Worship Before Battle

"Then the LORD said to Joshua, 'See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams' horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in.'" -Joshua 6:2-5 When we're about to enter a battle in life, it's a good idea to put the spiritual armor on. In other words, it's important to pray and worsh

Trusting in God

"Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel." -1 Chronicles 21:1 In the Old Testament, David instructed Joab, the commander of the army, to take a census. This wouldn't normally have been a noteworthy event, except for the fact that David suffered enormous consequences by taking this census. God gave David a choice of three punishments: three years of famine throughout Israel, three months of fleeing from his enemies, or three days of severe plague. (2 Samuel 24:12) Ouch! Influenced by Satan, David sinned by counting the people. In Moses' time, God gave instructions that if a census were to be taken, an offering had to be collected. "Then the

New Things

"For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland." -Isaiah 43:19 Has God recently done something new in your life? Often when we're going through the drudgery of life in what can seem like a wilderness, we need Him to do something new. When we're stuck in a rut we can't wait for God to show up. When we've worked hard but haven't seen any results or when we've been faithful with little but haven't seen a return on our investment, we may begin to wonder when our ship will come in. But, are we looking in the right place? Are we looking for the new thing? Or are we looking

The Religious Spirit and Our Calling

"What sorrow awaits you experts in religious law! For you remove the key to knowledge from the people. You don't enter the Kingdom yourselves, and you prevent others from entering." -Luke 11:52 Jesus was very popular among the religious leaders of his day. However, it was not a positive popularity. The Pharisees, because their power was threatened by Jesus, were the ones who plotted to kill Him. The scripture says they hated him - they wanted nothing more than to put Him away. It was the people who stalled the process of Jesus' crucifixion, because many believed He was the Messiah. This account describes the reality of the religious spirit - it seeks to destroy true works of God in us, a

No Fluff

"Your boasting about this is terrible. Don't you realize that this sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough?" -1 Corinthians 5:6 Have you ever gotten involved in something only to realize a lot of it was hype? Marketing, promotion, and a large number of people believing in something, (even thought it may not be true), can make something ordinary seem remarkable, resulting in unrealistic expectations and false reality. It's the stuff celebrity obsession and cults are made of. Jesus understood this leaven, and told people to watch out for it - especially when it came to the Pharisees. "Then Jesus said to them, 'Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Phari

Don't Sell Your Birthright

"But Jacob said, 'Swear to me first.' So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright." -Genesis 25:33-34 What is a birthright? According to WordNet online dictionary, it is "a right or privilege that you are entitled to at birth", or "an inheritance coming by right of birth". Did you know God gives each of us a birthright as His children? Did you know that we may not be aware of our birthright from Him, or, if we understand our birthright, we can also lose it? This is described in the story of Jacob and Esau. Jacob stole Esau's birthright by offe

Drawn by His Goodness

"What shall I return to the LORD for all his goodness to me?" -Psalm 116:12 Recently I went to my school for the beginning of the semester's classes. Students were everywhere, hurrying to class and hanging out in the student courtyard. As I was walking to the bookstore to buy some of my books, I walked past two men, one with a cardboard sign and the other with a megaphone shouting, "Repent! Judgment is near! This is a corrupt generation!" As I walked past the two men anger welled up in me. I overheard a girl walking next to me say to her friend, "Creepy. That's so weird." I thought it was weird too! I was embarrassed about what these men were doing. I even felt that they were ruining the

Washing Others' Feet

"When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. 'Do you understand what I have done for you?' he asked them. 'You call me "Teacher" and "Lord,'" and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet.'" -John 13:12-14 Feet washing. Hmm. Could you imagine washing people's feet every time they came to your house? Even though the thought of it today can bring looks of disgust to our faces, imagine what it must have been like in Jesus' day. People did not get pedicures, and they wore sandals - all day, every day. If feet stink after wearing shoes, imagine what the feet b

The Law of Promotion

"Taking the dollar, they groused angrily to the manager, 'These last workers put in only one easy hour, and you just made them equal to us, who slaved all day under a scorching sun.'" -Matthew 20:11&12 Have you ever been passed up for a promotion? Have you ever seen someone less qualified than you get promoted or receive a blessing? Has anyone ever received something you thought you deserved? These types of situations can be difficult. We can question God's goodness in these moments. We can easily fall into blame - blaming our supervisor, blaming God, blaming the situation; we may even blame ourselves. "Why am I not good enough to have that?" we may say. It is in these moments of feeling bet

Portals of Heaven

"But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative - that is, the Holy Spirit - He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." -John 14:26&27 For too long, there have been too many inaccurate representations of God. These representations would lead people to believe that God is judgmental, cold, unloving, and uncaring. This has brought division in the body of Christ, and most of all, kept people away from the saving knowledge of God's nature. I believe it is time for people who have God's true nature wi

Submitting Our Plans to God

"So David asked God, 'Should I go out to fight the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?' The Lord replied, 'Yes, go ahead. I will hand them over to you.'" -1 Chronicle 14:10 Do you know the best way to plan for the future? Is there any way to ensure we're making the best decisions we can? When we're about to make a big decision, or any decision for that matter, it's a good idea to ask God about them. The types of decisions we make in our 20s can chart the course for the rest of our lives. Therefore, it's wise to get a heavenly perspective! One of the ways we can consult God about our decisions is through prayer. When David prayed to God, God answered him. But, we shouldn't assum

