Are we good for it?

Fences are truly impressive structures that serve many purposes, from marking boundaries and providing security to reminding us to respect them. I recall when I took care of my neighbor’s lawn and noticed their fence remained standing despite its worn and weathered appearance and fulfilled its intended function. However, I couldn’t help but see that a particular section of the fence was leaning slightly. To my amazement, the fence was replaced within a short period and stood stronger than ever. A sturdy fence can withstand any challenge and fulfill its purpose for many years.

I looked for a man who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one.

~ Ezekiel 22:30 LASB ~

During the period when the prophet Ezekiel spoke to the people of Jerusalem about their disobedience and moral decay, they did not receive a favorable outcome. The Lord sought someone to confront the evil that had taken root during that era, rebuild the weakened wall, and strengthen it. While the text initially suggests that a physical wall is essential, the Lord seeks a group of loyal individuals who can bridge the gap between sinful behavior and a personal relationship with Him. Much like a fence or a wall that needs repair, the Lord desires individuals willing to intercede and fix the damaged areas in our lives with the help of God’s guidance and wisdom. Through this process, we can become better, stronger, and more resilient in the face of adversity.

As Christian community members, we must recognize the importance of prayer. Prayer can bring about change in situations beyond our control, and it can also offer a sense of tranquility during trying times. However, intercessory prayer, which refers to praying on behalf of others, is particularly favored by God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

~ Ephesians 6:18 LASB ~

In the passage mentioned, the wall represents not only a physical structure but also a symbol of a community of faithful individuals who resist evil. This resistance training is akin to building muscle strength by working against weight or pressure. Our prayer life serves as a form of resistance training as well, allowing us to handle better the challenges we may face daily. We should make it a point to pray for our communities, country, and the world. Doing so can contribute to the collective effort of bringing about positive change and fostering a sense of peace and unity.

Are you someone who fully embraces your Christian faith and believes in the power of prayer to positively impact the world? Friend, it’s essential to ask ourselves if we are genuinely committed to living a real Christian life or just going through the motions. In Jerusalem, people tried to hide the gaps in their spiritual lives without trying to fix them. But the Lord desires a spiritual renovation, reconstruction, or overhaul to protect us from the forces of evil. If we don’t live according to God’s principles and try to cover up our sins, it can lead to severe damage.

I understand that reflecting on this passage may have raised some questions for you as it did for me. (see below) Discussing with others in your community is always helpful in inspiring positive change. I’m here to listen if you’d like to share your thoughts and answer the questions. Your input is valuable to me. We all have vulnerabilities in our spiritual lives, but it’s important to actively work on improving ourselves with the help of the Holy Spirit. Self-reflection and taking action to strengthen our weaknesses are crucial for personal growth.

Where do I stand? Am I even concerned about rebuilding the wall, or have I become complacent in my faith?

Are we just looking to repair the wall, or will we see beyond and guard the land? Is our vision too short for God?

You are always in my prayers,

Empty Tombs

Good morning, friends. I usually do not write so abruptly, but I felt led this morning. While in devotion, the Lord took me from sadness, guilt, and anxiety in reflecting on my life to finding myself in worship. I have made mistakes, and sometimes the weight of my choices and living through the consequences appears overwhelming, mainly when it affects those connected to me. I began to talk to God about the posture of my heart this morning and how I was feeling. At that moment, I felt this small, still voice whisper in my ear, get in my presence. Friend, I was praying, and it was like the Lord was saying yes, that is nice, but I need you to come in and not just stay on the outside of where I am dwelling today.

I went to my office and began to worship the Lord in my rut of heaviness. I began to weep softly the more I worshiped and thought about gratitude. So in the stillness of my home, in the early morning, I entered the presence of the Lord with an open invitation. As the tears began to roll, I was overwhelmed with two thoughts wrestling for control in the presence of the Father. First, gratitude about things dear and close to my heart, and second, the shame that continued to try to keep me bound like a bear trap. The pain was overwhelming, but fighting to break free simultaneously. Perhaps you have never found yourself in this place. I would encourage you to pray for those around you that may, at times.

As I sat still, fighting to get into the presence of the Lord and out of the way, the Lord immediately whispered, “Empty tombs.”

So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

~ John 11:38-40 NASB ~

The Lord led me to this verse, and three things stuck out to me and gave me encouragement, which is my hope for you.

