“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Mt. 16:24-25…………………….. Time to leave your comfort zone? To do what you know God’s calling you to do, no matter the cost? The cost to your comfort, and to anything else for that matter? Our world, our culture, in America, and likely well beyond, is so much about self and comfort, isn’t it? About seeking comfort, holding onto comfort, and refusing to let comfort go. Like we’re in love with comfort. Like we’re obsessed with comfort. Like comfort is a god. An idol. Something…

““For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Mt. 6:14-15 I will never forgive you!    If we’re honest with ourselves, at one time or another, or even many times, in our lives, we’ve probably either said or at the very least felt these words in our heart concerning someone who has hurt us, let us down, disappointed us, betrayed us, rejected us, neglected us, abandoned us, wounded us, embarrassed us, turned us away or down, abused us, violated us, stolen from us, lied to us, cheated on us, etc. Some of us, you included, may even be experiencing this right now. Have you ever, or even now,…

“We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19………. There has been NO GREATER EXPRESSION OF LOVE in the entire universe nor ever will be as when Jesus Christ, Son of God, God in the flesh, and the perfect man while He was here on earth, the perfect sacrifice, the perfect atonement, the perfect lamb of God, died on the cross to bear on Himself every single ounce of wrath God has toward every single human for every single sin ever committed along with the punishment of separation from God and judgment, condemnation, death, hell, and the lake of fire forever apart from God so all who repent and believe this Gospel message, turning from a life of wickedness to a life genuinely devoted to Christ, with the…

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!…………. For His mercy endures forever.” 1 Chron. 16:34………. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thess. 5:16-18………. If ever there were a queen of pity parties, it would be me. I have a long track record, for decades in fact, of moaning and whining, complaining and feeling sorry for myself about this or that. Granted anyone who knows my story knows I’ve had plenty of pretty big challenges along the way. But the truth is ever since I can remember, I’ve been all too capable of being anything but thankful even when I’ve had more than plenty to be thankful about. And so it is…

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2 What do you need to let go? Instead of asking yourself, or someone else, this question, I encourage you to bring the question before the Lord with an open heart to hear from Him and a willingness to let go of what He wants you to let go. Let His Spirit through His Word and directly to your heart tell you what in your heart and in your life…

“…He leads me beside the still waters.” Psalm 23:2…………………….. Have you ever looked out at still waters? So peaceful. Quiet. Serene. Calm. Calming. Relaxing. Restful. Undisturbed. Even. Tranquil. Soothing. Lulling. Like a lullaby. Sleepy. Repose. Oh, to look out upon waters like this. To gaze upon them when all else in life seems, and feels, and looks, and sounds so busy, so unruly, so chaotic, so stressful, so challenging, so hard, so hustle and bustle, so much drama, so trying, so many hurdles, obstacles, so noisy, so hurtful, so like a roller coaster, up, down, too low, too high, all over the map, always moving, this way, that way, wrong way, right way, detours, road maps, which way to go, questions, choices, decisions, on and on, and oh, sigh, wouldn’t…

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”” 1 Peter 1:13-16 I was having one of those mornings. You know the kind. Or maybe you don’t. Anyway, I was grumpy. Irritable. Tired. Not because I didn’t get a good night’s sleep. Bless…

“You shall have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20:3…………………………… Who sits on the throne of your heart? Of your life? Does any of this sound familiar? I’m going to do this because it feels right. I’m going to do that because it feels good. I’m not going to do that because I don’t feel like taking the risk. I’m not going to go to that place to do that thing because I feel afraid of what might happen. I’m going to buy this thing I found in the catalogue because I feel like doing something nice for myself. I’m going to cancel that trip I planned because there’s something else I really feel like doing instead. I’m going to quit my volunteer job because I don’t feel like putting…

“If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My  Father will honor.” John 12:26………………………………….. When I asked a sweet friend who had been graciously folding and stapling countless of my Gospel tracts and devotionals for homeless shelters, prisons, requests from people around the country, and for my streets ministry work, what kind of help she might need, her answer was simple and straightforward. Folding. If someone could do the folding, she would do the stapling with the electronic stapler I had given her. I could take on the folding, but I already had my hands full with the writing and streets ministry work, along with leading the ministry and caring for the little crew…

