The Bitter Cup

"But Jesus answered by saying to them, 'You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?'” Matthew 20:22 Have you ever felt betrayed by someone? Has anyone done something that betrayed your trust? When I consider the chapters in the Bible that describe Jesus’ crucifixion, I find them difficult to read. How can a loving Father purpose for His only Son, His Son who did not have any sin at all, to be ridiculed, put on trial for things He never did, and die the most painful death imaginable? Was there no other way? Couldn’t God waive His mighty hand and make people’s sin go away? But, in order for God to remain true to His character,

A Second Wind

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm." -Ephesians 6:12
 In sports people often refer to what's known as a "second wind". It's been said that if you push yourself to a certain degree of physical exhaustion where you think you can go no further, something triggers. It's like a weight has been lifted. You're no longer tired, no longer striving. All of a sudden, it becomes easy. It's like a rush of strength and energy is suddenly there. You are able to win the race. You are able to fight the good fight - all because of a second wind.

Harmony in Calling

"Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited." -Romans 12:15-17 Harmony (n.): 1. agreement in action, opinion, feeling, etc.; accord; 2. order or congruity of parts to their whole or to one another; 3. agreeable sounds ( There is no doubt that there are many expressions of the Christian faith. With 38,000 current denominations cited* and growing every year, it is no wonder we agree on so little. But, are the things we disagree on really deal-breakers? Shouldn't we major on the majors, and minor on the minors? Hasn't Christ called each of us to work together for the transfo

Don't Grow Cold!

"Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved." -Matthew 24:12&13 My husband has been gone a lot at work preparing for a big yearly deadline. I enjoyed the time off finding other things to do, but I missed him too. When life got back to normal, we went on a couple dates to readjust. "I'm just getting used to you again," I said. It was so interesting to me how easy it was to 'grow cold' toward him during our time apart! We share a common love language - quality time. It was because we hadn't nurtured this love language that we felt far away from one another. I thought about how this relates to our relationship

When Faith Seems to Fail Us

"For faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." -Hebrews 11:1 Have you ever hoped for something for so long that your hope died? Have you ever "had faith" in something that failed you? I am sure we all have. When it happens, it makes life difficult. But the most difficult circumstance is when we think our God, all-powerful, all knowing, all-loving, seems to fail us. Maybe it was a promotion at work. Maybe it was a relationship that we thought was going to work out. Maybe it was something we thought God told us about, even more than once. Maybe it was a promise of healing. Whatever the case, God is continually working behind the scenes to bring about His

Sharing Our Witness

"Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." -Mark 16:15 "I am convinced of one thing: at least 50 percent of all nonbelievers would receive Christ if properly approached by a trained, Spirit-filled believer who can communicate God's love and forgiveness revealed through our Lord Jesus." - Dr. Bill Bright It's super intimidating to share our faith, isn't it? I've had experiences of being so nervous sharing my faith that I forget the most important pieces of my story! Plus, the stigma of appearing like a Bible beating Christian is almost unbearable. But, what's the alternative? According to from a survey done in 2003, just 32% of people believe in a liter

True Healing

"Those troubled by evil spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch Him, because power was coming from Him and healing them all." -Luke 6:18,19 Have you ever heard of miraculous healings? Perhaps you've only heard of them in the Bible, happening way back in Jesus' time. But is there healing today, in the here and now? Jesus said, "Believe, that you may do these things and more, for the helper is coming to you." The helper is the Holy Spirit. And he did not say way back when- - he said now, today, tomorrow, forever. That same power can be imparted to us today for the working of miracles and healing of the sick. But it begins with Jesus. Jesus is our true healer. He promises to

Servant Leadership Versus Entitlement

"Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant." -Matthew 20:26 I walked into the store toward the customer service counter and waited for a few minutes. I was next in line, but to my surprise, a young store employee walked right up to the customer service desk when the register became open and made a purchase. The cashier saw me and told the employee, who said something about the fact that there were two lines, and I was in the other one. I wasn't about to fight with an employee for a place in line, so I let him go ahead. It was a horrible example of customer service, but a great example of entitlement. There is a consensus in our world today tha

Growing Through Experience

"So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah." -1 Samuel 16:13 We live in a microwave culture. If we want something, we want it now! But, even though we can go through a drive-thru to get fast food immediately, this microwave mentality often does not apply to our calling and life with God. We tend to think of David in the Bible as the great shepherd king, the worshipper after God's own heart. But I wonder when we think of him, if we truly consider all the processing David endured after he was anointed to b

Righteous Anger

"And 'don't sin by letting anger control you.' Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry." -Ephesians 4:26 What makes you mad? Often we don't talk about getting angry in Christian circles because it's an uncomfortable topic. But, if we're true followers of Christ, isn't it true that certain things should make us angry? I'm not talking about the kind of anger where we didn't get our way. I'm talking about things that are really evil - injustices like human trafficking, a lack of ethical business practices, corruption, abuse in relationships, bullying, an inaccurate view of God - these are the types of issues that need solving in our society. I think when we recognize what angers

