The Struggle

For some, the struggle to do what is right is a daily fight. This struggle includes making wise decisions, being considerate of others, standing up for justice, doing what God says to do, and do it well. Why is this struggle so great?

The struggle to do right is greater because it is so much easier to give in to temptation. It is easier to think and act selfishly. It is easier to cuss someone out than to think about how to say what you want to say. It is easier to go along to get along than to stand on principles aligned with God’s Word.

If the struggle to do right was easy, many people would be saved and living abundant lives. But it is so much easier for people to live unsaved, without thinking about the consequences of their action, and how what they do impacts others. Since there are so many people struggling to live–without fear, without concern about finances or what the economy will bring or what the politicians will do, we know the struggle is real, we know there are people who have yet to find peace with Jesus, who are yet unsaved.

Lord Jesus, help us in our struggles to do what is right and help others to do the same. Help us to fight the good fight of faith in You, not self. Help us to resist the devil and watch him flee from us.


“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck of your eye,’ when all the all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5 NIV)

Why is it that the very people who can always see wrong with others, can never see wrong with themselves?

Always and never–absolutes that are seldom true for any person for any reason. None of us are always right and to say “never” is a pie-in-the-sky-dream that exists only in the minds of those who are so self-righteous they forget they, too, are mere human beings.

When people think they’re the only ones who do things right–they usually do the very thing for which they criticize others–setting up a domino effect–because doing one stupid thing, leads to other stupid things being done.

When adults cannot listen or hear others who warn and speak truth, they open the door for all sorts of things to happen and then they want to blame everyone but themselves. Communication is key to any and every situation but when people refuse to talk–to confront issues–and instead allow anger to direct their thoughts, those thoughts lead to doing other things–injustices for others (especially kids), and then that injustice leads to provocation–provoking others to do even more stupid things until finally, the only thing left is a puddle of stupid–with footprints leading to disaster–all because people don’t want to confront issues.

So, where does hypocrisy come into the picture? For adults who think they’re above reproach and can only mete out unjust punishments, and then claim they are being led by Holy Spirit–they lie and when they lie about being led by Holy Spirit–we know which spirit is actually leading them. Holy Spirit does not provoke people into doing stupid; He does not unfairly judge a matter and mete out inappropriate consequences; nor is He afraid to confront a situation that needs resolution. Holy Spirit does not promote anger that seethes and increases into more stupid acts, but He reminds us of The Word and then when we hear Him, He guides what we say and do.

If we allow our emotions to guide us–Holy Spirit will not overrule them, but when we get the results of our actions–more stupid, then we should recognize that we didn’t know what we were doing in the first place.

The simple solution to most problems is simply this–hear Holy Spirit or those who have been observant and see trouble and warned us about impending danger. Listening–avoids the subsequent stupid things that happen that could lead to serious consequences that cannot be reversed. We should all learn to think before we do and then we won’t have time to focus on others–pointing out their faults when we refuse to see our own–being hypocrites.

Lord, help us to see ourselves before we ruin the lives of others in our quest to be more than we are. In our imperfections and flaws we have hope because of Your perfect love.  Give us a heart to love as You do, without blame or fault-finding.

Just Give Thanks!

The last two weeks have been filled with “stuff” that didn’t need to be. But because God is who He is and I am His, I can still give thanks to Him for always being by my side.

It doesn’t matter that people didn’t do what they were supposed to do or what they said they would do, I was never alone and so I give thanks.

It doesn’t matter that some of the same people who claimed to know how to do things, didn’t do them–I still give thanks.

It doesn’t matter that those who complained the most did the least, I still give thanks.

In all things we should give thanks. And though things didn’t turn out exactly how I wanted them to–God knew and it was, what it was–all that He intended it to be.

I’m grateful for those who did do–what they supposed to do and what they said they would do. I’m grateful for the love of God, giving me strength to sustain energy to get it all done. I’m grateful for the joy He gives–even when we feel like frowning, He gives us a reason to smile.

Nothing is too hard for our God–even though our hearts may hurt over injustice, our bodies scream in pain fighting against the use of muscles we’d forgotten how to use and the joints that rebel over the extended use–necessary to accomplish all that needs to be done.

