Monday, June 30, 2008

Do You Have a Safety Net?

Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. - 1 Peter 3:8 (NIV)

This from Rick Warren's book, Purpose Driven Life:

We Need Each Other: To Wait and Weep With

As a pastor, I see situations daily that nobody should ever have to go through alone. Nobody should ever have to wait in the hospital while a loved one is in life-or-death surgery. No woman should ever have to wait alone for the lab report on a problem pregnancy. Nobody should ever have to wait for news from a battlefield alone. Nobody should ever have to stand at the edge of an open grave alone. Nobody should ever have to spend the first night alone when their spouse has just walked out.

Life’s tough times and tragedies are inevitable – each of us will face them. But we don’t need to go through them alone. We need God’s safety net to help hold us up through these difficult times.

What is God’s safety net? It is a group of other believers – a handful of people who are really committed to you. We call this kind of group a community. Here’s God’s plan for community: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26 NIV). Community is God’s answer to despair.

Romans 12:15 expresses a similar idea: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (NIV).

The first part of that verse is easy. When something good happens to someone, it’s often easy to join in on the party.

But when someone is having a tough time, it can seem more difficult. But, really, it’s simple. When you’re going through a crisis, you don’t want advice; you just want somebody to be there – to sit with you, hold your hand, put an arm around your shoulder, or cry with you.

As Paul tells us, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV). Encouraging someone else doesn’t always mean giving a pep talk or words of wisdom. Sometimes the best kind of encouragement is just sitting in silence – waiting and weeping with a friend.

Do you have a safety net – a group of fellow Christians you know you can count on in life’s toughest times? If not, go out today and begin building those friendships. The hard times in life are inevitable, and only a fool would go into them unprepared.

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and best-known churches. In addition, Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life and The Purpose Driven Church, which was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th Century. He is also founder of, a global Internet community for ministers.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Personal God of Wonders

The more I lean into God the better off I am. How can we not lean into Him when we think about His wonders? He has transformed so many lives, including my own. I am forever grateful and it is my prayer that I worship Him abundantly. May that be your prayer as well!

Third Day's music has ministered to me in a big way. If you like gospel with a powerful classic rock (not hard rock) sound, Third Day may be for you. God of Wonders can be found on the Offerings II: All I Have to Give available at Amazon.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Delayed Gratification

Some of us may be addicted to pleasure. We want the easy way out...the less painful...the less work...the most fun. Let's face it, some of us are pleasure junkies. We may have even kicked our serious addictions, such as alcohol or drugs, but we still seek pleasure at an unhealthy rate. It could be food, sex, TV, gambling...even laying on the couch too much...but we are still seeking escape.

So, what do we do to lead a life of fulfillment, even when we seem to never be satisfied? How do we accept a life that can't always be about pleasure?

The apostle Paul said, "So don't get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time" - Galatians 6:9. Weeds (of pleasure) spring up quickly. Good crops (from hard work) grow more slowly and must be tended steadily, even before we can see anything sprout. It's only in time that we will enjoy the fruit.

Jesus suggested that we expand our perspective even further, with a view toward eternity. "Jesus said to the disciples, 'If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life. And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process?'" - Matthew 16:24-26.

It is God's will for us to have a rewarding and fulfilled life. It may be easier to live a productive life if we remember that denying ourself immediate pleasures will bring a harvest of rich rewards in this life and in the life to come!


Parts of this devotion were taken from the Life Recovery Bible, New Living Translation. When I was first reading this version of the Bible with notes it was a total awakening. I view this Bible as the power of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous mulitplied by 1,000! Get a copy now!


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

Friday, June 20, 2008

Rev T Asks: Dead or Alive?

To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. - Revelation 3:1-6

This from Rev. T at The New Covenant:

It is interesting to note that the problem that Sardis had to overcome was one of being a dead church. Notice that Christ says that they have the reputation of being alive, but they are dead. Sardis was a very well known, and prosperous city. The Church had a good reputation; they were doing works that Christ points out as not complete. Great at the start, but no follow through.

