Lessons From A Brown Recluse

The brown recluse. It is a deadly spider whose bite will eat away at your flesh and can also kill. It was through this spider that God taught me about a major need in my life…surrender.

I was living in Texas at the time. I was in a training school for missions. They had warned us to kill the bugs first and identify them later. However, I was not awake when I was bitten. Late at night a brown recluse bit me on the tip of my thumb. I felt nothing and slept through the night.

When I awoke the next morning I noticed my thumb was sore but attributed it to the frequency of writing I was doing. Not only was I taking notes in class but I was also on a writing binge: poems, sermons and stories. Throughout the day my thumb continued to ache.

The next day I was feeling worse. My thumb developed a blister and I was beginning to feel sick. I did not connect the two however. By the third day I could not write and my blister was swelling. That afternoon I noticed a red streak on my wrist. All of the local doctors offices were closed so I decided to lance the blister. By late evening the red streak had reached my shoulder and I was experiencing severe pain in my arm. A friend drove me the 45 minutes to the nearest hospital. The doctor examined my thumb and told me a brown recluse had bitten me. He immediately gave me some antibiotics and told me that had I waited 6 more hours I would have been dead. Apparently the poison was in my blood stream. By lancing the blister the doctor said I saved my thumb as well. With a brown recluse if the blister had burst naturally the infection inside would have destroyed my flesh.

It was 3 weeks before I could hold a pencil again. It took 6 months for my thumbnail to grow back. During that time God taught me a valuable lesson. I had focused on my writing to the point that it had become an idol. I wrote from morning until night. My journal was filled. My personal relationship with God was beginning to suffer. I focused more on writing for Him than spending time with Him.

Did God send the brown recluse? I will let you decide. He did use the situation though to awaken me to the truth. I was forced to think and relax for those 3 weeks. I spent more time in the Word. Through that God showed me what place writing had taken in my life. A lifetime of writing I finally laid at the throne of God. I had to surrender that desire.

When something takes Gods place that something has to be released to Him. I did not know if He would ever let me pick it back up again. I continued to write letters and school notes but it stopped there. It was about 6 months before I felt God release me to pick it up again. Today I obviously still write, though only occasionally and when I feel God’s leading. Many of the items found on this blog are things I have had laying around for years. I do know that I learned a valuable lesson from that brown recluse. One I never want to forget.

Just A Thought #20

The Heart of Worship

There is a worship song I love that says something along the lines of, "I'm getting back to the heart of worship, and it's all about You, it's all about You, Jesus." I remember years ago in my DTS (Discipleship Training School) a man who worked on the campus as a plumber. He was always saying Jesus only Jesus. Recently I attended a conference in Florida and the one thing that really touched my hear was the worship. I was able to just close my eyes and focus on the Lord Jesus without distraction.

These random thoughts are not so random. The main point is Jesus! I once wrote a Just A Thought (#9) that spoke about worshiping with abandon. Well lately I have been thinking more about Who I worship, not how. We have an incredible Savior! An awesome Savior. I am so excited by Jesus Christ that my heart is bursting with desire to sing His praises. I am drawn to Psalm 95 which says:

"Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving. Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.” (Psalm 95:1-2) and "Oh come let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker." (Psalm 95:6)

The whole point of this thought is Jesus. We need to worship Him. Not just sing to Him but to really focus on Him. To sing with joy to the Lord, to desire Him with our whole hearts....to enter into His presence! It is not always easy to set aside our distractions....to just sing to Him! We get distracted sometimes by the person in front of us, the thoughts rambling in our head and yes sometimes the "worship team"! We need to come to God wholeheartedly though. Setting aside these stray thoughts and really pursuing God! Pursuing! Worshiping! The heart of our worship, Jesus Christ!

Just A Thought #19

We're gonna have a resolution

2008. It's a New Year. New Beginnings. I have never really liked making New Year resolutions. I typically try to avoid things I know I will fail at. Keeping a resolution to lose weight, learn a language or drink less coffee always seems to fall by the wayside no later than Jan. 2. I tend to make these resolutions based on what I think I "should" do. However this year I find my resolution is one I "want" to make. One that is also very easy to keep.

My resolution? I find it in the book of Philippians chapter 3 verse 8 "Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord."

I want to know God more. I want to go deeper with Him this year. I desire to know Him so intimately that I count everything else as loss. I am asking God to increase my desire for Him. I want to read His Word deeply looking for a daily treasure. I want to pray without ceasing. I want to have the faith to move mountains. Cliche? Maybe. True? Definitely. You see the older I become the more I realize that this life is but a vapor.

