accomplishments for the first 40 years of my life. “It was at this age that I was a pilgrim on the Walk to Emmaus and my eyes were opened to who I was and to Whom...
  • A Perversion of a Gift from God

    A Perversion of a Gift from God "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body"  (1 Corinthians 6:18 NIV). I recently heard an interview with Rev. Levi Lusco. He was discussing his new book “Swipe Right.” The dating app Tinder provides pictures and basic information that people “looking to date” have uploaded of themselves. If the user swipes to the left of a particular image, then that means he or she is not interested. However, if you swipe to the right, that means you are interested and...
  • Use Your Words to Build Up the Body of Christ

    Use Your Words to Build Up the Body of Christ "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof" (Proverbs 18:21 KJV).We all say things that we regret and wish we could take back. Our words will invariably hurt somebody’s feelings and cause pain. Proverbs 18:21 tells us, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue; And they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  The tongue is a symbol of life or death “Our words can be used to share the Good News with others or tear...
  • Christian Leadership at Home

    Christian Leadership at Home "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" (Ephesians 5:25 NIV). Men have been appointed by God as the head of the home. I understand that many women find this troubling and the Bible is full of stories of courageous women that have served the body of Christ. The truth is that many men have done a terrible job of leading their house in any capacity, particularly spiritually. Many men are not even physically present in the home or if so, they do not recognize Jesus as their Lord and...
  • The Battle Within Yourself

    The Battle Within Yourself “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an ” (Luke 6:45 NIV). Perhaps there is no part of the human body that is more necessary to life – but as poorly understood – as the human brain. My son has autism and as a child had several CT scans of his brain that all appeared “normal.” However, there is clearly something unique that is occurring in his brain that serves to limit his speech and overall development. Both of my children are blessings from God,  and I treasure them. His...
  • Healing A Broken Relationship

    Healing A Broken Relationship “If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God" (Matthew 5:23-24 NIV).One thing that is as certain as death and taxes is that others will let us down.  This can take many forms such as someone not living up to their end of an agreement, spreading gossip or taking advantage of our friendship.  It is natural to be...
  • A Lesson On Patience From A Rock Song

    A Lesson On Patience From A Rock Song? "But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint" (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV).I loved the rock singer Tom Petty. One of my favorite songs by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers was called “The Waiting.” The chorus is: “The waiting is the hardest part. Every day you see one more card. You take it on faith, you take it to the heart. The waiting is the hardest part."  I totally agree that...
  • What is Truth?

    What is Truth? "Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6 NIV).In today’s society there is a constant battle over the truth.  I wonder how can something so simple as the truth be so difficult to understand and agree upon.  Facts are disputed, alternative facts are presented, and various groups all claim to have the truth regarding any issue: social, financial, medical, and even spiritual.You will never grow closer to Christ unless you understand the truth. Growth requires truth.  We might disagree on how to best...
  • The Power of the Mind

    The Power of the Mind “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of" (Luke 6:45 NIV).I think we are all pretty much aware of the importance of good mental health and the power of positive thinking.  However, the importance of our thoughts also has a profound effect on our spiritual health.    This point is made clear in Philippians 4:8. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever...
  • Thank God for THE False Accusation

    Thank God for THE False Accusation "Having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame"   (1 Peter 3:16 ESV). Have you ever falsely accused somebody of something and later discovered that your accusation was false?  Perhaps you accused your spouse of eating the last slice of pie only later to find out that it was one of the kids?  I think we all have both made and received false accusations.  It is part of the human condition. Rarely do we give thanks for false accusations.  The more serious the...
  • The Battle for Purity

    The Battle for Purity "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8 ESV).According to recent statistics, there are over 24.5 million web sites dedicated to pornography.  A report by Bridges and Wosnitzer in 2007 found that there are 13,000 porn videos produced annually with revenue of $13 billion.   In the same year, 507 movies from Hollywood produced $8.8 billion.  Another report found that over 25% of all internet searches are for pornographic material.  I am certain that what was true in 2007 has not gotten any better today.  Marketing advertisers have long used sex and scantily...
  • Open My Eyes

    Open My Eyes "When He was at the table with them, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:30-32 NIV).The title of this blog makes me recall the two men walking with Jesus on the road to Emmaus.  After walking and talking with Him all day, they did not know they were with...
  • Carve Out Space For Quiet Time To Ask God And Await An Answer

    Carve Out Space For Quiet Time To Ask God And Await An Answer “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace" (Acts 20:24 NIV).If you are like me, you enjoy a quiet and peaceful evening to rest and renew yourself. Noise fills our days from the time the alarm clock goes off to evening commute home. There is something special about quiet that appeals to many of us. Below are five benefits...
  • Owners and Stewards

    Owners and Stewards "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it" (Malachi 3:10 NIV).Stewardship at most churches is an awkward topic because most of us look at it as a means to give up “our” money.  We all have worked hard for our money and naturally want to protect it, which is in fact good stewardship.  According to...
  • Who Do You Listen To?

    Who Do You Listen To? "Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say" (Isaiah 28:23 NIV). Listening is essential to learning.  I hear many voices, especially on television, but I don’t really listen to them.  I hear them but am not listening.  I feel that much, if not all, of what they have to say is not important and/or is too depressing or divisive.  The story of The Transfiguration in Matthew 17 is a powerful reminder of the importance to listen to Jesus. “After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led...
  • Love is Everything

    Love Is Everything “Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).I overheard a conversation between a young couple recently. The couple agreed that they deeply loved each other but the young lady said: “love is not enough.” I was intrigued by her statement and gave it some thought. I certainly had no idea as to what struggles the couple was experiencing. However, I do have a decent understanding of the power of love. I pray that after...
  • Joyful Obedience

    Joyful Obedience “If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15 NIV).If you were to list ten words to describe yourself, do you think “obedient” would be one of the words?  You probably hope that when others describe you that they see some evidence of the Fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).“Obedient” is not a fruit of the Spirit but is the conscious use of our God-given free will.  God has given us free will to either obey His commands or not. Since the beginning of time in the Garden of...
  • Five Keys To Balancing Home And Work To Be A Good Parent

    Five Keys To Balancing Home And Work To Be A Good Parent "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens" (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV). Most, if not all, of us have a job in order to supply for the needs of our family. Hopefully you enjoy your job but at the end of the day, you are working to provide for your family.  We often feel the struggle between balancing work life and family life. As such, our work may sometimes cause us to miss ball games and other events and we’ll feel guilty that we’re...
  • Defeating Fear

    Defeating Fear “There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid, because fear has to do with punishment.”  (1 John 4:18 GNT) I have two dear friends that have no worries.  They are not financially rich, but they are rich in the Spirit.  I admire their love of God.  They have absolute confidence in Him and His provision for them and their families.  I love God but, I also have worries.  I have a son with autism that will likely never speak complete sentences or have a...
  • Put On The ‘Full Armor Of God’ To Maintain Hope

    Put On The ‘Full Armor Of God’ For Hope "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes"  (Ephesians 6:11 NIV). We all experience times in our lives in which we feel hopeless. For some, these periods linger into years and years. Given these circumstances, I would like to equip readers with some thoughts on how to maintain hope when all hope appears to be gone. In this article, you’ll find some thoughts on the importance of hope in your life. For your consideration, Job was a strong disciple of God, but had...
  • Trusting In The Valley and the Mountaintop

    Trusting In The Valley and the Mountaintop "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me" (Psalm 23:4 KJV).Jesus warned us that we’d have problems in life. No one is immune from pain or insulated from suffering, and no one gets to skate through life problem-free. You may have heard the old saying “nobody is an atheist in a fox hole.”  Many of us turn to God during the difficult times in our lives but then go back to living...
  • Who Do You Trust?

    Who Do You Trust? “‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT).Many years ago, I was an undergraduate student.  I took a few Philosophy courses to fulfill the degree requirements in liberal arts.  I loved the classes because they forced me to attempt a deeper level of understanding.  One class was on Logic and Reasoning and we (students) were given an...
  • Are You Living To Do or Living To Serve?

