Joy to The World!

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people,” Luke 2:10 KJV 

These words were spoken on the very first Christmas. The message the angel brought was a joyful one. This verse precludes, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord,” Luke 2:11 KJV.

No matter what trials we may face or are forced to endure, our situation is temporary. Not eternal. Yet many of us become overwhelmed, frustrated and despondent by situations, people and circumstances. The very fact that we indeed have a Savior is reason enough to be joyful!

Though we must deal with those situations life brings upon us, it is important that we keep them in perspective. The odds are great that the very things that bring out the very worst in us now, will be inconsequential years later.

In this Christmas season, if each of us makes a concerted effort to be joyful, it would be a greater testimony than any scripture we could quote or sermon we preached If we allow our conduct to become a testimony, especially as we walk through our fires, how many more people would be interested in learning about our Savior, the only One who can offer true joy?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,”
Galatians 5:22. KJV

If we would allow ourselves to be overcome by the Spirit instead of overcome by the world, we could turn others toward the one true God. As Christians, our testimony should include behavior that others would strive to implement not circumvent!

We should draw men toward the Light, not repel them with pessimism, condemnation, or a critical spirit. Who wants any of that!?

A joyful heart invites people to want to learn more about our God Who provides peace and joy even when circumstances aren’t necessarily peaceful or joyful.  The increasing stresses of this world do fight us at every turn. I readily concede it is not always easy to be joyful. Thankfully, we aren’t relegated to doing this in our own power.

“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost,” Romans 15:13. KJV

  Allow this Christmas Season to be a joyful one. Focus on the Source of all true peace and joy. As followers of Christ we have something to be joyful about! Let us allow our joy to overflow onto others, especially those who don’t know our God. May our love, joy, peace, gentleness and goodness draw men toward the Light.

Merry Christmas! 

“But let all those who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. Psalms 5:11 NKJV

 “that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy,” Colossians 1:11 NKJV

“Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy,” Psalms 126:5 NKJV


I live in the Atlanta area, kind of smack in the middle of the “Bible belt.” This long standing nickname would lead most to believe that Christianity is the most prevalent religion in these parts. It’s not.

The most prevalent religion around here is football.

I rarely see Christians rally together or cheer on one another the way sports fans do. Tailgating is the praise and worship that sets the mood for the sermon game. Season tickets sell no matter the cost. The pews may be sparsely occupied on Sunday but that stadium will be packed!

I can’t say that I’m a die hard fan by any means except for my alma mater (Go Rattlers!) but football occupies a more prominent place in the lives of many far above the basic precepts of love God and love your neighbor.

Yet, I don’t think I have ever seen anything break down barriers between people the way football can. Race, nationality, sexual orientation, religious affiliation and politics become irrelevant as long as you are for the home team. People who wouldn’t speak to one another at any other time will embrace, high five and cheer together.

We “Christians” might just learn a thing or two from these die hard fanatics. 

I rarely see such levels of commitment and devotion for the church like I see for sports. Football season is priority for many.

How often do we “religious folk” schedule activities around God instead of squeezing God into a packed schedule?

Am I bashing football? Most definitely not!

UNEXPECTED GIFTS BLESSED DEVOTIONAL  Athletics provide an opportunity for many people to improve their circumstances. Football also teaches how to win and how to accept defeat. It instills the importance of working together for a common cause. Football builds solidarity among individuals. I would just love to see these same attributes displayed prominently in the church.

What if “Christians” shared this same type enthusiasm for people?

God’s people.

I’m talking about the people we glance over or would rather not deal with. I’m talking about those who are broken and when we ask how they are, we don’t want to hear their truth.

It is our commandment to love them.

I’d love to see Christians help those who are hurting as quickly as we would purchase tickets to enjoy the game.

I’m sure on any given weekend millions are cheering for their team. What about encouraging the addict or the mentally ill?

What if we chose to commit to something that lasts longer than the season?  

What if for just one weekend, we offered our time and money for a charitable cause. Even assisting a neighbor, friend or family member will do.

These efforts, unlike those for the game, leave a lasting impression and demonstrate God’s love. God uses us to do His work.

Every sports team strives to build a legacy. Shouldn’t we want to do the same for God? And not grudgingly, but with that same enthusiasm we show the home team?

Just a few random thoughts today.

I’m off to watch the game.

Are You My Brother?

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
1 John 4:20-21 NKJV 

When I was a child, one of my favorite books was titled, “Are You My Mother?”  The book told the story of a baby bird who found himself frightened and alone walking up to all manner of things and asking, “Are you my mother?”