I’m suffering from brain-cell-leakage, today. Sinusitis, growing cataracts, distractions by the skin cell damage from the sun and too little sleep due to difficulty breathing while lying down. In all this, I am yet alive, giving thanks, just because–He didn’t have to wake me, but He did.

Now, I have another chance to encourage someone, share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, love on someone who feels unloved, and to give these older bones a real work-out, exercising the ability to lift my hands in praise and just walk out my thanks, looking to Him, the author and finisher of my faith.

When it seems like nothing is working out the way you wanted it to work–just give thanks–for whatever it is and know that all things work together for our good–even if we can’t see it–God knows!

A Stronghold in Times of Trouble!

“The Lord reigns forever; He has established His throne for judgment. He rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity. The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:7-10 NIV).

If the Lord reigns–not just in the atmosphere–but in our hearts, the world will know peace. Where there is no peace, we do not acknowledge who He is and do not allow Him to govern our lives. If He is not governing our lives–we fall prey to the influence of the enemy and allow his influence to reign in our lives.

But we don’t have to. The Word tells us to “give no place for the devil” and we should heed the Word. But what does that mean?

It means that when we know certain situations or people can open the door for the devil to step in–we should avoid them. Now, there The Word tells us there is no temptation that can confront us that He has not made a way of escape. The escape route that many ignore–is the wisdom to avoid the situation in the first place. If we do not place ourselves or allow others to put us in a position where we can be tempted, we effectively keep the devil’s influence out of our lives.

But when we don’t–heed wise instruction and warnings–the devil’s influence does not creep in–it walks into a situation because we have opened the door. When the devil does what the devil does–influencing others to do what is wrong–who is the guilty party? Is it the one who succumbed to the influence or the one who created the situation by opening the door?

People who have overcome addictions of all types, have nothing to prove to others and especially those who are trying to influence their judgment and behavior. It is not all right for anyone who suffers from addiction to put themselves in harm’s way, nor should they put themselves into a position to be influenced by others to do so. When we do things that we know are contrary to Holy Spirit’s influence, we cannot say, “this is just a test.” No, that is just foolishness.

We would not put a known thief in a room full of valuables and leave them alone, expecting them not to take anything. That’s not faith, it’s foolishness. The same is true of anything we value–respect, integrity, honor–all should be more valuable than things, and yet we risk allowing the enemy to influence what we do, when we think we know more than God.

The Bible tells us that no one should say when they are tempted, they are tempted by God, but understand we are tempted by our own lusts. We are tempted because of pride and egos and when we allow pride and ego to get in the way of wisdom and making wise decisions, we have no one to blame, but ourselves.

And when temptation wins–the least we can do is to acknowledge how wrong we were in allowing the situation to exist in the first place and not blame others. This is not to say we should condone wrong, but we must accept responsibility for any wrong that occurs and set things right.

Human beings are not God and cannot know everything, but when we allow Holy Spirit to lead us in all things, we limit the opportunities for the devil’s influence to operate and manage to maintain peace in our lives. The Lord is a stronghold in times of trouble and when we see trouble coming–we must cry out a warning and seek the refuge of God. If we don’t heed the warnings–the stain of guilt is on us–and we need to get right with God while we have the opportunity to do so.

No Holy Spirit guidance–no peace in homes or lives or nations. With Him–as our counselor and comforter–allowing Him to speak into our lives–we have peace with all we meet.

Is The God You Serve An Idol?

“For great is The Lord and most worthy of praise; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but The Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and glory are His sanctuary.” (Psalm 96:4-6 NIV).

When I read this again, I was reminded of all those naysayers–the ones who choose not to believe The God of heaven, who protest loudly and always insist that He is just a god like the others.

Let’s examine the other gods for a moment–the gods made by hands–symbolizing all manner of things that mere mortal at one time, could not explain. The gods that man created by carving images in wood, out of wood and in stone and out of stone–the gods who could not have been created by the hands of man, if God had not created the substance from which they were (and are) made. There images of sun gods, moon gods, rain gods, fertility gods, seed gods, water gods, death gods, heroic gods, jealousy gods, strength gods, intellectual gods, all kinds of gods and yet not one of them has ever created anything from nothing.

