Everyday People Change the World – Part 2

Today’s readings are Deuteronomy 1-3, Psalm 36, and Luke 5.

The readings for today are chalked full of plenty of great topics one could write on. In Deuteronomy 1-3, Moses recounts everything that has happened to the Israelites in the wilderness. This encompasses God’s rescue and provision keeping His promises many times, as well as their flip flopping back and forth from being “all in” with God to questioning Him and wishing they were back in slavery in Egypt. There are many lessons in those chapters we can apply in our lives today. Psalm 36 speaks of God’s deep, steadfast love. Even Luke 5 covers many topics one could journal on including the calling of some of the disciples and their willingness to trust, drop everything, and follow Him.

With all these great stories, the one that bubbled up to me was in Luke 5:17-26 where Jesus healed a paralytic. This paralytic was only able to be healed because some of his friends carried Him to Jesus and went so far as to lift his bed onto the roof, remove part of the roof, and lower him down to Jesus (Luke 5:18-20). Maybe this story jumps out to me because I just read my brother Chad’s post on Monday about how everyday people can change the world as he referenced Simeon and Anna in Luke 2 (https://www.biblejournal.net/2023/03/13/every-day-people-change-the-world/).

A few years back I mentored a college intern with our company. This intern knew I was a believer and openly shared with me that he was raised in the church but now in his late teens he was questioning whether God was real and whether he truly believed for himself. He was definitely beginning to go more towards the direction away from God. Over a period of about a year he had many deep conversations with me and another person in our office who was also mentoring him and who was a man of faith. Toward the end of his time with our firm he was struggling with some things as we talked in Panera. We sat in a quiet corner uninterrupted, not noticing or hearing much of anything besides our conversation for nearly an hour. When we got to the point of our conversation where I asked to pray for him and was starting to ask him to accept Jesus into his heart..”BAM!” A broomstick fell and smacked so loud on the floor I almost jumped out of my chair. I knew this wasn’t a coincidence. There was no noise the entire time we talked until this. If you believe God is real, then the Satan is also real, and he did not like what was about to happen in our conversation as I was asking my friend to give his heart to Jesus. Needless to say, my friend did not give his heart to Jesus at that moment. I felt disappointed…this was the moment I believed he was going to give his heart to Jesus, but it didn’t happen! A pastor friend of mine once told a similar story where a traffic accident happened on the street while He was praying in a similar way for a friend sitting at a table drinking coffee at a café. Again..Satan is real.

As his time with our firm ended, we stayed in touch some but grew apart as his new professional path and my busy life got in the way. He also had lost regular touch with his other mentor at our firm. However, a few years later, he called me to catch up and let me know he had given his heart to Jesus and was attending church and a small group with his girlfriend who was also a believer. Praise God!

In Luke 5, Jesus called some to be his disciples. They brought many people to believe in Jesus and performed miracles in Jesus’ name both during Jesus’ life here on Earth and after. Some of us will be called to be ministers or employees of the church. As I’ve grown in my faith walk and quite frankly also enjoyed writing for Bible Journal, I’ve at least reflected on whether my current career or work in the ministry would be my true calling. Chad’s post on Monday, the story of my friend, and the story of Luke 5 today reminds me that we don’t have to be in the ministry to bring people to Jesus. In fact, our regular everyday careers and lives outside the ministry may give us even more opportunities to meet and mentor others and bring people to Jesus in way those in ministry may not be able to. When you don’t work for the church, people know it’s not part of your “job”…you just love Jesus and want them to also meet and know Him and His love the way you do.

The story of my friend also reminds me that sometimes we will carry our friends directly to Jesus, and we will get the satisfaction of seeing them healed by giving their life to Jesus right then like in Luke 5. Other times, they won’t make it that far right them. Some we witness to will not give their life to Jesus during the time we are with them or during the time we know them. But, the Holy Spirit does not stop working in their heart and lives and the seeds you plant may come to harvest well after the time you know them. For there are many we witness to that we may never interact with again and will never know if they became a believer. Let that not deter us from sharing the Gospel and fighting the good fight and remembering the impact we can have as everyday people like my brother Chad reminded us.