“And the Philistine drew near and presented himself forty days, morning and evening.” 1 Samuel 17:16………………………………………………….. Why did Goliath present himself to the Israelites for forty days, and what does this have to do with you and me? If you read the full account of the well-known story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17, as I encourage you to do, you will see the incredible detail given to WHAT GOLIATH LOOKED LIKE and to WHAT GOLIATH SAID. He essentially looked like a gargantuan monster, and his words were unbelievably scary and intimidating. Why would Goliath show up for forty days straight? Because he was the ENEMY of the Israelites and wanted to SCARE and INTIMIDATE them and have victory over them so they would lose and experience defeat.…

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Rev. 21:1-4 ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,     Will anyone get…

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 “This is not about you,” the Holy Spirit told me one day as I thought somewhat sullenly about somewhere He had placed me that didn’t feel too welcoming, not too friendly, not altogether kind. Though I was thankful for the Lord’s provision for me there, and humbled by His calling me there, or anywhere at all, to be perfectly frank, I was a little sad, a little disappointed, and wondered some, why? Couldn’t He have put me somewhere different? Called me somewhere else?…

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 “Your motive is wrong,” the Spirit of God spoke to me early one morning as I sat typing away at my keyboard. Once again, I had been trying to write something. The same thing I had tried writing before. In fact, the same thing I had tried to write over and again. Oh, sure, sometimes it was guised in one writing piece. Sometimes in another. But the same theme kept appearing. And, no matter how much I tried in my mind to justify what I was writing, at some point in the writing, up would pop exactly what the Lord was referring to.…

“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” –           Psalm 16:11                           Can you fathom the Lord of the entire universe, perfect in every way, including perfectly holy and righteous, wants us in His presence where we can because of His glorious-ness and graciousness experience love unfathomable and joy immeasurable for eternity? What does the psalmist mean when he writes of all the pleasures at God’s right hand? Who sits at God’s right hand in heaven? Jesus does! And in Jesus Christ, when we are in the Lord’s presence, devotedly sitting at His beautiful feet, we will find endless blessings. Endless pleasures. His love,…

“So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:  ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.” Be careful what you hear. Be careful what you believe. Like this. That God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. I can attest from plenty of personal experience He gives us more than we can handle. Way more than we can handle. But who cares about me, right? Okay, let’s look at the Bible. Did God give His only begotten Son Jesus more than He could handle on the cross? Did He give Moses more than he could handle in delivering the Israelites from bondage in Egypt? Or David more than he could handle in fighting Goliath?…

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 “How can I love you today?” I asked the Lord one day as I drove to church, enjoying how traffic-less the highway was compared with the incredible traffic the road was renowned for on weekdays. His shocking response was plain, clear, simple, and directive: “I want you to stop feeling guilty about the things you’ve done in the past I’ve already forgiven,” His Spirit spoke to me. Why was His response to my question shocking? It was the last thing I would have expected in the way of an answer, for starters. Furthermore, I had never considered that God feels LOVED when we repent and…

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. Mark 12:30 “I love you no matter how I feel,” I told the Lord one day as I walked with Him and one of the ministry’s dogs. As soon as I told Him the words, it was as though they ricocheted back to me. They echoed back to me. They returned to me. For me to hear. Right then and there. Words I had spoken to God. Words I felt in my heart. With intensity. With fervor. With zeal. And in them a message. A powerful one. Particularly for people like me. Particularly for people who have walked a long…

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. – Phil. 4:13 When I gave a project to a sweet friend who had graciously stepped in to help me with something in my ministry work over the preceding months, she was apparently taken aback. Not surprising since she had made it clear given her busy schedule and family life that she needed me to not overwhelm her with too much to do in too short a period of time. But there I was giving her more than ever before – with even less time to do it. I apologized afterward – after I realized I had been driven by fear and impatience and what I thought was best rather than trusting in and waiting on the Lord to give…

Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” 1 Samuel 17:28  And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.” 1 Sam. 17:33  So the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said to David, “Come to…