If I recall correctly, the bird walks up to a dump truck. I think there may have been a traffic light and possibly a dog somewhere in there.  The baby bird never stops searching and eventually learns the truth.

Unlike the bird, many “Christians” stop short of acknowledging the truth in front of us.

“He who loves God must love his brother also.”

Jesus did not say love those who look like you and think like you. There are no conditions attached.

I’ve noticed more and more “Christians” in their zeal to grasp God drift toward extremist doctrines and tendencies they condemn others for.

When we profess to know it all and throw around judgment about like birdseed, we place ourselves on a slippery slope where religion obscures fact. We beg God to forgive our sins, yet we readily highlight the flaws in others.

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”  Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV

Believers often loudly condemn others for all manner of things. The clothes they wear. Tattoos. Race. Religion. Lifestyles. Political beliefs!

And yes, I’ve been one of “those” people thinking I knew it all. Thankfully, the older I get the more I learn I don’t have all the answers.  And I’m okay with that.

This post by Chris Martin really resonated with me.

How about we start with the basics and pursue that second commandment?

What if loving our brother is key to igniting a spark that draws people to God?
Not doctrine. Or rhetoric.

Are you my brother?

For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.  And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?  Matthew 7:2-4 NKJV

New Year, New You?

With only a few days into the New Year many “resolutions” have been made.

And broken.

The stamina required for significant change looms far too large for many.

Athletes conquer their challenges with the help of a coach. Students achieve academic goals with help from parents and teachers.

But what about the rest of us?

We don’t have a coach or trainer to motivate us.

Or do we?

All the help and encouragement we need is readily accessible to us. We just have to ask for it.

And submit.

Our God is ever willing to help us become the best we can possibly be.

We often think we have to go it alone. But we don’t.

God is ever willing to provide the help we need.

When we ask Him.

Have you asked Him?

In our weakness God provides what we need to get us through. Those things that once tempted us can no longer hold us hostage.

What changes do you need to make?

Is your health in jeopardy? Need help with your finances? Relationships?

Progress isn’t always possible on our own. True and lasting “success” always comes through God.

The goals we strive for or our “resolutions” are probably changes the Holy Spirit has nudged us toward all along. With a fresh New Year we often dare to believe we can accomplish things that at other times seem daunting. If the New Year sparks positive change, go for it!

Eat too much? Drink too much? Too negative? Undisciplined?

The changes we are prompted to make prepare us for our purpose.

We will all change to some degree in this New Year. Whether the changes are for better or worse remains to be seen.

I challenge you not to obsess over resolutions or prior failures. Instead, take time and ask God what changes He wants you to make now.

I find my greatest regrets are not things I’ve done, but instead those things I didn’t have faith enough to try.

Do you really want the best life God has for you?

Enough to sacrifice? Dismiss your detractors? Go it alone without family or friends?

It’s all up to you. And Him.

How desperate are you for it? 

“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed [is] willing, but the flesh [is] weak.” Matthew 26:41 NKJV

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
James 4:7 NKJV

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith,” 2 Timothy 4:7 NKJV

“If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land;”
Isaiah 1:19 NKJV

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 13:4 NKJV

Keep the Faith!

“When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” Matthew 9: 27-29

The realities of life can leave us bruised or battered, wondering if our efforts truly matter. Dare we continue to hold fast or give up, tired of waiting and out of luck.

“According to your faith let it be to you.”

I hadn’t read this verse in a very long time. Jesus asked the blind men “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”

We should take our cues from these men who were successful in literally seeing miracles of God.

Sometimes we follow everything and everybody when we should be following God. We look for opinions in all the wrong places. We follow tweets and posts. Some of us follow celebrities. Some of us are news hounds. Just where are these things and people really leading us!?

The two blind men “followed Him.”

We need to follow God just as desperately. I believe their act of “doing something” and not just moaning as Jesus walked away gave them favor. Can you imagine how hard it probably was for two blind men to follow Him?

Do we complain about our plight or do we actively seek the Source who can help us? Do we put ourselves in position to receive the blessings we need?

The two men could have easily let their chance for healing just walking away but they were up and moving. We need to get up and chase God as well.

Not only did the two men follow Jesus, they cried out for mercy.  How many times do we let our pride keep us from crying out when we are in need? Or when we do cry out, we cry out to people who can’t help us at all.

The blind men acknowledged their need for Jesus.

We often go to the least qualified sources (hello internet) when we have issues that would be better met going to God. He isn’t the last resort. God should be our first choice.

