Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Words of Strength

Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me! It's just a childhood chant, but although we can put up a good front about hurtful words not hurting, the truth is they can be damaging at any age.

More importantly, it's the "good" words that hold the true power.

My question is this...why waste time on discouraging words, knowing how powerful encouraging words can be?

This from Max Lucado's Grace for the Moment, Volume 2:


When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger. - Ephesians 4:29

Before you speak, ask: Will what I’m about to say help others become stronger?

You have the ability, with your words, to make a person stronger. Your words are to their soul what a vitamin is to their body. If you had food and saw someone starving, would you not share it? If you had water and saw someone dying of thirst, would you not give it? Of course you would. Then won’t you do the same for their hearts? Your words are food and water!

Do not withhold encouragement from the discouraged.

Do not keep affirmation from the beaten down!

Speak words that make people stronger. Believe in them as God has believed in you.


Find Max Lucado books at!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Questions Before Getting Engaged

Okay, you've done the dating thing, but now it's time for some tough decisions. Is the one you've been in la-la land with for awhile now the one?

Maybe it's time to take it to the next level. Or maybe it's time to at least explore the next level. That's what I did as I stood in front of a book shelf at Barnes and Noble shortly after meeting my girlfriend, wondering whether I should buy "101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Engaged."

I started placing the book back on the shelf when something inside me said, "Noooo, this one you buy." Thankfully, I listened and the book has been a blessing to my girlfriend and I. We are getting near the end of the book and its helped us on our journey. Decision time is coming soon and I already know we did the right thing by taking our time and working with this book together.

You just may have to stay tuned for the final result!

I highly recommend this book. Several of my friends have gotten a copy and are glad they did.

More than half of all couples who become engaged this year will never make it to the altar. Why? Leading experts believe it's because couples fail to really get to know their potential mate before getting engaged. Relationship expert and noted couples counselor Norman Wright steers potential brides and grooms through a series of soul-searching questions to discern if they've really met "the One."

Couples will be much more confident about whether or not to pursue marriage after completing these in-depth and personal questions. Norm also addresses the delicate subject of calling off the wedding if readers discover that a potential mate isn't actually meant to be a life partner. -

Friday, April 25, 2008

When Life is Overloaded

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, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light." - Matthew 11:28-30

Do you feel overwhelmed at times? How about overloaded? I do. I'm in the middle of making some tough, life-changing decisions. Career choices, relationship commitments, geographical moves...all these kinds of things that we face in life. Then there's the other stuff...getting behind in bills, health issues, time conflicts, and it goes on and on...and on.

Maybe it's time to get back to our first love. I remember when I truly accepted Jesus Christ as my personal saviour. I physically felt the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders.

Could it have been His yoke upon me for the first time? I believe so. A yoke is generally thought of as a wooden bar or frame by which two draft animals (as oxen) are joined at the heads or necks for working together.

Today, let's walk under His yoke...knowing that it fits perfectly and the burden becomes light.

Alexander is a writer in the online spiritual battlefield. You can also find him at The Scrooge Report.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Agent of Change

I can say, "it's time for a change," until I am blue in the face, but chances are that merely repeating those words over and over again will not bring about change.

You can say you'll stop doing any one of a number of destructive things that you struggle with, but just saying you'll change may not get it done. Ask an addict how many times he's told others and himself, "he'll change for the better, stop using drugs," only to return to using.

It was only when I began understanding that there is someone else other than myself that can bring change in my life that things really began to change. Sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly things began to change, such as the end of my desire to drink alcohol after 20 years of over indulgence.

About a year after accepting Jesus Christ into my life I was at a weekend conference for the men at my church. On Friday night, the opening night, there I was...standing among more than 500 men, singing worship songs all together as one voice.

I looked at my friend standing next to me and said, "How did I get here? How did I get from being where I was to here, standing with 500 guys singing worship songs on a Friday night? It's like I've been transported from one planet to another."

He looked at me and smiled from ear to ear...and to this day, still tells that story of the transformed life of a former drinker/bartender who was utterly amazed at his own transformation.

We can shout about the need for change, individually and as a nation, for a long time, but it's not until we accept that we can not do it on our own that real change begins.

Then, the next step is to look to Jesus.

Alexander is a writer in the online spiritual battlefield. You can also find him at The Scrooge Report.


Jesus Offers Peace

This from Max Lucado's Grace for the Moment, Volume 2:

Peace be with you. - John 20:19

The church of Jesus Christ began with a group of frightened men in a second-floor room in Jerusalem.

Though they’d marched with Jesus for three years, they now sat…afraid. They were timid soldiers, reluctant warriors, speechless messengers.