The problem that had to be overcome is that they were Christians in name only. They were going through the motions, but not working with the Holy Spirit, they were not letting Christ lead the church. As we look around today, do we not see the same things happening? We see dead churches, led by dead pastors, full of dead church members. A church quits living when it starts paying more attention to the world around them, than to their salvation. A pastor, or leader of a church becomes dead when he forgets that the Holy Spirit is the one that directs him and leads the service; he starts to believe that people are showing up because of him, not the Lord. Or when he becomes more concerned with how much money is in the plate, and not the condition of his congregation’s souls.

The worst death in my opinion is the death of the members. When the church becomes a place for the latest fashion show, or the gathering place for the gossip workshop, that is when the members start to experience spiritual death. It is up to each and every member to look after the health of the church. We have to remember that each one of us makes up the church, so the best place to start for a healthy church is within each of us. As this scripture shows a church can be healed, but the members and leaders must wake up! People live life on “auto pilot” every day. However our spiritual journey has no auto pilot switch. We are in control of how high we will fly, or the level we will descend. There is nothing in life that we cannot overcome with Christ; we all can wear robes of white. We just have to make sure we stay awake, and spiritually alive.

Rev. T

The plan is to take a daily scripture passage, and put it in to a current perspective. I will keep it as plain and simple as possible. Man has done a wonderful job of making religion far more complicated than it should be. We get so lost in what we want it to mean, we overrun the message. - Rev. T, The New Covenant

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Until Love is Stirred

Interestingly enough, about a half hour ago, my girlfriend and I decided to start a relationship fast. It's not a decision that just sprouted up, but we were not sure of the timing up until now. We are doing it to make sure we are in God's will. We've been dating for awhile now and it seems like its close to decision time...that time to decide whether marriage is the next step.

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


Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you...My soul will be satisfied with the richest of foods. - Psalm 63:3, 5 NIV

When it comes to love: Be careful.

Before you walk down the aisle, take a good long look around. Make sure this is God’s intended place for you. And, if you suspect it isn’t, get out. Don’t force what is wrong to be right...Be careful.

And, until love is stirred, let God’s love be enough for you. There are seasons when God allows us to feel the frailty of human love so we’ll appreciate the strength of his love. Didn’t he do this with David? Saul turned on him. Michal, his wife, betrayed him. Jonathan and Samuel were David’s friends, but they couldn’t follow him into the wilderness. Betrayal and circumstances left David alone. Alone with God. And, as David discovered, God was enough. David wrote these words in the desert: "Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you...My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods."


God loves you. Personally. Powerfully. Passionately. Others have promised and failed. But God has promised and succeeded. He loves you with an unfailing love. And His love--if you will let it--can fill you and leave you with a love worth giving. Best-selling author Max Lucado has successfully pricked the hearts and minds of readers for decades. Now, he boldly says that before we can pass love on, we must receive it ourselves--from God. Pointing out that we must "love one another," Lucado issues an impassioned plea to accept God's love in order to truly, unselfishly, wholeheartedly love another. God wants us to drink deeply of His love, soak it up, and marvel at its depth. A Love Worth Giving: Living in the Overflow of God's Love is available at Amazon.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Do Not Crave His Traffic


When you login to network with a moderator, note well what is before you, and delete your post if you are given to trolling. Do not crave his traffic, for that social networking is deceptive.

Do not wear yourself out to get rich or drive more traffic to your site; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at blog ratings, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky or blogosphere like an eagle.

Do not comment in the post of a stingy blogger, do not crave his traffic; for he is the kind of bloggger who is always thinking about his ranking. "Post and comment," he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the little you have Dugg and will have wasted your shouts.

Do not reply to a blogging fool, for he will scorn the wisdom of your comments.

Do not try and change moderators rules or trespass on the forums of the clueless, for their webmaster is strong; he will take up their case to ban you.

Apply your heart to your profile and your ears to His "About Me" pages.

