Run with Certainty, Fight Purposefully

1 Corinthians 9:25, “Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.”

When running a race, there is a starting line and there is a finish line.  This is clearly laid out prior to the run.  No matter the distance, there is a start and stop.  In a fight, such as boxing, the purpose is to land better punches than the other guy.  A boxing match requires one man to knock the other man down.  In both running and fighting, there are clear rules that are to be followed.  When talking about our walk with Christ, we need to run with certainty and fight purposefully.

Paul wanted to explain his discipline that he had in his walk with Christ.  His “run” was not with uncertainty.  He knew where his provisions would come from.  He knew where his protection came from.  He knew his God.  God sets out clear rules in our walk with Him.  He has a certain way that He wants His people to live.  That walk includes love.  Love for every single person in the world.  That is how God is and that is what we need to strive to do as well.

Paul also showed his fight that he had in him.  Paul was beaten, imprisoned, stoned, and  shipwrecked.  Yet, in all of this, he continued to deliver God’s message.  Even in his last days on Earth, he was still preaching and trying to convert people to God.  His fight had a purpose and that purpose was all for God and His kingdom.  Our fight needs to resemble Paul’s but more importantly, God’s.  When we feel defeated, we need to keep fighting for God.  We cannot allow ourselves to get off track because that is like “beating the air.”

We need to run and fight for God in our lives at all times.  There will be times when we get off course or miss a punch but we need to persevere.  We need to find the correct path and fight what is necessary.  God has given us tools to succeed.  The Bible is one such tool.  Another is the Holy Spirit.  The Bible is the Word of God and the Holy Spirit is one part of a Triune God.  One other tool is prayer.  When we pray, we can ask for direction.  God will guide paths and aid in the fight, if we ask.  Let us use the tools that we have been give and trust God completely.

Heavenly Father,

We know that there is a race to run and a fight to win.  We cannot do this without You.  Only You can guide our path.  Only You can defend our souls from all things evil.  Only You can save our souls from the horrors of Hell that come from staying off the path for too long.  Heaven is for those that follow You.  Help us to follow You full and trust You completely.

In your name we pray,



Little Gets More; More Gets Less

Proverbs 11:24, “There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty.”

There is an old hymn by Kittie Suffield that is titled “Little Is Much When God Is In It.  The chorus goes “Little is much when God is in it!  Labor not for wealth or fame; There’s a crown, and you can win it, If you go in Jesus’ name.”  The amount of stuff that you have, whether it is money or popularity or cars or houses, pales in comparison to how big God is.  With God, little gets more and more gets less.

We need to change the way that we think.  What seems opposite to us is in fact completely correct in the eyes of God.  Like in this verse, we need to be the one who scatters.  Give of your money to those in need.  Give of your time to those that desperately need.  Help out others by taking some of your possessions that you no longer use and give to those that could use them.

When you give, it pleases God.  When you give, God will bless you.  Does that mean that when you give an offering to the church, you will get money back?  Not always.  Blessings from God are not always monetary.  Sometimes they come in the form of bringing souls to Christ.  Sometimes they come in making the world a better place to be in.    God wants to bless us.  He wants to give us all that we need and more.  It is our hearts that hold us back.  When we give, we need to give with a heart that is happy to give.

There is a term for someone who will not spread the wealth.  They are called misers.  A miser is defined as “a person who hoards wealth and spends as little money as possible.”  The verse indicates that the one that withholds will lead to poverty.  The problem with money is that once you die, it all goes away.  It goes to others that will fight over it.  Money is best used when it is shared with others.  Not only does hoarding money hurt others but it hurts yourself.  It hurts your spiritual self.

God loves us so much and when we are not willing to give, it leads to spiritual poverty.  Think about this: God created everything so what we have is God’s.  When we help out others, we are using what God allows us to have to help out His people.  In turn, God will bless us.  Jesus gave everything that He had when He died on the cross for our sins.  His gift is available to all and He does not withhold that from us.  So let us give to others as Christ gives to us.

Heavenly Father,

We ask that You come to us today and reveal to us how we are to give.  You bless us with so much.  We have all that we need and more.  Help us to bless Your people with whatever they need.  When we give to others, we give to You.  Help us to always remember that.  What we do should always be for Your honor and Your glory.

