This song has been running through my mind all day, so thought I’d share it with you…

Still my heart hold me close
Let me hear a still small Voice
Let it grow, let it rise
Into a shout, into a cry

If you’re interested in the lyrics, you can check them out here. Enjoy!

Getting Back To God

An important reminder from Ella Wheeler Wilcox—

All the aim of life is just

       Getting back to God.

Spirit casting off its dust,

       Getting back to God.

Every grief we have to bear

Disappointment, cross, despair

Each is but another stair

       Climbing back to God.

Step by step and mile by mile—

       Getting back to God;

Nothing else is worth the while—

       Getting back to God.

Light and shadow fill each day

Joys and sorrows pass away,

Smile at all, and smiling, say,

       Getting back to God.

Do not wear a mournful face

       Getting back to God;

Scatter sunshine on the place

       Going back to God;

Take what pleasure you can find,

But where’er your paths may wind.

Keep the purpose well in mind—

       Getting back to God.

(Song Of The Spirit)

Have A Cookie

Do you like cookies? I do! In fact one of the main reasons I workout is so I can eat more of the sweet treats my wife makes.

I’d like you to consider some of the ingredients in my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe:

  • Butter
  • Chocolate chips
  • White flour
  • Wheat flour
  • Oatmeal
  • Sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Vanilla

On their own, some of these ingredients are sweet, some are rather bitter, and some don’t have much flavor at all. Now keep this list of ingredients in mind as you read this:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

Really, “all things”?!?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had some pretty bitter things happen in my life. But the Bible says that God is using all things—the sweet, the bitter, and the bland—to make something good.

I’d never eat a big spoonful of baking powder or salt or vanilla extract as a treat, but my favorite chocolate chip cookie would be terribly lacking without those key ingredients.

You may not like the bitter things in your past, but God is using even those—part of the all things—to make something good out of your life.

So the next time you are questioning how the bitter fits into your life, ask the Holy Spirit to show you. And while you’re waiting on the answer, have a cookie and think about the bitter and sweet ingredients that went into making something so good.

What’s Your Excuse?

It’s so easy to make excuses, isn’t it?

  • I wasn’t feeling well
  • I don’t have enough training
  • The sun was in my eye
  • The other guy was supposed to….
  • I don’t have the right tools
  • If only….
  • I can’t because….

John Maxwell has started a new teaching series where he presents a one-minute lesson on one word every day. Today’s lesson was on excuses. Watch the clip here.

Here are some other quotes on excuses:

“Ninety-nine percent of failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” —George Washington Carver

“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you are interested in doing something, you do it only when it is convenient. When you are committed to something, you accept no excuses only results.” —Kenneth Blanchard

“Obstacles are not excuses for failure, they are opportunities for growth.” —Craig T. Owens

“People who are good at making excuses are seldom good at anything else.” —Benjamin Franklin

Let’s stop making excuses and start taking responsibility! 

Stay Farther Away

The little boy was all dressed up in his brand new clothes for Easter Sunday. He was pretty excited to be sporting his new duds on this special day. And what a beautiful day it was! A rain shower the night before had given way to brilliant sunshine on this Resurrection Sunday morning. The birds were singing, the flowers were so fragrant, and the puddles were shimmering like diamonds. A picture-perfect morning!

While waiting for the rest of his family to finish getting dressed for church, the little boy ran outside into the sunshine. He breathed deeply of the fresh spring air, closed his eyes as he turned his face upward to feel the warmth of the sunshine on his freshly-washed face. Ahhh!

He opened his eyes again and saw those shimmering puddles. He just had to get a closer look!

He ran over to the edge of a puddle and poked a stick into the water. Then he spotted some pebbles and picked up a handful to throw in the water and watch the splash. Cool! He looked for something bigger to throw in the water, when he saw a really big rock in the garden. He ran over, grabbed it, sprinted back to the puddle, wound up to make his biggest throw yet, swung his arm forward with the rock, and as his foot slipped on the wet pavement, he and the rock sprawled right in the middle of the puddle. His new Sunday-best clothes were ruined for Easter Sunday!

It doesn’t seem that hard of a concept: To avoid falling into something, stay far away from it.

Parents lecture their kids on this all the time. And our Heavenly Father warns us about this too:

Let your way in life be far from [the seductress], and come not near the door of her house [avoid the very scenes of temptation].

I have people tell me all the time, “I slipped up,” after they have said or done something wrong. Yes, they slipped and sprawled and ruined something beautiful, but if they hadn’t been so close to their puddle in the first place, they probably wouldn’t have slipped.

Solomon wisely said don’t even get close to the danger zone … stay as far away as you can.

That’s the way to live in true freedom!

Don’t Fake It

Have you ever had someone tell you, “Fake it until you make it”? In other words, you may not feel happy, but just start smiling and soon you will feel happy. Sadly, I’ve heard this type of so-called wisdom given by Christians to other Christians:

  • Don’t let anyone know that you feel scared, doubtful, angry, etc.
  • Never let ‘em see you sweat.
  • Even if you’re down, put on a happy face.

