I am Ready

Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased , saying, The will of the Lord be done.  Acts 21:13-14

Are you ready? I reflect on these couple verses found in the middle of Acts 21 and think of how many times I have been fearful, lacked trust, listened to the world, or allowed myself to be influenced by others.  To focus on me and not do the, “Will of the Lord“. My personal excuses in these moments could include; I wasn’t ready yet, no time, over-extended, or, afraid of a perception that others would possibly judge me by. I can be lost or selfishly looking at me at times without letting the will of our Lord take hold of all aspects of my life.

Today, as we continue to grow in the wisdom of what Paul shares with us in Acts, we can be encouraged to show courage.  Paul shows how not to be afraid and to share His word even when fear can be on the horizon.  Be inspired! This courage found in Paul is inside of all of us! Think, what if when Agabus approached Paul and other believers, after taking Paul’s belt for the purposes of modeling to him the bounding that was going to transpire. What if Paul in that moment said, “You know what Agabus, your right let’s stop spreading the good news.” No way!!! Paul’s faith and God’s grace gave him courage. Think,  How many eternal lives would of been lost if Paul didn’t do the Lord’s will.

As a staff our school has been reading a book called Move Your Bus written by Ron Clark.  In this book there is a parable about a bus that doesn’t have a gas tank but  moves based on those that are on the bus.  In the book these people can consist of; runners, joggers, walkers, riders, and the driver. I share this story because I think of Paul.  Paul is a runner.  He is not walking, going for the ride, or choosing his moments to run.  He is a full-time runner.  He’s ready for anything. Whatever needs to be done, and when it needs doing.  Paul is there ready to work  without persuasion. He simply loves God and knows the only way for others to get to have a relationship with Him is through sharing the truth.  Paul doesn’t give in or decide to remain silent. He knew God’s will for him.

Now none of us enjoy physical pain, hardships, or hurt. But through faith, our desire to please God can overshadow the avoidance of suffering. I’m sure Paul didn’t enjoy being bound, beat, and having to go through all the humility and pain.  Yet his main focus was to do God’s will and he accepted it all. In these times like Paul we can say, “The will of the Lord be done.” 

It’s hard for me to say no.  I want to do as much as I can for God, family, friends, and others. But, when God is not involved I can struggle with knowing what is for me and what is for Him. Help our desires to be on Him.

God, I pray now for wisdom and discernment to keep you at the center of all our decisions.  That when you open doors for us we enter. Give us courage like Paul. Let your will be done!  – Amen

In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. Luke 14:33

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

I love verse 15 that follows. (15)And after those days we took up our carriages, and went up to Jerusalem.  Paul’s courage has an impact on others. After pleading with Paul to not go to Jerusalem, and Paul saying basically too bad, I’m doing the Lord’s will. The rest of the group who all wanted to turn around joined Paul in his mission.  That’s leadership. His courage affected them. God’s will!

6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race,I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:6-7

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:33-34

Are you ready? 

Dear God,

Thank you for your word. We know you desire a total commitment to you from us. We give up ourselves to follow you and your will. Use us to accomplish all goals planned for our lives.  Amen


Today’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 14–15; Revelation 4; Haggai 2; John 3

Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts, according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. Haggai 2:4-6

I like to workout. I have a small set of weights in my basement and now that the membership has run out they get more use. The recent amount of dust on the bench and barbells wouldn’t prove this, but current life priorities have impacted my usage including the growing list of excuses I can come up with. As our earthly bodies gets older our physical strength we have tends to take a hit unless you really have time to stay on it. Either way, the story of Haggai helps remind me of where I get my true strength from and serves as a reflection on my priorities. Where do you get your strength? How is the priority list going this time of year? 

A brief summary about the book of Haggai the prophet tells about him coming back from exile with other Jews to rebuild God’s temple in Jerusalem their hometown. Years later the temple still had not been completed. The work had been started but priorities had shifted and the temple wasn’t done.  Expectations, pressures, work, events, and demands took a toll on their schedules. Family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances influenced their days which turned into years. The plan was for them to come straight back and start rebuilding God’s temple but their own agendas got in the way.  We have been asked to continue to build this kingdom.  How’s our kingdom building going? How have our priorities got in the way compared to His?   How true is this in our lives?

Sometimes do you wonder where the hours, days, or years go?

The strength we have slowly can be worn away by the physical and mental exhaustion we accumulate by going, going, and going…trying to meet the demands of others.

Haggai became a catalyst for the strength of God. He called the people back to God’s values, will, and work. Helping them to reorder their priorities according to God’s plan. In reading this chapter it reminds me of where my strength comes from and Who’s Will we should live for. I reflect on my priorities and where am I putting my energy? What demands and expectations am I making my focus? Can I make it better? What am I rushing through, do I lose track of God? Where does my strength comes from? A timely message from Haggai helps reminds me of God’s claim for our lives and priorities. Its a reminder about who gives us our strength. Just ask and have faith, He will give it to you!

Today as your waking up or wherever you are in your day ask God for strength.

but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

Reflect on your priorities and pray to align them with His.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Dear God,

Thanks for this group of readers. We pray that as we read we are using your words to impact our lives and others. God, as we read through your words we are given strength and guidance of your will for our lives. We pray that during this Christmas season we are open to your will and sharing your love with others. Help us to align your priorities to our lives. Amenstrength

Hall of Faith or Hall of Fame?

