Choices of the Flesh

Today’s Readings:  Genesis 37; Mark 7; Job 3; Romans 7

There are many times when I catch myself saying something not Christ-like. I can act in a way that I know I shouldn’t, or have a thought that makes me wonder. Why God? I then reflect and proceed to pray and ask for forgiveness and wisdom to not repeat my shortcoming.  There has been many times where I make a bad decision and would point the blame somewhere else.  I now understand my insecurity a little more and try to just own it.  In today’s readings I’m reminded about my poor actions and thoughts.  I’m so grateful for our God who gives us Grace we don’t deserve. My desires to do right are always there, my mind and “flesh” have different plans sometimes.

Romans 7:18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.

I now try to pray throughout my day knowing any moment I could be led astray. I also try to pray in the moments before, during, and after my “flesh” is only thinking about myself and not around God.  Unfortunately, sometimes  my response is – “I’m sorry God, I failed again”. My wife Jennifer and I were baptized at Eastview in the last few years. It has dramatically changed our lives. Being born again through faith happens in seconds, becoming like Christ is a lifelong process.  I tell kids all the time, one of the hardest things we do in life is admit when we do something wrong.  We always want to be right and please yourself or others.  The truth is our actions and thoughts need to be more focused around God. The more we focus on Him, the less likely we will revert to our own ways.  He has given us a story that provides numerous examples of the way we should love others. We must depend on Christ to guide, support, and direct us in ours.

Romans 7:25 I serve the law with God in mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. In our weak earthly moments turn to God and give thanks to God for who He is.

In Mark 7:15 it reads There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him. 

This verse reminds me of the my choices I have in allowing what goes into my heart, mind, and body. But, it also reminds me what comes out is also from me. I pray in my responses and actions in our earthly life I act in a manner that was set by our greatest example Jesus.  It’s easy to say and can be encouraged when you start your day with the Word.  But our flesh doesn’t always allow this to happen.  The more you are reading and living in Christ your works will mirror your faith. Philippians 4:8 tells us whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything  worthy of praise, think about these things. Practice these things.

In Genesis 37 Joseph’s brothers sell him because of their “flesh” responses to his dreams. In Job 3, Job’s “flesh” response from the attack by Satan has Job question his own birth. In the unbelievable story of Job, he later goes on to confess and repent for his thoughts and actions.  We to need to do the same.

Job 42:2 I know you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.  

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 

Dear God, I am humbled, grateful, and broken.  You restore, comfort, and love us us like children.  Help us to be centered around you and not our own desires. Thank you for being the Father who picks us up when we are crying out. Thank you for being such a grace-filled  Father.  Amen


Preparing our Way

“Behold, I send a messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight”   Mark 1:2-3

“Behold”, the voice of one crying out! The word behold itself makes me look, wonder, who is he talking about?  Mark captures this image of John the Baptist proclaiming this message of Jesus to everyone over 2,000 years ago.  This same message is present for all of us today.  It’s such a blessing to hear and share the word with others knowing we are preparing each other for an eternity with him. The kingdom of God is at hand.  Jesus proclaimed the word and performed miracles with everyone providing support to their faith.  Jesus has performed miracles in my life.  I’m not worthy, but grateful. I pray to for our courageousness to share this good news with others and opening our eyes to witness the daily miracles around us. Helping us all to be prepared for him.

Mark 10:45 says  he came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as ransom for many. (Thank You God)

To the eyes John wore camel hair and ate locust with honey. This image could possibly scare someone or start a new fad diet these days.  Either way, John’s faith and message of Jesus would change your life. “Behold!”At a time when some people were waiting for Jesus to come, John shared and prepared others for Jesus. John baptizes many telling those baptized, Jesus will baptize you  by the Holy Spirit.  Jesus wants us to repent for our sins asking for forgiveness. We need to build our relationship with him by faith and obey his word. (making our paths straight) In what ways are we preparing others for a relationship with God?

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.

Jesus has prepared our way and provided us with a way to live our lives. I recently heard, “We have been changed, and being changed“(Sanctified – Sanctification).  It’s an on-going process.

Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”. And immediately they left their nets and followed him(17-18). When we immediately do this we see the miracles he performs. When we do things at our time often our path goes off track and we need some spurring from God or fellow believers to get us back on.  I’m grateful for the spurring I receive from all of you.