The first, Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Jesus went to the place that death perceived to have control. The phrase “deeply moved” means Jesus is angry about what appeared. The theologian, John Calvin wrote “that Christ does not come to the sepulcher as an idle spectator but as a wrestler preparing for the contest. Therefore no wonder that He groans again, for the violent tyranny of death which He had to overcome stands before His eyes.” Friend, the Lord will not stand idle while you sit in a place not made for you. The tomb appears final; it seems to encapsulate our demise. Jesus came to the tomb to say not so; this is not the end. He desires to meet us where we are; when He shows up, it transforms. It becomes alive and Holy. In the text, the tomb is rendered sacred by the presence of God, the essence of holiness. How about our lives? The tomb (the dead place) transforms into a sanctuary. Where we are free to worship and become revived in the presence of our Lord and Savior, to me that is good news friend.

The second thing I noticed was, Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. You see, the tomb was a cave that looked like something more purposed. In historical context, to any passing, the tomb was considered a holder of dead things. When we pass a cemetery today, we do not hang out there daily because what is inside is considered and has been pronounced dead. A stone is a lump or complex consolidated mineral matter that varies in size that can be hard to move or break. In this text, it is large and prevents movement. Sometimes the stone in our path is not placed by us, but we appear defeated due to the circumstances surrounding us. The place (tomb) we might currently find ourselves in keeps us trapped where we are and disillusioned by the environment. What am I trying to say? Get up – what is hindering you is not as heavy as it seems when Jesus is near. Friend, no matter what you are facing it is not as bad as it seems. Take a deep breath and let Jesus enter that place that holds dead things that seem insurmountable.

Thirdly, Jesus said, Remove the Stone. Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.  

Here is the good news. The stone that appears to hinder us from breaking free is movable if we hear and take action. What is your stone? What is the thing that seems unmovable and stands in the way of a breakthrough friend? Here is the thing – it is unmovable without Christ. Jesus is calling right now. You are in the presence of Jesus, and He waits for us to come. Not only come from our tombs, but He desires us to not concern ourselves with what has happened (the stench) but focus on the revival and resurrection in our lives.

He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

~ 1John 5:12 ~ NASB

This morning I had to remind myself that I am no longer in a dead place but have come into the presence of Jesus and am alive. As I write, the song titled; I Thank God by Maverick City is heard in the distance. I hear the lyrics, He picked me up, turned me around, He placed my feet on solid ground, I thank the Master, I thank the Savior Because He healed my heart, He changed my name, Forever free I am not the same, I thank the Master, I thank the Savior, I thank God.

I choose to thank God and am grateful that the tomb I once was in is empty.

How Content are We?

Not that I speak in respect of want; for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

~ Philippians 4:11 ~

When I think about today and so many things contending for our attention and first place in our lives- contentment (let alone Christian contentment) is pushed to the back burner. 

Living in a world constantly pushing the next latest fad – the newest phone, latest music trend, food or fashion craze-the word contentment can be the farthest thing from our minds. Contentment is becoming a thing of the past, as many jump on the bandwagon of the newest thing. Contentment is like a moving target – hard to hit, but everyone has a chance to attain it. It is not easy to cultivate a mind of contentment.

Jeremiah Burroughs said that Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of Spirit that freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.

Did you catch that? The word disposal and how our Lord helps us find contentment in releasing. The release of the burden of reaching for more, but often still feeling empty. The release allows us to walk by faith and find contentment every season. I am learning seasons are not always packaged the way we want. Lately, I have been asking myself three questions and attempting to seek God for the answers.

  1. How can I find contentment regardless of life circumstances?
  2. In what should I find contentment?
  3. What is the relationship between desires and contentment?

The Lord has challenged me in this area, and I have sometimes fallen short. Yes, I am thankful for what the Lord provides. But sometimes, I fall into the trap of “comparison.” Not necessarily comparing with others but with myself and opportunities missed in the past due to disobedience and sin. Friend, if we do not release our past into our Father’s hand, we can find ourselves unsettled and stuck in the mire of past regret. I am learning that our focus shifts when we acknowledge our limitations to a Heavenly Father (repentance) and allow Him to transform and develop us. We find contentment in our relationship with Christ, and it deepens our reverence and worship for Jesus. Because in admitting our limitations, we access His strength and remove the possibility of depending on ourselves.

