I had this dream. We were all working in this trailer and it was just another day. Coworkers were talking about general things and the new guy was talking about things he’d buy, how much he’d drink, calculating his take home pay out loud for all of us to hear, just odd things were being said. Then someone came in the door and said, “hey guys do you see whats going on? Somethings going on with the forecast”. We went outside, it was about 11:00, and the sun was still sitting on the horizon, it hadn’t come up. I found it odd he used the word “forecast”. The sun kind of looked the way it looks when a thin cloud covers it, to where you can kind of look at it without hurting your eyes. It was just an eerie feeling that sank in as I heard a faint siren in the background. My boss and another guy walked off as the new guy and I stood looking from the front. I quickly started going into sharing the gospel and repentance with this guy, pointing at the sun and talking to him about at the end the stars are going to fall away. Do you believe?, I ask. It was crucial to me that he’d receive what I was telling him, and it looked as though he was. I felt the need to get back home to my family. My keys were inside so I went to open the front door of the office to go get them, but it was locked, I couldn’t get in. I wake up.

I can’t help but to wonder how close we are to that last day…Nobody knows… Matthew 24:36 puts it this way…”But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

All we can say is we are closer to that day than we were yesterday. And for many today is their last day. That last day could be very soon.

On that last day, who would be on your heart?

At this moment, that door isn’t locked. The door is open.

So driving back to work from the project site I came up to a car that was driving really slow. I just wanted to get around him and get to work. I noticed the handicap license plate and I began to let up a bit from my frustration, but still wanted to get to work. “Eghhh, mooove, please don’t turn right at the light”, I said. This was followed by the turning on of his right side blinker. “AHHHH!, okay I’ll just jet around him after the turn, I thought”. So he made his right, and it turns out I had to wait another 10 seconds for traffic before making my right. Finally, I make my right and I’m off and running, FREEEEEEDOM! About 2 miles down the road I see that same car breaking down. Bummer, then there was that familiar nudging in my soul. I pass him up and get to the next light to make my left. That nudging of the spirit began to grow , “Okay”, I’ll answer the call, so I made a u-turn. I start driving back and I see him slowly driving along the shoulder, “oh good”, I thought, “he’s not fully broke down, he’s getting somewhere”, so I pass him up again – off to work. Then I look in my rearview, he pulls to the side again. Okay, I thought – so I made the u-turn again. People waiting for the bus notice me drive by for the second time in this old black truck. We’re doing circles now.

So I continue about a mile and make another u-turn and pull up on the shoulder behind this guy. I get out and begin walking up to his window, there in the backseat is his walker, and there he is, by himself, in his mid-70s with a front fender-bender and apparently an empty radiator. I asked him how he was doing and if there is anything I can get for him. He told me his story about the minor wreck he was in. He just dropped to liability a couple days ago because he hadn’t been in an accident for 40 years. The guy in front of him just slammed on his breaks, he rear-ended that guy and now the car is overheating. He shared a few times how he was just feeling really upset. I just tried to be an ear for him. I offered to get water but he mentioned the hood doesn’t come up. I offered him a ride but he wasn’t ready to leave his car. So we just talked awhile longer. After we talked for a few minutes I told him one moment, and walked to my truck wrote down my name and number on a piece of paper and gave it to him. Told him if you change your mind about the ride home just give me a call and I’ll come back. I looked down the road and saw the Walmart market and said, “if you don’t want to leave the car here you may be able to make it to that market and park it there temporarily.” He was up for it so I jumped back in my truck and followed with my hazards on. He passed the market and stopped on the shoulder again, then he waved me over. So I got out and walked over. He said, “you know I don’t have too far, I think I’m going to try to just coax it back home.” I asked, “you sure?” He responded, “yea it should be okay”. I said, okay and then he thanked me and shook my hand. But I felt a call to pray. Then that dumb spirit of fear started talking, so I just had to do something so I cut the fear off and asked the guy, “What was your name again?” Even though he never gave it to me. He replied, “Oliver and yours?” I told him my name and we shook hands again and then I said, Oliver, would you mind if I prayed for you? He looked up at me and said, wait for it……. He said…….”yea” in a more lifted calm voice. That spirit of fear was way off. And with my hand on top of the car roof I just leaned forward a bit and said, “Lord, thank you for Oliver, thank you for the opportunity to meet a new friend. “Lord please help Oliver get home safe. Thank you God, In Jesus name I pray, amen.” After the prayer, he looked lifted and with his hand he raised the paper with my number and said, “now I have a good friend to reach out to”, I said, “definitely, call me if you need help”. He said, “I’m just a good guy too” I smiled and nodded my head in agreement and then we said our goodbyes. I believe in that last moment the Lord just poured out an amazing blessing on both of us. And I know he’ll make it home just fine.