The Righteous Shall Live by Faith

Paul reminds me in Romans 1:17 God is revealed from faith for faith. Having faith he has prepared a path just for you.  We strive to have our path that is righteous by faith. Apart from faith, we have no hope in life.  Thank you God for preparing our path to you.  What path are you on?



Building Together

Genesis 24; Matthew 23; Nehemiah 13; Acts 23

The other day Jon shared many amazing leadership attributes that were in Paul. I have read them many times since then.  One of the common themes among many biblical leaders is their faith in God.  God has a divine plan for us all and he equips us if we listen and follow his examples.

Hebrews 13:21 God will –equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.

I’ve previously read through Nehemiah without totally reflecting on his amazing leadership and passion to listen faithfully to God.  His faith in God, his non-judgmental direction he provided to all who listened, persistence, and courage to follow through in adversity in order to complete a task.  The job of rebuilding Jerusalem’s city wall was a daunting job that at first brought Nehemiah to his knees in agonizing prayer and later brings him to his knees in prayers of joy. Nehemiah’s dedication to God and prayer is modeled throughout this story.

Often an opportunity will arise in our job or in life a situation may seem too hard to accomplish and won’t go according to our plan. What if we responded more like Nehemiah.  I can be quick to make up an excuse, pass it on to someone else, jump ship, or just complain about it. Often it is my pride or fear of failure that holds me back because we depend on ourselves to complete something and afraid of failure.  I’m reminded in Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Through God, Nehemiah’s was equipped with skills including; having vision , organization , management, supervision, courage in adversity, and a master of encouragement. Nehemiah and the many families of believers rebuilt the wall around Jerusalem while rebuilding their own faith in God. Nehemiah used prayer throughout the unbelievable 52 days it took to rebuild the wall. These prayers were asked, heard, and met by God.

Do I first use prayer in solving my own problems? We may not all be building physical walls but what is God asking us to build? Are we listening? Pray for vision, courage, faith, and follow through to see and complete all things God has planned for us. Thank you God for providing us with the amazing leader in Nehemiah who truly wanted to build your kingdom.

Nehemiah 13:14  Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and for his service.

While trying to be the best leaders we can whether at work or home I’m also reminded to always “practice what you preach” (Matthew 23:3). I’ve have been a hypocrite long enough in my life and continue to strive towards cleaning the inside while not just portraying the outside. (v.26) Through God’s mercy and his blessing of a wife and two children this saying holds so much more value when I don’t follow this principle.  The greatest leadership I can offer is loving servant leadership.

Matthew 23:4 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.  

A Changed Life


Genesis 18; Matthew 17; Nehemiah 7; Acts 17

I love the times when I’m in the Word. Every moment a person spends in the Word can be a blessing to that person and those around them.  The Word touches our hearts and is displayed in our actions leaving a imprint on us with a ripple effect on others. There are times when a single verse can change your perspective on a situation guiding our future thoughts and actions. Reading and reflecting in the Word each day provides me with a reminder of God’s grace. The Word shares an example of how Jesus lived His life and guides us on how to live ours.

In  today’s readings I was impacted by a couple of versus in Genesis 18 that have  helped me reflect on how I demonstrate hospitality in our home.   Abraham and his wife, Sarah, showed genuine love in their hospitality to the Lord by immediately dedicating themselves to Him. This servant minded hospitality when shown immediately, not when it fit in their schedule.   Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares”.  Sometimes we worry about the presentation of our house or choice in meal.  The real message though is to show dedicated, genuine love to others.  Do I dedicate myself to the other person? Do I avoid thinking of my response to what they are saying or am I checking my phone?   Do we serve them with all we have?

Later in Genesis Sarah was having a hard time believing she would conceive again at an older age. Genesis 18:14 said, “Is anything to hard for the Lord?”  Not at all. Why do we have the tendency to limit God and what he can handle? Asking that same question in our own lives allows us to develop our prayer life and relationship with Him. Job 42:2 says, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of  yours can be thwarted.”

Our Father is in complete control and he reminds us many times in the Word when he says, “have no fear”.  Why do we allow fears to slip in? What are the ways that you increase your faith to overcome this?  In Matthew 17:20, “Because of your little faith. For truly I say to you that if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, move from here to there and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you”.  – Where’s our faith? Where do we turn our minds and heart in various trials?  We can overcome any tribulations with our faith in God our father.