That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, He is made strong.

~ 2 Corinthians 12:10 NASB ~

When we rely on our limitations, we throw wisdom out the door and invite trepidation into the room. Or push out inner peace and suffocates our hearts with the desire for more and more stuff.

So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah, the Hittite?

~ 2 Samuel 11:2 NASB ~

Are you familiar with the story of King David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11)? His inability to be content with what he had caused a ripple effect of consequences. What began as a glance grew into multiple sins. David relied on authority, power, and prowess instead of his relationship with the Lord—leading to an affair, child out of wedlock, and deception. David later understood where and in whom to find contentment, Jesus Christ. I am thankful that Christ teaches us how to find true contentment in Him- the more intimate we become with Him, the more our focus will change.

What about you today? Are you willing to rely on His strength and receive His grace? Because He is ready to give it to you. When we depend on circumstances for our contentment, we become unhappy when things do not go our way. We are secure when we rely on Christ for contentment because He never fails.


It is Black History month, and we honor those who came before and helped open the path for light in the darkness. There are still obstacles on the road to Victory. Now you may think this verse does not seem to describe Black History. However, it talks about overcoming adversity and still finding joy amid setbacks and adversity. We have a lot of setbacks and hardships in the world, and transparently speaking, it sometimes breaks my heart.

I often wonder how the old stalwarts would feel in the present day. Is humanity as a whole progressing towards Victory with the Lord or apart? With social, economic, and physical injustice still rampant in the world, I wonder if it would be heartbreaking or encouraging to them. Don’t get me wrong, we have made strides for all humanity, but there is still a long way to travel. Not only here in the States but for the whole world – we are all God’s creation, and He desires unity in our lives.

This passage is interesting because it comes on the brink of punishment for Judah for their disobedience. I am sure the Old Testament prophet did not understand why God would allow such violence and injustice to go on, but Habakkuk accepted when the Lord answered. Judah faced an invasion from the Babylonian army, and they had to rebuild and trust God’s sovereignty. Perhaps you are questioning the Lord about something in your life; remember, the Lord is sovereign. Sovereign means ultimate power and all authority. It was not easy for the weeping prophet to sit by and see all that was happening to his people primarily due to their disobedience but he found encouragement in one thing – the Lord.

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.

~ Habukkuk 3:18 ~

Today as we close out this month, let us remember a few things from Habakkuk. First, our feelings must not be controlled by the events around us but by our faith in Almighty God. We can overcome anything with the Lord. No matter what is happening personally or what we see, we must keep the faith, friends. Second, when nothing makes sense and adversity we face seems more than we can bear, remember that God gives strength. That means He will empower us to endure and, like Habakkuk, learn to encourage ourselves in whatever we face. Sometimes when I hear about a senseless act or the negativity in our world, I have to motivate myself by remembering the Lord is Sovereign and is still in control. Learning to pray through our rough times draws us closer to the Father.   

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ~

Habakkuk expresses complete confidence in our Lord. He closes this passage by presenting certainty as a surefooted deer across rough, dangerous territory that shows no fear or concern as they travel. There is no fear friend because the Lord has given the Holy Spirit that provides us with sheer confidence in moments of uncertainty. It does not matter what you are facing today or from years before; I want you to rest in this passage today because the Lord is concerned about you, and he will provide.


The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you. He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

~ Deuteronomy 31:8 NASB  ~

Even before accepting Christ as my personal Lord and Savior – I had a problem with resolutions. Some believe they are gateways to new horizons and a plumbline to keep us on the straight and narrow. I never felt disciplined enough to keep them on my own for an entire year unless it was something I enjoyed. Here’s a question. What describes a resolution? Webster says many things but a few stuck out to me. The act or process of reducing to a simpler form; the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones;  A mended way or firmness to a thing; a formal expression of opinion, will, or intent. Most of us think of them as just a promise to do something different in the new year.