These seemingly simple steps can make the difference between burdened cares and answered prayers.

We just need to follow Him, cry out to Him, come to Him and believe. Our faith can move us to do what is necessary to receive the blessing.

If we let it.

In the end, these men were blessed according to their faith.

What do you have faith for?

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17 NKJV

Trash Day!

In my household of mostly men, the responsibility lies on them to take out the trash. Unfortunately, I am the only one with a nose sensitive enough to detect whatever is rotting before anyone else does. I am very aware that if the trash is not taken out, the entire house will stink very soon.

The same thing is true of our mental state. It is necessary to do a mental cleansing and rid ourselves of “trash.”

If left unchecked our minds have the potential to not only stink but attract its own array of flies, maggots and scavengers.

Any lingering negativity, doubt, fears, guilt and the like should be tossed just like garbage. If not regularly expelled the trash in our minds will overwhelm any good that is there.

What do you need to toss out? A bad attitude? Fear? Doubt? Guilt? Despair?

We must continually take inventory of our mental state, those insecurities and tendencies that would prevent us from seeking God’s best for our lives.

Most people would never consider bringing their neighbor’s trash into their own home. Yet we often do that very thing when we allow the seeds of doubts from others to take root in our mind. Don’t allow someone else’s fears to overtake your faith!

The Bible instructs us to “renew our mind.” Our mental purge is necessary to remove anything that would dilute the God/good in us.  It is up to us to filter what we allow to infect us if we are ever to prosper as our Creator intended.

Toss the old junk out. Make room for the new. God has a greater vision He wants to share with you.

“And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God,” Romans 12:2

Grace Under Fire

“And God [is] able to make all grace abound to you, that you always having all sufficiency in all [things], may have an abundance for every good work.”
2 Corinthians 9:8 NKJV

Often when we seek God or commit to study His Word, we may find our pursuit seems to open us up to chaos. As we make spiritual progress we will meet opposition.

It may appear that we lose more than we gain.

But by God’s grace we are empowered and not overcome.

Through God’s love for us we can receive and exhibit “grace under fire.”

Like soldiers we may face grenades, a hail of bullets, or even sniper fire.

Some attacks are large like a failed relationship or the death of a loved one. Others are like a hail of bullets, smaller shots that in combination cause great distress…deadlines to meet, financial struggles, or family obligations that collectively wear you down.

And then there is “sniper fire.” Those situations that come of of nowhere! The IRS bill after you depleted your savings on a house. The child you raised is now a stranger. The medical results are not good. One day you’re financially responsible and the next you are unemployed.

Our God does not guarantee a life without trials.

However, we are provided the grace that we need. Not just for eternity, but right here and now.

For every attack, God provides the body armor we need. It is our responsibility to put it on! 

Bullet-proof vests don’t stop the shooter. Yet, the vest keeps the bullets from penetrating.

God’s grace prevents our trials from penetrating us! 

We may be surrounded but not overcome. God’s grace gives us what we need to stand our ground.

We exhibit grace when we do not rant, rave, curse and complain during our crisis. We pass the test and mature when we are respectful and peaceable in the worst of circumstances.

How do you treat people the heat is bearing down?

How we react under fire demonstrates how much faith we have in God and not ourselves. Resolving to be civil, sane and even to bless others in the midst of our trials not only glorifies God but builds us into the people He created us to become.

The next time you face a crisis, are you going to put on the whole armor of God with grace, or will you let a temporary situation rob you of a permanent blessing?

God gives the grace we need to pass every test. Like the armor of God, we just have to pick it up and put it on!

“Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:10-11 NKJV


Closed for Renovations

 “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”  1 Corinthians 3:16

The passage of time, storms, and decay will take a toll on nearly every structure man can build.  Even as temples of God, we are no different.

Fortunately a carpenter’s “son,” can take what we are and make us so much better. Jesus allows us the grace to be repaired and totally transformed. However, His transformation may dictate that we “close for renovations.”

Closed for renovations may require shutting away people who impart only negativity. Closing may entail loss of things near and dear to you such as habits and pleasures you squirm at the very thought of losing. Closing may require that you change your mind, thoughts and priorities. It may even require fixing what you watch and read.

If you can’t tolerate your present condition, God can renovate you!

God takes away addictions. God heals. God can grant you grace for the changes you seek.

He exchanges cracked foundations for solid footing. Whatever our need, God repairs or compensates for any deficiency. God can rebuild us so completely we don’t even recognize ourselves!