I see so many hurting people it is becoming harder and harder to look the other way. I see how society is becoming more hardened to life. I also see those who are standing up for righteousness are having to make clear, concise choices that immediately set us apart from the world. However more than any of this I just feel a longing. One I have not felt in a long time. A longing to be alone with Him. A desire to truly Know God and His thoughts, concerns and desires. I don't want to play Christianity. I don't want to live it in name only. I just want more of God.

Do you feel a longing? A tug at your heart to draw near to God?

Just A Thought #18

In The Beginning----Love!

Hanna, my 9 year old, was completing an assignment for Bible class in school. Her assignment was to pick 3 Old Testament chapters, read them and write down what she felt the Lord was showing her in that chapter. Now I have always felt God can teach us in many ways and one way God has used to teach me quite often is via my little girl. As I looked over Hanna's work I noted that the first chapter she picked was Genesis Chapter 1. I figured she would mention the creation story. I was very much surprised, however, when Hanna wrote that she felt God was showing His love in this chapter.

Now I love the Creation story but I have never looked at it in that way before. Yes I know God loves us but that He showed His love in the beginning when he created the heavens and earth was something I'd never quite looked at before. Needless to say I was excited. I started looking at Genesis 1 and all the ways God demonstrated His love for us. From creating the heavens for us to look at, to forming the mountains and seas, the whole chapter is filled with verses that show how much God loves us. I asked Hanna to explain to me, while I was writing this Thought, how she felt God showed His love for us. She said "He took so much detail because He wanted the earth to be just right for us. He gave us the perfect temperature--not too hot or cold, provided plants that were not poisonous for us to eat, gave us fresh water to drink from, animals to eat, etc."

God loves us, but I realize there are many times I don't bask in His love, reflect on it and soak it in. God used my 9 year old to remind me of His love. In light of Gen. 1; John 3:16 and other verses, I realize I need to embrace His love more. We need to experience Him daily in order to fully reflect Him daily.

Just A Thought #17

Watch, Stand, Love

I am really excited by a Scriptures I read last night. It is found in 1 Cor. 16:13-14 and says, "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love." These two verses are packed with so much truth.

Watch - What am I watching for....what am I watching period? Am I watching to see if the enemy is creeping up to our gates ready to attack? Am I watching to see that my family is safe and sound, nestled in the shelter of the Lord? The Bible tells us He is our fortress, but am I watching my family and their relationship with Him, encouraging them to go deeper with God? Sadly, I don't always do this. I try, but at times it seems like there are many stops and starts. Yet the Bible tells me to watch. As a child of God I am responsible to watch! I need to see what's coming so I can sound the alarm and seek the Lord for protection. I need to pray for my family and for their growth with the Lord. I need to watch out for them through prayer and faith.

Stand - We are told to stand fast in the faith. Too many times when the enemy has attacked I have stepped back, retreated before his blows. Yet God tells me I should not retreat but as Ephesians 6:13 says, "When the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." I realize I cannot do this in my own strength, but only by faith in the Lord! I don't need to run or hide, but to hold fast in faith that the Lord will fight the battle and win the victory. My strength can only come from Him.

Love - Let all that I do be done with love...Wow! I feel so small when I look at that verse. I do not always do everything with love. Sometimes I do things out of selfishness, pride or fear. Yet the Bible tells me to do everything out of love. That also means I should watch out of love, stand fast out of love. Serve out of Love.

I see areas where I need to grow. Do you? Let's join together in this great adventure and seek to go deeper with the Father!

Just A Thought #16

Reflections of the way my life should be

I was reading Psalm 91 today. I love those first 2 verses. Psalm 91:1 "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty." Verse 2, "I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I will trust."

Recently I have found myself reflecting on the Lord more and more. Unfortunately when I reflect on Him I see where my life should be and where I usually am not. I should be sheltering in the Lord. I should be resting in His shadows and secured in His fortress. Lately it seems I am not. There have been many times in my life....too many times....when I have let the cares of this world take up more of my focus. It's easy when bills are on your table, someone is sick, your job is not working out as you'd planned, etc. to let these things consume you. I know, I've been there. However I sense the Lord calling me to renew my focus solely on Him. As I write this I have a longing to dwell in the shelter of the Most High. I find my desire increasing again. My heart being restored.