God brought me so much joy in this experience. God is so good. My way was to ignore the situation, and I was being very impatient. His way is to love others, love is patient, love is kind. Thank you God for helping me be more loving, an area for me that can always use some improvement. May you continue guiding me to live less for me and more for you Lord, with love always. Thank you. ~ Amen

I saw this image shared on facebook and this post came flowing out as a result. I’m thinking this tip probably does help since it refocuses the attention away from the fear of something unknown, and on to things we can understand, but if I could take a moment, I’d like to share a little about my own struggle with anxiety.

I’ve struggled with both anxiety and social anxiety for much of my life. And to be honest, I still have my days. But when I found the Lord, I believe he has truly helped me through this. I now use anxiety as my alarm, one that goes off at a time when maybe I am not putting God first in my life, or placing my trust in him.

When I get anxious I say this little prayer that goes kind of like this,

“Lord forgive me for being anxious, I know and trust that you are in control. Lord help my ways become more like your ways. Help me focus on you and others today and less on myself or any fear that I don’t understand. Please help me put both you and others before myself. If there is someone I can help or serve, please make that person known to me. Thank you Jesus for always loving me and for always being there to help carry me through the struggle. ~ Amen”

And then the next step I take is to follow Christ by doing what I can to serve someone else. Serving others can be as simple as reaching out to someone with a few kind words of encouragement, or going all out in a big way for someone who can really use your love and God’s love in their life. There are a lot of hurting people out there.

I just felt like I needed to share this because our Lord and Savior has helped me so much more than the ativan ever did, and I am certain if others out there who are struggling with anxiety take a hold of this, they will be amazed by the result. God is good, all the time. Jesus once said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” John 8:32 puts it like this, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” And he has helped free me from the anxiety. These are not just words on a page but promises made to us as followers of Christ. May the Lord be your refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.

Related Articles
I wrote this article below back in 2013

Clay was a born athlete and football was his passion. Highly motivated, every practice Clay would be out there doing drills before the team even showed up. He was the team leader. He loved his coach and his team, and always went above and beyond for them.

One evening he and the team were preparing for a rival game. This wasn’t just any rival game, it was the championship. Sitting in the locker room the Coach began connecting with his players, sharing strategies and exposing the other team’s every weakness. After explaining strategy the coach would often end with, “You must master this…”

That night the team played hard, but it was Clay who crushed every record and ultimately crushed the opposing team. As they were walking off the field a player from the opposing team calls out to Clay’s teammate Trent saying, “You suck man, you don’t belong out here.” In retaliation Trent loses it and attacks the other player only to get nailed by a right cross. Trent hits the ground. Anger quickly turns to laughter as the antagonist skips off the field. With Trent still coming to, Clay reaches down to give him a helping a hand. With a sigh he asks Trent, “What was that all about?” Trent in confusion responds, “what do you mean, you heard what that guy said!?!” Well yea Trent, I heard him – but regardless of what he or any of his team says to you, that doesn’t change the score. The game has already been won.

Sometimes I think it’s easy to put too much emphasis on the little things. In this story the game was won, but the insignificant battles rage on. Trent’s next step was simply to enjoy the bus ride back home. Perhaps we can do the same. Simply enjoy the ride home, and pull as many people on board with us as we can along the way. May we always praise Jesus for his leadership, his will, his love and his grace. He always goes above and beyond for us.

No matter what life brings, and whether I come out of my daily battles victoriously, or feeling completely and utterly defeated, that doesn’t change what happened at the cross. Thanks to Jesus, our Lord and Savior, the battle has already been won. Our adversary has already been defeated, yet he’s like a poor sport walking off the field still talking trash – doing all he can to distract us from the beautiful gift of salvation.