    Are You Living To Do or Living To Serve? "...choose this day whom you will serve..." (Joshua 24:15 ESV). I like to make “to do” lists.  I don’t trust myself to remember the various big and little chores I need to do at home or at work so I always have a list for both.    The list is great for helping me keep track of projects and staying on top of things.  I feel a sense of accomplishment when I can cross something off of the list.  A close friend recently asked me about my attention to my list.  I appreciate his...
  • Acceptance is not Approval

    Acceptance is not Approval “Accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory”  (Romans 15:7 NLT). The blood of Jesus provides us the opportunity for forgiveness of our sins.  Our sins will be cast as far as the east is from the west once we earnestly repent and ask His forgiveness.   However, our society has slowly tried to redefine what is and is not a sin.  In the political world, these are known as wedge issues that force people to one side or the other.  By design, there is no common ground.   Similarly, the enemy...
  • A Prayerful Life

    A Prayerful Life 16“Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV) The Bible has much Scripture that encourages us to seek God through prayer.  The Gospels and the Epistles are particularly filled with Holy Scripture that encourages us to seek God’s face through prayer.   Our direct line of communication to God is prayer.  It is a deeply personal process by which we bring Him our prayers of thanksgiving and supplication.  We go into our inner room and pray to our loving Father with full confidence that He hears us and...
  • Proper Casting is Essential for a Bountiful Harvest

    Proper Casting is Essential for a Bountiful Harvest  “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7 All fishermen know that proper casting is essential to catching fish.  For some fish such as bass, we cast and then slowly reel the hook back in to attract a strike.  However, the opposite is true for some other fish.  For example, when I fish for catfish, I cast and wait.  1Peter 5:7 is a favorite scripture of mine because it tells us that we can cast all of our anxieties on Him.  The Psalmist gives similar instructions in Pslam 55:22. ...
  • Return to the Father

    Return to the Father “If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me” (Jeremiah 15:19 NLT).All of us that follow Jesus have many things in common.  One of which is that we are all sinners.  As we become a believer in Christ, we are born again into God’s family.  Once you are born again you cannot be unborn.  Our relationship with God can, and will be, damaged by sin.  However, read this closely – no matter the sin- the relationship is still there.  The Parable of the Prodigal Son (also known as the Two Brothers, Lost...
  • Complete The Mission

    Complete The Mission “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24 NIV).As men, we love projects.  We love to build something and to be a part of something greater than ourselves.  Most men enjoy working with their hands and tend not be comfortable speaking to a group of strangers, especially about their faith.  We have many large tasks that we want to accomplish in life – pay off the mortgage, raise our children...
  • Leading Life Abundantly

    Leading Life Abundantly “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21 KJV). I have talked to many men that have expressed an inner emptiness.  Life is boring and seems to have no real purpose.  Many of these men are very successful businessmen and want for no material items.  It would be somewhat trite to say all they need is some Jesus.  Indeed, Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).  I believe that for a person to lead a fulfilled life you must live in God’s power.  1...
  • Who Is Responsible For My Salvation?

    Who Is Responsible For My Salvation? “So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God” Romans 14:12 (NIV).Throughout the Bible we are encouraged whenever possible to live in peace with our neighbors.  For example, Scripture teaches us to live in harmony (Romans 12:16), carry each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), and help others in need (Deuteronomy 15:11).   Godly living calls us to turn the other cheek and returning evil with love.  We have the ability, and the Christian joyful obligation, to positively impact each other’s spiritual lives.  There is certainly strength in numbers.  You may recall the Scripture...
  • Self-Control Can Vanquish Weakness In Trying Times

    Self-Control Can Vanquish Weakness In Trying Times "A fool always loses his temper, But a wise man holds it back" (Proverbs 29:11 NASB).The Bible teaches us that self-control is essential to living a Christian life. We must exercise our self-control or we become controlled by our weakness. Whether it is food, alcohol, drugs or pornography, the enemy knows our weakness better than we do and will encourage us to go to it rather than to God in times of need. Our lives can soon be dominated by our weakness and we are living completely in the flesh rather than in the...
  • Understanding Our Emotions

    Understanding Our Emotions 16 “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do...
  • Finding Peace

    Finding Peace “But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” (Romans 8:25 NIV).One of my greatest desires is peace.  However, it also can be one of the most elusive.  I “postpone” peace until some task is completed.  The problem is that some tasks can often go on for years, if not for a lifetime.  As I hurriedly try to check items off my “to do” list, more items are added. A friend recently told me that I should focus on discerning what it is that God wants me to learn, see, or do while...
  • Faith is the Cure for Stress

    Faith is the Cure for Stress “Since He did not spare even his own Son for us but gave him up for us all, won’t He also surely give us everything else?” (Romans 8:32 TLB). The major cause of stress in your life is worry. Worry is a sign that we do not have faith in God to meet our needs.Worry can come from three sources:1) Ourselves- We worry about our ability to survive tomorrow and neglect the blessing of today.  Matthew 6:26-27 teaches us, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in...
  • The New Year

    The New Year “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19).As the new year approaches so does a surge in membership applications to local fitness centers.   Many of us make a new year’s resolution to lose weight, and this is a great resolution.  Our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit, and we are to honor God with our bodies (1 Cor. 6:19-20).   At this time of the year, I like to reflect on Isaiah 43:19. “See,...
  • The Best Christmas Present

    The Best Christmas Present 18 “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.  We implore you on behalf ofChrist, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).I love Christmas and the Advent season.   It is a special time of year for families and the church.   The Advent season allows us to prepare our hearts for the birth of the Christ child.   I also love all of the traditions that come with Christmas – decorating the tree with ornaments that have been passed down from generations, giving and receiving presents,...
  • Wrestling With God

    Wrestling With God “Then the man said, ‘Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me’” (Genesis 32:26 NLT).I love the visual image of Jacob wrestling with God in Genesis 32:22-32. This is a powerful story, and it raises many questions.  Obviously, God could have overpowered Jacob and ended things instantly. Why did God let the struggle go on?Here’s the lesson: When God allows, note-He does not create the crisis, a crisis into your life, He doesn’t solve it immediately. He uses the crisis as an opportunity to see if...
  • Make Today Count

    Make Today Count “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil”  (Ephesians 5:15-16 NIV). Time is a precious commodity.  It is a gift from God, and we should be good stewards of our time as with any other gift.  Certainly, the devil is interested in misuse of your time.  If he can cheat you of your time, he can cheat you of your heavenly treasure.  Perhaps the last thing that he is loath to let go is time.  His game is to cheat you of today and...
  • What Are Your Priorities

    What Are Your Priorities? Perhaps our greatest power is to establish our priorities.  These are the things that motivate us.  Priorities are based on values, beliefs, ideals, and commitment.  They define each of us as a person.  Some are motivated by fame or money.  Others are motivated by their friends or family.  In short, there can be hundreds of reasons that motivate us each day.  It is critically important to recognize that we alone have the power to set our priorities and if we do not set them, then society will set them for us.   Popular culture will set our priorities...
  • Real Men Cry

    Real Men Cry “Jesus wept.”  John 11:35 (NIV) Popular culture has given us a false impression of what is a real man.  Many current television shows portray fathers or men in general as goofy, nerds, or jerks.  When I was a child I thought real men were the cowboys I saw in movies or television shows.  They were tough, didn’t need anybody, and knew how to fight and win.  Today, rap music portrays men as pimps, drug dealers, and absentee fathers. None of these are accurate descriptions of real men.  Yes, sadly this does portray some men but not a Godly man.  A...
  • Be The Same Person Everywhere

    Be The Same Person Everywhere “I hate double-minded people, but I love your law” (Psalm 119:113). Have you ever heard of the term “Sunday morning Christian?”  This is a derogatory term for people that are Christian on Sunday morning but the complete opposite the rest of the week.  Some of us are a little bit better and we make sure to “act Christian” in public but not in private.  The “Sunday morning Christian” and the “public Christian” are both hypocrites. The word hypocrite ultimately came into English from the Greek word hypokrites, which means “an actor” or “a stage player.” The Greek word...
  • Boundaries Benefit All

    Boundaries Benefit All "Moses’ father-in-law replied, What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone" (Exodus 18:17-18 NIV).I just finished reading a book called “Boundaries” by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend.  It is a New York Times Bestseller and has sold over two million copies since it was first published in 1992 and then revised in 2017.  This is a Christian book that uses appropriate Scripture to help readers take control of their lives by learning when...
  • Thanksgiving Is Not Just For November

    Thanksgiving Is Not Just For November "Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 GW).I love Thanksgiving!  It is a fun time of year to get together with family, eat some great home cooked meals, and watch football.  Thanksgiving is a time for us to reflect on the past year and identify things which we are thankful.  In some families, they go around the table and each person states one or two things for which they are thankful. God has blessed us with many emotions with which we can express ourselves. ...
  • Attention Fathers! Little Eyes Are Watching

    Attention Fathers! Little Eyes Are Watching “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth"  (1 John 3:18 ESV). Theodore and Nancy Faust Sizer authored the book The Students are Watching.  The Sizers wrote about classrooms and schools, explaining that students learn from what their teachers do and say, and also from the things their teachers do not do or say.  One significant finding from the book was “They watch us all the time. The students, that is. They listen to us sometimes. They learn from all that watching and listening.”  Children are also learning...
  • Why Did Jesus Cry Before Raising Lazarus?