Finally, in Acts 17:6 Paul and Silas had, “turned the world upside down” when they told others about Jesus and the Word.  We are so blessed by Scripture and through our testimonies we demonstrate how “our world turned upside down”.  Our lives are changed.  I was and can be so far from God. My pride leads me to losing God’s way for me. It can hurt my wife, children, brothers, sisters, parents, family, friends, and others. I hurt God. I receive God’s grace not because I deserve it, but because of who He is. God is good! God’s grace and Word can turn your world “upside down” from focusing on yourself to focusing on Him. The scary part is that at any moment when we do things without him our world can change right back.

God I’m always praying for a life where we focus more on you and less on ourselves. Provide us with courage to continue to share the wonderful Word about God because we never know when we can open a door to turn another persons world upside down.

A Changed Life

Listening Faith

Today’s reading link: Genesis 12; Matthew 11; Nehemiah 1; Acts 11

He who has ears to hear, let him hear. Matthew 11:15 

Today’s readings reminds me to listen, keep faith, and obey.  Sounds easy… but we know its not when we try to do things on our own.  In Genesis 12 Abraham was told to leave his home and travel to a new land and in doing so God would make him a great nation and he would be blessed. Abraham listens to God. How often does God speak to us and we don’t listen because of fears, the unknowns, or our own comfort in our current life? But like Abraham, in our times, when we allow ourselves to lose faith or fear creeps in we make choices that reflect our own desires.  We need to pray and believe God is with us and on our side.  Think of the evidence shared with John in Matthew 11 about acts by Jesus. In our moments of doubt think of what God has done for you, turn to scripture, think of our eternal salvation, pray.  In our trials don’t turn away, turn to him.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

God’s steadfast love will heal, provide peace, give grace, comfort, and lead us to him. Our day to day events or burdens that impact our lives are taken care of when we share them with our God who says:

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (v. 29-30)

Nehemiah offers this reminder of turning to God in our weakest moments when he discovers his homeland is devastated.

And I said, “Oh Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, Nehemiah 1:5

Nehemiah provides an example of elements of prayer by giving 1) praise, 2) thanksgiving (v. 5) , 3) repentance (v. 6), 4) specific request and 5) commitment (v.9). Doing this will help clarify your problem, allow God to help, and give us guidance.

In my prayers I ask for courage and faith like Peter shows in Acts when he shares the Gospel with everyone. Who better to have travel and share the word with then Barnabas who shows on going support, love, and encouragement to Peter as they share the word.  Together they support and love new Christians and encourage us to grow in our faith.

As we read today remember to keep our ears open to what God is calling us to do, be constant in prayer so we can turn over the burdens of our lives to him, and think of ways to share and encourage believers or non believers to help them grow in faith.

Have a blessed day.


Essential Light

Today’s ReadingGenesis 5; Matthew 5; Ezra 5; Acts 5

Genesis 5: When God created man and woman he blessed them and created them in the likeness of him. Verse 1-2 reminds me how God has purposefully created and blessed us all. Take time to see his beauty in all people today.

Matthew 5: Supreme Blessedness = Beatitudes

God blesses us.  Every day and in every way he has provided a framework and blueprint of a way to live our lives. He is our shepherd, our father, and sent his son for us to provide an example how we should live our lives. Much of my physical life I’ve tried to be my own architect, how much more meaningful when you follow his design.

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 teaches us blessed are:

Poor in spirit = For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Those who mourn = They shall be comforted.

Meek = They shall inherit the earth.

Hunger/thirst for righteousness = They shall be satisfied.

Merciful = They shall receive mercy.

Pure in heart = They shall see God.

Peacemakers = They shall be called sons of God.

Persecuted for righteousness = Kingdom in heaven.

Persecute you on his account = Reward is great in heaven.

Grace filled love traits for us all  

He goes on to remind us we are the salt of the world the light of the world – let us shine everyday in in all we do. God has our back! Jesus was sent not to abolish the law but provide us an example of being a “doer and a teacher”. Often we do one or the other. When we are doing both for his glory our light shines so bright we encourage others.

We are reminded to avoid anger, lust, divorce, oaths, and retaliation. God tells us to show and give sincere love to our enemies… How hard is that for you? Think about those who have shown us love when we didn’t deserve it. God sent his own son for you and me. Through God- all things are possible!

Dear God, Break our society handcuffs that keep us from sharing the words of this “Life”. Help “our attitudes” with the beatitudes. Teach us to be courageous like Peter & John in Acts 5 and obey God rather than men. Help us to not cease teaching and preaching that our Christ is Jesus and you are all we need.  Amen

Have a blessed day!