September 2008

On the same page

Story of the day:  On the same page

     Dr. Tony Evans, a pastor in Dallas, Texas writes:  “There was one assignment in seminary that I’ll never forget.

     A professor known for his high standard asked us to write a paper.  I took this challenge seriously and set a goal to impress him with my knowledge of the subject, my research and writing.  I was going to give every effort to this so there would be NO way he couldn’t give me an “A”.

     But when I got the paper back, I was stunned to see an “F,” marked at the top.  I was confused, even angry.  I couldn’t comprehend why he just wrote off my efforts like that!  Then I saw his comment, “Great effort, but you answered the wrong question!”

     It wasn’t that I didn’t work hard or that I wasn’t sincere about the assignment.  I simply missed what the professor wanted from me.  As the old saying goes, “We weren’t on the same page.”

     That experience–although I failed the assignment–gave me one of the greatest lessons I have learned, one I continue to share with Christians about living for God.

     Many believers are working hard at the Christian life–coming to church, reading their Bible, saying prayers and trying to live better each day–but are ultimately failing because they are answering the wrong question.

     It’s not that they lack sincerity or honesty or the drive to please God.  But the real question to ask is, “Do you understand what God is asking of you?”

     Ultimately, God’s purpose in you is not about trying harder; it’s about the image of Jesus shining through your life.

     If I could only give you two verses from the Bible to help guide you along your spiritual walk, I would start with the encouraging words of Romans 8:28 (KJV), And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.  We get excited about God’s promise to work through the good and the bad in our lives…but we often miss the fact that He is working for His purpose.  That purpose is found in Romans 8:29 (KJV), For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  (That’s you and me!)

     We can dream up a lot of purposes in our lives and ask God to bless them, but they might not have anything to do with His purpose in our lives.  It’s God’s priority to make a whole community of people who look just like His Son.

     That is His purpose, His driving force and the only assignment He grades.  It’s the only place He’s going; if you’re not going there, you’re not on the same page as God.  You can spend a whole lot of time trying to get God to bless your “page” when that was not God’s purpose for you at all.  And since He’s the “Professor” and we’re in His class, He gets to make the assignment!”

     The good news is that we ARE equipped to make the grade, complete the assignment and hear a “well done” at the end of the journey.  That’s because when we gave our lives to Christ, God put His DNA is us.  We have been given the ability to carry out the assignment…to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, and to reflec that growth as we live out our lives for Him.  His main assignment is to see us conformed to the image of Jesus, and live life as He intended.”  Are you on the same page?

Quote of the day:  Pastor Jeff Burke

“It’s not a lifestyle, it’s my life.”

Bible verse of the day:  Luke 22:42

“saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”


Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for teachers and preachers that bring  us messages so humbling, yet powerful.  I thank You for Dr. Tony Evans and the things that He has shared with us today.  He says it best, “I pray to be more like You every day, not by the things I am doing, the promises that I make to be better, or the will power that I think I have, but by Your Holy Spirit that lives within me.  Father, I pray that Your purpose becomes my purpose and that is to be conformed to the image of Christ.”  I thank You for this day and Your Will to be done.

In Jesus Name I pray,


September 2008

Don’t be so quick to judge!

Story of the day:  Don’t be so quick to judge!

     Since we have moved to Dallas, the traffic has by far, become challenging.  People will swerve into your lane without looking back to see how close you are, knowing that if you hit them from behind, it’s your fault.  As my frustration on the road begins, I try to empathize with other drivers, but sometimes, how close people get to hitting me and my kids, gets me all worked up.  Could I be wrong?  Is there something that I am doing or not doing while driving?  Is it always the other drivers?  How I respond in this situation could have either a positive or negative outcome.  Either way, it is my choice to decide how I am going to react.  Trust me, it’s real easy to want to get upset!  But why?  What will my getting angry do for me?

     Dave Egner writes:  “Some of us are quick to find fault with our fellow believers.  In the name of “encouraging” or “exhorting,” we point out the sins and shortcomings of our brothers and sisters in Christ without seeing our own failures or guild” (Luke 6:37-42).  My need to get somewhere in a hurry, may lead me to act either hastily or in a way that will find fault with others.  But again, it’s a choice that I make in that instant.

     I am reminded of a similar situation about a woman by the name of “Denise McKinney.  She was driving through the streets of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, late one evening when an oncoming car turned left in front of her.  She honked her horn to let the person know he had nearly caused an accident by his carelessness.

     When she parked her car a few minutes later, the same car pulled up beside her and the driver got out.  “The next time you honk your horn at someone,” he said, “maybe you should make sure your headlights are on.”  Sure enough, in her haste she had forgotten to turn on her lights.  She had been so convinced he was in the wrong that she never saw her own error.  She was the one who had almost caused an accident.