    Why Did Jesus Cry Before Raising Lazarus? Scripture: “When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”  Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.  So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”  (John 11:4-7). One of the most fascinating Biblical stories is the raising of Lazarus as described in John 11.  Many of us learned this story as children in Sunday school.  It is...
  • Seeing Jesus Through the Crowd

    Seeing Jesus Through the Crowd 1 “Jesus was going through the city of Jericho. 2 A man was there named Zacchaeus, who was a very important tax collector, and he was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but he was not able because he was too short to see above the crowd. 4 He ran ahead to a place where Jesus would come, and he climbed a sycamore tree so he could see him. 5 When Jesus came to that place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down! I must stay at your house today.”  6 Zacchaeus came down quickly and welcomed him gladly. 7 All...
  • Judgment or Grace?

    Judgment or Grace? “…Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin”  (John 8:11 NIV).John 8:1-11 tells us the story of a woman caught in adultery.  The religious leaders, the Pharisees, tried to use her sin to force Jesus to support their decision to stone her to death, which was in accordance with Mosaic law. “1 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought...
  • Resolve to Rest

    Resolve to Rest “Crowds of people were coming and going so that Jesus and his followers did not even have time to eat. He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves, and we will go to a lonely place to get some rest’” (Mark 6:31 NCV).Each year our lives get busier.  We have more responsibilities at home, work, and church.  According to a recent ABC news report, 85.8 percent of males and 66.5 percent of females work more than 40 hours per week.  Now, add on to this our responsibilities with our family, church, and other community organizations.  Each year we all...
  • Knowledge

    Knowledge “My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God. For the LORD grants wisdom! From His mouth come knowledge and understanding" (Proverbs 2:1-6 NLT).I think society tends to confuse knowledge with education.  However, a person can have extensive education and college degrees and not necessarily be very knowledgeable.   Perhaps they...
  • The Biblical Path To Peace

    The Biblical Path To Peace “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:6-9 NIV).Americans are more stressed...
  • If You Want God’s Mercy, Then Give Mercy to God’s Children

    If You Want God’s Mercy, Then Give Mercy to God’s Children “God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7 NLT).We all sin and want mercy.  God is quick to forgive and offer mercy when we approach Him with an earnest desire to repent from our sin.  Why is it then that as children of God we are so reluctant to offer mercy to our brothers and sisters in Christ?  Yes, forgiveness is not easy, but nobody ever promised us that a life with God would be easy.  Jesus says in Matthew 5:7, “God blesses those who...
  • The Unforgivable Sin?

    The Unforgivable Sin? “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.   For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate” (Luke 15:22-24 NIV). Years ago a dear friend, let’s call him John, confided in me that he had made the “unforgivable sin.”  I was expecting him to tell me about how he had committed blasphemy against the Holy...
  • Live Life Now!

    Live Life Now! “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little” (Philippians 4:11-12 NLT). I have read this Holy Scripture many times and still struggle to understand it.  I am confused how Paul can essentially have the same joy with plenty or with little.   I have traveled to several developing countries and have witnessed wide spread poverty...
  • True Freedom

    True Freedom “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18 NIV). One of the greatest blessings we have as Americans is our freedom.   The first ten amendments of the Bill of Rights guarantee us certain rights that are fundamental to our freedom.  Despite all of our freedoms, many people still live in bondage and have denied themselves true freedom. Many us live in fear of something – death, debt, an abusive spouse, etc.  Some live with guilt over something...
  • Wisdom from the Psalms

    Wisdom from the Psalms “Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands” (Psalm 119:66). As a young child, I did not particularly enjoy reading the Psalms.  I found them to be boring, and I could not understand or relate to them.  Upon my confirmation, I received a red-letter, King James Version Bible with very thin pages and no commentary to help explain what I was reading.  Years later I overheard a man ask a preacher, “What version (King James, NIV, NRSV, etc.) of the Bible is the best?”  The preacher responded, “The best version is whatever version you will...
  • A Holy Calling

    A Holy Calling “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12 NIV).There are many examples in the Bible of God calling His people.  He called out to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3, and to Samuel in 1 Samuel 3, and Elijah in 1 Kings 19.  These are all great stories of God seeking out His people in spite of their fear or inability to recognize His voice.  God later walked the earth in the form of Jesus and continued to...
  • Self-Control: “Fools Lose Their Temper; Wise Men Hold It Back”

    Self-Control: "Fools Lose Their Temper; Wise Men Hold It Back" The Bible teaches us that self-control is essential to living a Christian life. We must exercise our self-control or we become controlled by our weakness. Our weakness may be food, alcohol, drugs or pornography. The enemy knows our weakness better than we do ourselves and will encourage us to go to it rather than God in times of need. Our lives can soon be dominated by our weakness and we are living completely in the flesh rather than in the Spirit. Self-control is the very essence of “dying to self” and living...
  • The Heart of a Child is the Key to Heaven

    The Heart of a Child is the Key to Heaven “And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them” (Mark 10:13-16 ESV).There is no greater gift from God...
  • Five Steps for Handling Frustration

    Five Steps for Handling Frustration “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3 NIV). We all have experienced frustration.   Sometimes we are frustrated with ourselves and sometimes with others, including God.  Our frustrations present an opportunity to either deepen our relationships with others or divide us.  Regardless of the nature of our frustration, our response will determine if good fruit comes from the situation. Here are five simple steps for dealing with frustrations. Did I cause it?  The Bible says, “A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7). We are often frustrated by things in life...
  • The Power of Prayer

    The Power of Prayer “The priests and the Levites stood to bless the people, and God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, His holy dwelling place.” (2 Chronicles 30:27 NIV) It is important to understand that the power of prayer does not come from us.  Prayer is not special words we say or the special way we say them or even how often we say them.  The length of our prayer is also not important.  Powerful prayer is not made by standing on the street corner with dirt on your face or any other means to show others your piety.  The...
  • The Importance of Christian Study

    The Importance of Christian Study "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV).For many of us the thought of studying brings back memories of cramming for exams in high school or college.  Many men would rather engage in Christian action rather than Christian study.  Through action we can see the fruits of our labor and be the Body of Christ in our neighborhood and beyond.Our goal as Christians should be to develop an intimate relationship with God.  There are many paths in which God can reveal Himself to us:  prayer,...
  • Man Up: Use Lent to Prepare Your Hearts for Easter

    Man Up: Use Lent to Prepare Your Hearts for Easter I love Easter egg hunts and chocolate rabbits, but there is so much more to Easter.  One critical part of Easter is Lent.  Lent is the period of 40 weekdays before Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday, and Sundays are not counted. Lent is often observed with an element of self-denial.  I encourage men to lead your family by intentionally observing Lent which will be rewarding experience.  Below are some steps to consider on your Lenten journey.Reflect with your Family If I don't use Lent as a time of personal...
  • Special Needs Children & Special Needs Families

    Special Needs Children & Special Needs Families "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it" (Proverbs 22:6 NIV).My second child, Kyle, was born May 24, 2002. He was a big, healthy baby and was, and will always be, a tremendous blessing to me. We noticed at an early age that he was not reaching the typical milestones for babies and toddlers in terms of walking, talking, etc. We had him tested for hearing loss, brain function, blood tests and more. All of the tests came back normal, but...
  • Service is Ministry