Maybe you are like me, asking where the thought of a New Year’s Resolution began. Is it just a tradition we often attempt to but fail to maintain? New Year is not a Western tradition but began in Eastern culture. Around 2000 B.C., the Babylonians celebrated a twelve-day festival called Akitu- though for them, the year began not in January but in mid-march. This festival was the start of the farming season when crops were grown. The Babylonians crowned a new king to reaffirm their loyalty to the reigning king. Also, promises are made to the gods to pay debts and return borrowed farm equipment. The Babylonians believed if they kept their word, their (pagan) gods would bestow favor on them for the coming year. The ancient Romans adopted this same theme with resolutions. The Julian calendar in 46 B.C. declared January 1st as the start of the New Year, and changes to the god Janus were promised during this time. (whom January is named)

No matter how hard we attempt to keep these partial promises, we often fall short, whether your resolution involves a new workout routine, new diet, new relationships, new outlooks on life, career, or success. Resolutions are great, but there has to be something more driving us to want to change behaviors, habits, character, and even our outlook. It is good to have resolved as if in a debate with myself to change directions or come to a finalized conclusion, but honestly, I discipline for a little while, but I can become weary. Have you ever found yourself in similar thoughts regarding new year plans and things you want to be different or change?

Our intentions are good, but I would like you to consider whether this is enough. Friends, we cannot maintain these promises in our power and skill but with the help of a loving Lord. Our Lord has made the greatest resolution for us all, one that will never fall short, change or disappoint. He has promised that his resolve will last longer than two weeks or six months; in fact, he desires us to trust Him with our best resolutions. Meaning we must put them in His hands and leave them there. It does not require lip service and mental preparation as much as surrender, but surrendering our best attempts to a gracious, loving Lord, who takes a little bit and creates fantastic outcomes.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding, seek His will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

~ Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB ~

Former President Kim B. Clark of BYU- Idaho was quoted in a 2006 devotional as saying, Well doing occurs through small things; great things come from small things. It is natural to grow weary in doing small things; but if we give our hearts and minds to the Lord, we will not grow weary, we will do the small things that make great things happen, and we will build Zion.

Perhaps you have become weary in this season- give Christ a try. I challenge you to allow His resolution to become yours this January. Take faith, weave it into daily life practicality and see the beauty that it creates. Let the Lord teach you in this season how to stick with the commitments we profess. Trust him to be your strength and the fulfillment of all we set out to change, create or cultivate in this New Year.

The Gift in Giving

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion – how can God’s love be in that person?

~ 1 John 3:16-17 NASB ~

This time of year brings joy and laughter for many reasons. For children, it is exciting because it means new toys and clothes. For us adults, it is a time of reflection, getting together with family, and (if blessed to do so) taking off from work for a few weeks. But for others, this time of year brings sadness and highlights them being alone and less fortunate.

A few years ago, while driving home from work. I encountered a homeless man while stopped at a red light. He wore a tattered, brown trench coat and dusty black sweatpants. From the looks of him, he appeared to be handicapped as well. I began to see him more consistently. I began to give him a dollar or two when I traveled that way. This day around Christmas, I felt the Holy Spirit tell me to ask him his name. I obeyed. One thing led to another, and I told him I was going to bring him some items for him to have. What stood out was that he had one foot covered in newspaper clippings wrapped with rubber bands; on the other, he wore a cardboard box. Immediately, I asked him what size he wore in shoes and where did he stay? He obliged and gave me an address. I was so excited and went straight home and believed the Lord had told me to put a package together for this man. I still remember what I gave him – three bags of chips, three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a jacket I barely wore, and a pair of black Jordans. I was elated to bless someone who appeared to be in need

I jumped back in my SUV and headed to the address he had given. When I turned on the street, I was a bit confused because the house address he provided was nonexistent. I thought I misunderstood what he said for a second, and then I saw him. However, “the him” I saw was almost unrecognizable. The person I saw with the unkept brown trench coat, black sweatpants, and distinct shuffle was now moving with a more pronounced stride. He had a baby blue shirt, blue jean shorts with a small tear in the left pocket, with a new pair of grey New Balance on his feet. I was shocked and confused. This scenario did not end as I thought. And for a while, I asked the Lord where the purpose was. It tested my heart’s condition to see if I was giving with the right intentions and God’s love. He took the items I brought for him ashamed, but I genuinely believe it was not about him… but me. I never saw him again.