It is in Your name that we always love and pray,


Let’s Have a Party with God!

Psalms 149:1, 3-4, “Praise the Lord!  Sing to the Lord a new song, And His praise in the assembly of saints.  Let them praise His name with the dance; Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.  For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.”

Every Sunday (and sometimes Saturday), churches have services.   They may have one or more services.  This may be a simple service with a piano, hymns, and a message given in a reserved tone.  It may be with a full band, lights, and boisterous pastor giving a message.  Regardless of the delivery, the message is the main part that needs to be given.   Whatever your church does, let’s have a party with God!

We are to praise the Lord.  Praise comes in many forms for many people.  The awesome part of creation is that everyone is created uniquely.  That means that some people like one thing and another group of people like something else.  Praise should be all about God, not about people, but that does not mean that praise needs to be boring and dull.  There is nothing against hymns, pianos, rock bands, or lights.  If that is what your church does, it should be focused on God.  Church needs to be a place that is open to people and church needs to be a place that has people crossing the threshold, ready to hear the word of God.

Sing a new song to God.  That means that we should come to God every week with a newness that shows fire in our souls.  For me, I love rock n’ roll music so when I go to my church, I hear that music.  It has passion and gets me fired up for God.  I know that having a rock band experience will not save me but it is one reason why I go to the church I go to.  When I am singing to God, I want to sing songs that have passion.  I love the old hymns too.  Whatever is being sung, let is be sung so that God is honored.

Praise in the assembly of saints.  When we are praising God, we should do this in a group.  When people are lifting hands and jumping, I feed off of that and praise God more and more.  Having fellow Christians around helps and when new people come to the church, it can help them get into praising God, too.  While we have life, we should enjoy the blessings that God has given us.  For instance, instruments that are made can and should be used for God.  Light bulbs were created by man who was created by God and we should use it.  Projectors to show words on the screen are created man who was created by God.  These blessings do not detract from praising God, but create a greater experience in which to praise God.

Let them praise His name with the dance.  Dancing is not a bad thing.  Dancing for God is a form of praise.  I have been in many churches where there is dancing up and down the aisles.  Dancing is expressive and a way to show God how happy you are to in the house of God.  We should dance if we feel led to by God and are able to do so.  The feeling comes upon many and they cannot help by dance and sing.

Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.  The timbrel is an instrument similar to the tambourine.  The harp is a stringed instrument.  Both are still in use today in many churches.  More commonly are guitars, drums, and keyboards.  These instruments are also used by music artists.  When praising God, there does not need to be any instruments as well but music is important to the soul.  For those that need more beat, a church that has these instruments would be appealing.  If someone wants less beat, a church with an organ or piano is ideal.

For the Lord takes pleasure in His people.  God loves when His people praise and thank Him.  I think that God loves all music so long as it is glorifying to Him, otherwise there would not be so many different types of music.  God wants us to praise Him in all ways.  If that come in the form of a rock concert, God smiles at the words and sounds that are made audible.  If it comes in the piano and hymns, God loves that, too.  God made His people and despite all our shortcomings, He loves us.

He will beautify the humble with salvation.  The humble people are those that are willing to put away their pride and give everything to God.  Salvation is for all especially the humble.  The Church needs to be a place that people come to for help.  Pauline Phillips, writer of the “Dear Abby” column, is quoted as saying, “The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.”  This is so true.  Churches today need to worry more about making sure the gospel is preached, than if fancy lights and music offends someone.  At the end of life, salvation is the key to enter Heaven.

The world needs Jesus.  If there are ways to get people into a church, we should do it.  Get them in with the fancy lights, rock and roll music, and connectivity and then shower them with the blessing of the gospel.  Let the love of God show.  “Creature comforts” are not the problem.  It is having a church that does not preach Jesus alive, dead and then resurrected to ensure salvation for all; that is the problem.

Heavenly Father,

In this world, it is all about You.  You are the Light.  All praise and honor and glory belongs to You.  Help us to minister to those in need and come to them where they are.  As Your Son ministered to others, we should minister to others as well.  The church is more than the building where people go to praise You.  It is the people who come.  The people that need Your Son because of the spiritual needs.  We all need salvation.  Help us to give the gift of salvation to the world today and as long as we have breath.