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

Galatians 6:9

Looking to Jesus

Today’s reading is Numbers 3-5 and Hebrews 12.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and all sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

As a kid, I remember it being said I “idolized” Michael Jordan. While he just gave an awesome gift to Make-A-Wish Foundation of $10 Million in the last few weeks, it has become well known over recent years that Michael, like many of us, has made some mistakes throughout the years. I would say in general, it is a natural tendency of mine to look up to and admire other humans who may be celebrities or even people I know personally and respect greatly. As we found out with Michael, we usually find out with most celebrities eventually that they’ve made their share of mistakes and often times what I’ve learned is that as I’ve grown closer to people I admire who I have a personal relationship with, they are not perfect either.

This week, it has greatly saddened me that the church we attend and some pastors have been accused of some serious wrongdoings, some of which have been confirmed. My heart aches for so many, and I’m praying for everyone involved. Maybe that’s why in reading these verses, the following parts of Hebrews 12:1-2 stuck out, ‘looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,” and speaking about Jesus later it says He “is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I’ve been reminded this week through these events and through these verses that we are not to put our full faith in any person or even one church who are not blameless…our full faith must be in one person and one person only, Jesus. We can even read and know our “heroes of the Bible” such as Moses, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, David, and Paul just to name a few made many mistakes despite their faith and trust in God. Jesus did not. He is the only one who was perfect that could be the perfect sacrifice on the cross and who now is the only one that sits at the right hand of the Father as verse 2 tells us.

As I reflect on this, I hope to teach our children this. I don’t want them to put their full faith in anyone other than Jesus, not even me. I promise to do my absolute best to not do anything that would bring disgrace to them or our family and work to live in a way that will make them proud, but I do mess up. They already know this at very young ages because when I realize I messed up I do my best to apologize which happens far too often. Jesus does not mess up though. He did not sin. He will NEVER let them down.

He will not let you down.

He is good. He’s the only one who’s truly good…all the time.

He should be the king of our heart.

He’s the one we should look to and put our full faith in as we run the race with endurance.





Today’s reading is Leviticus 1-3, Psalm 27, and Hebrews 2.

What do you fear?

This last week I had the privilege of hearing author and speaker Ryan Leak talk at a conference for our company. While it was not a Christian, faith-based talk, it was one of the best talks I’ve ever heard. He shared that we are only born with 2 fears which are the fear of loud noises and the fear of falling. This means all other fears are learned.  He said we have 6,000 thoughts per day with 80% being negative and  with 95% of our thoughts being repetitive. He also shared that every successful person we look up to has failed, yet we were taught not to fail..but I digress.

Ponder this question, is it a sin to fear?

The Bible tells us Jesus was without sin multiple times (1 Peter 2:22, Hebrews 4:15, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 John 3:5). We also know from Luke 22:39-46 on the night Jesus was betrayed, when He knew He was about to be scourged and nailed to the cross, He was in agony and was in so much stress in fearing for what would happen that he sweated drops of blood (Luke 22:44). To me, this answers our question and fear itself is not a sin.

In reflecting on this, it seems to me that fear can become a sin when….

  • It consumes our thoughts and lives
  • We don’t trust in God and His plan
  • We try to find our hope and trust in things of this world which are separate from God

Jesus taught us exactly how to face fear in Luke 22…

  • Kneel down and pray (Luke 22:41)
  • Ask for what you want (Luke 22:42)
  • Pray that ultimately the Father’s will be done and not your will… trusting in Him no matter what (Luke 22:42)
  • Pray again even more earnestly (Luke 22:44)

So, what did God do as a result? He sent angel from Heaven who gave Jesus strength (Luke 22:43). Notice God did not stop Jesus from going to the cross. And you and I should be thankful for that. We should be thankful God’s plan to save us from our sin and give us eternal life through Jesus’ death on the cross was bigger than Jesus’ pain.

I can’t promise you God will remove the pain or problems which may be causing your fear. But what I can promise you is that God will give you strength and that He is bigger..and His plan is bigger! We know in the end…we win through eternal life with Him.

“The Lord is my light and

 my salvation;

whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of

my life;

of whom shall I be afraid?”

Psalm 27:1

I would encourage you to read more of Psalm 27 and Hebrews 2 on fear and how Jesus understands us because He suffered and faced fears just like you and me.

Can I Please Have Your Attention?

Today’s reading as part of our journey through the Bible this year is Exodus 10-12 and Ephesians 2.

Who do you most relate to in the story of the Israelites being enslaved in Egypt and their ultimate departure? Do you relate to Moses who did not think he was capable because of his past sin and lack of confidence in his ability to take on a significant leadership role? Do you relate to Aaron who played a key role in the communication with Pharoah on behalf of the Israelites but who maybe didn’t get the credit his brother Moses did? Or do you relate to the Israelites being enslaved for many years?