Hebrews chapter 11 is often referred to as the hall of faith. This is where the legacies of the heroes of Scripture are chronicled. Very different from the halls of fame we encounter in our culture today. 

Walking through a sporting goods store this past week I noticed a very large banner. An athlete up at the break of dawn, with all the ‘essential’ gear, stared into the camera with determination.  The text read simply “I WILL”. Here is another ad from the campaign. 

Under Armour I WILL campaign
Under Armour I WILL campaign

The memory of the familiar “JUST DO IT” slogan immediately came to mind and I thought ‘at least this “I WILL” campaign was a bit more transparent of a rallying cry, God willing we will have an easier time seeing it empty.’ In my estimation, when comparing and contrasting the heroes of Scripture from Hebrews 11 to this campaign, it was their faith that helped them realize they and their will were the furthest thing from true glory.


Extra Credit: Self Examination. From conversations with them, some teammates that went on to pursue and reach the professional level struggled with a seemingly constant battle against selfishness. These people were not selfish but their battle was against a lie that said the only way to make it was a completely self absorbed lifestyle, dedicating every moment to their bodies and skills. A constant placing of themselves, and their training, first.

Compare this to your “making it”. Ask yourself what does “making it” look like to you? Is your definition of “making it” of this world? Titles, money, position… What sort of “training” is required to always be first in your life for your definition of “making it”? Know that the world will lie to you about the answer to this question. Praise God that He has given us the truth!

From the hall of faith we get a sense of what making it looks like to our God. It is simple. It is faith. Where the first verse defines faith, the second verse speaks to the stark difference in the bases for congratulation between the ‘people of old’ and today; where faith was this bases in the ‘people of old.’ Their faith was their accomplishments, not victory on this earth, some position, or peer perception of them. It was their faith in God. Here is the big question that we all need to get right. In your life does faith in God = making it?

Suggestions for prayer: Ask the LORD to show you what success looks like. To give you a deep passion for pleasing Him in this way, a steadfastness for pursuing this with a single eye in meekness, humility and faith.

For further study: Memorize and meditate on Hebrews 11:1. Here we find the definition of faith. Such an important factor in following Christ.

Today’s reading: 1 Chronicles 7–8; Hebrews 11; Amos 5; Luke 1:1–38


With wonderment I began to see for the first time how truly selfish I was. Now the question was; what was I going to do about it?

Today’s Reading: Deuteronomy 17; Psalm 104; Isaiah 44; Revelation 14

Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” A second angel followed and said, “’Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,’ which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.-Revelation 14:6-8

The Book of Revelation is mystical and strange, but there is no mystery that it proclaims the glory of God over all. And like the entire Bible, it draws constant attention to God’s holiness and the importance of seeking restoration with God before the final day of judgement.

Lately I have wrestled with bad behavior of others which has both surprised and disappointed me. Fortunately, now, when I observe this “bad behavior,” I am learning to see myself, like in a mirror, one that I am not afraid to look at anymore.

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 7:5

In the interest of time, due to a crazy week of home improvement colliding with travel plans on both ends and lots of work related opportunity and challenge (as usual); I have selected a page from the epilogue of a book I hope to be releasing next year.

I am able to speak with authority about selfishness and self righteousness, because I have struggled with this disease my entire life, and still do. What I am certain of is this: anytime my focus is more on me than on God or others, I am heading for trouble. This happens time and time again. Fortunately I have been rescued by God, and in His power I have hope of restoration, through the blood of Jesus Christ.

God please grant me the faith and power to surrender my will to yours. Amen.

Here is a page from “Wisdom of The Hidden Places; A Search For God”

American writer John W. Gardner once wrote: “Self pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it gives pleasure and separates the victim from reality.” Eventually I came to see that any focus on self, unchecked, was profoundly destructive, the basis for all that was evil; the very foundation of sin! Slowly, over time, I began to emerge from the poisonous fog of self obsession, trying to escape the prison of my narcissism — my alternative reality.

I was a cultural Christian drowning in the spiritual hydraulic of my narcissism only to be rescued by a collaboration of principled atheists and agnostics, true believers and the Holy Spirit. God was everywhere, even in the places he was not invited or rejected. His Spirit didn’t have to be embraced or even acknowledged, but it couldn’t be denied.

My story is not the proclamation of personal holiness, or a testimony of some great spiritual achievement, it is rather a story about a lost boy who struggled to find the love of an earthly father, who wrestled with grief, personal power and other powers while learning how to love.

I found my Heavenly Father in the end, but in no way do I consider myself better than anyone I have met along the way — I remain a sinner. The difference is this — I have been set free from my slavery to sin and have chosen to follow the righteous path; and only in God’s power, not my own, did this journey became possible.(Romans 6:6)

Through my father’s struggles and mine; and in the struggles of my children to find their place with God, I learned who I was, and who I was meant to be. As I began to rest more and more in God’s perfect will, I was less inclined to over-reach for the things of this world. That’s when everything finally started to fall into place. The more I learned to trust God, the greater my peace and joy. Situations that had once caused anxiety were now turning into anticipated opportunities to see God’s hand in my life.