May we always keep our focus on Christ.

As we follow Jesus, we continue learning how to put his words into practice. And for this reason it is so important to be in the word – because situations will often come when we’re least expecting, situations that demand a response. The more we are in the word, the better prepared we will be to respond. And through the word, he gives us the right action plan for whatever life throws our way. It’s a relief of mine to know that I dont have to figure everything out on my own, for I trust in my Lord and Savior and I can look to him for the answer. You know, there was an old song I learned as a kid, and it started out like this. “The wise man built his house upon the rock….” Have you ever heard it? This song is based on the following scriptures:

The Wise and Foolish Builders (Matthew 7:24-29)

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

May I set out today with boldness, never afraid to share the truth. May I live a life that reflects Christ, a life different from today’s culture and the expectations of man. May the way I live be pure in heart only to bring Glory to my Father above. Lord I’m so imperfect, faulty and flawed; I need your help. I cannot do this alone.

I want to continue distancing myself from the old me, the one who was satisfied with merely blending in. I no longer want to blend in but stand out in a way that brings glory to your name. Perhaps living my life as a fully devoted follower of Jesus will beg the question, “why is he like that?”. Maybe then I will have the opportunity to answer that question with the following, “I do this because of my love for Christ, Jesus is my Savior and he has been so good to me. I just never knew it until I began following his ways. I’ve accepted him in my heart as my Lord and Savior. Through all of it, God has always been there in my life. I live the way I live because I have chosen to follow his ways, and those ways are good.”

Perhaps then, I will have the opportunity to share my testimony.

I have a challenge for those who have not yet accepted Christ. The average life span is about 72 years, which translates to about 864 months. Chances are if you’re reading this you’ve already burned though nearly half of them. My challenge for you is to set aside the next 3 months and shake it up a bit from the norm. In these 3 months I’d like to encourage you to seek God with all your heart in these next three months. Find a local bible based church and attend every Sunday. Get involved in a small group. Change the station in your car. Get into the Word of God, the Bible, the book of Matthew and John are great places to start. A big part of seeking God is done by putting his word into practice in your life. And God will be there with you every step of the way.

Got questions, check out gotquestions.org. Also check out openbible.info/topics/ for topic related searches.

William Boykin, a founding member of Delta Force and former commander of Army Special Forces, talked about his career in the military and the importance of faith in his life. He focused on persevering through tribulations caused by false media reports and false allegations. 

Lieutenant General Boykin was involved in the military efforts to track down Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar and overthrow Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega. He spent 36 years with the U.S. Army, before retiring in 2007. At the time of his retirement, General Boykin held the position of deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence. 

General Boykin was introduced by a video before he spoke at the Cottage Hill Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama. Afterward he was shown talking to congregants as he signed copies of his book Never Surrender: A Soldier’s Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom (FaithWords; July 29, 2008).

ref: http://www.c-span.org/video/?281189-1/book-discussion-never-surrender

The other night I was in the book of Mark and came across Mark 4:15-41, the story of Jesus calming the storm. Some of these men on the boat with him were experienced fishermen. I can only assume they’ve encountered storms in the past, but this storm had them scared, scared to the point of fearing for their lives. Imagine that. For a seasoned fisherman to be this fearful, there must of been a lot noise, crashing of the waves and who knows, maybe even some crazy thunder. Their boat must have been rocking all over the place, and in the midst of this storm what is Jesus doing? He’s sleeping. The disciples find him in the stern, sound asleep on a cushion. In fear for their lives, the Disciples woke Jesus up asking, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

In Mark 4:39-41 it says this:

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

So during this storm, Jesus was there, but the storm was carrying on. However, when in fear the disciples came to him and Jesus was quick to take action, rebuking the winds and calming the sea. The calming of the waters did not happen until the disciples brought their concerns to Jesus. In a commentary I found, the author referenced an old testament verse 121:3 which says, “He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber.” And that he did not!