    Service is Ministry “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”  (Galatians 6:10 NIV) We live in a self-serving secular world in which people act to serve their own self interests.  I had a dear friend that has gone on to Glory but on earth he worked as an economist.  He claimed that the entire system of economic theory is so purely deductive that everything in it can be deduced from one essential axiom.   The rationality axiom states that “a rational person maximizes his/her utility.” Some economists will...
  • Civil Discourse

    Civil Discourse “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”  (John 13:34-35). Have you noticed a breakdown in our ability as a society to engage in civil discourse?  I have.  It seems we prefer to argue with each other rather than engage in a constructive exchange of ideas.  The goal for many is to “win” the argument with a snarky comment.  This is particularly true on social...
  • You Can Not Please Everyone

    You Can Not Please Everyone “Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4 NLT).I think many of us are searching for our purpose in life.  We want to follow God but are not sure what He wants us to do.  What is my ministry?  How can I build up the Body of Christ?  These are profound questions.  For many of us, we find our purpose with work and family.  We work to provide food and shelter for those that we love the most – our family.  Clearly, God wants us to...
  • A Man’s Role in the Family and in the Church

    A MAN’S ROLE IN THE FAMILY AND IN THE CHURCH A man must model genuine godly masculine behavior to his children so that they will grow up as godly people and seek godly partners for marriage. That was part of the message from Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin at the September Man Up men’s ministry meeting at Greenwell Springs Baptist Church. More than 175 men attended. Interim Senior Pastor Tony Perkins says the men’s ministry program had become less active in recent years. His father, Richard Perkins, had to vacate his position as director of men’s ministries in 2015 due...
  • What Does God Want From You?

    What Does God Want From You? “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6 NIV).Through our prayers and petitions we make it very clear what we want from God, but have you ever stopped to think what does God want from me?  I had a friend once tell me that for years he viewed God as a “mystical vending machine.”  Many Christians believe that if we give our tithes and offerings to our local church, then we have “done our part.”  Moreover, we sometimes confuse God with Santa Claus and think that if we...
  • Fathering A Special Needs Child

    Fathering A Special Needs Child “1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”  John 9:1-3 (NIV) On April 26, 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data on the prevalence of autism in the United States. This surveillance study identified 1 in 59 children (1 in 37 boys and 1 in 151 girls) as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general...
  • True Confession of the Heart: My Hatred Is Strong

    True Confession of the Heart: My Hatred Is Strong “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.   Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.  But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them” (1 John 2:9-11 NIV).Holy Scripture encourages us to confess our sins to one another (James 5:16).  I have a confession to make.  I have...
  • We Grow In The Light

    We Grow In The Light “But if we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other. Then the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from every sin. If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:7-8 NCV). Light is essential for all life on earth.  Many plants will alter their growth to maximize the amount of light that their leaves can capture.  I love watching sunflowers move as the sun changes positions in the sky. The secular world thinks intimacy occurs in...
  • Is Your Burden Too Heavy?

    Is Your Burden Too Heavy? “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”  (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV).Many of us carry heavy burdens due to a wide variety of physical, mental, and spiritual reasons.  The burden can cause us to ache at the deepest level, our soul.   At this point two conclusions can be drawn: (1) the burden is not from God...
  • A Christian Approach to Depression

    A Christian Approach to Depression “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed" (Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV).God has blessed us with the Living Word known as the Holy Bible.   We can turn to the Bible for advice and instruction for our worries and problems.  Some may feel that the Bible is too old to be relevant today.  However, many, if not all, of our issues of today are essentially the same as when Jesus walked the earth.  We learn from Ecclesiastes 1:9, “What...
  • Defeating the Giants in our Lives

    Defeating the Giants in our Lives “David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel”   (1 Samuel 17:45-46 NIV). David was a young boy when he defeated the giant...
  • Finding Clarity in a World of Confusion

    Finding Clarity in a World of Confusion “Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters—a pathway no one knew was there!” (Psalm 77:19 NLT).I think many of dislike to be in “limbo.”  We want to know where we stand.  We seek clarity.  Perhaps at no time is this greater than in times of adversity.  It is in these times, that we face the proverbial fork in the road.  Pursue clarity from the secular world or obtain clarity from God’s word.  If you pursue clarity from the secular world, you will never find it.  However, God provides us clarity...
  • The Stranger

    The Stranger "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it"  (Hebrews 13:2 NIV).A friend recently told me an amazing story of kindness that begin with the simple words “excuse me.”  She was walking to her car in a parking lot when a voice from behind called out to her, “excuse me.”  She froze for a second and did not immediately respond.  She thought that this is likely a con man or a beggar wanting a hand out.  Questions raced through her mind.  Why doesn’t he get a...
  • Defeating Evil

    Defeating Evil ”Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’   Then the devil left Him, and angels came and attended Him  (Matthew 4:10-11 NIV). I find it troubling that many Christians do not believe in the existence of satan.  I always use a lower case “s” when referring to the enemy because I want to be as disrespectful as possible.  If you doubt the reality of evil as an active force in this world, simply remember that Jesus dealt with the enemy first hand on multiple occasions. A single-dimensional outlook,...
  • Meal Time is Ministry Time

    Meal Time is Ministry Time “When He was at the table with them, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them” (Luke 24:30 NIV). Many people have the false notion that ministry only occurs inside the walls of the local church.  The truth is we go to worship on Sunday to be fed the Word so that we can be the hands and feet of Christ – to feed others.  However, it should be noted that we need to feed ourselves throughout the week by reading Scripture, prayer and meditation, and small groups. We are all ministers.  We...
  • Keep Your Eye On The Prize

    Keep Your Eye On The Prize “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  (2 Timothy 4:7 NIV) We all have so many distractions that it is very hard to stay focused.  We all want to obey the first commandment and put God first in our lives, but we are pulled in so many directions from family, work, and friends.  I love the expression “keep your eye on the prize.”  It is often associated with athletes that are focused on performing at the highest possible level.   The Bible speaks to this in 1 Cor. 9:25 “All...
  • Nurture Your Friendships

    Nurture Your Friendships “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me” (John 15:4 NIV).I love to grow plants.  Every gardener knows that the key to a bountiful harvest of flowers, fruits, or vegetables is to carefully nurture the plants.  Gardening is a test of patience.  We plant and then wait. Our friendships are similar to gardening in that both require nurturing.  If we don’t feed our relationships with our friends, we will eventually have no friends.  Life is about priorities. ...
  • Unity in the Body of Christ

    Unity in the Body of Christ “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called” (Ephesians 4:2-4 NIV). Church attendance and tithing continues to plunge.  Sadly, many churches close each year due to insufficient funds to operate.  As disciples of Christ, it is incumbent upon us to raise up new disciples.  We must find our “Timothy” as did the Apostle Paul.  Actually, we must find at least two or three...
  • Serving Single Dads: How the Church Can do More

    Serving Single Dads "Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court" (Psalm 127:5 NIV). How the church can do more? According to a recent post in the DailySignal.com, one in three children live in a single-parent household. This clearly presents challenges for the parent who is raising the children. A child needs an active father and mother in their life and when one is missing or present on a limited basis, it can be difficult for the child. Men face the same challenges as women...
  • What Can Grasshoppers and Mustard Seeds Teach Us About Fear?

    What Can Grasshoppers and Mustard Seeds Teach Us About Fear? “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV).Fear is our natural response to physical or emotional danger.  Fear can be healthy to help us avoid dangerous situations.  We often fear situations that are not as serious as we perceive, which can trigger an extreme, and often unnecessary, fight-flight-or-freeze response. As a result, we may find ourselves avoiding challenges that could benefit them in the long run or hanging back during...
  • In Search of Wisdom

    In Search of Wisdom “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10 NIV). If you are reading this, you are older today than you were yesterday.  However, just because we are older does not necessarily make us wiser.  Not everyone grows wise with age, but everyone does grow old with age.  It is important to note that we should all show respect to our elders, regardless of their level of wisdom.However, I think society tends to confuse wisdom with age.  However, a person can be old and not necessarily be very wise.  Education is fine...
  • Lessons From Gideon

    Lessons From Gideon “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”  The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive” (Judges 6:15-16 NIV).I love the story of Gideon as told in Judges chapters 6-8.  Below are a few of the many lessons that we can learn from this Holy Scripture.1.  You Shall Have no Other Gods but MeThe Israelites were worshipping the false god Baal, and for seven years the Israelites were under the...
  • Priorities

    Priorities “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). We men have numerous options on how we can spend our time.  As Americans we live in a free country.  Many of us have hobbies such as golf, fishing, gardening, etc.  These are great activities for our badly needed sabbath. However, hobbies can become obsessions and dominate our time.  Wherever you invest the most time, money, and thought is your priority.  You alone have the power to set your priorities.  Either you choose your priorities, or the world will choose for you.  We all...
  • Who Is In Your Foxhole?