1 John gives us a blueprint of a true example of selfless love in one sentence. “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us” (16). This scripture is a perfect depiction of Agape’ or unconditional love. Strong’s dictionary of Bible Words defines Agape’ as this, Christian love, whether exercised toward the brethren or toward men generally. It is not an impulse from the feelings; it does not always run with the natural inclinations, nor does it spend itself only upon those for whom some affinity is discovered. In short, real love expresses action, not just a feeling. And Christ showed the world love in motion when he took on our sin. I am thankful for His love for me daily. When I reflect – to be honest, it overwhelms me at times. Because when I see those that are less fortunate or perhaps have lost a loved one, I may not always take a moment to think about how I can show love for another human, but Christ did. That is so powerful to me. Love in action is the gift that we all can give during this season. Jesus gave it all up for us so let us consider what we can provide for someone else.  

For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord.

~ 2 Corinthians 8:5 NASB ~

Apostle John wants us to know without a doubt what it means to live as a Child of God and how we, as his Children, should love one another. It requires two words selfless and sacrifice. We have a choice to make. Here is a closing thought. The gift of giving is not contingent upon whether the person we decide to give to is in need; it is based on our heart’s condition.

During this season, will you represent as a child of God? Do you know someone that is in need? If so, what are you willing to give up for them?

Lord, thank you for the person reading this at this very moment. Reveal to them someone who is in need of your love and allow them to be a blessing and share the Gift in Giving. Thank you for your son, Jesus Christ, loving us enough to show in Action. Help us to imitate and show others in our community, workspaces, and the World the gift that you give so freely – If we would just embrace it. Thank you for this Christmas season and thank you again for the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Spilled Milk

I am a die-hard Washington Commanders fan. Growing up in the Washington Metropolitan area, fans knew them by a different name. I began the season believing this year would be different from the last. Most fans of the iconic hogs would state the same. No matter how bad last season was for the NFC contenders – I shake it off and believe this year will be different. Beyond the taunting and sarcasm as the season gets underway – I turn my gaze forward. Whether they win by ten or lose by twenty, I look to see who is the next team they will face. Usually, I can catch ESPN highlights from the previous game on Monday morning in case I missed something. Even then, there is no going back and running plays to change the outcome of that particular game. The only thing we can do is review where our team went wrong and pray the coaches will make proper adjustments to try and win the next game. But some fans can’t let it go and are still talking about particular game weeks (even years) later. It may have been a win or a loss, nevertheless, they still reference the game and give a play-by-play of what took place. For me I try to let it go, prepare for next week’s fun, and not cry over spilled milk.

Now the Lord said to Samuel; you have mourned long enough for Saul.

~ 1 Samuel 16:1 NLT ~

King Saul was Israel’s choice for King, and Samuel was the prophetic voice of that day, giving Godly counsel to Saul. Most kings had a prophetic voice during the monarchical era to help guide them. The prophets, appointed by the Lord, were a plumbline for the kingdom if they followed in obedience or disobeyed the commands of the Lord. Saul became disobedient and defiant of the laws and authorities of the Lord (1 Samuel 15). Samuel grieved when Saul lost the kingdom, but the Lord had moved on.

I know what you are thinking – that sounds harsh, but in essence, this was Saul’s consequence. If only he had done things the Lord’s way. I am reflecting on some of my own decisions and the consequences of those decisions. I, perhaps like you, tend to dwell on them too long, causing me sadness or grief, but I am learning that we must not focus on what we cannot change. Because if we stay there, very seldom is it for our benefit. These are moments of prudence. I am not talking about if we learn from the lesson and do better. Like Samuel, we can focus on the past, and the Lord says I am moving on. Have you ever felt like Samuel? Mourning for something that there is nothing we can do to fix, change or re-create.

Friend, here are two perspectives. One is regret, and the other is a new beginning. Remember, spilled milk cannot be poured back into the container once it is out. We can decide to clean it up and move on from there. Some decisions are costly, and sometimes we wish we could go back and do better. That is not always available to us.

Consider this – the Lord knows what is best. Do we believe this? I know we react with lip service but are we convinced by faith that this is true? I always say this, but I do not always exercise it. We must know unequivocally that the Lord knows what is best. He knows that if we dwell somewhere too long, we risk becoming stuck, unable to see past the embarrassment, the regret, the pain, or our pride. At times, I can find myself drifting to a pastime and replaying a scenario involving my children, my church, or just life – that leaves me sad because of the outcome. Then the Lord gently whispers, I know what is best. When we follow His promptings, we do not miss His promises.

The Lord will work out His plans for my life, for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.