In Your name we pray,


Our Lord, Maker of All

Proverbs 22:2, “The rich and the poor have this in common, The Lord is the maker of them all.”

There are so many people in this world.  There are different cultures and different economic structures.  There are rich people and there are poor people.  In the midst of all the people in the world, there is our Lord, maker of all.

The rich people are those that have tons and tons of money.  There is also another form of “rich.”  This “rich” involves the spirit.  Having Jesus in your heart will make you rich because He is more than all the riches in the world.  No earthly possession is worth as much as Jesus is.  His gift of dying on the cross is an eternal gift that saves your soul.  You can amass all the money in the world and not have more riches than Jesus Christ.

Then there are the poor.  The people who do not have much money at all.  There is also something called “poor”  This “poor” is poor in spirit.  When we are not in right standing with God or we do not have God in our heart as well, we are “poor.”  Having Jesus takes us from a poor standing to a rich standing.

To Jesus, it does not matter if we have tons of money or if we have nothing.  We are all humans in God’s eyes.  We all have that in common.  God made all of us.  He made us through His love for us.  We all have the Lord to thank because He is our maker.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for giving us the gift of salvation.  I truly cannot tell You how much it means that you love me and You sent Your Son to die for me and also for all.  We are all together in this world.  You do not care what the color of our skin.  You do not care if we are male or female.  You care for us because You created us.  We are Yours.  Help us to follow You and listen always.  You make us rich.

In Your name we pray,


Older for the Younger

1 Timothy 5:1-2, “Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.”

Life can be very complicated sometimes.  Help is often necessary when dealing with some of life’s problems.  That is where people who have lived before can teach those that have not lived that much.  This is where the older help for the younger.

As a church, there are plenty of different members at different points in life.  There are older people and younger people.  Married people and single people.  Men and women.  So, as this verse states, younger people should not diminish what older people say and older people should not dismiss younger people because of lack of experience.

Younger men should look to older men like a son looks to a father.  That means taking advice when it is given.  That means that listening to what older fathers have to say.  With years lived on Earth comes experience.  Failed attempts to do things.  Successful winnings in other areas.  Older men have a lot to teach younger men.

Younger women should look to older women as mothers.  Mothers have the task of raising the children, sometimes with little or no help.  This is never an easy task so older women can share this information with younger women.  There are several other examples of what women can share with each other.  Older women have so much information to share.

Younger men and women should look at each other like brothers and sisters.  As with being brothers and sisters, we should have each other’s backs, helping out here and there.  If one brother or sister is down, the others should be there to lift them up.  That is done with prayer and with support.  That could be physical support.  That could be mental support.  That could even be financial support.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You that You made us all humans who needs each other.  We are all the same and as such, we should band together.  In the church, we should all strive to work together for Your honor and Your glory.  Help us to be more open to listen from You and those that You have placed in our life.

In Your name we pray,


Sons of Light and Day

1 Thessalonians 5:5, “You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.”

Christ followers are sons and daughters of God.  That means that they are entitled to all that God has for them.  God has no darkness in him so that means He is Light and He is Day.  That makes us sons of the Light and Day.

With Jesus, we no longer live in darkness as we once did.  Sin is a darkness that can take over.  It takes control of the soul.  With Jesus, though, sin is pushed out.  The darkness is pushed out and the Light is invited in.  Like the flick of a light switch, Jesus comes “on” in the life on a believer.  Once that Light is “on,” it takes a lot for it to go “off.”  Thankfully, Jesus is very forgiving.

Darkness and night are scary occurrences.  When crimes are committed, they are mostly committed at night.  The darkness is where the “monsters” are.  There are people who crave the darkness.  Feed off the darkness.  This is not where people of the Light belong.  People who are of the Light need to stay far away from the darkness.

There is, since the beginning of time, been light and darkness.  Daytime and nighttime.  There is God and there is Satan.  There are forces at work in this world and we have to ask ourselves which side we are on.  The side of Light or darkness.  If we are a believer of Jesus Christ, we find ourselves in the Light as He is Light.  If we are not, we find ourselves in the dark.  Run from that darkness.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for salvation.  Thank you so much for sending Your Son to die on the cross.  We cannot say enough how much that means to us.  Because of You, we can escape the darkness and be in the Light.  The Light of Heaven.  The glory of all that You are.  We are excited to be in Heaven with You one day.  Help us to never return to that darkness again.