Daring to dream that the master had left them some word, some plan, some direction, they came back.

But little did they know their wildest dream wasn’t wild enough. Just as someone mumbles, “It’s no use,” they hear a noise. They hear a voice: “Peace be with you.”

The one betrayed sought his betrayers. What did he say to them? Not “What a bunch of flops!” Not “I told you so.” No “Where-were-you-when-I-needed-you?” speeches. But simply one phrase, “Peace be with you.” The very thing they didn’t have was the very thing he offered: peace.

Find Max Lucado books at!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Genesis: Intelligence Allowed

Hope you have time this weekend to catch Ben Stein's Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. With all this "intelligent" debate I thought maybe it's time to take a look at some scripture. Ah, yes! Remember our manual?!

This from the Bible Nut blog, starting with the Word:

Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” - Genesis 1:28

“This is the place in which God has set man to be the servant of his providence in the government of the inferior creatures, and, as it were, the intelligence of this orb; to be the receiver of God’s bounty, which other creatures live upon, but do not know it . . .” - Matthew Henry

...Another way that Adam was to ‘subdue’ the Earth was to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ – thus filling the planet with people. Today, we are to ‘subdue’ the world we are in. We are not supposed to let the world 'subdue' us. As Christians we are to be loving and kind to others. We are not supposed to gossip or slander or use hateful speech against others. We are to fight and ‘subdue’ the world with ‘spiritual fruit.’ (See Galatians 5:22-25) By staying in God’s Word and by being submissive to the Spirit’s leading, a Christian will produce ‘spiritual fruit’ and ‘subdue’ the flesh-feeding values and false teachings of this world...

Read full commentary at the Bible Nut.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Versical: Devotion

by Versical

It’s been a journey, full of change
You had Your work cut out
Accepting me, just how I was
A sinner full of doubt
But slowly You have done the job
Of stripping down the mask
Today I stand upon the rock
You have fulfilled Your task
Of changing me into the child
That You made me to be
Devoted to Your guiding hand
Which saved a fool like me
From following the world, to death
Defeating satans plan
Through Jesus, I am born again
I’m Your devoted fan.

Read more of Versical's poetry at Mike's Blogs

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Strobel: Why 'Expelled' is a Big Deal

And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. - Genesis 1:20,21

Here's a reason or two, or three, to see Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. This from Lee Strobel:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Does God Speak Through Circumstances?

How does God speak to you? For some the question may seem absurd. They may even say, "God never speaks to me" or "God only spoke to those in the Bible."

However, I urge you to consider that God does speak to us in present times. We may have to simply stop and listen.

This from Today's Devotion with Greg Laurie:


So Gideon said to God, 'If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said—look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.' — Judges 6:36–37

Not only does God speak to us through His Word, and not only will He never contradict His Word, but God also speaks through circumstances. Although I'm not one to base major life decisions on circumstances alone, there have clearly been times when I have sensed that something was the will of God and then things would fall into place circumstantially. At other times, circumstances have made it obvious that God was saying "no."

A classic example of God speaking through circumstances was when God spoke to Gideon, who laid his fleece out on the ground, asking God to confirm His Word. Certainly, Jonah got the right message when God brought his journey to an abrupt halt, and he found himself in the belly of a very large fish.

Of course, as a part of this process, God speaks to us through people. For example, there have been times when I have been listening to a someone preach or have been talking with a friend, and suddenly what he is saying addresses the situation I'm going through, even though he is completely unaware of my circumstances. It makes me realize that it is God himself speaking to me through those individuals.

Maybe God has spoken to you through a pastor or a Christian friend. Or perhaps He has been speaking to you through circumstances. Listen carefully, and remember that He will never contradict His Word.

Books by Greg Laurie can be found at

Monday, April 14, 2008

Calling Down Fire...or Not So Much?

A lot of Christians seem to be ready to "call down fire" when it comes to the morality of their neighbors, friends, relatives...and even this country. However, from what perspective are they coming from...their own or God's?

Something, that has resonated with me now for a few years is a message I heard from Pastor Rick Warren, author of the Purpose Driven Life, at a men's conference.

"It's time for Christians to be known for what they are for, not for what they are against," Warren said.

This is my prayer today...rather than rail against something out of our own will, let's support someone or something truly in need. Let someone say, "Those Christians are about love!"

This from Henry Blackaby's Day by Day:

And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did? - Luke 9:54

James and John were called the “Sons of Thunder.” When they discovered a Samaritan village that would not receive Jesus, they were fully prepared to call down fire to consume the entire community! Perhaps they felt that through such a show of power, their gospel message might be enhanced. The two brothers were willing to sacrifice the lives of the villagers in order to further the cause of the gospel. Jesus rebuked them.