~ Psalms 138:8 NLT ~

Secondly, when the Lord speaks, we must move on. Regret can keep our minds tied to the past while our eyes see a glimpse of the future. So you missed the opportunity because of fear, anxiety, uncertainty, or maybe just sheer disobedience. The Lord knows and tells us we have dwelt here long enough that it is time to move our thoughts, behavior, and attitude forward. Moving on is different for many of us; it may require us to ask for repentance, seek forgiveness from another or truly make peace with ourselves and understand the Lord has spoken. Friend, you are not able to fix some situations. Sometimes, we can only seek true repentance from the Father, make up our minds that we will respond better, and purpose our hearts toward change.

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.

~ Ezekiel 36:26 NLT ~

No matter where you find yourself, you can start fresh and receive the blessings from the life the Lord wants us to live. A fulfilled life – the new life that only He can offer when we surrender our pain, regrets, mourning, and sinfulness to Him. The Lord gives us a fresh start by washing our sins away, just like spilled milk.

Storm Survivor

On October 12, 1979, one of the earth’s (if not the strongest) most massive storms ever, named Typhoon Tip, formed off the coast of southern Japan in the Western pacific. Typhoon Tip had the lowest sea level pressure ever observed on the earth. Peak wind gusts reached 190 mph while the storm churned and decimated the western pacific. This massive typhoon holds the record for the most enormous storm on earth. The diameter of circulation spanned approximately 1,380 miles. The diameter was the distance from New York City to Dallas, Texas. It weakened just before landfall in southern Japan on October 19, 1979. Extensive flooding destroyed more than 20,000 homes in Japan, and eighty-six people lost their lives.  

He threw stones at David and all the servants of King David; and all the people and all the mighty men were at his right hand and at his left. (v.6)

~ 2 Samuel 16:6-12 NASB ~

The world has been facing storms since the beginning of time. Some of us can attest that we have either been in a storm, survived a storm, or will endure a storm. Storms are not a respecter of persons; they are equal opportunists. You never know where a storm will occur. We can say in one’s lifetime, we will experience a few. Do you remember a time when you went through a physical storm? And how did you respond? Were you cool, calm, and collected; were you the anxious type; were you the take charge type, or perhaps you can remember becoming paralyzed with fear?

Once while driving, a storm raged, and I observed all types of reactions in those few moments. Some continued traveling as they had been, regardless of the torrential downpour. Others put their hazards on and slowed what seemed to be a slow idle. You had also those that pulled over completely under bridges and decided to wait for the storm to pass. Last but not least, we have those who appear careless and speed up as if to challenge the storm to prove who is more dangerous.

King David found himself in many storms, but the Lord was always with him to carry him through. From sinning with Bathsheba, murdering her husband Uriah, and losing a love child. To the rebuke by the prophet Nathan causing the penning of the Fifty-first division of Psalms, considered a penitential psalm to the Lord. From his son Absalom organizing a coup against his daddy and taking over Jerusalem. Stemming from anger by a family tragedy in the rape of Tamar, David’s daughter, by her brother Amnon. David had to flee and found himself in the town of Bahurim. Shimei, son of Gera (from the clan of Saul’s family), is here tormenting and berating David. Talk about storms going from bad to worse.    

Can I propose how we view a physical storm; it will affect how we go through a spiritual one. I am not saying just tense up and act willy-nilly, but I believe there are lessons we can learn from King David about surviving storms. First, remember they are inevitable and that our God is invincible while going through them. There is purpose in a storm.

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

~ 1 Peter 1:6-7 NASB ~

We must remember a storm can appear anywhere, and sometimes the only thing we can do is ride it out. Shimei was tormenting David as he traveled. Let me ask you, have you ever faced a Shimei, perhaps a situation that bothers you or maybe an individual that constantly creates situational anxiousness? The intentional stones others cast around or at us can cause damage if we allow them to.

We must search for the high road or the best action to take. Friend, running is not always the best strategy, but there are times that we must. David did not fall into the trap of attempting to prove who he was, and we must not allow a few haters to take us out of character. Stand tall and know who you are. Then David said…let him alone and let him curse, for the Lord has told him too. Perhaps the Lord will look on my affliction and return good to me instead of his cursing this day (v.11-12).  The king knew his place, and his strength and validation came from God, not what Shimei was attempting to control. Why? Because David was standing on sure footing.