I desire something more, something deeper. More of God. I want to dwell with Him, to rest in His shelter, to be inside the fortress, protected from the outside world. As I look around me I see so many hurting people and I long to share with them the answer to their hurts. The healing balm the Lord can apply. However I have been nursing my own wounds and not sharing this medical breakthrough with others. I have seen some self-centeredness creeping back into my life like a fungus. I know what I should be doing. That's the problem.

Now I am working on the solution. I am making an effort to go further with God. For me it means I need to cut out some distractions in my life. I will have to put down the other books, turn off the DVDs and computers and just get away with God. I can't escape from the world but I think I understand more and more what the Father meant when He said we should be in the world but not of it. It takes effort to tune out the world and tune into God. I know I will need to find that quiet place each day to sit and hear Him, to talk with Him. It is my desire. Is it yours? This was hard to write today. I have felt dry of late and realize I need His refreshing. How many of you also need the cool refreshing only God can give? How many will covet with me to seek the Lord today. If you also have felt this tug let me know and we can pray for one another.

God is a victorious God and I am excited to see what will happen next.

Just A Thought #15

Standing Ground

I am a history buff. In particular I like to read about military history. I have been reading about the American Civil War lately. One thing that strikes me is when faced with hard pressing attacks from the enemy, numerous times soldiers have been credited with holding their ground. In the accounts I have read, they would not fall back, but continued to fight against overwhelming odds.

I wish we as Christians would do the same. This may strike some as pushy or forward, but we give too much ground to the enemy today. The Bible tells us in Romans 12:2 that we should not be conformed to this world but transformed by the renewing of our minds. There are numerous Scriptures telling us not to give in to worldliness. I have seen too many Christians embracing Harry Potter and similar books and movies, when God clearly condemns sorcery and witchcraft and tells us to have nothing to do with them. Too many people endorsing films which clearly violate God's standard. The recent Evan Almighty is a clear example. No matter how hard we try to draw parallels to Christianity, or point to the redemptive qualities of the plot, the fact is that we are allowing subtle suggestions to affect our view of God, family, morals and more. I have heard friends recommend movies with dozens of expletives and crass jokes, saying things like "I loved that movie. It portrayed good and evil so clearly." So? Even Satan himself knows the scripture. But he can't quote it without twisting it. Just as he tried to deceive Jesus in the wilderness, so he wishes to deceive us through many types of media.

Now I am not prudish and I watch films, TV, etc. The point though is we should filter what we watch through His lenses. Would God approve of what we are partaking in? What would he say about the way Christians are portrayed? About how Jesus is portrayed? About how his goodness is displayed or dismissed?

Why do we embrace what the world offers? Are we not called to be different...peculiar? Should the World not look at us and see Christ? I am tired of compromising Christianity. I want to see Jesus lifted high. Are we salt to the world or have we lost our flavor? It is time to stand up for righteousness...standing our ground as the enemy presses in. No retreat. No surrender. Giving all for Jesus no Matter the cost!

Just A Thought #14

Taught to Count

Psalm 90:12 "So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."

Death is not an easy subject to talk about. This year Sarah and I have had a few relatives pass away. When I returned from my vacation I found out an 80 year old co-worker had just had a stroke. (She is recovering thanks to the Lord.) These things were on my mind when the Lord brought to my attention this verse.

Why is it we fear death? Oh we may not admit it but many believers don't want to talk about the subject at all. I read this verse and it challenged me. The challenge was that Jesus Christ could return at any time or He could call me home at any time so I should "number" my days and be about His business. This isn't to be pessimistic. The reality is though we are all drawing closer to either our death or His return.

The time for not taking our walk, our faith seriously is over. God requires us to focus on Him, worship Him, seek Him with our whole hearts. People around us are dying every day and many don't know Him. How can we sit on the sidelines?

Our faith should be so real, so evident that our youth are called to a deeper walk with Him, our neighbours want what we have and people are left with the impression that we do serve a LIVING God.

It is time to make a choice. As Joshua said "Choose you this day who you will Serve...as for me and my house we will serve the Lord."

Just A Thought #13


Recently I found myself thinking about the Scriptures where Jesus fed the 4,000 and the 5,000. As Hanna loves pointing out, that does not include women and children so those numbers can be way higher. I think part of this caught my eye as I have been involving myself more with a Salvation Army street church on Saturday nights. After a meal we have a time of worship and a short message. I started thinking about how Jesus also gave a Word and a meal on a couple of occasions and always seemed to be sharing a message of sorts at a party, supper, etc.