Later, the apostles heard that Samaria had responded to the gospel (Acts 8:14). Who was commissioned to go and help them receive the Holy Spirit but Peter and John! God’s purpose had not been to destroy those people but to save them. God chose not to rain down fire on the village, but to shower it with His Holy Spirit. What must have gone through John’s mind as he saw those same people, whom he had been ready to destroy, now rejoicing in their salvation? How grateful he must have been that Jesus had prevented him from carrying out his plans!

What an enormous contrast between man’s thinking and God’s! Man’s thinking would have resulted in the destruction of an entire village. God’s plan brought salvation to it. People will benefit far more from what God wants to give them than from your best plans. Have you been shortchanging the people around you by merely giving them your plans instead of God’s?


Gold Medallion Award winner "Experiencing God Day-By-Day" is based on Henry Blackaby’s multi-million selling Experiencing God book and Bible study. Find insight and grace in this 365-day devotional focused on the divine presence in each life. This book will help you see what God has instore for you while sustaining the essential habit of turning to God on a daily basis.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Self Esteem Issues

Some of us (me included) have self esteem issues. We say to ourselves things like, "I'm not smart enough" or "I'm not as good looking as he or she" or even just "I'm not good enough."

In a world where it often appears to be a matter of survival of the fittest, how we look at ourselves is crucial. But even though we may want to give up on ourselves, there is help...and hope. We can find self esteem in what some call "God esteem."

May we all find that now!

This from Max Lucado's Grace for the Moment, Volume 2:

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. - Ephesians 4:32 NKJV

Our heavenly Father is kind to us. And since he is so kind to us, can’t we be a little kinder to ourselves? Oh, but you don’t know me, Max. You don’t know my faults and my thoughts. You don’t know the gripes I grumble and the complaints I mumble. No, I don’t, but he does. He knows everything about you, yet he doesn’t hold back his kindness toward you. Has he, knowing all your secrets, retracted one promise or reclaimed one gift?

No, he is kind to you. Why don’t you be kind to yourself? He forgives your faults. Why don’t you do the same? He thinks tomorrow is worth living. Why don’t you agree? He believes in you enough to call you his ambassador, his follower, even his child. Why not take his cue and believe in yourself?


Find Max Lucado books at!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Case for a Creator and Science

I didn't think about God much until I realized that whatever I was doing for 38 years wasn't working. So, discussions about who created the universe or the "Big Bang Theory" or evolution were quite limited for me.

I'll never forget one of the first scientific alignments with the Bible I witnessed after becoming a Christian 9 years ago. I was no longer skeptical of the power of Christ, he was changing my life dramatically...that was proof enough of His existence. Still, He is so gracious by giving us these assuring treats every so often.

A film I saw about archeologists discovering the path of Moses and where, more than likely, the parting of the Red Sea took place was just such a treat.

And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. - Exodus 14:21

There it was in so many ways! An opening to the sea between mountains, an elevated underwater "land bridge" or bar from one side to the other, and coral encrusted figures in the shape of chariot wheels.

Yes, God, thank you! Thank you for lifting me out of the ooze and onto the right path! As someone young in my faith, this was exciting stuff!

Now, a movie by Ben Stein about intelligent design is about to open at theaters and I'm looking forward to that smile that comes deep inside myself whenever I know God is patting me on the back or giving me a hug...once again, I'll be reminded about that path...the one that leads to Jesus.


Ben Stein's Expelled: No Intelligenece Allowed is scheduled to open April 18th. I want to recommend some reading material along the same lines. Author Lee Strobel gave me that "God hug" when I heard him speak. As a former atheist and journalist, I knew Strobel wasn't fooling around when it came to facts about God. He is probably best known for his book, The Case for Christ

Knowing that the topic of our and the planet's origin will be around for awhile, maybe it's time we take a closer look with the help of Strobel's The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God.

This from

Are Christianity and science incompatible? If there is a God, is he only an impersonal starter force? An introductory high school biology class first propelled Lee Strobel toward a life of atheism. God and science, he reasoned, were mutually exclusive. When the former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune converted to Christianity, he decided to investigate the science he had once accepted as truth. Did science point toward or away from God? As Strobel interviews a variety of scientists on everything from debunking evolutionary icons to the implications of the Big Bang to the existence of the human soul, he builds his case: scientific evidence points toward Intelligent Design.

Although the discussion often veers into the academic, Strobel works hard to make it accessible to those without scientific training. Throughout the book, he salts interview transcript information with interesting personal stories of his own spiritual and scientific quest for knowledge, as well as sometimes over-detailed descriptions of the actual interviews (right down to the type of beverages consumed). Each chapter contains suggestions for further reading on particular issues of science and faith.