Let me encourage you not to believe all the hype but validate the storm by your weatherman. Growing up, we listened to our local weatherman in the morning before school to get the play-by-play of the day’s forecast. The physical weatherman’s job is to try to give accurate information about the storm that is on the horizon, upon us, or about to be over. The spiritual weatherman is the Lord for those facing storms – He is never wrong about His forecast.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for our good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

~ Romans 8:28 NASB ~

Sometimes we may not understand why we are going through a storm, but with the proper perspective, there is a distinct discerning of the will of God while there. Friend, Jesus Christ is with us, and he knows how to help us navigate the rushing winds at our back and the torrential rain of others’ words that can take our visibility from us and leave us afraid, or so it seems.

I challenge you next time while going through a storm, no matter how difficult or nasty; allow the Lord to whisper to your spirit– it is only for a moment, and He is with you every step of the way.

Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is a familiar chore many are not thrilled to begin. It might be safe to say many do not look forward to annually cleaning out anything. Spring cleaning is done in houses, churches, and even offices. Some may in fact become anxious weeks before it happens. Some attribute the anxiety to things that we believe are important being inventoried and thrown out. When asked spring cleaning normally consists of methodically getting rid of useless things long forgotten, or so we say. Old toys that children no longer use; clothes that we have outgrown or perhaps anything that seems to not have a place anymore. It can deal with actually cleaning, wiping down, and removing the dust off forgotten items.

Growing up, there is only one problem that I believe is valid with spring cleaning. I did not see the purpose in getting rid of stuff that I still believed had value. In my feeble attempt to rationalize why there is significance in the things I want to keep, the end goal should be to reduce junk and gain space for what was important.

And to those who were selling the doves, He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.”

~ John 2:16 NASB ~

The temple clearing is a familiar passage and not only expresses the power and boldness of Jesus in a moment but also his anger. The Messiah expresses anger fueled by love and respect for the Father.

Jerusalem was both the religious and political seat of Palestine and was believed to be the place where Christ was expected to come since the temple was located there. The temple area was always crowded during Passover with thousands of visitors. The religious leaders crowded it further by allowing money changers and merchants to set up shop in the Court of the Gentiles, outside the temple. They rationalized this practice as a convenience for the worshipers and as a way to make money for temple upkeep. When in reality, the religious leaders were using the services of the holy temple to cover up their sins. They were not concerned that the Court of Gentiles was full of merchants and visitors were finding it difficult to worship because of the distractions that were consuming the house.

When you come to appear before Me, who requires of you this trampling of My courts?

~ Isaiah 1:12 NASB ~

Jesus was angry when he came to the temple. The purpose of the temple was a gathering place for those who needed help but this selling distracted from the real purposes being fulfilled. In fact, the Court of Gentiles was the only place in the temple that was available to the Gentiles. There the Jews could witness to their pagan neighbors and tell them about their true and living God. These activities were preventing the message of the forgiveness of sin and the possibility for salvation by those that entered in the Temple. A true encounter with the Lord was missed by many due to the neglect of a few.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

~ Psalms 139:23-24 NASB ~

Have we taken an introspection look into our own lives? Have we missed encounters with the Savior due to things we have preventing Jesus from reaching the heart of who we are? Has he been in the vicinity but maybe our unwillingness to move the distractions (unhealthy relationships, stressful careers, pornographic addiction, selfishness) kept Him from reaching us the way He desires? Maybe we have never sold merchandise in God’s house but have we ever participated in “religious” worship to give the people the impression that we were godly? Secretly, having our own motives for coming to church. Singing in the choir to have the solo, giving a large offering for the Christmas holiday to make up for the entire year of not bringing the tithes. Or perhaps coming to the early service only to not miss kickoff in the afternoon. 

Just like spring cleaning, I encourage you to get rid of the junk and make space for Jesus Christ to be able to enter in and dwell with you. What could we consider junk? Old attitudes, habits, and ways of thinking may need to be removed- to make room for new ways. Perhaps old friendships and relationships that are just taking up space may need to be forgotten. For many, this may be a hard decision to make to physically remove someone from our lives. Remember the goal is to always make room for Christ to dwell within. Allow Him in all parts and see how He can change you for the better.

You will be grateful you did.

Time to Move

When we were at Mount Sinai, the Lord our God said to us, “You have stayed at this mountain long enough. It is time to break camp and move on.