When man could not understand the function of a volcano, they threw in virgins to appease a god who they thought was angry with them. People sacrificed children upon burning altars to appease gods they didn’t understand, but thought they had some power–never realizing that true power–only comes from the God of Heaven as Elijah demonstrated with the prophets of Baal.

Even the god of this world–was created by the God of heaven–and the only power he has over anything is the evil that lurks in the hearts of men–those thoughts that people have and will not control–when the enemy speaks to their hearts, he influences what they do. This is the reason for all the senseless violence in the world today–the god of this world and his ability to influence the evil that already resides in man.

And to perpetuate the nonsense–we have people creating images that represent evil–worshipping those images that have no power to do anything but lie dormant–unless the hands of a mortal moves them.

Are we worshipping idols, yet today? Are we creating or using images made by the hands of man and giving the images more authority in our lives than the Living God?

Do we not understand that the God we serve–cannot be manipulated, moved, carted or sent anywhere for any reason because He is omnipresent–everywhere at the same time whether people believe Him or not?

Do we not understand that the God we serve–does not need us–we need Him? He created us–we did not create Him as some attempt to persuade. He is not a figment of our imaginations and His Word–though written by men, inspired by Him, is just as true today as it was hundreds of years ago.

The God of Heaven is yet speaking to people who are willing to hear and obey, but the problem is that many do not hear Him when He speaks because they have not read His Word–to even know His voice. If we don’t know what He has said, we won’t know what He is saying–because He never changes.

So now, think about it! True worship of God is done in the Spirit and those without the Spirit of God guiding them cannot worship God in the beauty of holiness. We don’t need images, or symbols, or anything else man-made to worship God or to communicate with Him. After all, when did any of those things–create who He is?  Is the God You Serve an Idol or the Living God who desires nothing more from us, than the praise of our lips–giving adoration and obeying His Word?

Leader or Dictator?

“Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.” {Hebrews 13:17 NIV)

Having confidence in leaders who care about those they lead is easy when their leadership ability is evident. However, not everyone in a leadership position is a true leader, as defined by The Word.

People in leadership positions, enabled by God as His appointed ones–seek His wisdom in all decisions and never do things that cause the people they lead grief. Dictators cause grief because the only person they care about is them and their own agenda, not what is best for the people. They seek the counsel of those who are like-minded–greedy for power, not understanding that most dictators are not loved, but hated.

What is sad to me is that many people in leadership positions–don’t understand the role in which they find themselves. A true leader–takes the initiative in understanding exactly what their role is and in finding ways to enhance what they do to enhance the benefit of all they lead. They seek Godly counsel in all matters before making decisions that would harm anyone. They are facilitators, not dictators because they seek input from all involved and encourage involvement by all in making decisions. True leaders–do not attempt to abuse or misuse their positions nor do they manipulate others, abusing the authority they have been given.

But the one thing that most “hired help” forget is just like they were hired to fulfill a position of leadership, they can be fired from it and usually are when they abuse the authority of the position.

I’m sure we all know such leaders–they come in all forms and capacities. They are the leaders in the police departments, the leaders in school districts, the leaders in churches, and the leaders in corporations–all hired and all should be fired when they do not know how to lead, and choose to dictate to others–with no regard as to what is best for the people they lead.

The Word of God tells us to pray for those in authority over us and I do. However, we are not told to just lay down and allow hired help to walk all over us. We must take action and they must realize their position is tenuous at best–especially if they develop dictator mentality.

One of the saddest things to see is a leader who professes to know God, get high-minded and abuse their positions, becoming dictators and not leaders.

When should we have confidence in leadership? When the leadership has earned our confidence as demonstrated in their ability to lead–with the best interest of those they lead–then we can confidently follow their example. If they are incapable of demonstrating ability to lead, we should not follow them blindly because the blind leading the blind, usually end up in a rut, going nowhere.

Pray for leadership and when it is necessary to act when they demonstrate their inability to lead, get up and get busy, doing all that is necessary to remove them to save all from becoming victims of dictatorship.

When The Deceivers Charm!

“As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of this age?” Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not charmed.  Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” (Matthew 24:3-8 NIV)

Not too long ago, there were Tweeters posting the end of the world on September 25, 2015. At least that’s the date I remember, I could be off by a day or two. I remember seeing the Tweets, but I refuse to engage in the rhetoric.