Just as in the story of the storm then, when trials come, call out to Jesus and he will hear you cry. He will be with you through the storm. On the boat that day, He did not continue sleeping at the cry of his disciples, and he will also be with you when you call his name.

Always have faith in him during the storms in this life, and there will come settling point. But know that another storm will be coming. So be ready. Although none of us particularly like “storms”, it does provide an opportunity grow in our faith and relationship with him. But you must stay prepared so your faith and relationship can grow. Continue praying and trust in the one who calms the sea. Press forward in all trials following his example. Jesus lived and walked on this earth being the perfect example for us to live by. Whether you read the Gospels once, twice or dozens of times – these are the books I personally always end back up in because it is Jesus who is my perfect example. When going through trials I can usually find a section throughout the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) that help me continue on with clarity through various challenges that are thrown my way. It starts with a prayer and then taking the time to get into the word, and finally obeying his greatest commandments [hover to read]. The Bible has the answer through every challenge that we face. I’m going to end on thanking God for sending his Son who testified to the Truth, who is my perfect example, and for going through all that he went through for the forgiveness of my sins. Where would any of us be without Jesus.

Father, also, Thank you for the Bible, ancient words that have survived thousands of years which give us hope, direction and truth. A book organized by you, the one who created everything including us. A book by the one who loves us infinitely more than any person could ever. Thank you.

Words God-Breathed, for you and me.

I read a commentary last night that left me fully convicted. It was about 7pm and there I was, sitting on the couch reading the Bible and at times I would pop my head up and see what was happening on the TV, then revert back to what I was reading. My youngest son was watching something on a handheld right beside me. One more TV was left on in the family room. Then there was also the faint sound of a video game being played in the distance.

The commentary was talking about listening for God’s voice and it states, “We don’t have the concentration to meditate on the things of God because we are constantly listening to the TV, turning up the radio, or doing all the talking ourselves.” I can tell you, the TVs were turned off soon after reading that. And then you know what happened? It became peaceful.

Imagine having dinner with a friend and you are telling your friend something very important, something from your heart, words you’ve prepared in advance. Blood, sweat and tears were shed in the preparation of what you are about to say. So you begin to speak, but you feel you don’t have your friend’s full attention. This is validated as they become engaged in a text. You love your friend but they’re not being a great friend right now. How counterproductive they are, in doing their part in growing the relationship.

The moment I read that I realized, I was being that friend.

When reading the word or doing a study, it may be very difficult to cut off all the sounds, especially with kids. But if there is something you can do to reduce distractions, it’s beneficial to go ahead and do it. Today I want to be sure to take time to be with God while in my study, distraction free.

2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

So is there trouble in the home, issues between you and your spouse? Does it seem like you’ve tried everything but the cycles continue? Maybe, just maybe, there’s one more option.

Now there are hundreds of family counselors to choose from, and their answers for you will vary some. There is only one God. And his answer for us husbands has proven to actually work. What is his answer?

Ephesians 5:25-26
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,…

Guys, are we simply to love our wives? Or should we go as far as to be submissive? What if she’s in the wrong? Do we still submit with love? The verse above says to love her, “just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”. Were we (the church) sinners when he decided to give himself up for us? Yes! We were sinners then and still today. How did he give himself up for us? Jesus out of love and obedience to the Father made the decision to go to the cross and suffer as a sacrifice for many, and for that, hope is alive today!

Is hope alive in your marriage?

I believe there is! But we as husbands must be sure we are doing our part. I believe we are supposed to love our wives to that extent expressed in that verse above, to give ourselves up for her with unconditional love and sacrifice, just as the scripture says.

Make today the day you decide to give yourself for God and for her, maybe by first setting aside some prearranged thoughts, personal wants and desires. Begin with a 30 day goal of concentrating on just loving her with that ultimate unconditional love like what Jesus had for us, and continue loving her in a way that is pleasing to God. Be strong and courageous. I know this is no easy challenge, especially when you give all your love and receive back something that seems far from it. But stick to the script. When you cannot do it for her, do it for God. Take advantage of the God given gift of prayer. Pray for strength and clarity while also expressing thanksgiving. Although things may seem bleak, there is so much to still be thankful for. He will help you through it.