 Ever wondered this? Wondering it now? Ever thought anything like this? No way! God can’t use someone like me! I’m not smart enough! I don’t know enough about the Bible! I’m too old! I’m too young! I’m too sick! I’m too busy! My resume isn’t good enough! I’ve failed at too much! I don’t have a good enough attention span! I’ve never succeeded at anything, not really! There are a zillion other people out there whom God can really use so why would He want to use a loser like me? I’m too afraid to take any risks! I’m too afraid I’ll disappoint God!     The reasons, the excuses, the justifications, they go on and on for some of us, don’t they? Why God…

PLEASE NOTE THERE IS A LITTLE VIDEO TO WATCH IN THE MIDST OF THIS DEVOTIONAL…ENJOY! A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones. – Proverbs 17:22  A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. – Proverbs 15:13 …………………………… Life can be serious. Too serious. Especially these days. In this world. In this day and age. As the world draws to a close before Jesus ultimately reigns forevermore in God’s kingdom of forever followers. As darkness spreads. As tragedies abound. As people face challenges like never before. Do you ever feel like you want to just come up for air – and breathe? And get a break from the seriousness of life? I know I do!…

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. – 1 Cor. 16:13 Then Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel…”…the Lord has said to me, ‘You shall not cross over this Jordan.’ The Lord your God Himself crosses over before you; He will destroy these nations from before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua himself crosses over before you, just as the Lord has said…The Lord will give them over to you, that you may do to them according to every commandment which I have commanded you. Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” – Deut. 31:1-6…

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 If there’s anything I’ve learned about discouragement, and I’ve experienced more of it than imaginable and still do regularly, it’s this. Satan wants to get Christ’s followers discouraged so we loosen our grip on and focus on and resolve on and level of commitment to God, God’s Word, God’s will for our lives, and God’s calling for us concerning how He uses us to help build His Kingdom of followers and help and encourage those already following Him. Satan uses discouragement as a weapon, doesn’t he? And Satan succeeds with this weapon when we allow discouragement to take…

So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture, Will give You thanks forever; We will show forth Your praise to all generations.     – Psalm 79:13 The word “practice” according to Merriam-Webster.com includes in its definition to “carry out, apply”, “to do or perform often, customarily, or habitually”, and “to perform or work at repeatedly so as to become proficient.” The Lord makes abundantly clear in His Word from start to finish that we are not only to love Him with all our hearts, and to worship and obey Him, but also to be thankful at all times for Him and to Him. He makes clear thanksgiving should be a way of life for us. A lifelong pursuit. A lifestyle. Yes, a lifestyle of thanksgiving. For some of…

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Tim. 3:16-17 “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.” Psalm 119:89 “For I am the Lord, I do not change;” Malachi 3:6 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 “We live in a…

“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Cor. 6:18-20    It’s only porn. That’s all it is. So innocent. Compared to what others are doing. It’s all relative, isn’t it? It can’t be sin, can it? Okay, even if it is sin, sin against God, it’s not so bad. Not really. How can it be? Look what the rest of the world…

“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”  And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”” Luke 10:38-42 I’ve seen it over and again. People busy with church. And Bible studies. And small groups. And church…

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 Sometimes the Spirit of God gives me a scripture to use with the devotionals He gives me to write that doesn’t make sense to me. It’s not the one I would use. I want to keep looking. I want to find the perfect scripture. The one that makes sense to me. The one that’s comfortable for me. The one that feels secure. The one that seems like a good fit. The one that makes me feel good about my writing. The one I feel people will appreciate. One day not for the first time and probably not for the last…

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” James 4:10 I was in a wrestling match for years before I finally woke up and really heard what the Spirit of God had been telling me all along I had been doing and needed to repent of and change direction. In a nutshell, I had been wrestling with God. For years. With the gift of writing He has given me. Time after time, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, I had seen the gift of writing as MY GIFT for the Lord and as MY WRITING that I could do anything I wanted with as long as I did MY WRITING with MY GIFT – FOR HIM. Over and…

“Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.” Acts 4:32-35 How can I forget the day I met a homeless man who was thrilled and proud to share with me and several others how he had…

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