Jehovah Witnesses have proclaimed the return of Christ for decades and will debate the issue and charm those who do not know what Jesus said and why.

There have been people all over the world, proclaiming when the end will come and because foolish people would rather believe those who deliberately deceive, they are manipulated by them.

How about this? Let’s all read the Bible, seek understanding, and then just believe what The Word says. “NO MAN KNOWS WHEN JESUS WILL RETURN–NOT EVEN HIM–ONLY THE FATHER!” And since His return will be as a thief in the night, there will be no warnings of His imminent return–we simply need to be ready and not deceived by those who know how to charm the foolish!

What happens when deceivers charm? People commit suicide influenced by false leaders. They pack suitcases waiting for that “ride” to heaven. They sell their homes and businesses and empty bank accounts. They build bunkers and hoard food and water. WHEN THE END COMES–WE WHO BELIEVE WILL BE GONE BEFORE WE CAN BLINK OUR EYES AND THERE WILL BE NO NEED FOR FOOD, WATER, TICKETS, OR LUGGAGE!

I’m praying for those who are consistently deceived by those who do much talking and manipulating of The Word in order to convince others they have been chosen by God to proclaim His return–specifically by date and year. God didn’t choose them–at least the God of Heaven didn’t choose, but the god of this world–most certainly did. 

Let’s stop being foolish and supporting fools in their attempts to be more than they are.

God’s Word is true and everyone who is not saying what God has said is a liar and deceives the easily charmed.

A Little Folly!

“As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.” (Ecclesiastes 10:1 NIV)

The dead attract flies who are drawn by the decay and odor and when I see flies swarming–over any dead thing–I smell the odor that accompanies death. When people choose to function without wisdom from above and have no honor–for themselves or others, the folly that is the end result–outweighs the good of those who operate with wisdom and honor.

We see demonstration of folly getting more attention that wisdom on a daily basis. One of the reasons most people there is more bad or evil in the world is because that is what is reported the most.

Racism seeps and creeps into minds of people who think that all people are like those who are reported caught in doing stupid or evil. People from all races of people–all ethnic backgrounds–do stupid, but that does not mean that all the people categorized as that particular race do stupid all the time.

Because all we hear or see in the news is negative–we soon develop negative attitudes about all sorts of things. Most of us no longer trust politicians because of a few doing stupid things while in office, but that doesn’t mean that all politicians are corrupt, dishonest, adulterers, or philanderers. Not all politicians are only interested in preserving the economic classicism that exists in this country, but the few that actually care about people are seldom discussed in the news.

Not all teachers are sexual predators, but because those who are have made the headlines on more than one occasion, some people think that teachers are the reason for all the ills of education.

Not all teenagers are foolish and depraved, but when we only see those who are–splashed across the television screen or posted on social media doing stupid, we tend to think that all teenagers act like those we see–shown in a negative light.

Not all preachers or priests or church leaders are morally bankrupt, but we wouldn’t know that if we base our opinions on what we see in the news.

Not all poor people commit crimes, live off welfare and are ignorant. There are a number of people who commit crimes who were not raised in poverty, and are highly educated, but those are not the ones who get the negative reports and we make assumptions about the poor that are not true of all poor.

I’m thankful that God has given me an observant heart and a desire to understand people and why they do things. I try not to draw conclusions about anyone without having sufficient information to do so. I’m not inclined to try to persuade others to share my opinions about people because others may have different experiences with the same people and have different outcomes. When we draw conclusions about people without understanding– and we don’t have to know everything about them–we are guilty of being presumptuous and foolish.

When people are going through difficult times and don’t acknowledge us, we cannot conclude that they have a problem with us. The reality is–the problem is usually with us because we expect people to act as we want them to act.

I’m guilty of expecting people in certain positions–especially positions of leadership–to act with integrity and honor. And when that doesn’t happen, I tend to not respect them in their positions because the position is being disrespected. A little folly–being self-absorbed, thinking the world should evolve around us–leads to others having a bad impression of the whole and those who actually function with integrity, are overlooked.

O Lord, help us to be more like You, more determined to understand and slower in drawing erroneous conclusions about people or situations in which we do not have sufficient information. Help us to not spread negative reports, but to do all we can to function with integrity and honor, seeking wisdom from You, at all times.