     We often act in a similar way.  We’re quick to judge the behavior of others and point out their error.  Jesus prefers that we examine our own lives and be quick to say, “I was wrong.  Please forgive me.”

Quote of the day:  Bosch

“Be quick to judge yourself and slow to judge others.”

Bible verse of the day:  Luke 6:42

“Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye?  Hypocrite!  First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.”


Dear Heavenly Father,

It is easy to find fault with others, especially when we, as the Word so greatly says, can’t see through the plank that is in our eye.  Father, I pray that in the split decision that I have to either be upset or let it roll off my back, that I choose the later.  Father, I don’t get anything from being upset.  It just makes things worse.  Father, I pray for wisdom to make good choices, choices that bring Glory to Your Kingdom, in all areas of my life.  I thank You for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,


September 2008

I was once dead and am now alive

Story of the day:  I was once dead and am now alive

Billy Graham tells a story “of a man who glanced at the obituary column in his local newspaper.  To his surprise he saw his own name, indicating that he had just died.  At first he laughed about it.  But soon the telephone began to ring.  Stunned friends and acquaintances called to inquire and to offer their sympathy.

     Finally, in irritation, he called the newspaper editor and angrily reported that even though he had been reported dead in the obituary column he was very much alive.  The editor was apologetic and embarrassed.  Then in a flash of inspiration, he said, “Don’t worry, sir, I’ll make it all right; tomorrow I’ll put your name in the births column.”

     This may sound like merely a humorous incident, but it is also a spiritual parable.  Not until we have allowed our old selves to be nailed to the cross and to die, can our new selves be born again and emerge to grow up into the likeness of Christ.  The Bible is marvelously true:  “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins…Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.” (Eph. 2:1; 5:1)”

Quote of the day:  Mieczyslaw Malinski

“It’s easiest to see the cross on Jesus’ shoulders.  It’s a bit harder with our neighbor’s cross.  Most difficult of all is seeing our own cross.”

Bible verse of the day:  Ephesians 2:1

“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,”


Dear Father,

I can’t express how grateful I am for Your Son.  As I come to You everyday, may I pick up my cross and walk in Your Will.  I will give thanks to You with all my heart and I will tell of all Your wonders.  I will be glad and rejoice in You Father and I will sing praises to Your name all the days of my life.  Thank You that my old self has been placed upon that cross and today I am able to grow in the likeness of Your Son.  I pray for an opportunity to share Your Truth with others that they may come to know Your Saving Grace.  Thank You for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,


July 2008

“What’s in you will spill out”

Story of the day:  What’s in you will spill out”

     As Christians, we aren’t exempt from being angry or upset.  God has given us emotions, but the way that we handle the emotions can be a test beyond measure.  I was reading a little story written by Richard De Haan called Inside Out that I thought did a great job in illustrating this example.

     He referred to a missionary by the name of Hudson Taylor who while giving a sermon filled a glass with water and placed it on a table in front of him.  As he was speaking, he pounded his fist hard enough to make the water splash onto the table.  He then explained, “You will come up against much trouble.  But when you do, remember, only what’s in you will spill out.

     That’s worth thinking about, isn’t it?  When we are mistreated or misunderstood, how do we respond?  With loving words, patience, and kindness?  Or are we inclined to retaliate in anger?

     When we live under the control of the Holy Spirit, we will show it by the way we react to the jolting trials and temptations of life.  How we respond to trying, embarrassing situations, that are suddenly thrust upon us is a good test of how much we have grown in grace.

     It is possible to suppress frustration and anger, and to appear undisturbed to people around us.  But if our heart is full of the Savior’s love, we will respond to the jostling of an unexpected trial with genuine patience and kindness.  Like a full glass of water, what’s inside of us will spill over on the outside.”

Quote of the day:  Our Daily Bread

“When trouble grows, your character shows.”

Bible verse of the day:  Mark 7:20

And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man.”


Dear Heavenly Father,

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I pray that You continue to direct my steps by Your Word and give me understanding according to Your Word.  You are my keeper and my protector.  Father, I ask that You continue to do a move throughout this nation.  I pray for the church in general that mighty men and women arise and start listening to the call that You have for each of them.  Father, we are living in a different time, and as such, I pray that through these times, You will shine through situations and Your Word is spread like wild fire so souls are saved.  Father use me as Your vessel to reach those that don’t know You and continue to build in me, if it’s Your Will, a zeal that will consume me all the days of my life.  Father, I love You and I thank You for this day!  Continue to guide us with our move and as we prepare for an upcoming busy week, may we stay focused on You and look a

In Jesus Name I pray,


March 2008

Mercy Touched Me

sunset.jpg                                                                                                                                                                                                   Quote of the day:  Mercy Touched Me

    A fellow writer named Darian Burns wrote an amazing story that I felt needed to be shared.  It is a true representation of our Heavenly Father and I felt that it was a story that encompasses troubles that may come in our life, but through any situation our Father is there and by His Grace is able to show us how much He loves us.