In Your name we pray,


Life, Death, and Life in Glory Forevermore

Colossians 3:3-4, “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”

Part of the existence of humankind is death.  This, for obvious statement, occurs after life is done.  As a Christian, we will only experience one death as opposed to two deaths for that of the unbeliever.  For the Christian, there is life, death, and life in glory forevermore.

When starting a walk with God, there is a conversion.  That conversion is from a fallen life to a saved life.  When the fallen life is abandoned, there is a death.  Death to the old life.  Death also occurs when the physical body is no longer alive.  The brain stops processing.  The heart stops beating.  The lungs stop inflating and deflating.  After the physical death, there is life for the Christ follower.

This life is hidden in Christ.  That is because when Jesus came to this Earth, he died on a cross for our sins and saved us from both physical and spiritual death.  We deserve a punishment for our sin.  We deserve Hell.  No one is worthy to go to Heaven to be with God.  That is until Christ comes into our life.  Our spiritual life is found when we seek out Christ and accept the life that He has for us.  It is hidden in that not all will find it.  Only those that seek it and are willing to humble themselves.

Christ in us means that we have the glory of God in us.  Heaven is a glorious place that is the home to God.  God lives in this place that is free from sin, pain and suffering.  When we accept God’s son, God accepts us into His home.  The sin that we once had is removed.  The life that we lived before no longer exists.  When God looks at us, all He sees is His Son.  It is as if Jesus stands and covers us so that we are not visible to God.  Our life is seen as perfect even though we are far from it.

We progress from life to death to life again with God.  The second life is not like the first life.  The first is fallen, full of error and sin.  The second life is perfect.  There is life, there is death and then, if with Christ, there is life again.  A second life.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for all that You do for us.  You give us eternal life if we choose You.  Help us to give up our physical life in favor of a spiritual life with You in Heaven above.  Give us the words to speak to others so that they can enjoy the salvation that You offer.  We love You and need You.

In Your name we pray,


Life Happens So The Gospel Can Thrive

Philippians 1:12, “But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel,”

Everything that happens in life happens for a reason.  The bumps and hiccups that occur mold us into who we are.  Our life is all that it is because of what we make it to be.  the moral is: life happens so the gospel can thrive through us.

Paul went through so much in his life.  He was imprisoned, beaten, shipwrecked, and ridiculed.  Rather than let those events define him, he used those events to motivate him.  He did not lose hope because his hope was in the Lord.  He went through what he went through for Jesus.

When we become a Christian, we enter into a land that can be turbulent.  People may ignore us because we talk about Jesus.  People may leave us because we talk differently.  This should not be a deterrent.  This should be a motivator.  Everything that happens to us is because God wills it to be.  Does God want us to suffer?  No.  God does want us to continually learn from what happens though.  If you fall over a shoe in a hallway, you may not be happy about this but it is a learning lesson.  The next time that you walk through that hallway, you will watch where you walk.  Every error that we make, every sin that we do is a life lesson.

Sin is a learning lesson to make us better.  In the life of ministry, experience can be very crucial.  To minister to someone who lost a child, it will help to have lost a child.  To help someone through divorce, it may help to be divorced.  The level of sympathy and empathy is heightened.  We are given experiences to help others.  When bad things happen, we should not see it as God punishing us but Got rewarding us.  Rewarding us with a lesson to pass on to others.

As a parent, I teach my children all the time.  I do not want them to make the same mistakes that I do.  Sometimes though, they refuse to listen and do something I told them not to do.  They may end up getting hurt and coming to me.  I then use that as a lesson to teach them that listening is important.  When God teaches us something, we need to listen.  He does it for a reason and that reason does not always make sense at the time.