- Proverbs 23:1-12 (Bloggers Edition, Alexander)

See also:
Bloggers Demand Miraculous Signs

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

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lucado: The Intersection of Love

Though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. - 2 Corinthians 13:4 NKJV

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

The cross. Can you turn any direction without seeing one? Perched atop a chapel. Carved into a graveyard headstone. Engraved in a ring or suspended on a chain. The cross is the universal symbol of Christianity. An odd choice, don’t you think? Strange that a tool of torture would come to embody a movement of hope. The symbols of other faiths are more upbeat: the six-pointed star of David, the crescent moon of Islam, a lotus blossom for Buddhism. Yet a cross for Christianity? An instrument of execution?...

Why is the cross the symbol of our faith? To find the answer look no farther than the cross itself. Its design couldn’t be simpler. One beam horizontal—the other vertical. One reaches out—like God’s love. The other reaches up—as does God’s holiness. One represents the width of his love; the other reflects the height of his holiness. The cross is the intersection. The cross is where God forgave his children without lowering his standards.


Reading a Max Lucado book is as comfortable as having coffee and conversation with a close friend. He Chose the Nails: What God Did to Win Your Heart is signature Lucado: warm, conversational storytelling blended with scripture, humor, and vulnerability. Lucado invites us to understand the symbols surrounding Christ's crucifixion and celebrate the significance of the promises they offer. From the sign in different languages tacked to the cross ("I will speak to you in your language") to the burial clothing ("I can turn your tragedy into triumph"), he speaks of each symbol as a "gift of grace" that reveals God's love for mankind... - Amazon

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Pride: the Subtle Sin

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. - 1 John 1:8

This from Greg Laurie's Daily Devotions:

I had to laugh when I heard the story of two men who approached the great British preacher, C. H. Spurgeon, one day and told him, "Spurgeon, we have reached sinless perfection."

"Really?" he asked.

"Yes," they said, "We are absolutely perfect."

Spurgeon was holding a pitcher of water at the time, and he poured it on their heads. When they began to react like any other sinners would, he found out just how perfect they were.

You see, the people who walk around claiming to have reached sinless perfection are victims of one of the most powerful yet subtle sins: pride. None of us will reach sinless perfection—not in this life.

Granted, before we were Christians, we were under the control and power of sin. We went along with whatever our sinful natures dictated.

But something dramatic happened when we received Christ. We were changed. The Bible says that we became new creations in Christ. Old things passed away and all things became new (see 2 Corinthians 5:17).

That is not to say we still don't struggle with sin and temptation. The Scripture clearly teaches that we will sin and that we will have lapses.

Although the Bible tells me I will sin, there is a difference between sinning and being sorry for it, and sinning habitually, persistently, and continually. If someone claims to be a Christian and yet continues in sin, my question is whether that person has ever been truly converted.

Some people wonder whether such a Christian ever could lose his or her salvation. I would suggest that another question should be asked instead: Did he or she ever experience salvation to begin with?


Books by Greg Laurie can be found at

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Who Will You Serve?

And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. - Joshua 24:15

This from Henry Blackaby's Day by Day:

Serving God was not Joshua’s only option. He could have adopted the religious beliefs and practices of his family heritage in the pagan land of Egypt. He could have accepted the idolatrous religion of his neighbors in the region where he now lived. These options probably looked like easier choices than worshiping God. But Joshua had witnessed God’s faithfulness (Josh. 23:14). He was convinced that his Lord was the only true God and that serving Him would bring victory and blessing. Joshua decided to serve God alone. He was determined to teach his entire household to honor his Lord as well. He had trusted God for victory on the battlefield, and he knew that God could also give him spiritual victory in his home.

You, too, must decide whom you will serve. An assortment of popular religions clamors for your allegiance. If you come from a Christian heritage, you may choose to embrace the faith of your parents and grandparents. If you did not grow up in a Christian home, you can decide, as Joshua did, to reject your heritage of unbelief and begin a generation that serves the Lord.

If you set your mind wholeheartedly on serving God, your example will bring a tremendous blessing to your family. If you place your confidence in God, those around you will witness your faith, and they may decide to trust Him too. Choose, as Joshua did, to serve God unashamedly with all your heart, and then watch to see how God blesses your family.


"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 and around us.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Looking to Travel Light

When I first truly accepted Jesus Christ as my saviour, I remember that I felt as if the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. It was instantaneous...right after I had said a sinner's prayer. It was not only an emotional feeling, I physically felt lighter.