The part that stood out to me was the spiritual hunger of those who came to Jesus. They sought Him out, wanted to hear his Words. He was something they desired. He had something they were looking for.

This is true for us as well. I have been thinking about Psalm 34:8 which says "Oh taste and see that the Lord is Good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him." I was challenged. Am I showing the world around me that God "tastes good"? Do they see in my life something that makes them hunger for more of Him? God has so much to offer and sometimes it is easy to go about our day to day routine and even in ministry forget that we are a reflection. We can choose to reflect Him or not. I am not talking about faking joy or any such nonsense. Just displaying how real God is and how He is (or should be) a vital part of our life.

I want those around me whom I come in contact with to leave with a good taste in their mouth. A taste of Christ.

Just A Thought #12

Are We Being Led?

I have found myself challenged in the past month or so by some Scriptures in the Old Testament. Our family is reading through the Bible in a year and Hanna (our 8 year old) has asked a lot of questions and also points out every now and then a real gem of Biblical truth. Recently while reading Deuteronomy I was reviewing how God led the Israelites by a cloud out of Egypt and brought them to the door of the Promised Land. Hanna has found God leading the Israelites this way to be fascinating and pointed it out numerous times which was why I was particularly drawn to Deut. 1:22 where the Israelites come to Moses and said, "Let US (Emphasis Mine) send men ahead to spy out the land for us and bring back a report about the route we are to take and the towns we will come to." God led them but when they got to the door of the promised land they took matters into their own hands and ended up wandering in the desert 40 years! Then I read yesterday in Joshua about how the Gibeonites came to the Israelites to deceive them, making them believe they were from a far away nation to sue for peace. The latter part of verse 9:14 says they, "did not inquire of the Lord." and for that they fell into the Gibeonite deception.

These 2 verses got me to thinking about how many times in both ministry and personal matters I do not seek the Lord and I take matters into my own hands. Sometimes a good ministry opportunity pops up and I say yes without consulting God because it seems good and so He must be in it. I will make some major personal decisions without seeking 1st God's kingdom. (Matt. 6:33) I realize I need to seek God in all my decisions. To find His will for my life and not just do what seems right in my own eyes. That way leads to no good.

So are we being led or are we leading? Is Christ the pilot or are we trying to make Him our co-pilot. I would rather have God lead the way then be fighting for the wheel.

Just A Thought #11


This year we began a Bible reading plan with our 8 year old daughter. You probably know the type. You read through the Bible in a year with extra readings of the Psalms, Proverbs and the Gospels. As we have been reading Hanna has asked a lot of questions which have helped us to see the Scriptures from her point of view. She also loves reading the verses where Jesus talks about little children.

One such verse, Luke 18:17 says, “Assuredly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” This particular verse has been bouncing around in my head the last 2 weeks. Hanna helped to illustrate its meaning even more to me.

Outside of our home the snow that the city clears from the streets is pushed into huge piles. Hanna and our dog love to run leaping and bounding over the hills and frolicking in the snow. One day as Hanna ran excitedly up the hill she called out for me to run up the hill with her. As I looked at her joy at racing up the 15+ foot high snow mounds my mind began to race with reasons why I should not charge the hill as well. It wasn’t a stable hill! I could aggravate my knee injury! I will get wet and have to go to work shortly! The list went on. Now don’t get me wrong. I have run up these types of hills before. In the past I ran with no thoughts as to why I shouldn’t. It’s just that now as my situation has changed I begin to see the hills differently.

Later I began reflecting on this Scripture in Luke. As most children are taught about the Lord there is no hesitation to believe what they are told. As we raise Hanna in the knowledge of the Lord, she believes the Biblical truths we tell her. God still moves today. OK. God still heals today. OK. He could still move the sun back in the sky if He needed to do so to accomplish His will. It is only as we reach an age of “wisdom” that we begin to doubt the truths we may have once took for granted. Trying to analyze the Bible from a position of “knowledge”. Maybe God can’t do this or that. Did He really mean this? Would He really do that?

I want to be as a little child again. To charge the Hill of God with faith and not doubt. To run freely in His fields without thinking why things aren’t possible.

If you desire to be as a little child again in your faith I encourage you to charge the hill!

Just A Thought #10


I found myself reflecting this past month on how truly awesome God is. With just a word from Him the universe came into being. He spoke the earth into existence. His voice created the stars. He shaped the mountains and the seas with the power of His words. (Genesis 1) This is the God whom we serve.