Strobel concludes that, when correctly interpreted, science and biblical teaching support each other. He quotes physicist Paul Davies, " offers a surer path to God than religion." Open-minded readers will find that this book, and its questions for reflection and group study, invites conversation and investigation.

The Case for a Creator is available at


Alexander is a writer in the online spiritual battlefield. You can also find him at The Scrooge Report.

Friday, April 4, 2008

ShareYourStoryNow: 'Finding My Identity, Growing In Self-Esteem'

Sometimes my "blog time" appears to be going nowhere. I have no devotion to write. I don't know if I should be "Digging" or "Googling" or what...ever. I don't have a plan!

This morning was just such a time, when shortly into it I ran across and found a gem. Now whether you'll get as big a kick out of it as I did is not my call, but I hope you do.

It made my blog time all the worthwhile!

This from Abby's story on

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. - Psalm 139:13-14 NIV

The other night I caught myself cleaning the house, and during one of my many breaks, a song by Ginny Owens came on called “True Story.” It’s one of my favorites, but I hardly ever really listened to the lyrics.

The chorus melted my heart. I must admit, it made me say “Oh wow.”

You see my imperfections
Still You say I’m a masterpiece
A marvelous reflection
The image of Yourself in me
You paint with strokes of grace
Undoing my disguise
You say beauty lies in the true story

She nailed it right on! God sees all my imperfections: my stubborn mind, my doubting heart, my constant learning soul. Through it all, He sees His reflection.

He takes every label that I have placed on myself and slowly but surely He peels them apart till they are no more.

As a young child I dealt with self-esteem issues. Daughter of parents who were immigrants, I didn’t speak fluent English until the age of 11, my hair was a frizz ball and my clothes were often hand-me-downs.

In my parents attempt to have me in the best schools possible, I was always in schools where little girls had the latest brand-name clothing, had perfect smooth hair and could speak more than English, but also French.

As I grew older and was finally able to tame my wild hair, learn English to the point it became my first language and had a part time job where I was able to buy some clothes for school … I learned that I was never the daughter of immigrants, but the daughter of a mighty King.

It took me a bit to accept that. Geesh, I still deal with it today! It’s something that on a daily basis I have to remind myself of … that I have a God who loves every curl on my head, and then some. Amazing isn’t it?

Be sure to visit!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Right Where You Are

The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook. — 1 Kings 17:6

It's easy to be discouraged. You don't make enough money. You're not happy with where you work or live. Or your health or that of a loved one is not good. This world can really get us down. However, there is hope.

We just need to reach for it and find it in the one that will meet us right where we are at.

This from Today's Devotion with Greg Laurie:

When the Bible says that ravens brought Elijah food, it doesn't mean they took his order, flew through the local fast food restaurant, and then delivered his meal. Ravens are scavengers. They would've brought little bits of meat and bread to Elijah. What's more, the water in the brook from which he drank probably would have been dirty and somewhat polluted. It was not an easy situation.

How easily Elijah could have said, "Well, Lord, I don't really want to be in this crummy little place. I kind of like being in front of people. I like the limelight." But the Lord was preparing Elijah for something beyond his wildest dreams. Not long after this, Elijah would be standing on Mt. Carmel in that great showdown with the false prophets (see 1 Kings 18:20–39).

Sometimes, we don't like where God has put us. We say, "Lord, I don't like this situation. I don't like where I am. I want to do something great for You. I want to make a difference in my world." Maybe the Lord wants you to be effective right where you are. Maybe He wants you to take advantage of the opportunities in front of you and be faithful in the little things. Who knows what God has in store for you?

If God has you by some muddy little brook, so to speak, just hang in there. Be faithful, do what He has already told you, and wait on Him and His timing. God will do something wonderful for you or with you. Just be available and open to do what He would have you to do.

Books by Greg Laurie can be found at

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Versical: Now is the Time

Blogger Mike has been given the gift of writing Christian poetry. He wants to share and encourage those who visit his Versical's Blog.

Often, his poetry speaks to me directly and in an area I am struggling with or need encouragement. Mike prays that God blesses you all. Also, he writes in his About page: "feel free to copy any you like."

This from today's post on Versical's Blog:


Now is the time to be the one
Who you are meant to be
Finally you’ve died to self
You are now set free
To use the gifts that you contain
To bring the harvest in
The hands and feet of Jesus Christ
With many a heart to win.

Now is the time to do the things
That you are meant to do
Guided by the precious One
Who lives inside of you
Together you can be a power
To light the days of gloom
If only you will give yourself
Allow The Spirit room.

- Versical