The feeling lasted for quite some time, not as dramatically as that day, but I was "on a cloud" like they say. Ten years later, I still feel "lighter," but the burdens of life are starting to weigh me down. Fortunately, I have Jesus to look to and give those burdens to Him. However, I can sense a need to really take a time out for God, not for wordly pursuits.

As I look for a vision for my life, I realize I need to get closer to first love. The one who makes my burdens light.

Give all your worries to him, because he cares about you. - 1 Peter 5:7

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

God has a great race for you to run. Under his care you will go where you’ve never been and serve in ways you’ve never dreamed. But you have to drop some stuff. How can you share grace if you are full of guilt? How can you offer comfort if you are disheartened? How can you lift someone else’s load if your arms of full with your own?

For the sake of those you love, travel light.

For the sake of the God you serve, travel light.

For the sake of your own joy, travel light.

There are certain weights in life you simply cannot carry. Your Lord is asking you to set them down and trust him.


From award-winning author Max Lucado comes Traveling Light, refreshing words wrapped around the biblical passages of the 23rd Psalm to reenergize weary spiritual travelers. In his inimitable, pastoral voice that both soothes and exhorts, Lucado gently unpacks the verses of the psalm while helping readers lay down the burdens of doubt, anxiety, perfectionism, and fear. -

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Heart Condition

But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience. - Luke 8:15

This from Henry Blackaby's Day by Day:

At any time, the receptiveness of your heart will determine your response to God’s word (Luke 8:5–18). If your heart is like the trampled ground, hardened by the sin of bitterness and unforgiveness, you will be unable to accept a message from God. Though you hear the words of the message, you will remain unchanged. If your heart is like the shallow soil on top of a rock, you will accept God’s word in your mind, but the truth will not penetrate your heart to make a difference in your actions. A heart like thorny soil is a life that is distracted by the cares of the world; the pursuit of earthly pleasures prevents God’s word from taking hold and producing righteousness. The heart that is like good soil receives a word from God, applies it, and brings forth fruit in due time. This is the heart that Jesus desires in us, for the fruit will be a Christlike life.

Any time you hear a word from God, whether through Bible reading, prayer, or worship, the way you respond will depend on how you have cultivated your heart (Hos. 10:12). How do you develop a heart that is like good soil? Repent of any bitterness, anger, or unforgiveness that is hardening your heart. Meditate on God’s word until it enters deep into your heart and not just your mind. When you read or hear a word from God, apply it to your life and let God bring His word into reality in your life (Gal. 6:9). Protect your lifestyle. See that you don’t devote all of your energy to worldly concerns, rather than to pursuing your relationship with God. The condition of your heart will vary, depending on how you cultivate it. If it was receptive to a word from God yesterday, this does not guarantee it is receptive today. Daily prepare your heart for the word God has for you!


"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 and around us.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Gas Prices, Car Repairs...and Peace

Why is it that owning a car can be such a financial drain? First, there's the high purchase price of the car itself, then the high gas ($4.11 per gal at the time of this writing), then the repairs, and so on.

This morning, I had to take my car into the repair shop for a brake job and to fix the air conditioning. I'm not a happy camper. But wait! There is something to be grateful for! My mechanic took me to work and I sit here ready to put in a full day's or no car.

It's often hard for us to be grateful. Sometimes we need to be nudged back into reality...the reality of God over us.

So, this morning in my mostly ungratefulness, even with me being safely at work, I read an email from a friend. It is mostly a cut and paste job from the first few paragraphs of a book.

It's not about you.

The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It's far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by His purpose and for His purpose.

It's not the first time I read these words from Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life. But they came again at a perfect time.

It's not about my brakes, my car, my finances, my's not about me!

I rest in Him...regardless of what is going on with me or around me. You too, can have peace in Him...simply begin with knowing it's not about you.

Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. - Psalm 119:165 (NIV)


Rick Warren's book, "The Purpose Driven Life" is one of the top-selling books of all time. The book has been used as study material for Bible and book studies around the world.


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