    Who Is In Your Foxhole? “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24 NIV). A few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Coach Jeff Kisiah “Coach K” at an Iron Sharpens Iron men’s equipping conference.  He spoke about the importance of foxhole friends and the strength of a threefold cord (Ecclesiastes 4:12).  This man of God recently went on to Glory, but he left behind a legacy.  The basis for the annual, national conference is Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another.” Men...
  • Amen is the Beginning of Discipleship

    Amen is the Beginning of Discipleship “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12 NIV). One of the more challenging scriptures for me has been from 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”  The first time I read this I wondered how can I get anything done if I am constantly praying?  As I grew and matured spiritually, I began to believe that it is indeed possible to pray nonstop. It’s possible because we can cultivate a spirit that is habitually devotional, keeping our hearts attuned to God. The Greek word for “without ceasing” in 1 Thessalonian 5:17 is “adialeiptos,”...
  • What Motivates You?

    What Motivates You? “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord”  (Proverbs 16:2 NIV). We typically won’t do anything unless we are motivated to do so.  We take action based on a variety of motivations.  Our motivations can be positive or negative.  Some of the common negative motivators include pride, anger, revenge, entitlement, or the desire for approval or to impress others. These motivations are clearly negative and come from a sinful flesh and do not honor God (Romans 8:8). Nothing is hidden from our Lord.  He even evaluates the motivation of our hearts when we give offerings to...
  • Can saying ‘No’ please God?

    Can saying ‘No’ please God? “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1 NIV). Each day we all get asked by others to do things.  Some tasks are fun, some are mundane, and some are someplace in the middle.  Service to others is an important way in which we show the love of Christ.  Service is ministry.  Service is important.I struggle with saying “no” to help people, especially when the request is...
  • Men, What Do You Crave?

    Men, What Do You Crave? “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:2 NIV). We all have cravings.  A craving is a deep desire that implies something stronger than a mere want or desire.  Life is full of temptations and urgent problems which all serve as distractions from our spiritual cravings.  So, how can we be expected to sustain a spiritual appetite?  Below are five steps to consider. 1. Remember God loves you always Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39).  His grace is infinitely stronger than our sin.  A...
  • Seeing Without Sight

    Seeing Without Sight “Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”  So, they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus” (Mark 10: 49-50 NIV). I am grateful to have good vision, but yet I wonder how much I don’t see.  I am often reminded of the story of the blind beggar Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52) who sits by the roadside hopefully calling out to Jesus to pay attention to him and heal him. Some of the people in the crowd tried to hush him up. (Probably they felt,...
  • Not Happy?

    Not Happy? “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens . . . a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance" (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4 NIV).A recent Harris poll reported that in 2017 only 33% of Americans are happy.  A first reaction might be that only 33% are true followers of Jesus.  Christianity is the most adhered to religion in the United States, with 75% of polled American adults identifying themselves as Christian in 2015.Upon deeper reflection I realize that not all Christians are happy, nor should they be. ...
  • Men, You Can Add Power to Your Prayers!

    Men, You Can Add Power to Your Prayers! “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24 NIV). Our prayers already have great power – more than we can ever imagine.  The problem is that we often fail to recognize the power of our prayers.Prayer is an open line of communication with God.  The idea that we have 24/7 ability to connect to the Creator of heaven and earth is hard to comprehend.First, why would God want to talk with us? Is there a right and wrong way...
  • Lessons from the Lepers

    Lessons from the Lepers “Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?”  (Luke 17:17 NIV) The Word teaches us in Luke 17 that Jesus healed ten men with leprosy. Lepers were social outcasts in Bible times and were forbidden from intermingling with others in society (Leviticus 13).   These ten men were living a life of extreme agony.  Leprosy attacks the body, leaving sores, missing fingers, missing toes, and damaged limbs. In many cases, the initial pain of leprosy gives way to something more terrible than that - a loss of sensation in nerve endings, leading to more damage...
  • Confronting our Confrontations

    Confronting our Confrontations “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up” (Proverbs 12:25 NIV) Our words will invariably hurt somebody’s feelings and cause pain.  Proverbs 18:21 teaches us, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”  Our words can be used to share the Good News with others or cause pain. I think most of us try to avoid confrontations.  They are unpleasant and awkward.  However, sometimes it is important that we have a serious conversation or a “confrontation” with someone.  It may be needed to resolve a lingering issue, to improve the relationship, and to better understand...
  • Purpose

    Purpose “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans” (Proverbs 16:3 NIV). Planning is critical in life.  Financial planners help us get our financial matters in order and plan for retirement.  Doctors help us by establish a wellness plan when we are sick.  Business leaders make plans to bring a profit to the shareholders.  Our pastors help us to make plans that will bring honor and glory to God.  We plan to accommodate our priorities.  A priority is a value, goal, relationship, or cause of leading importance in your life:  something for which you live, the shaping...
  • Reached the End of Your Rope?

    Reached the End of Your Rope? “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah...
  • Present but Absent

    Present but Absent “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2 ESV). Many men are inherently competitive.  We want to be the best at what we do.  It pushes us to harvest the largest buck deer, catch the biggest fish, or grow the largest tomato.  We even compete in fantasy football.  A competitive nature helps us climb the ladder at work.   This inner drive has helped us to be financial providers for our...
  • Obstacles to Joy

    Obstacles to Joy “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world”  (John 16:33 NIV). We all have stress and anxiety.  These are obstacles to the happiness that we all seek.  I think what is important is how we deal with these obstacles.  A little bit of stress is natural and no problem.  It can be helpful and protect us from dangerous situations. Regardless of the source of our stress, we as Christians have a proven method to rid ourselves of it but it takes courage...
  • Put Down the Phone and Truly Engage with People

    Put Down the Phone and Truly Engage with People “Do not be interested only in your own life but be interested in the lives of others” (Philippians 2:4 NCV). Everybody is busy.  Anytime I ask somebody how they are doing the response is always “busy” or “really busy.”  Americans are over worked and over stressed.   Work has become the number one focus for many, family second, and God third (if time permits).  This is not Biblical nor healthy.  Our priorities need be examined.I remember when smart phones were introduced into the market several years ago.  I thought they would be great to help...
  • Want to Better Understand Your Identity?

    Want to Better Understand Your Identity? “Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!” (Lamentations 3:40 ESV). I have some friends that are interested in genealogy.  They want to better understand themselves by tracing their ancestry back as many generations as possible.  This is a fun process and can provide some interesting anecdotes about your family tree.  I think it is natural for all of us at some point in our lives to seek to better understand ourselves.  I have taken several personality profiles and spiritual gifts assessments.  They are interesting, useful, and yield very good information to help...
  • Judge Others or Pray?

    Judge Others or Pray? "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin”  (John 8:11).It is so very tempting to judge others as we can go about our day.  We often do not say anything negative but in our minds, we condemn others.  Some of us will pass judgment when we see someone smoking cigarettes.  Others will pass judgment when they see a person with multiple tattoos and piercings.  We can even quote Scripture to support our case.  Don’t they know that their bodies are a “holy temple”?  (1...
  • You Got Questions? So Does God!

    You Got Questions? So Does God! “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9).We all have questioned God when adversity or disappointment occurs.   I suspect we all excel at clearly telling God what we want.   How many times have you questioned God?  When will I get promoted?  Why did my good friend die?  Where am I going to live when I can no longer care for myself?  What does God want from me?   Who am I? A teacher encourages their students to learn.  Of the 90 times Jesus was directly addressed in the gospels, on 60 occasions He was addressed as “Teacher.” ...
  • How to be a AAA-Rated Father

    How to be a AAA-Rated Father “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.  Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.   How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!  He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates )(Psalm 127:3-5 NLT). Each year parents with good intentions will search for books to improve their parenting skills.  As parents we love our children and want them to have a good life and be happy.  We purchase material things to make them happy.  We take them on...
  • Finding a Way Out from Temptation

    Evangelism Begins With Discernment “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!  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” (1 Corinthians 10:12-13). I recently ate lunch with friends at a local cafeteria.  As I walked with my tray to the cash register, I passed the desserts.  They looked really good, and I was very tempted to get one but did not.   In the...
  • Give to Receive?