The Scriptures record how he provided Manna in the wilderness. At His command the sun moved backwards in the sky. He fought for the Israelites! He spoke to Moses through a burning bush. By His words Jesus raised the dead, the blind were healed and the sick restored. This is an awesome God!

So why do we limit Him? The Bible tells us He is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) It seems we all limit God to what we feel He can or cannot do. We try to put Him into our own comfortable parameters so that we don't have to deal with the unknown or the uncomfortable. Who are we to say God cannot do this or that? I have heard many God-fearing believers do just that. I have done this myself at times. Oh, not intentionally for sure, but as I become comfortable in my beliefs and viewpoints I begin to, even unconsciously, believe God operates in only those ways or within my own defined parameters. For example I believe God still heals today but have not always felt He could still move the sun back in the sky. Why?

Who am I to limit God? The book of Job ends with God putting Job in his place so to speak. The last few chapters (Job 38-41) record God asking Job where He was when the foundations of the earth were created and it goes on from there. Job realized how small he really was.

God is not to be put into a box. We should not limit the Lord, who created this vast universe we live in. God is limitless. He won't contradict Himself and He never lies. He set the world in place. Are we comfortable enough with God to think outside the box?

Just A Thought #9

Worship With Abandon

Worship. All believers have their own ideas of what worship means and how it is best done. This is not another “how-to” lesson, but rather, a call to worship our Lord, the Creator of everything.

It does not matter if you sing hymns, choruses or the latest modern worship song, whether accapella, or accompanied by a piano, bass guitar, tambourine or drums. It does not matter if you lift your hands, sit, stand or kneel. What matters is your heart. What is the attitude of your heart? Not just during designated times of worship, but in every area of your life.

Worship is a lifestyle. King David is an example of this. He worshiped the Lord with his whole heart. In one of my favorite passages of Scripture, the Ark of the Lord is being brought back to Jerusalem. As it moves, the Scriptures report that King David danced before the Lord with all his might and arranged for sacrifices to be made and trumpets blown. He was worshiping with his whole heart. He did not care what others thought. His own wife thought he was crazy for being so undignified and not acting like a king. David’s response was perfect. “I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.” (2 Sam. 6: 21b-22a)

Was David showing false humility? No he truly did not care what anyone but God thought at that point. You can also see David’s heart of worship throughout the Psalms.

It does not matter what others think. We are instructed to worship the King of Kings. Like David we should focus on God and not those around us. When we worship the Lord in song He should be our every thought. We have so much to praise Him for. From the earth and everything in it, to our very lives, our family. Look around at all of the beauty. The mountains, rivers, and oceans are testimony to Him. The clouds, sun and moon speak of His creative powers. He is awesome. We should be in awe of Him daily! There is nothing beyond His ability or power.

So how do we worship as a lifestyle? Obedience is one key. If we believe in Him and that His Word is true should we not honor Him by keeping His Word in our heart? Another word for worship is honor. We should honor Him with our words, thoughts, deeds and life! In everything we do we need to consider whether it will bring glory to God or not. Our highest goal should not be to attain a level of “holiness” as we worship in song, but to allow the “wow” of knowing God to saturate our everyday life. Our worship should become a flow of communion with our Father, where we can drink anytime, rather it’s during our morning commute to work, while cleaning the bathroom, or hiking in the mountains.

I encourage you to worship like King David. Worship with abandon. Don’t worry about what anyone but the Father thinks. Fall in love with Him again. Rediscover Him as a little child does. Re-capture the “Wow!”

Just A Thought #8


"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind." 2 Tim. 1:7

I wish I would remember this Scripture more often. Fear is insidious, like a little worm that has burrowed its way deep down into an apple without our knowing it. Of course if we'd been looking we might have seen the hole the worm crawled into and would have cut the affected part out before taking a bite. I look at fear, insecurity and doubt as major weapons in the enemies attack on believers. I believe fear is a weapon that cripples the body of Christ.

We all know that fear, insecurity and doubt are sins. I have also come to see it, in my life at least, as calling God a liar! Now, none of us in our right mind would do that. Yet every time I doubt God or let fear run rampant I am saying that God's word is not true. In effect, calling Him a liar. If I doubt my finances will be provided for, that He cares for my needs, etc..., I am saying He does not tell the truth. Harsh? What is doubt then? If God says He will watch over us and meet our every need and we worry about our needs, then we are saying God cannot do what He says.