    Darian writes:  “I was an assistant pastor and a young father when I was involved in a fire that left me in the ICU burn center with second and third degree burns, singed vocal chords and a damaged esophagus.  Two weeks after being released from the hospital I became a single father of three young boys (4 year old twins and an 18 month old) when my then wife decided she preferred a different type of lifestyle.  Not long after the marriage ended I received “the visit” by the leaders of the church where I ministered.  I was informed that my services were no longer needed.  With the loss of my job also came the loss of my house which was owned by the church.  Not long after becoming a single dad I began to notice that my youngest, Micah, seemed deaf, so we began a long period of testing.  Micah’s testing started a journey which ended in a parking lot at the Emory Autism Center in Atlanta.

    It took every ounce of energy not to explode as I walked from the Autism Center to my parked car.  “Mr. Burns,” the doctor had began coldly like a mathematician reciting an equation, “Micah is one of the most severe cases of autism we have ever seen here, at best you will be able to care for him until 13 or so but then you will almost certainly have to have him institutionalized.”  when I heard those words the last three months and all that had happened suddenly flooded my soul.

    One of the joys of my life had always been my singing voice; however, the fire had damaged my voice and I didn’t know if I would ever sing again as I had.  Since childhood I had longed to be a father and have a family.  I had read all the books, attended the conferences, gone to the counseling sessions, listened to the radio programs and, while not perfect, had for the most part done everything I had been told I was supposed to do to have a successful and happy family life.  However, al the rules I had kept and formulas I had followed did not produce the results they had promised.  My entire adult life and all my education had been geared toward Christian ministry.  However, my church didn’t believe in divorced ministers.  Now I was being told not only would I be alone, without a job, without a home but my precious son would be trapped with this disease which I would spend the rest of my life watching him struggle with and helpless to do anything about it.

    I reached the car and quickly placed Micah in his car seat.  I got in, shut the door and SCREAMED!  Months of tears and pent up anger erupted from deep within me.  I was angry at those who had betrayed me, particularly the church where I found no grace or mercy in my time of deepest need.  However, nothing could compare to the anger I felt towards God.  I wanted to know why.  How could this happen?  Why had He deserted me with these three boys, no job, and no home?  Why had He dumped me in this city parking lot alone except for Micah who wouldn’t even allow me to touch him without screaming?

    Then it happened.  After I released all my pain, after I poured it out to Him with honesty and authenticity I cried out for Mercy.  “Lord, I can’t go on if I don’t know that You are at least with me.  Give me something.  Give me something.  Give me anything to hold on to.  Let me know that you are still with me.  Please, I can’t do this anymore on my own.  Lord, just let me know I’m not alone.

    Not only had Micah ever initiated touch before but he hated to be touched, he fought against it and would scream or cry if he had to endure it by being carried or held.  He preferred to play with his shadow and be left alone.  But not that day and not at that moment.  Mercy touched me that day in the form of a little boy named Micah as he reached his small hand around the seat and caressed a tear off his father’s cheek.  I turned around in shock to see an innocent smile and, for a second, the ever present distance in his eyes was gone.  Mercy touched me that day and I have never been the same.  My prayer is that you will feel it’s touch in your life right when you need it most.”  Thank you Darian for sharing your story with me.

Quote of the day:  J. Dwight Pentecost

“Mercy is God’s ministry to the miserable. It is both intensely personal and immensely practical.  For when I am treated unfairly, God’s mercy relieves my bitterness.  When I grieve over loss, it relieves my pain and anger and denial.  When I struggle with disability, it relieves my self-pity.  When I endure physical pain, it relieves my hopelessness.  When I deal with being sinful, it relieves my guilt.”

Bible verse of the day:  Psalm 56:11

“In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?”


Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You that You are a merciful God.  Thank You that in my distress or my call to You, You are quick to answer.  God, this story has touched my heart and I pray for this father and his family.  God, as uncomfortable as it is to be in these situations, You always show Yourself to us in a very touching and loving way.  It is through these times that we can draw close to You and rest in Your Saving Grace.  Just as mercy touched Darian that day, mercy can touch all.  I thank You for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,