    Give to Receive? “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:11 NIV). Most Christians understand the need for giving.  For early Jews and Christians, almsgiving was the act of filling a material need for someone less fortunate, usually by giving money. God incorporated the concept of alms into the Mosaic Law when He ordered land-owners to leave to the poor the corners of the fields (Leviticus 19:9-10), and every seventh year, leave the entire field (Exodus 23:10-11). In churches today, "alms"...
  • Making a Difference in the Lives of Men

    Making a Difference in the Lives of Men I encourage you to prayerfully consider joining me in donating to Rev. Mark Lubbock's ministry - Gulf South Men. Please visit Gulf South Men's website and GSMen.org to get a glimpse of the scope and impact of this ministry or give Mark a call at (225)252-3331. Mark's ministry helps men become Disciples that are servant leaders as modeled by Jesus. His work cuts across boundaries of denomination, race, age, etc. His goal is to raise up Godly men that bring Christ into their homes and families and then out into the world. There...
  • Looking for Something Good to Taste?

    Looking for Something Good to Taste? “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him” (Psalm 34:8 NIV). The only thing I like better than eating food is eating food that is tasty.  We all love a tasty meal and many of us have our own unique spice combination to make a dish more appealing.  I think about all the elaborate cooking shows that are popular on television.  I too enjoy watching many of them.  Then, I consider the most significant meal that we consume is the Lord’s supper, Holy communion, Holy Eucharist, or the Blessed Sacrament. The consecrated body...
  • Happy Memories from Bad Experiences

    Happy Memories from Bad Experiences “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God”  (Philippians 1:3 NLT). I love the encouragement found in the book of Philippians.  One of the reasons Paul wrote this book was to thank the church at Philippi for their help.  He writes, “I thank God for the help you gave me” (Philippians 1:5).  He also wrote, “no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only” (Philippians 4:15); “Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again” (Philippians 4:16).    The generosity of the Philippians to Paul compelled him...
  • A Ministry Making a Positive Impact – The KINGDOM Group!

    A Ministry Making a Positive Impact - The KINGDOM Group! I want to bring to your attention to a ministry that is making a positive impact in locally and nationally.  The KINGDOM Group International, Inc. is a Baton Rouge based organization that is successfully addressing racial and cultural divisiveness.  For the past 3 years this ministry has held meetings and special events that have resulted in very positive changes in the area of unity and reconciliation.Giving a SINGLE GIFTin any amount; orBecoming a MONTHLY DONORof $10, $25, $50, $100 or any amount; orBy giving an “IN-KIND GIFT”(office space, equipment or supplies, volunteering, other donations,...
  • How Can I Help Others?

    How Can I Help Others? “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 NIV). As Christians we are all called into ministry through our baptism and profession of faith in Jesus Christ.  Our greatest ministry for all Christians is to make disciples of Jesus Christ.  When we show love to our neighbor, we are showing them Christ.   It is important that we pause to discern how can we best help others.   Below are a few ideas on helping, counseling, or ministering (any word will suffice I think) when a person is in need.  Of...
  • Recipe for Joy

    Recipe for Joy “I will continue to rejoice. For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance” (Philippians 1:18-19 NLT). I love to cook.  As any chef will tell you, the key to a good dish is the proper ingredients.   Sometimes if I cook something good, I wonder what can I add to make it great?  God is known by many names but is seldom referred to as the “master chef.”  However, He provides all the ingredients we need to regain our joy. Sometimes in life things are simply falling...
  • Be Childlike not Immature

    Be Childlike not Immature “At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to little children” (Matthew 11:25 NIV). One of the better-known Scriptures in the Bible is, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14).  Jesus clearly had a love for children.  Jesus wants us to be like little children because most children are eager to learn.  If we are to be followers of God, we need to know God...
  • Finding Comfort During Grief

    Finding Comfort During Grief “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4 NIV) Grief is inevitable.  We grieve our loss – a child, spouse, parent, close friend, or pet.  I have grieved many losses in my life – sister, marriage, father, friends, and many pets.  It is important to understand that grief is a process and it never ends but does take one through different stages.  It is a passage to go through but not a place to linger until the final stage of acceptance.  Grief is not a sign of weakness nor a lack of faith and...
  • An Attitude of Gratitude

    An Attitude of Gratitude “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV). We all know someone with a lousy attitude, maybe that person is you.  If your attitude is bad, you probably lack gratitude.  If we focus on our past mistakes and sins, we can’t see our present blessings.  Sometimes, we are stuck in the past with a legitimate complaint – Why did I not get the promotion?  Why did my house burn down?  Why did my child die before me?   Life is hard and sometimes unfair.  Jesus spoke about the certainty of...
  • A Spiritual Health Check-Up – How is Your Discipleship?

    A Spiritual Health Check-Up - How is Your Discipleship? “The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2 NIV). Our health is very important to us.  Many of us try to watch what we eat and try to exercise.  We go to the doctor each year for a flu shot and an annual check-up.   There has been an increased awareness in recent years regarding the need for mental health awareness.   Our mental health is related to our physical health.  I wonder if we...
  • Never Grow Tired of Doing Good

    Never Grow Tired of Doing Good “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 NIV). When I think of “doing good” I often think of John Wesley.  One of John Wesley’s most famous quotes was, “Never grow tired of doing good.”  I thought of Wesley and his quote as I was reading Galatians 6.  This was not a catchy marketing campaign.  This was part of his core beliefs which mirrors closely with Paul’s Epistle to the early church in Galatia (Galatians 6:9). Wesley believed that upon...
  • Loneliness Can Lead to Ministry

    Loneliness Can Lead to Ministry “It is not good for the man to be alone”  (Genesis 2:18 NIV).We were all made to live in community.  How can we “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) if we are isolated from others?  Loneliness is not just a problem for older adults.  Younger adults that are single parents or divorced may experience loneliness when the children move out of the house.  Some have ridiculed the lonely and called them weak.  This is wrong and cruel.   It is wrong because most of society has confused weakness with meekness.   Jesus was...
  • Generosity is Proven to be Good for the Giver

    Generosity is Proven to be Good for the Giver “If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them.   Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need” (Deuteronomy 15:7-8 NIV). If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need” (Deuteronomy 15:7-8 NIV). As Christians, we know that we are called upon to be generous....
  • Seek Unity Not Uniformity

    Seek Unity Not Uniformity “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.   For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.   Even so, the body is not made up of one part but of many” (1 Corinthians 12:21-31 NIV). All members of most sports teams wear a uniform.  This designates they are a part of the same team.  However, each member is not uniform in terms of their role or skill on...
  • I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

    I Can’t Get No Satisfaction “He has set the right time for everything. He has given us a desire to know the future, but never gives us the satisfaction of fully understanding what He does”  (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV). "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" was a song by the English rock band The Rolling Stones, released in 1965. The lyrics refer to secular frustration and commercialism, not Christianity.  However, there is a message in the song that has been true since the book of Ecclesiastes was written by King Solomon around 935 BC.  In many instances, we cannot get satisfaction, at least not...
  • Are You Patiently or Impatiently Waiting on God?

    Are You Patiently or Impatiently Waiting on God? “Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” (Psalm 27:14 NKJV).According to the website Brainboost.com, the average person will spend 10 years standing in line over their lifetime.  I wonder how much time will be added on if they factored in waiting on the phone, waiting for a movie to start, or one of my favorite past times – waiting on God.The Bible is full of stories of those who waited on God to move.  Joseph waited over 13 years before...
  • Run, Don’t Walk!