For me the fear has been health related. I have had some trouble breathing of late (indigestion) and am working on changing my diet. Yet, when this happened I let fear get in to the point I ended up in the hospital. I felt I couldn't breathe but the issue went deeper then that. I realized I have been letting every health or perceived health issue take my focus away from God. I then began to worry about each issue instead of keeping my focus on Him and His promises. Yes, we all go through health issues. It is a part of life. However, I have let fear of the "unknown" possibilities take my eyes off of God in this area. I have repented and am praying through these issues even now.

We all have things we struggle with. I believe we should be praying for and encouraging each other in our walk with God. That has been the purpose of these thoughts. To encourage us all to go deeper with the Lord. I could use your prayers. I would also like to pray for you. If you are struggling with fear, doubt or insecurity please let mew know so we can lift each other up before the throne. As I read in Mark 9 this week: "I do believe, help my unbelief" (V. 24)

Just A Thought #7

I Quit!

Do you ever feel like that? Like giving up? I used to feel like that every day. Many get to that point in their lives where due to health problems, job stress, family issues, money problems, etc. they feel like giving up and running away. Yet we are in a world where that kind of attitude is considered defeatist! We are told not to give up, never surrender!

This is in stark contrast to Luke 9:23 - 25 which says in part that we must deny ourselves, take up our cross DAILY and follow Christ. In order to gain our life we must lose it. Think about what happened on the cross....Christ died! Now I am not suggesting we literally need to die but Christ was surrendered to His Father's will. We need to be as well.

Recently a dear man of God went home to be with the Lord. This First Nations chief was a strong believer. He also had cancer. He was dying and yet that did not define him. He was surrendered to the Lords plan and was more focused on God and seeing others come to Him than ever. In His last year He was recording his testimony on CD, leading family and friends to Christ and spending time with the Father. When His last days on this earth were at hand he was ready.

Could we be that way in the face of death, financial hardship, etc? Could we be surrendered to whatever God has in store for us and just focus on Him? As this man of God jokingly said many times, why pray when you can worry? Indeed, which is easier to do? Would it not be better to pray and seek the Lord and His desires and leave life's problems to Him? I know there are a lot of questions here. The answer though is profoundly simple.

Gal 2:20 says it all. We were crucified with Christ! Meditate on that Scripture and then read Romans 6, 7 and 8! Let God speak to you about how to quit and be a winner!

Just A Thought #6

No Compromise

I have found myself thinking of the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel Ch. 3) recently. Three guys known for their encounter with God in the fiery furnace. Looking over the story again I find it amazing. Here were 3 men who worked for the King, refusing to compromise to get ahead or to literally save their own skin.

I also found myself thinking about my own walk with the Lord. How have I compromised with the world over the years? I am sad to say that God's standards and mine have not always seemed to match. This is something I have been working through over a season.

I believe fully that we are all ministers of the Gospel. It does not matter if we are pastors or plumbers, deacons or diesel mechanics. We are all called to be light to the world around us. The hands and feet of the Gospel.

I believe we need a spiritual balance in order to be in the world but not of it. We don't have to be in a job that is labeled "full time ministry" to minister. We can and should be lights to the world around us. Not compromising God's standards to fit in but not being sticks in the mud either. Remember people were attracted to Christ but He always spoke truth in love. He never compromised.

The challenge to us as believers is to stand for truth. Sometimes this means doing so in the secular world, sometimes it is with other believers. This may be with an individual or if we see something within our church community that can be addressed in love. When we are certain that it is God's timing and God's direction, then we can speak, trusting Him to give us courage, and not be intimidated. If the words are not received, we can continue in prayer for the people, but rest in knowing we have been obedient and the rest is up to God.

We need balance. We are to be in the world but not of it and not so heavenly minded we are no earthly good. Not to be cliche but that is the balance we need. Focused on Christ but aware of those in need around us. Focused on the King but people unbelievers are drawn to.

Ask yourself that question I mentioned earlier. Have you compromised?

Just A Thought #5

All Operators Are Busy Right Now

I found myself thinking recently about some phone calls I have made to various businesses. It seems no matter when I call I always get the same message..."All operators are busy right now. Your call is important to us, so please stay on the line and we will answer your call in the order it was received."

Prayer is important. I find myself more and more coming to a point in my life where I am praying without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Thank God that when we seek Him in prayer He doesn't give us the same message...."God is busy right now, your prayer is important to Him, please stay on your knees and He will answer your prayer in the order it was received!"

God is all knowing, compassionate, kind and swift to answer us when we call upon Him. He doesn't put us on hold. He hears our every cry.

He also speaks to us! The question is....are we listening?