If we are willing to be transformed we must study God’s Word, and implement His teachings! Doing this imparts wisdom in us and glorifies Him. This submission to change requires determination and motivation.

It is often painful and messy.

It will take longer than expected and cost more than anticipated. You may find yourself in the very midst and wonder why you ever asked for “help” as everything in your life appears to get  worse.

The guts of your temple get exposed and rearranged. Your comfortable insulation may be ripped away.  But God also removes old floors of guilt and walls of shame. God can even make you energy-efficient!

It is only through God’s hand on us that we can resist the rain, withstand the floods, and endure harsh winds.

Are you tired of the same old thing? Are you ready for something new?

Answer His call.

Let Him do a good work in you and on you. Let Him rebuild you inside and out.

Dare to renovate and then celebrate the new thing God does in you!

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall. “Matthew 7: 24-27 NKJV


Peace and Joy!

 “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,”
John 14:27 NKJV

Jesus came not just as our Savior, but that we may have peace now on this earth. It is amazing how quickly we can give it away. Or worse, fail to even accept such precious gifts at all!

Circumstances, people and our daily lives all have the potential to rob us of our peace and joy if we allow it.

We often run around as if all is lost if we can’t accomplish our “to do” list. We also deprive ourselves of peace and joy when we allow our shortcomings to overshadow our God.

We don’t have to be tossed back and forth like waves upon the shore. We have an Anchor. We can be stable and able when we take hold the true peace and joy our God provides.  

Our society is so plugged in that there is little time allocated to be still. It is not unusual for the average person to struggle with finding time  with God that will cultivate a “peace that passes understanding.”

We are often guilty of spending too much time on things that don’t really matter, yet if only we put those efforts into accepting what has been freely given, we could truly enjoy the fullness of God’s gifts and His love for us.

Happiness is based on circumstances and our reaction to our environment. However, joy comes from within and fosters contentment no matter our plight. Joy is a gift from God. Happiness is transient and often subject to the actions of others.

Allow your spirit to rejoice in the Lord. Look beyond your present circumstances if necessary and meditate on His truth…God is good, He loves you, everything else is secondary!  blsd crout (2)

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning,”
Psalm 30:5 NKJV

No matter what you may face, it is possible to receive God’s joy. Christ was able to endure the crucifixion aware of the joy that lay beyond the anguish. God does no less for us who choose to trust Him!

The price for our peace and joy has already been paid…no purchase necessary!

But it is up to us to embrace these gifts and protect them like prized possessions. The more we seek His presence, all the more peace and joy we will find within.

Believe and receive.

Peace and joy are waiting for you!

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NKJV

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” Galatians 5:22 NKJV


Unlike this butterfly struggling against the breeze, I spotted a hawk soaring high on those same winds. Hawks trust the breezes to lift them higher. No GPS or google maps, they just stretch their wings and go!

The higher we want to go, the more we must trust God to take us there.

Small things we can do in our small power. Larger missions, accomplishments and dreams of any real substance are all acquired with God.

Few people reach their full potential without that absolute trust. There are those who do reach certain heights in themselves, but eventually the burden of their pseudo-success becomes too much for them to bear. Most “self-made” people often collapse under the strain of relying on themselves for everything.

We must grow larger spiritually and mentally into a wider wing span, stretching ourselves, daring to go higher than we ever thought possible if we are to soar as God intended us to do.   DSC_8762 (2)

Likewise, we must have a keen eye just like a hawk. These birds aren’t flying blind. We shouldn’t either. Large fowl can spot the smallest of opportunities/food from their great heights.  God gives us this same vision and discernment when we ask Him, trust Him and have faith enough to actually follow where He leads.

Now, I’m not keen on going anywhere and not know where I’m going. Yet, this same reluctance can cause us to miss out on some of our largest blessings. Admittedly, I’ve gone a few places in life with my eyes wide open (or so I thought) and that didn’t turn out well at all!

So…I’d rather go blindly with God than move forward eyes wide open, but aimless and with no direction!

Besides, my tiny little wings can only take me so far. But with God…    DSC_9010 (2)

Technically, bumble bees can’t fly. Their bodies and short wing spans defy the laws of physics. But God creates those “laws” and breaks them as He deems fit. Man will never understand all of God. We see only a glimpse of His Majesty. That’s why we must trust!

All things are possible to him who believes!  

Jesus, said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things [are] possible to him that believeth,” Mark 9:23 KJV

Will my hopes and dreams come to fruition? Only God knows. But knowing that they are indeed possible is enough for me to spread my wings and try to fly just a little bit higher.

What about you?