Most of us probably would not say we are most like Pharoah. However, we may be more like him than we would like to admit. After the 7th plague..yes 7th…Moses and Aaron went and delivered a message from God to Pharoah in Exodus 10:3 asking, “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?” He would either refuse to let the Israelites go like God instructed or he would say he would release them but later change his mind or refuse to let them all go along with their property…even after 7 plagues!

Do you feel like nothing is going your way? Do you like you just keep taking right hook after right hook? If so, I think it should really cause us to pause and reflect on if we are humbling ourselves before God and giving our problem(s) and life to Him. Is it possible that He’s just trying to get our attention?

We must ask ourselves…

  • Am I putting God first in my life?
  • Am I giving my problem(s) to Him in prayer?
  • Do I think my problems are too big for God?
  • Or do I think my problems are too small for God to care?
  • What is God trying to teach me through these challenges?
  • Could He be letting things happen in my life to draw me closer to Him?
  • Could He also be using my challenges for His bigger purpose and glory in ways I might not be aware of yet or even ever will be on this side of eternity?

Ultimately, what God wants is our heart. He wants our faith in Him. He wants us to trust and rely on Him. He wants us to put Him first and humble ourselves before Him so that we cannot brag about anything but Him and His provision and grace.

Ephesians 2:8-9 reads…

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

A New Creation

Today’s reading is Genesis 35-37, Psalm 12, and Mark 14.

In Genesis 35:1, God tells Jacob to go make an altar to him in Bethel. Jacob obeys and invites his family and others with them to come along, as well as instructs them to put away their foreign gods and purify themselves and their clothes. They did as he instructed going to Bethel, and Jacob built the altar. God then tells Jacob in Genesis 35:10 he has a new name, Israel.

Throughout Scripture we have seen God also give others a new name when they commit to following Him. Simon became Peter which in original language was Cephas meaning rock. Abram becomes Abraham in Genesis 17. Saul also become Paul when he committed to following Jesus after years of persecuting Christians.

I believe God did this and included these real stories in the Bible for us to read still today because it signifies when we commit to following Him the old us has gone away, and we are a new creation saved through His blood.

Does this mean we will not make mistakes and fall into sin again? No, we will mess up again. We know Peter denied knowing Jesus out of fear, even when he knew Jesus was the Messiah and after all he had seen Jesus do and all Jesus had done for him. Abraham lied out of fear for his life saying Sarah was his sister instead of trusting God’s protection. We can also infer Paul might have been misguided in his disagreement with Barnabas which led to them splitting ways in Acts and although we don’t know the specific sins, Paul himself says in Romans 7:14-15 and Roman 7:19 that he falls into sin and does the exact things he does not want to do.

However, he still says in 2 Corinthians 5:17…

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.”

Despite their mistakes even after becoming a new creation, God did big things with them. Jacob, now Israel, was the father of the 12 tribes of Israel. Abram, now Abraham, was the father of many nations. Simon, now Peter, became one of the founders of the church in spreading the Gospel. Saul, now Paul, spread the Gospel across and around the Mediterranean and wrote nearly half the New Testament.

Through the good and bad, God will do big things with and through you for His Kingdom when you become a new creation through committing to following Him.

Have you committed to letting Jesus be the Lord and leader of your life or do you need to recommit? If you want to, pray the following prayer…

Lord, thank for the unconditional love you showed by dying on the cross to forgive me from my sin. I believe that because you rose on Easter, I will also live with you in Heaven someday. I commit to living my life while still here on Earth for you. I ask that you watch over me, guiding and protecting me from Satan. Help me see myself the way you see me, as a new creation, righteous and holy where my sin is washed white as snow through your blood. I love you. Amen.

Look At Me!

Today’s readings if you are following along with the Bible in one year plan are Genesis 9-11 and Mark 4.

Our focus here will be on Genesis 11:1-9.

“Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves’….”

Genesis 11:4

These words were said by the people of Babel which is estimated to be about six generations past Noah. How quickly they forgot what God had done for their ancestors to save them and how disappointed God was with the sin of those outside of Noah’s family.  And, how quickly they wanted to glorify themselves again. With one language for everyone they were gaining too much power and desiring to glorify themselves, so God mixed up their languages and dispersed them across the Earth.