Slaves Versus Sons and Daughters

"And because we are His children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, 'Abba, Father.' Now you are no longer a slave but God's own child. And since you are His child, God has made you His heir." -Galatians 4:21-31 Have you ever felt like a servant or a slave, instead of a son or daughter? I worked as a server for a while in high school and also in college in order to make ends meet. It is gruesome work! Working in the restaurant industry requires working nights and weekends, and doing heavy manual labor. During the time I worked as a server I was also working through an issue of unworthiness I had in my life. I had never felt worthy of anything good

Where Does Wealth Come From?

"Now, LORD God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?" -2 Chronicles 1:9-12 Where does wealth come from? Should we seek to gain wealth as followers of Christ? There are many get-rich-quick ideas out there, most of which lead to more poverty. (Proverbs 21:5) And, there are many people who believe that in order to be a Christian, you must agree to live a poor and meager lifestyle. But, I don't believe this should be the case! Solomon was the richest man who ever lived. (1 Kings 10:2

Confident Identity

"I know that you, God, are on the side of victims, that you care for the rights of the poor. And I know that the righteous personally thank you, that good people are secure in your presence." -Psalm 140:12-13 Where do we get our security or our confidence from? It's often easy to look to other people and things to find both our identity and security. How do we know we've misplaced our sense of being and our sense of belonging? We'll often feel as though our core value lies outside ourselves, or that another is more valuable than we are. There are so many cases of misplaced identity and devotion. Just take a look at the Israelites. They had the answer, and they continued to follow false i

A Free Life

"For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" -Galatians 5:13 & 14 What is true freedom? Is it the ability to do what we want at any given time? I don't know about you, but if I did what I thought I wanted at any given time, I'd live a pretty lonely pitiful life! Where do we find true freedom? The Bible says we find true freedom by being a "bondservant" of Christ. (Romans 1:1) What does this mean? Isn't this a contradiction? But, it's really true! If we live by

Putting God First

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." -Matthew 6:33 One estimate finds more than 4,700 covenant promises listed in the Bible. However, they aren't activated automatically. It's by putting God first that He is able to bless our lives because we have set ourselves apart in our devotion to Him. Getting to know God doesn't have to become a religious, boxed-in formula. It also doesn't mean that God is a genie or a microwave. But, it does mean that when we put God first in our lives, we are adhering to a divine order that makes our lives function as they should. We receive the supernatural fruits of love, joy and peace in our liv

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

"How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much more pleasing is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume more than any spice!" -Song of Solomon 4:10 "Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: 'This is what the LORD says: "'I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness, through a land not sown."'" -Jeremiah 2:2 All throughout scripture a beautiful love story is interwoven between all of humanity and her bridegroom, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Every great love story has this plot of the handsome prince saving his princess, fighting off evil enemies in order to rescue her and gain the chance to w

God's Heart for Us

"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again, and you, Virgin Israel, will be rebuilt. Again you will take up your timbrels and go out to dance with the joyful." -Jeremiah 31:3&4 When people think of God, they tend to think of Him in several different ways. Some think of God as a loving Father. Other people believe He is a dictator. Still others believe He is indifferent to us - as if he is too big and important to care what's going on in our lives. Some of us think that God is good, but we haven't yet believed it in our hearts. We often think of God the same way we thought of our fathers growing up. Many people believe t

Stepping Out

"See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore He would give to your fathers - to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - and to their descendants after them." -Deuteronomy 1:8 When the Israelites were instructed to "step out" into the Promised Land, they were afraid. But God commanded them over and over, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6) When they obeyed God's commands, they were successful. And when they stepped out in faith, God met them there. There is a desire in each of us to "step out" into something more. We are each

Open Doors

"If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." -Genesis 4:7 Once my dad left home from a trip, only to find a surprise waiting for him in his house upon his return. A cat had found its way into the house through the old pet door that wasn't properly sealed. The cat went upstairs, and took his bed for a litter box. Eww! It took us several days to find that cat, but we finally did. Although it's rather uncomfortable and disconcerting to find a "present" such as this upon your return home, it left us with a good spiritual analogy. As we're moving forward, living our lives

Bumper People

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." -James 5:16 What is a "bumper person"? In his Transformational Leadership training, Ford Taylor describes a "bumper person" as someone we trust who can bump us back into place when we start getting out of alignment with God's call on our lives. There are many great people who started out running their race well, but fell out of favor with God due to the enemy's deception in their lives. When we get into things we feel ashamed of, the last thing we want to tell someone - we think they might judge us. But, when any sin is brought into

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