Now when it comes to loving my wife to this degree, I’ll admit, I fall short on this often. One thing I promise is, I’ll continue trying for both God and for my wife. And although we husbands will fall short, being human and all, I can say with complete confidence, blessings and healing will be poured out upon your marriage if you take this instruction from Him, and put your complete trust in Him and his ways.

Please come see how this played out in my own story.

This book I personally found very helpful, you can usually find it on amazon or a Christian book store near you. If you’d like to check out the website you can find it at loveandrespect.com


When you can’t do it for yourself, do it for God.

Here are some examples of where this comes into play.

– Loving those who seem unlovable
– Praying for those who persecute us
– Being led out of our comfort zone
– Waking up extra early to exercise ( me this morning 😉 )

Feel free to comment and share some more!

Today I want to thank God for the freedom we have to worship him, pray to him and share our faith.  I want to go out today with my focus on him and take advantage of this God given freedom to live out my faith.  I must keep my eyes open throughout today, always looking for an opportunity to serve him and put his teachings into practice.

I pray for the other Christian brothers and sisters throughout the world who are being persecuted, or who may be living in fear of being persecuted for their belief.  May God protect them today.  May God’s peace be upon them.

Have you been coping with holiday stress? The other day I had the opportunity to apply something I learned in church last Sunday.  And it worked! The lesson had to do with stress, anxiety issues and how to overcome these and receive God’s peace.  I actually seen this same lesson taught by two different Pastors this month.  This wasn’t planned out, it just happened.  Well maybe it was planned out – just not by me.

I was dealing with some general stresses and struggles.  So one evening when I got home, work stress merged in with home stress.  I decided to take a walk to unwind and it was then I decided to pray.  Now usually my prayer would go something like, “Lord please help me….”  There is nothing wrong with praying for help, however the lesson encouraged me to take it just a step further.

      I was to:

    • 1. Stop Stressing, Begin Praying
    • 2. Tell God exactly what I need.
    • 3. Begin Thanking Him for Everything

    So that’s what I did.  As I walked I got into prayer and asked God to remove the negative thoughts, the stress, and provide me with clarity.  I then began thanking him for everything – thank you for my Wife, my kids, our health, our home and more.

    At the end of my prayer I felt peace. I also was given clarity.  I had a new perspective and found myself to be more appreciative. If you are going through stress or issues this holiday season, or anytime for that matter, try it, and receive God’s Peace in your life today.

    Philippians 4:6
    6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The One-Two Combo, one verse combined with the two greatest commandments…

It’s good to keep our God’s instruction in the forefront of our minds. I suppose that’s why when putting the Armor of God on, the word of God is the sword of the spirit. The sword is always out in front. When your response or reaction is based on God’s instruction, that is making use of the sword. As you get more familiar with the word of God, your swings become more precise.

Now on every challenge that comes at you in life, you can go with a quick jab which may be one verse or another, or you can go with the one-two combo. Once again, for the one-two combo, simply combine a relevant scripture with the two greatest commandments.

Two Greatest Commandments

Matthew 22:37-39 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

Some Common Challenges

Dealing with Regret
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The enemy will try to make you feel unworthy. You’ll have moments where you think “I’m not good enough.” The enemy wants you to give up. His goal is for you to be far from God.

What if every time you feel regret, you confess your sins. That’s great, that’s the quick jab and it hurts the enemy, but he’ll try again. But what if… lets say you confess your sins and then with love for God and others you go out bless someone? At some point Satan will see that his attempts only bring people closer to God. This is just simply bad for business – for him. He’ll retreat, for awhile, until maybe you get a little too comfortable and forget to throw on the armor.

Isaiah 41:10
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Now if you’re dealing with a fearful moment and you come to this verse, read it slowly and understand God is with you. And that’s awesome. You’ll survive the moment. But take this verse and combine it with the two greatest commandments, that Devil will have no power, because when you are focused on loving God with all your heart and soul, as well as putting your focus on loving others, you’ll have absolutely no room for fear to manifest. This is a great combo to keep in mind.

1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

There is always an escape, and when your focus is on loving the Lord your God with all your heart soul and mind, that escape can become clear as day. In loving Him, be sure to pray.