~ Deuteronomy 1:6-7 NLT ~

In November, it will be two years since I moved from my home state. Just sitting here thinking about where the time has gone and how home was where I was comfortable. Where all my immediate family and friends still are. In fact, both of my sons are still back there too. As I am reflecting it makes me think about when the thought was presented to consider moving – it really was not on the table.

A few things happened before I moved that definitely would give anyone pause and make the decision to move difficult. The most difficult decision, (let me just reiterate again) was leaving my family behind. There were dynamics before me that had not been ironed out, however, it felt like the Lord was orchestrating every move, even the difficult ones.

If I can be honest. There were still two problems, I could not see where I was going and second, I was not sure if I wanted to go. Neither of these matters to the creator of all things but still. Have you ever felt that way – you believe the Lord is calling you to some place, task, or person but you are not certain it lines up with your plans?

I recently read the book of Deuteronomy when I stumbled across this passage of scripture about the children of Israel and Mount Sinai. And this time it stopped me long enough to reflect back to when I had to move. Amazing how God in his infinite wisdom will bring us to a passage to create a moment of reflection. I think of other times past when the Lord has directed me or told me to stop something and I have disobeyed. I wonder in those moments of reflection, what did I miss or if I had listened and obeyed what would life look like?

I think about the Israelites at that moment when an imperative is spoken and the Lord seems to almost say I am tired of waiting for you to do something. Just like an awesome God, to remind us that there is more, do not settle for where you currently are. In this case, Israel has embraced and left Egypt behind, it has been about three months and they are in transition camped at the base of Mount Sinai. (Exodus 19:1) And now the Lord is calling them to leave transition.

I would like to just leave you with a few thoughts to hopefully encourage you to not stay in a place of transition (Mount Sinai) but move to the place of promise. We may not have an actual Mount Sinai today, but it represents where the preparation took place, where promises were given/spoken based on obedience and it provided temporal provision for a purposed people. In other words, it was comfort for that season. I have found myself here and honestly, am quite content staying in this place, can you relate?   

I am learning that faith is fundamentally formed by fear not only being forgotten but forsaken. The Apostle Paul tells us, to forget those things behind and reach forward to what lies ahead. (Phil 3:13) The older I get the more I realize there is no easy way to grow in faith except by a willingness to surrender control to the Father. Sometimes the Lord requires us to leave comfort to gain confidence and sometimes to gain confidence we must move quickly. Just get up and do it!  

You have stayed at this mountain long enough.

~ Deuteronomy 1:6 NLT ~

What, where, or who is your Mount Sinai? Physically this may represent a relationship, a career, or a health move. Spiritually it may be a habit or perspective, a way of thinking that we need to change to reach true fulfillment.

We have to leave our comfort zones and keep traveling. The Lord has already told them where they were headed so why did it seem as if his words, through Moses were a surprise? In Exodus six, Yahweh tells Moses to tell Israel he will bring them into a land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And the same message applies today, the Lord moves us in a direction that seems unclear but with His encouragement, we can make it.  

Second, the Lord tells them, It is time to break camp. (Exodus 1:7) The camp represents a temporary dwelling that we erect and tear down before moving. It could be in our minds, emotionally, or physical things that we put together. If you have ever been hiking, camp is considered the place with temporary accommodations, that we do not stay in. We may have to tear down some stuff that has been erected temporarily that we are attempting to make permanent. “Break camp” with insecurity, poor self-image, nasty mouths, attitudes, laziness, selfish living, too serious (laughter is good for the soul), and demonic appetites that are robbing us of God’s best (pornography, lustful behavior). We make excuses for tolerating our sin condition or behavior instead of leaving guilt for repentance. We are living in a time when we need to break camp with religion and seek a relationship with more than the name God, but Jesus Christ. Relationships birth intimate knowledge of not only who Christ is but who we are in Christ. And what He desires for us.

Jesus told him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is.

~ John 14:6,7 NLT  ~

Lastly, action is required friend. It is not enough to hear and be motivated to move but do nothing different. This is the hard part. The Lord can have much in store for us but if we will not believe and trust His leading, we will stay hindered, never meeting our purpose.

So here is the question, what does Action look like to you? What has the Lord been reminding or speaking to you in reference to action? Whatever it looks like, I would encourage and challenge you to get moving.