Life happens so that we can learn.  History is there for us to study.  Let us use what we have learned to better minister to those that are unsaved.  We can certainly help out the world through the life we have lived, just like Paul did.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for the life lessons that we have.  They may not be pleasant but they are purposeful.  Help us to be more accepting when bad things happen and more gracious to learn from You.  You have our best interests in mind and know the future.  You know what we need to have to be better.  You know that we need You.  Help us to minister and use our life experiences to spread the kingdom of You to every corner, crack and crevice in the world.

In Your name we pray,


Sun Go Down

Ephesians 4:26, “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath.”

We have a rule in our house.  We do not go to bed angry.  No matter how tired we are, we communicate and work out whatever we need to.  We resolve all our disputes that we have and we have been married for 11 years so it must be working.  Our marriage has not been perfect but that one rule has stayed: no anger held over to the next day.  Before the sun goes down.

The first part of this verse appears to contradict itself.  When we get angry, we sin.  It is not the anger that is necessary the sin.  Jesus was recorded as being angry and we know that Jesus is perfect so there was no sin in His anger.  We need to be angry about things that make God angry.  Sin makes God angry and we should be angry at sin too.  The problem comes with becoming angry at someone.  Anger towards others causes thoughts that are sinful such as causing physical harm.  That is not love and we are instructed to love.

The fact is, we will sin when we are living our life.  Before the end of each day, we need to figure out whom we may have wronged.  We need to make sure to make amends and ask for forgiveness from those that we come into contact with.  We need to make sure to ask for forgiveness because we are not guaranteed time on this Earth.  We could be alive one day and gone the next.  Our last moments with someone should be good moments.  We need to make sure that we do not let problems go unresolved.

This is also important when it comes to God.  As soon as we sin, we should be going to God for forgiveness.  We should always be concerned about our salvation and our standing with God.  That is why prayer before bed is essential.  That is a great time to come to God and ask Him to forgive.  The sun is an indicator for the Son.  When the sun goes down, we should be talking to the Son.  That is at a minimum.  We actually should be talking to God all the time.

Heavenly Father,

Please forgive us for the sins that we commit every day.  Help us to build relationships with others and to work on forgiveness between each other.  Help us to never let ourselves go to bed angry or upset with one another.  Sin is a terrible thing and we should be careful with it.  We love You and need You, Lord.  You are our salvation.  You are love and we want to show that love to others.

In Your name we pray,


Please Man or Please God?

Galatians 1:10, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.”

There is God and then there are men.  Some spend all of their lives trying to please people.  They do not succeed because the more they try, the more they see others who are not happy because of them.  In trying to please everyone, they miss out on the true happiness.  Some people try to please God but feel He is not listening or does not care.  This begs the question: do we please man or please God?

Paul posed an excellent question here in Galatians.  To persuade men or God?  People or the Almighty?  Persuade comes the Greek word πείθω peíthō, pi’-tho which means to convince (by argument, true or false); by analogy, to pacify or conciliate (by other fair means); reflexively or passively, to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty):—agree, assure, believe, have confidence, be (wax) conflent, make friend, obey, trust, or yield.  Persuading is about taking a side.  The side you take is important, as to whether it is man or God.

Paul expounds on this with asking about pleasing men.  As we follow Christ, we are to please Christ.  Part of pleasing Christ is not pleasing men.  This is an either/or, not both.  If we spend our lives trying to only please men, we will miss out on pleasing God.  In order to rationalize our pleasing, we have to think about this: who can help our life after this life?  Pleasing men may make us happy for a time but pleasing God will bring happiness for eternity.

Paul explains that he could not please men because that would nullify his task of being a servant for Jesus.  Paul had a message that was given to him by God and it would not make everyone happy.  It was a message of salvation but in being saved, one has to admit that they are not perfect and in need of saving.  We are weak but most do not like to admit that they are.  We, as humans, like to think that we are strong and can do anything.  God’s salvation requires that we admit that we are weak and cannot do anything on our own.  We must make a choice: please men or God.  In the end, please God because your souls depends on it.  Your salvation depends on it.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for salvation.  We need You and we know that we cannot save ourselves.  Help us to please only You.  This does not mean that we ignore others but show them love but as for our praise and worship, that belongs to You.  We owe it to You to minister to others, regardless of what others will think of us.  Your message is more important than making friends.  Our souls are what You want.  You want us to follow You.

In Your name we pray,