    Run, Don’t Walk! “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7 NIV). As a child, I reminder being told to walk and not to run.  Today, many of us use the expression, “I am going to run to the store.”  In fact, we are going to get in our car and drive to the store and then walk in to shop.  I see many more walkers than runners in my neighborhood.   I prefer to walk than to run but sometimes in life we need to run.  Running is great for exercise,...
  • Finding Peace During the Corona Virus Pandemic

    Finding Peace During the Corona Virus Pandemic “God says, “I will save those who love me and will protect those who acknowledge me as Lord.  When they call to me, I will answer them; when they are in trouble, I will be with them.  I will rescue them and honor them.  I will reward them with long life; I will save them" (Psalm 91:14-16 GNT). Many people are scared due to the uncertainty regarding the Coronavirus (CORVID-19).  I think each time a politician tells the public “don’t panic” that it unfortunately causes some to panic more.  I am a person of faith but also of science.  As...
  • Unanswered Prayers

    Unanswered Prayers “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10 KJV). In 1990 Garth Brooks wrote a popular country song entitled, “Unanswered Prayers.”  The song described a time when he ran into a high-school girlfriend while he was with his wife.   In a recent interview Brooks admits that during the first two years of his marriage he still had strong feelings for this other woman and felt that she was the one that he should had married.  However, as he ran into his old flame, he realized that this girl was not the “angel he remembered...
  • Look Past The Sin To See The Person – Examples From Godly Women

    Look Past The Sin To See The Person – Examples From Godly Women “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies” (Proverbs 31:10 NIV).Women have always been vitally important to Christianity.  Their love and compassion have been recorded since the beginning of time.  When thinking about the beginning, we often think of Eve and her sin of eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden.  Due to God’s grace she still had children and is forever known as the mother of all creation.  But we tend to...
  • Read Scripture And Then Use It

    Read Scripture And Then Use It “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24 NIV). I enjoy reading the Bible, and I if you are reading this you probably do as well.  I also enjoy group Bible studies, Sunday School, small groups and any other means of studying and learning Scripture.  I study Scripture because I want to learn more about God.  I know “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be...
  • What Is Your Reflection?

    What Is Your Reflection? “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver” (Malachi 3:3 NIV). I think most people probably use a mirror at least once a day, maybe even multiple times.  We look at ourselves to see our reflection.  We want to know what image we are reflecting out to others.  Then, we take action to improve our appearance.Scripture tells us that God’s Word is like a mirror:  "Anyone who listens to the Word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at...
  • Be Specific In Prayer

    Be Specific In Prayer “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request” (1 Chronicles 4:9-10 NIV). If you have a specific need, you need to make a specific request.  We all have specific needs (health, financial, family, etc.), but many of us approach prayer with general requests. ...
  • Book Review: God Knows Your Story (and He’s Not Mad!)

    Book Review: God Knows Your Story (And He’s Not Mad!) by Carter Featherston “For your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life” (Psalm 23:6 TPT).If you have never done anything wrong and do not have any regrets or shame, then this book is not for you.  However, I strongly suspect that all of us have regrets and feel some sense of shame for poor choices.  This is a Biblically based book that points the reader to the only true source of victory of sin and shame, Jesus. This book is valuable because it addresses a topic that all...
  • Book Review: Forgiveness, the Passionate Journey Nine Steps of Forgiving through Jesus’ Beatitudes

    Book Review: Forgiveness, the Passionate Journey Nine Steps of Forgiving through Jesus’ Beatitudes by Flora Slosson Wuellner “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete”  (John 15:11 NIV).I think most Christians understand that that through the blood of Jesus we have forgiveness for our sins and life everlasting with the Father.  However, many of us still struggle with the concept of forgiveness.  This book uses the Beatitudes, eight blessings recounted by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew, to point the reader toward...
  • When You Walk Through The Fire, You Will Not Be Burned

    When You Walk Through The Fire, You Will Not Be Burned “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Isaiah 43:2 NIV).  Please closely read the Scripture at the top of this blog.  Hopefully, everything is going great for you in your life right now.  However, if you are not in a period of adversity now, you will be sometime in the future.  More about that later. As I think...
  • Daniel Shows Us How To Handle A Crisis

    Crisis Management From Daniel “Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.   He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon” (Daniel 2:17-18 NIV).I have long enjoyed reading the book of Daniel.  He was a young Jewish man that lived in Jerusalem and was taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.  He loyally served the king while remaining true to God.  The story of Daniel in the lion’s den from Daniel...
  • Trust God, Not Your Feelings

    Trust God, Not Your Feelings “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12 NIV).Have you ever heard the expression, “trust your gut.”  This speaks to our natural desire to go with our feelings.  If it feels right, it must be right.  The problem is that often what feels right to us is not always right to God. The Bible teaches about a time when the world was in anarchy because of this attitude: “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).   Today, do we do what feels...
  • I Saw Jesus Smoking A Cigarette

    I Saw Jesus Smoking A Cigarette "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” (Matthew 25:40 NIV). Each week I join in with a handful of men from around the country for a one-hour meeting on Zoom.  I really look forward to these meetings and enjoy the conversation.   I have learned a lot about these men, life, love, family, and God.  I think it is so imperative to surround yourself with Godly people to help position yourself to hear from God.  I am...
  • Words Of Life Or Death

    Words Of Life Or Death “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken” (Matthew 12:36 NIV) You can turn on the tv news any day at any time to see that things are not peaceful.  People have strong opinions on political, social environmental, and other issues.  A variety of opinions and perspectives can help form a good decision.  However, we all tend to wear blinders and have a very limited field of view on certain issues.  This hinders our perspective and therefore our ability to see issues...
  • Book Review: Overcoming Racial And Cultural Barriers To Disciple Men by Rev. Elmo Winters

    Book Review: Overcoming Racial And Cultural Barriers To Disciple Men by Rev. Elmo Winters “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation” (Acts 17:26 KJV).Each generation faces unique challenges that historians use to define that time period or generation.  There are some challenges that seem to transcend time and linger from one generation to the next.  The issue of race is as old as the Biblical story of the Samaritan woman at the well that...
  • How Can We Lead During A Pandemic?

    How Can We Lead During A Pandemic? “Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save” (Psalm 146 NIV).I enjoy participating in several men’s groups throughout the week.  Before COVID-19 these groups would meet in person at a local church, restaurant, or somebody’s house and we would read and discuss Scripture or a devotional, share our concerns and prayer requests, and enjoy fellowship with each other. These meetings are now on Zoom.  Although I prefer in person meetings, I am grateful for these opportunities on Zoom to spend time with my friends.  One recurrent issue that I have encountered when...
  • Finding the Fruits of the Spirit

    Finding the Fruits of the Spirit “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:25-276 KJV).I love to watch St. Louis Cardinals baseball games on television.  I played little league baseball but knew at a very young age that I would never play professional baseball at any level.  I simply did not have the talent.  It was not “in” me.  I had the gift of a strong arm.  However, it was not the strongest by far and when combined with an...
  • Significance of ‘Sheep and Goats’ Passage

    Significance of ‘Sheep and Goats’ Passage "He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left" (Matthew 25:33 NIV).I have talked to many Christians who believe they are destined for heaven because they have been a good person, attended church, contributed money and even helped their neighbor a few times and participated in committee meetings at church. They are essentially saying that they have “earned” their way into heaven. They may admit to believing in some sort of “higher power” and call themselves “spiritual.” They may even know some Scripture regarding God’s love and the miracles performed...
  • The Great Question: Where Is God?

    The Great Question: Where Is God? "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV, emphasis added). The Bible teaches us that self-control is essential to living a Christian life. We must exercise our self-control or we become controlled by our weakness. Our weakness may be food, alcohol, drugs, pornography, etc.  The enemy knows our weakness better than we do ourselves and will encourage us to go to it rather than God in times of need.  Our lives can soon be dominated by our weakness and we are living completely in...
  • Grace Upon Grace: An Exploration Of God’s Love And How To Receive It

    Grace Upon Grace: An Exploration Of God’s Love And How To Receive It "For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:14 ESV). We are created with a deep need to be loved.  There are two radically different kinds of love: conditional and unconditional. Conditional love involves bargaining and there are conditions that we must meet in order to receive love from others. Such conditional living is exhausting, involving a treadmill of constant doing in order to earn and maintain love. Unconditional love is radically different, involving a conversion of our motives. The Christian...
  • The True Meaning of Salvation

    The True Meaning Of Salvation "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12 NIV).I had heard the term salvation for years, but was not entirely clear of its meaning. I have come to understand that salvation is “deliverance from danger or suffering.” To save is to deliver or protect. The word carries the idea of victory, health or preservation. Sometimes, the Bible uses the words “saved” or “salvation” to refer to temporal, physical deliverance -- such as St. Paul’s deliverance from prison...
  • Evil Can Occur During Church

    Evil Can Occur During Church "So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me"  (Romans 7:21 NIV). I am angry about the continued shootings at our churches. Our churches are God’s house on earth.  Psalm 46:1 teaches us, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).   I think we can substitute “church” for “God” in the scripture.  As Christians we seek out His refuge and strength, particularly on Sunday mornings as we gather with the Body of Christ.   This is a special, holy, sacred time.  It should...
  • Do We Realize Who Is With Us?