"That's Just the Way I Am"

"For I was born a sinner - yes, from the moment my mother conceived me." -Psalm 51:5 Have you ever thought about how much we are born the way we are? There is often debate about the nature vs. nurture perspective of the way each of us turns out. While I believe we are a combination of both, I also believe, like the Bible says, that we are born sinners in need of salvation. (Romans 3:9 &10) This is evidenced by all the evil that goes on in the world by human hands. Many times we can think that we are a certain way and there is no changing that. While I believe this to be true in some cases, like the color of our hair, the color of our skin, our eyes, and how tall or short we are and so

As Joy Is My Witness

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." -Galatians 5:22-23 When I was working in a secular environment, people used to ask me why I seemed so happy. "I want whatever drug you're taking!" they would say. I would often just smile and reply, "Jesus!", trying to keep it light. Although I wasn't joking, I tried to get the message across in a non-offensive way, (we have so much stigma with Christianity in our culture), but I kept myself open for questions if they asked. The cool thing about being a Christian with the fruit of the Spirit active in our lives is that it may not

Peace in the Midst

"God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace." - Psalm 29:11 Recently I was preparing to read the Bible when I asked God what I should read. Immediately I heard Psalm 29, so I jumped over to that chapter on my Bible app. "God's thunder sets the oak trees dancing - A wild dance, whirling; the pelting rain strips their branches.We fall to our knees - we call out, 'Glory!'" -Psalm 29:3-9, The Message Just before reading this chapter I had been watching video clips of recent storms, earthquakes, floods, and dust storms that have happened all over the world in the last several years - so I knew that this was fact! But at the end of this chapter the verse states, "God makes His p

Resting in God

"But Godliness with contentment is great gain." -1 Timothy 6:6 The drudgery of life can sometimes get to us. Bills that need paying, a job that's less than ideal, goals yet to be reached; we want to be thankful but find ourselves feeling more and more discontent. "Doesn't God have anything better for me?" we may ask ourselves. "Why can't I get where I need to be?" It is in these moments of restlessness we can experience the fullness of God's life in us - now. Contentment doesn't have to wait for a day when we reach a certain goal or have certain things. It is attainable in the present, by the blood of the cross. True contentment does not come from us. Contentment is not dependent on our

Why Judgment?

"I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty." -Exodus 34:7 All throughout the Old Testament it seems like the Israelites are being judged. They are good for a while, then they get a bad king, and he leads them into idol worship. Then God sends a prophet to judge and save the nation and they get cleaned up again and worship God. Then they get a bad king and they start all over. It's like being on a roller coaster ride! I used to think that God was angry and judgmental. I couldn't relate to Him because I thought He was sitting on His throne, furrow-browed and uncaring, judging the world of our sin. I certainly d

Planting Seeds

"When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body." -1 Corinthians 15:37 & 38 Do you have any dreams or goals you want to pursue? I'm sure you do. Because God has placed the seed of eternity within every person, (Ecclesiastics 3:11) there is a desire for something bigger in each of us. And we each were created with a unique purpose in mind. (Jeremiah 1:5) When we have goals or things we want to pursue, to do, to be, it's easy to get caught up in those things instead of God our Savior. Although we know we need to be diligent and focused

Identificational Repentance

"Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.' And they divided up his clothes by casting lots." -Luke 23:34 There was a lady who felt very called to prayer who experienced something unusual one day. All of a sudden, she began to feel very depressed and hopeless, and she felt angry toward her spouse and her children. This was very unusual for her, and she couldn't explain the reasons for her feelings. The woman confided to her husband how she felt. "Hmm," he said. "Do you know anyone who may feel that way?" The woman began to think and a lady came to mind in her small group at church. "Yes, actually, I do," she said. ​​​​​​​Her husband said, "I'm won

Unless Your Faith is Firm

"Israel is no stronger than its capital, Samaria, and Samaria is no stronger than its king, Pekah son of Remaliah. Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm." - Isaiah 7:9 There are so many "unless..." verses in the Bible. It seems that a walk of faith doesn't just encompass God's movement in our lives - it encompasses our movement that activates God's movement. I've heard it said before, "God isn't moved by need; He is moved by faith." Faith is always the prerequisite for God's activity in our lives, whether it be a miracle, healing, provision, or any kind of need we might have. God is moved by faith. It says in Hebrews 10:38, "The just shall live by faith." In the tim

Drawing the Line

"I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." -Matthew 18:18 "You... shall... not... PASS!!!" - Gandolf, The Lord of the Rings, Fellowship of the Rings A pastor came into town to speak at our church for our annual summer conference. He told a story in which he was having a conversation with God, and God asked him a question. "Bob," (not his real name), "Why do you think you get attacked by the enemy?" he said. The pastor replied, "Well, Lord, it's because I'm you're servant and I've got a mark on my back! I'm a threat to the kingdom of darkness." God said, "No, it's because you let him attack yo

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