• December 28, 2015


    Stir It Up


    And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.   (Hebrews 10:24-25)


    Who are you sharing recipes with?  Are you helping someone improve their golf game?  Who are you giving a ride to work or to school?  Who are you helping to become more like Jesus? Who is helping you to become more like Jesus?

    Of course, the most practical place for this to happen is in the local church.  In Bible believing churches everywhere, there are people who will love you, hold you accountable, walk through the trials of life with you, and rejoice in God’s blessings with you. 

    Too many times, however, people go to church, completely bypassing small groups where relationships are built.  They create their own personal space in the worship service, never welcoming anyone in.  They don’t talk to anyone or pray with anyone.  And when the service is over, they walk out, never having personally connected with anyone.

    Don’t neglect the great importance of really connecting with the body of Christ in the local church.  If you are not currently part of a local church, finding a church home needs to be a priority for you.  If you are part of a local church, I hope you are investing in others and letting them invest in you.  


    Father, help me to make relationships in the church body a priority.  Make me an encouragement to someone at church this week.



  • December 29, 2015


    More Excellent Things


    And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.  

    Philippians 1:9-11


    Prayer is the very best thing we can do for others.  Most of us are eager to pray for others in crises moments, when finances, health, and relationships hang in the balance.  But how do we pray for them when the storms aren’t brewing and the seas are calm?

    The prayers of Paul for his friends are wonderful examples of how we can pray for one another.  In the introduction of his letters, Paul always mentions how he is praying for his friends.  His prayers for them touch levels of their lives that are much deeper than their immediate needs. 

    See what Paul prays in the above verses.  He prays that their love (for Christ and others) will abound, for their knowledge and discernment to grow, that they will live with spiritual excellence so they will be pure and blameless when Jesus returns.  He prays that they will bring glory to Christ by producing His fruit in their lives. 

    These are heart changing prayers!  Your loved ones need God to be at work in their lives, every season and every day. Let’s not limit our prayers to our physical needs.  Let’s pray for the more excellent things.


    Teach me how to pray for spiritually excellent things for my friends and family, Lord. 


  • December 30, 2015


    Learning from a Bamboo Tree


    David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.      (1 Chronicles 28:20)


    God has made everything for a purpose.  Sometimes, His creation is to help us understand lessons about life.  Take the bamboo tree, for example.  That particular plant does nothing, it would seem, for the first four years of its life.  Then suddenly, sometime during its fifth year, it shoots up ninety feet in sixty days.  Would you say the bamboo tree grew in six weeks, or five years?

    Dave and Diana were called by God to take the gospel to a primitive tribe in Brazil.  They excitedly went to work.  For twenty years, they sowed, planted, and watered, but not one person in their tribe was saved.   They were many times overcome with discouragement and questioned God’s plan.

    In year twenty-one, the first person of that tribe came to Christ.  The harvest became so plentiful, that now, missionaries are being sent from that tribe to other tribes to share the gospel.    Do you think the results came in 1 year, or in twenty-one years?

    Do not let discouragement persuade you to abandon God’s clear plan for your life.  He will faithfully bring His desired results at the right time, and strengthen you to complete what He has called you to.


    Lord, help me when I’m discouraged to remember that the plans are Yours, the timing is Yours, and the results are Yours.  Help me to obey You with joy in my heart.


  • December 31, 2015


    The Heart of the Problem


    The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” Jeremiah 17:9-10


    When I was a boy, I sometimes helped my dad with building projects he was doing around our house.

    I especially remember watching Dad pick out lumber. We’d go out into the lumberyard, and my father would inspect each piece before we loaded it. He’d look down one edge, and then another, until he was convinced the board was straight. If a board was warped or crooked, he’d toss it to the side.

    Sometimes, my father would reject a board that seemed perfect. One time when he did this, I looked down the edges of the board. All four looked completely straight.  “Dad, why aren’t we taking this one?” I asked.  My father said, “Don’t just look at the outside. Look at the end of the board.”

    Dad explained to me that, when they process timber at the sawmill, they can take a crooked log, run it through a saw to square up one side, then lay it on a cradle again and cut off another side. After they are done, it appears straight on the outside. “But, when you look on the end of the board,” dad said, “you’ll see that the heart is still crooked.”

    The heart of the problem was a problem of the heart.

    In the same way, no matter how much we may straighten up our own outside appearance and behavior, we cannot make our hearts “straight” before God. Our best efforts at religion, morality, and goodness will never correct the problem in our hearts. He alone can search our hearts and make them right.

    Wouldn’t it be great to start the New Year with a “straight” heart?  Commit your heart to God today, trusting the blood of Jesus to wash your sin away and make you right with God.  When your heart is right, God will use you to build His kingdom.


    Father, I want you to examine my heart today. Show me where my heart is crooked, and clean me up so You can use me.


  • 2016 - Week 1

    Hold On

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