We live in a world today where it’s all about making a name for yourself. Many forms of self-promotion are a necessary part of life to make a team, get into college, or get a job. However, there is a very fine line to walk and from there our world today has really caused self-promotion to get out of control through social media selfies and posts that say look at what I or my family accomplished or did. I am guilty of this as well.  We quickly forget like Noah’s ancestors that all we have and accomplish comes from God. James 1:17 tells us, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with who there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

I am not saying we should not post on social media what is going on in our business or family’s life. In fact, I thoroughly enjoy keeping up with what’s going on with friends and their family’s life. As a Christ follower though, I will personally commit to being more aware in 2023 of the example John the Baptist set. He said in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” Through all my actions and words, I want to keep in mind more how I can bring glory to God as a result of both the good and bad things that happen.

How different would this world look if all Christ followers lived out John’s mission to glorify God to help Him increase through all that happens and all we say and do?

You Matter

Today’s reading is Luke 1:26-56.

Last week in his “Mike Talks” (https://youtu.be/Rb7RZLu3Xbk), Pastor Mike Baker discusses these exact verses and how Mary found “favor” in the eyes of God as written in Luke 1:28 and Luke 1:30. The Greek word for “favor” is charis. The word charis can also be translated to mean grace. This tells us that just like you and me, Mary was not perfect. She needed a Savior as well, yet God still felt her worthy of a calling to do something for Him and His purpose.

God showed us all charis (grace) when He sent His Son Jesus to be born in a manger on Christmas and ultimately to die on the cross for our sins. Despite our sins and mistakes, just like Mary, He can and will use us for His purpose. What might His purpose for you be? It could be something as simple as being a Dad or Mom or spouse or it might be to be a special friend to someone or to share to Gospel with 1 person who will now get to spend eternity in Heaven because of you. You may not be a celebrity and your name may never have “CEO” by it, but whatever God’s purpose is for you…it is a big deal to God and His story. We should be humbled by His charis and that He would use each of us in that big way. He has entrusted someone or something to you that you may not even realize or think about or know until your last days on Earth.

Former NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow recently discussed he originally thought God’s purpose for him was to be MVP meaning Most Valuable Player. However, he realized God’s actual plan for him was to help another type of MVP, meaning Most Vulnerable People. I love this quote by him..

“I believe each one of us has not only been saved from something, but that we have also been saved for something.”

Tim Tebow

This Christmas, I encourage all of us to remember and be grateful that God showed us His grace when He sent Jesus and as a result He has saved you for something. I would encourage you to reflect on what that might be and if you are not sure yet, trust in Him and have confidence that He will use you for His purpose because you matter and are part of His story.

Why Do ‘Bad’ Things Happen?

Today’s reading is Job 42.

Do you know the story of Job? Job was a wealthy man who loved God, and Satan told God it was only because God was protecting him from bad things. Satan said God had a “hedge” around Job (Job 1:10). Satan was convinced that if bad things happened to Job he would fold and curse God. So, God let Satan take Job’s property and children and strike him with leprosy as we read in Job 1 and Job 2. However, Job stayed strong in his faith, and while he questions why God is doing this, he does not curse God and lose his faith in God as Satan expected. In fact, he continues to put his hope in God.

When I was growing up and even until probably about 10 years ago, I would do something wrong and feel guilty about it and then when something bad happened within a few days or weeks later completely unrelated to the mistake I had made I wondered if it was because of what I had done wrong. Were things not going my way because of that unrelated mistake, and was this a punishment for what I had done? You may have also thought when something bad happened to someone “that’s justice” or “they had it coming to them” because of their past sins. In fact, Job’s so called ‘friends’ named Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar believed these things must have happened because of Job’s mistakes. However, God calls their thinking “folly” in Job 42:8 and says is Job 42:7 they “have not spoken of me what is right.

God tells us in Romans 8:1 there is “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” I’ve said it before that God is not like a kid with a magnifying glass in the sun burning us who are the ants because we do something He’s not pleased with. We still may face earthly consequences for our actions or God may allow things to play out as a sort of discipline to ultimately draw us closer to Him which is His greatest desire, but we must know the heart of God and that it is not a punishment. This is hard to understand. Isaiah 55:8:9 tells us his ways and thoughts are not only not ours, but they are higher than ours. We won’t figure it out.  However, it is very important we understand Jesus already paid the price for our sins on the cross. In fact, in John 9 Jesus’ disciples ask Him if a blind man walking by is afflicted because of his or his parents’ sins. Jesus replies in John 9:3 by saying it is not because of either of their sins, and he is blind so that the works of God may be seen through Him. When so called bad things happen to good people, our first thought is likely not so God can be glorified through it and them. We know that in John 3:16 Jesus not only says those who believe in Him will have eternal life, but also in John 3:17 that He did not come to condemn the world.