God desires fellowship/relationship with us. Just as we like to spend time with friends and loved ones, getting to know them and their likes and dislikes, God wants us to spend time with Him finding out His desires for us. You only can know someone when you spend time with them. Listening for Him, walking with Him, talking to Him. We need relationship with God beyond just a quick prayer and Bible reading.

He desires to share His heart with us in intimate fellowship? The challenge for us is to make sure that we desire the same thing. Don't put God on hold until a better time. Talk with Him today!

Just A Thought #4

Are We "IN" the Lord?

I was reading through Romans 8 this past week. Our church has been going through the book of Romans and I was excited to be able to share from Chapter 8 as it is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. I started reading from verse 1 which says, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit."

Do you ever have one of those WOW moments when reading the Word of God? I have read this verse so many times I took it for granted that I would see nothing "new" there. Yet I could not make it past the first verse. I read it over and over. I laid in bed for at least 30 minutes that night chewing on that verse. Actually I did that 2 different nights! So what had me so excited?

The word in! IN! That's right, one little 2 letter word. It was like the hinge to a door to me. It swung open and I saw that verse in a whole new light.

Being in the tech age now I quickly opened my Bible software program and looked at the Greek meaning of the Word. This is part of what I got: denoting (fixed)position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) that is, a relation of rest.


So what does all that mean? To me it meant that if we are In Christ Jesus we are in a Fixed position...to me that means a moment in time where the enemy can throw his worst at us and we cannot be moved! We are In Christ, fixed in a place of rest!

Rest. That word pops up a few times in the Word and always made me feel I was not living to a standard I should.

This past week I had a lot on my plate and was feeling a bit stressed. I ran into a friend and shared where I was and my friend asked if I was resting. In that exact moment the Lord spoke to me and revealed I was not resting IN Him! I was not surrendering my stress and my situations to Him and trusting He will keep my feet secure and not allow me to be moved. I was not able to relax and trust Him. Well that took me back to this Scripture again and I had my week change dramatically after that.

To Rest In Christ is to surrender our "issues" to Him and to put that trust in Him to take care of it. To let go!

So the question I ask you to ponder is, Are you In the Lord?

Just A Thought #3

A Passion for Purity

The statistics are staggering…1500 pastors leave the ministry every month due to moral failure or spiritual burnout. Divorce rates in the body of Christ are at an all time high. Some surveys show 90% of Christian men struggle with some form of sexual immorality. Christian men and women both are choosing to live lifestyles that clearly contradict the Word of God. Where will it end?

Where are the Christian men and women who are passionate about purity? Where are the believers who will stand up for righteousness? What can be done?

I believe we, the children of God, need to become passionate about purity. We need to stand up, obey and show are brothers and sisters in the Lord the path they are straying from. This needs to be done in love, however.

I am not talking about hateful, angry words that are divisive and cause nothing but hurt. I am talking about the gentle rebuke…pointing out the Scriptures and letting the Holy Spirit convict.

Marriages are failing because morality has taken a back seat to whatever feels good. Men and women are living secret lives of porn, masturbation and immorality…Harsh but true! I am seeing this everyday. I see the victims of sexual abuse, the stories of how people have been violated for the gains of others. We hear the frequent stories of how these lifestyles and hidden sins are destroying lives.

So many men think their “secret” habit of porn is not destructive, but this is a lie…I know that firsthand. I had my own struggle with porn and I did not see how that struggle and the efforts to hide it caused me to become moody, angry, bitter and resentful, nor how I was treating my wife disrespectfully as I struggled with the images I was bringing into our marriage. I was deceived and the deception continued until brothers started speaking out against porn and I was able to see through Scripture, the conviction of the Holy Spirit and some strong men of faith, the error of my ways.

It took some time but God not only set me free from this immorality, but healed and restored my marriage as well.

Are you living a lie? Are you living one way in church and in public and another in the privacy of your home? Help is available.

If you want help and need to share your struggle feel free to contact us. We care. As friends of course all are discussions are still confidential and will not be shared with anyone. Now is the time to walk in freedom!

Gal. 2:20

Just A Thought #2

Fast Food Christianity

Modern day Christianity has developed a trend that is becoming more and more pervasive, especially in North America. I am calling this trend “Fast Food Christianity.” What is it? It is basically a cheap, quick and no commitment style of Christianity.