Turns out that this is not only bad advice, but harmful advice too. A recently study by Michigan State University found:

Pretending to smile when you’re feeling bad makes you feel worse and be less productive. …[You] can’t just fake a smile and expect to feel good about it or negative feelings intensify.

(You can read the full report here.)

If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, you should never fake it. Take a quick glance through the psalms and you’ll see raw, real emotions: anger … depression … anxiety … vengeance … sadness … envy … spite …

Here’s the deal: You may wear a {fake} smile on the outside, but God knows the {real} emotions in your heart. You’re not fooling Him. And, as it’s been revealed in this study, you’re not fooling anyone else either.

So go ahead and vent those negative emotions when you’re alone with God. Tell Him how you really feel (He already knows, but it’s good for you to hear you say it). And then let the Holy Spirit show you how to deal with those emotions in a healthy way.

Don’t bottle it up—don’t fake-it-until-you-make-it—be real and let God heal you.

Thursdays With Oswald—Broken And Crucified

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.


       We need to remember that we cannot train ourselves to be Christians; we cannot discipline ourselves to be saints; we cannot bend ourselves to the will of God: we have to be broken to the will of God.

From Facing Reality


       To “crucify” means to put to death, not counteract, not sit on, not whitewash, but kill. If I do not put to death the things in me which are not of God, they will put to death the things that are of God.

From Biblical Ethics

Jesus said to His disciples, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow Me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it.”

Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

I’m trying to live broken and crucified. Will you join me in this daily pursuit?

Flash Prayers

Many people have a lot of misconceptions about prayer. Some people think that prayer has to be long, or that it has to include certain “spiritual” phrases, or that you have to address God by one of His Hebrew titles, or that you have to pray in King James English (using words like Thou knowest…).

I’m not knocking any of these things, but neither am I saying any or all of them have to be included.

  • Some prayers recorded in the Bible are very short, and some prayer times last for days or even weeks.
  • Some prayers include very formal language, and some are just the street language of the day.
  • Some prayers address God with a specific title, and some don’t.

Here’s the key thing: they are all very personal. Each prayer reflecting the unique personality and the unique circumstance of the one doing the praying.

Nehemiah was a confidant of King Artaxerxes of Persia. One day the king noticed something he hadn’t seen before: Nehemiah was frowning. The king asked, “What’s up, Nehemiah?” Look what Nehemiah wrote:

Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king.

Nehemiah’s prayer was silent and extremely quick. It was a flash prayer.

But here’s what makes this prayer so powerful and effective. Nehemiah started praying for an opportunity to talk to the king about an important issue four months earlier. Nehemiah even took time to fast during his prayer time. His initial prayer to God is very formal sounding, and somewhat long. This prayer was rolling around in his heart and mind for quite awhile.

Then when the opportunity came to talk to the king, Nehemiah could quickly breathe a prayer to God, “Help me!”

I think is exactly what Paul had in mind when he told us to pray without ceasing.

Pray out loud … pray quietly … pray long … pray short … pray formally … pray casually … pray personalized prayers all the time.

I’m working on this.

Happy 14th

   My Dearest Samantha,

   Fourteen years ago today I was blessed with the arrival of one of the most vibrant people I have ever known: You! Right from the time we brought you home from the hospital you had such spunk and originality. You truly were a unique personality.

   And you still are!

   I so enjoy watching the pure enjoyment you have in everything you do. You so completely throw yourself into all of your pursuits, tackling them with excellence, passion, and your own unique flair. But beyond the flute playing, and crafts, and cheerleading, and school work, I most appreciate your passionate love for Jesus! Not only the way you pursue Him, but the way you help others to find Him as well.

   If anyone ever wanted to catch a glimpse of your Savior, they can easily see it in your love. You love Him, and you love others too! My prayer is that Jesus will always be your #1 passion and love.

   I love you, my darling Samantha! Happy birthday!



What Gift Are You?

In our Living In The Zone series yesterday, we looked at the gifts God gives to us. These gifts are to help us find the “sweet spot” where God wants us to operate. They are specifically given so that God can use us.

I love this thought from Craig Groeschel: “God’s gifts in you equip you for your gift to the world.”

You are gifted to be a gift to the world.

Check out this video we showed yesterday morning…

Did you catch this exchange near the end?

“Do you think you’re a role model?”

“I hope so! I wanna be an encourager. To encourage people to do something with their lives, instead of doing nothing. Because so many people in the world in this day and time have no gumption, have no purpose, and they don’t want to get off the couch. They wanna sit there and say, ‘Woe is me! My back hurts, my this, my that,’ and wallow in themselves, when they could get out. The more you do for someone else, the more God’s going to bless you. Even if means giving someone a cup of coffee, or a hug, or something like that. That’s what it’s all about.”

What gift(s) has God given you? What gift are you being to the world?

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