    Do We Realize Who Is With Us? “… And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20 NIV).Some of the rotten “fruit” of the enemy is fear and doubt.   If we truly stopped and contemplated who is always with us, then fear would be defeated.   Eventually, Jesus will return, and the enemy will be destroyed along with all of his weapons of spiritual warfare.  In the meantime, we can exercise our free will to live in the dark or live in the light.   The darkness is scary because our own vision is useless.  I...
  • Love Must Be Shown

    Love Must Be Shown “Now someone may argue, ‘Some people have faith; others have good deeds.’ But I say, ‘How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds’” (James 2:18 NLT).Some people think faith is a strong belief in something or someone.  Some may argue that it is a concept or a part of theology.  Faith is so much more than any of that.  The second chapter of James teaches us that real faith transforms lives.   2 Corinthians 5:7 is essential in this regard because it tells us, “For...
  • Gentleness In Action

    Gentleness In Action “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” (Galatians 6:1, underline added for emphasis).What image comes to your mind when you hear the word “gentleness”?  I think most men (and probably most women too ) envision someone that is extremely kind, does not cause any trouble, and always has a smile on their face.  However, we can show gentleness and also be actively engaged in the lives of others.  In fact, we can be gentle while helping a...
  • Love Must Be Shown

  • Meekness Is Not Weakness

    Meekness Is Not Weakness “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5 NIV). Jesus described himself as gentle in Matthew 11:29, “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” (emphasis added).  A gentle man is meek.  Meekness is a humble attitude that expresses itself in the patient endurance of offenses.  Meekness is not weakness. Many men confuse the two. However, the difference between a meek person and a weak person is a weak person can't do anything. A meek person, on the other...
  • All We Can Do Now Is Pray?

    All We Can Do Now Is Pray? “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16 KJV).I was recently talking with a friend of mine whose wife is in hospice care.  He has been keeping in close contact with his pastor and passing along daily medical updates.  Each day the pastor told my friend to “hang in there” and then politely end the conversation.  Eventually her condition became critical and the doctors estimated that she only a few more days to live.  My friend spoke to his pastor that day and relayed the devastation news.  The pastor said,...
  • Anger Can Be Good

    Anger Can Be Good  "Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back" (Proverbs 29:11 NLT).  Many people think that all anger is bad or sinful.  We tend to associate anger with a loss of control, shouting, and aggressive behavior.  However, anger can be good and only becomes sinful when it is expressed in an inappropriate way.  There is nothing wrong with anger if it is properly directed.  We are taught, “In your anger do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26).  We are less likely to model Godly behavior, and sin, if we are controlled by our anger rather than we control...
  • Showing Humility Is Showing Jesus

    Showing Humility Is Showing Jesus “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather; in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others" (Philippians 2:3-4 NIV).Jesus walked the earth and engaged in meaningful and transformational relationships with people.  Today, we are called to be in relationship with Him and with others.  But how can we be the Face of God to others in our relationships?  Some may dismiss this notion out of hand because we are not Jesus.  How can we be expected to show His face?The simple...
  • Who Knows The Truth?

    Who Knows The Truth? “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12 NIV). One of my favorite Bible studies focused on the questions of God in the Old Testament and the questions of Jesus in the New Testament.   I would not pretend to fully know the meaning behind the questions.  However, it is apparent to me that the questions are, at least in part, designed to draw the listener into a deeper state of self-examination. I enjoy my “red...
  • An Identity Crisis Hurts Men and Families

    An Identity Crisis Hurts Men and Families “In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will” (Ephesians 1:11 (NIV).One of the saddest things I have seen is what happens on occasion to some strong and successful men when they retire from their job.  Yes, they might embrace new hobbies and have more time for old hobbies.  However, they sometimes miss their old job, especially if they were in a position of leadership or authority.  I had a friend tell me once that at work he was somebody...
  • The Right Prayer Is…

    The Right Prayer Is... “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27 NIV). As Christians, we all know that prayer is our direct means of communication with God.  Through our prayers and petitions we communicate with God our needs, worries, and joys.  Some people have a poor prayer life because they are not certain...
  • Finding Joy While Suffering

    Finding Joy While Suffering “God lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rockand gave me a firm place to stand” (Psalm 40:2 NIV).One of the more common questions from Christians is about suffering.  Why does a God that loves us as His own children allow suffering?  Perhaps the greatest challenge to our faith is to understand pain and suffering. Many people point to the Book of Job to understand suffering.  God did not cause Job’s suffering but allowed the devil to cause suffering.  Job was tempted and tested.  Job struggled...
  • The Thorn of Divorce

    The Thorn of Divorce “Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated.  Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ;...
  • The Greatest Threat To The Church Is…

    The Greatest Threat To The Church Is… “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others” (Matthew 6:5 NIV).I think when most people think about threats to the local church, they think about declining membership and attendance and associated financial issues.  Yes, it is true that many small churches have closed or will close in the near future due to insufficient membership and finances.  However, in the book The Myth of the Dying Church by Glenn T. Stanton, the author presents a...
  • What is in Your Heart – Envy or Contentment?

    What is in Your Heart – Envy or Contentment? “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1 NIV). Hebrews 12:1 teaches us that God has prepared a “race” for each of us.  To me, this means we each have our own unique life.  We don’t all have the same race, experiences, joys, and failures but we each have a unique race.  God has a plan that He wants us to pursue that...
  • Doubting Your Doubts

    Doubting Your Doubts “The world’s sin is unbelief in me” (John 16:9 TLB).I have always been more interested in the root cause of a problem rather than dealing with the results of the problem.  As Christians we talk a lot about sin, particularly the separation of the sinner from God and the forgiveness of sin due to the blood of Jesus for those that repent and earnestly seek His face.However, I wonder if we truly understand the basis behind our sin.  Some would argue that the root cause is a desire to live in the flesh, pursue our own desires rather...
  • Choose Humility, Not Pride

    Choose Humility, Not Pride “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor” (1 Peter 5:6 (NLT).Pride is perhaps the most serious of the seven deadly sins from Scripture.  It is the most demonic because by its very nature it is a rejection of God.  Pride is a gateway sin for many men because it is the root cause of other capital sins.  Pride is terrible motivator and will lead to a terrible outcome.  Proverbs 16:18 warns, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”One of the most important...
  • Judge Others Or Listen?

    Judge Others Or Listen? “According to our Law we cannot condemn people before hearing them and finding out what they have done” (John 7:51 GNT). Those close to me will often tell me that I am naïve.  I tend to be optimistic and take people at their word.  I am not cynical.   However, each day I am shocked by the level of hatred that I see among people.  Hatred can be manifested in many ways such as physical violence, racism, oppression, etc.   Hatred is born as a thought and grows into an action.  During the thought process a judgment is made to...
  • The Ministry Of Listening

    The Ministry Of Listening “To answer before listening-- that is folly and shame” (Proverbs 18:13 NIV).Most men like to take action to solve a problem.  We tend to jump in and begin formulating a solution before we have even heard the entire story.  Fixing a problem is great but before it is fixed, it needs to be felt.  I think God wants us to feel the pain before we fix the pain. Have you ever been just seconds into a conversation about a problem and say, “I know how to fix this.” But that’s not loving. It has been said that people...
  • Where Are You On The Road From Capernaum to Cana?

    Where Are You On The Road From Capernaum to Cana? “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD” (Psalm 27:14 ESV).It has often been said that two things are certain in this life – death and taxes.  I would add one more to the list – problems.   We all face problems in life that are too great for us alone to handle.  I do not  know your particular story but I do know that each reader is in one of three seasons in life:  (1) in a storm, (2) exiting a storm, or...

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 (KJV)