Am I being too harsh? Look around and you will see numerous parallels between dining and church going. When you are hungry and in a hurry, you pull into the most convenient place. You pull up to the drive thru, place your order, pay, get your food and leave. “Boom!” You’re done. Occasionally you may go inside, sit amongst a few strangers, eat and leave, tossing your trash away and not looking back.

Now let me describe “Fast Food Christianity.” The “customer” in this case may have a regular church but there is no commitment. They may know a few other regulars, but these people tend to slip into their seats unnoticed. They like the cloak of invisibility with the appearance of spirituality. They don’t want to participate in anything. Just listen to the sermon, maybe put in their offering, sit there for a time and leave. They may repeat this pattern at another service during the week but there just is no depth to this kind of Christianity. They sit, sing, listen and leave. They’ve got their fix and they’re done.

This is not to be confused with “Buffet Christianity.” This is the sampling of many things in the church. Trying everything it has to offer and never really focusing on any one item in particular. A new program is just like a new menu item. Sample it but don’t fill up on it. There is a shallowness to their church commitment and their spiritual walk. Have you ever seen a person at a buffet restaurant carrying a plate that is overloaded, to a table already full of plates from their prior trips to the buffet counter? Sometimes the plates are empty, but often they still contain half a piece of chicken, or bits of items the patron did not find as palatable as they appeared. In the church, these people could be compared to the ones who flit from one activity to the next—worship team today, benevolence ministry tomorrow; or even from one doctrinal belief to the next, or one church to another. There are always going to be times of searching out truth and finding the area God is leading a person into, but the mark of the committed Christian during these times, is going to be peace and joy and a sense of vision or direction, rather than just a loose “could-care-less” attitude, or a nervous hyperactivity.

What we need more of today though, are “Gourmet Christians.” These are the believers who are committed not just to church, but also to Christ himself. They don’t just sample Christianity on a weekly basis but are living it as a lifestyle. It is a devotion to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. They don’t want cheap menu items or a sample platter. They want the whole meal. Everything Christ has to offer. They want it all and they are willing to wait on Him, rather than demanding to be served immediately. They are sold out, dedicated, radical, on fire believers. Nothing is good enough if He is not in it. They live, breathe, eat, sleep and worship the Father. They want to listen to His every word. They long to sing praises to Him. They love to talk with Him. It is this “Gourmet Christianity” that we need more of today. The hard part is the price we pay. More expensive then fast food and buffet, it costs more than we know. It cost Christ His life. It costs us our lives as we lay them at His throne. It isn’t easy, but oh, the fullness of partaking of Christ!

I challenge everyone reading this to come away from the fast food. Stop rushing to the buffet line. Sit at the feet of Christ and experience the real thing. Feast at His table, on the Bread of His Presence and drink the Wine of New Life.

Just A Thought #1

A Passionate Love Story

The Bible is filled with passion. King David is a model of that fact. When David acts, whether for good or evil, he does it whole-heartedly and without reservation. When you read the Psalms David wrote you can sense that passion as well. From the confidence of Psalm 23 to the anguish of Psalm 51 you can sense David's passion throughout the Psalms. When David dance before the Ark in 2 Samuel 6:14-16; 21-22 you knew this was a man passionate about God.

I wrote this at 2 am after awaking one night and feeling the presence of the Lord very strongly....

We never forget our first love. The thought of it always brings a hint of a smile to our lips. I gave myself to my first love and we are still together today.

Our first embrace sent chills through me. The times we spent together consumed every one of my thoughts. Walking together, sharing, our time seemed to go on forever. The love, the passionate love, seemed to burn through my every being.

Then, slowly, the embers began to fade. My passionate love began to cool. I am ashamed to admit it but it was entirely my fault. I did not want to spend as much time together. Others caught my eye and I began to chase after them instead.

I tried to keep my first love as well. I was cheating on my love ,who was extremely jealous and yet I did not care. It took me many years to realize my mistake and yet my love forgave me. I asked and received my love's forgiveness. Tentatively I began to seek after my first love again.

Slow walks together, sharing my heart and listening to the heart of my one true love. The romance is consuming me again. After all this time the passion is becoming a flaming desire. I long for my love. This time I am giving myself completely.

Jesus Christ, the object of my desire. I missed so much while chasing after others. He has shown His passionate love for me...He still does. I feel His embrace, I feel His kisses, I want to know Him more.

Take me away with you Lord!

We as God's children, have the opportunity to share His love with the world. We are a peculiar people....ones that God called for His glory. We should be consumed with the things of God. The passion David displayed is possible in our own life as well. God should consume us...be our all in all, our everything. Will you let Him be your everything?