God may let things play out in your life and the lives of others which in our eyes do not seem good like Job. He may even let Satan “win” for a while just like He did when He was crucified and died. For 3 days, Satan thought he was victorious and Jesus’ disciples did too..but then what happened? The Resurrection! We are still celebrating Easter over 2000 years later. As the saying goes, you can’t have a comeback without a setback. We read in Job 42 where God eventually blessed Job with even greater riches than he had prior to all his misfortunes. While I can’t promise you when something bad happens to you that you will see great things happen on this side of eternity, but what I can promise you is if you confess your sins and believe in Jesus’ Resurrection on Easter you will live with Him in Heaven after this life where there will be no pain or problems and everything will be perfect. Until then, we must keep trusting in Him and trusting despite our circumstances His love for us in unconditional and never failing. Let us remember why He came that first Christmas this December and always.

“..but God shows His love for us in that while were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:8

How Do I Measure Up?

Today’s reading is Psalm 147.

How do I measure up?

Whether you realize it or not, it’s probably something you are asking yourself subconsciously multiple times a day and even multiple times per hour and minute. From a very young age we can all probably remember getting a test back and saying to your friend, “What did you get?” I can remember in grade school not being able to sleep the night before the 1 on 1 competition at our school’s basketball camp because I wanted to prove I was the best. Now, the company I work emails production numbers every single day for each person in our organization. It’s hard to avoid scoreboard watching. I have not even yet discussed social media. There are a lot of good things from it too, but I truly believe we are having a mental health epidemic because we see everyone else’s highlight reel all the time. We don’t see the fight they had with their spouse before the smiling family picture, the financial troubles they are going through, or the struggles their child is having in school right before they posted that picture of the championship they just won. Have you ever seen a pro or college team’s “hype video” set to music before an upcoming game showing highlights of previous games? They can make a team that hasn’t won a game all year look like the best in the country. Perception is not reality, but we don’t grasp it. We think we are the only ones with problems.

As we read this on Thanksgiving, I’m extremely grateful that our Father in Heaven does not measure us by or care about our results.

Psalm 147:10-11 reads…

He delights not in the

strength of the horse,

nor his pleasure in the legs of a


but the Lord takes pleasure in

those who fear him,

in those who hope in his

steadfast love.

I’ve written about it before, but I love the quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Thankfully, what God cares about is about our heart for Him.

Despite our past, we all become perfect and washed clean of our past mistakes and failures through His blood on the cross.

Psalm 147:2-3 reads..

The Lord builds up Jerusalem;

he gathers the outcasts of


He heals the brokenhearted

And binds up their wounds.

I pray that we can find our self-image in how He views us because of Jesus…perfect, blameless, and holy.

I pray that today on Thanksgiving and every day we can find joy and gratitude in His love for us despite our circumstances.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving everyone!

Do You Know Him?

Today’s reading is Psalm 48.

By the time you will read this…you will know the winners of the midterm election this week. As I write this tonight before the election..I’m reminded the results don’t really matter.

For behold, the kings assembled;

they came on together.

as soon as they saw it, they were


they were in panic; they took

to flight.

Trembling took hold of them


anguish as of women in labor.

Psalm 48:4-6

Earlier in the chapter, Psalm 48:1 says..

Great is the Lord and greatly to

be praised

in the City of our God!

These verses are why I say the election results don’t really matter. In the end, EVERYONE will bow and praise Him…yes…even the earthly kings. God is working His plan regardless of who wins. We must trust and believe in this despite if we agree or disagree with who is office. Eventually, He will establish Zion, the City of God, where He will guide us Psalm 48 tells us.

Walk about Zion, go around her,

number her towers,

consider well her ramparts,

go through her citadels,

that you may tell the next generation

that this is God,

our God forever and ever.

He will guide us forever.

Psalm 48:12-14

If you’ve never seen this powerful video with the words of Dr. S.M. Lockridge, please watch. I know who my King is, and He never served a public office.

Do you know Him?