Proverbs 15:1
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

You can give a gentle answer, sure, but what if you provide that gentle answer while loving God with all your heart, soul and mind and also loving that angry person? Now that’s a fatal blow to the enemy. If every time the devil tries to attack you through the anger within a person and you perform this combo response, eventually the devil’s gonna get tired of dealing with you.

Psalm 34:18
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

He is close to you, closer than you think. Accept this verse as truth and do something that shows Him how much you love him, through loving others and see where this course of action leads you.

When you put on the full armor of God and learn or continue learning how to use that sword well, you’ll see a change in your life. That fear will dissipate, that temptation will leave, that regret will be no more, or that angry person may look at you with a blank stare or maybe even take on a change themselves.

And when that happens you can remember this verse, John 1:5, “And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

The enemy cannot comprehend the one-two combo. You’ll connect every time.

We are always in the ring, so to speak, in one way or another. If you are dealing with anything specific utilize the web and search “what does the bible say about _____”, and then combine it with the two greatest commandments. Then apply these and begin seeing how truly awesome it is to have God working in your life.

As a Christian, I continually want to grow in my faith and relationship with Jesus. I always want his ways to continue replacing my own. More of Him, less of me. Personally, I know I will always be a work in progress, today, tomorrow, and years to come. This doesn’t change – this is as constant as time. We all fall short, and I can never be a perfect christian. Because there is no such thing. I will fall and then fall again. I know this. I also know that when I fall, I’ll cry out to Jesus. And just like with Peter, He will be there to catch me.

Matthew 14:30-31
30. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31. Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

I bolded immediately because after reading this verse in about 20 different versions of the bible, 18 say immediately and the other two say At once and Instantly. Immediately, probably in much the same way a loving parent would reach out to saving their own child from drowning. But one thing to remember is Peter cried out for him to save him, putting all trust and hope in Jesus. Peter wanted to be saved.

I’ve now lived life on both sides, once following self and now following Jesus. If you’ve only lived on the one side, I’d like to encourage you to try following Jesus for awhile and see where it takes you. What do you have to lose? This doesn’t mean just going to church on Sundays or just reading a section of Matthew, although these are great starting points, but I mean really, seek and follow him and his ways on a daily basis. Give it a shot and see for yourself. And if you do this, you will find the truth. You will see. And I can promise this; You will, only because He has said you will, and there is no lie in Him.

This morning, around 5am, I woke up from a dream, and this is how it went…

My family and I were at a theme park which had some interesting rides. There was this one ride that was built like a race track where you ride in car type frame with two wheels, much like a bike. Or it may have been a car that turned into a bike. In dreams, stuff like this happens to me all the time. I’ll be first dreaming I’m riding in a car, then next thing you know I’m riding on a bike, followed by me walking down a road. Very weird. Anyways, my oldest child is on this ride with me and we are going fast. Real fast. I’m in the drivers seat and she’s just to the right of me. “Slow down Dad!” We steam around this corner and it almost felt like I should have slowed down with all the fake theme park houses along the side of the road. We don’t want to hit those. But we kept going fast through this track, both of us – on this car bike (its starting to become a bike I think.) We get near the end, and something at the end is what I call the grand finale jump. You ramp up this thing while keeping your wheels inside these tracks, you take some air and then you land perfectly. No matter who you are, you always land perfectly. It’s so cool. The ramp was designed this way, so if you’re big small, you ride well – or not so well, it works perfectly every time! So I’m approaching this ramp at lightning speed and now she’s screaming DAD!!! no no no no no! That way! There’s another way to exit the ride other than the grand finale ramp. So on impulse listening to the fear in her voice, I take it.

As we get off the bike at the end I say to her you must try it, its awesome, it such a thrill, you’ll love it. She answers, “no, I don’t think so”. I reply, “you must at least see how it works.” I ask some of the other kids there, do any of you want to do it. One kid says, “I’ll do it!” I say great, then I turn back to my kid and say “lets watch this kid, you love this”. So he takes the bike and begins to peddle away to a starting point. Then a couple people walk up to the front of the ride and start presenting it to the people around. I take a seat, there are chairs there now. My dad is sitting beside me. I lean over to tell him, “this kids going to do the grand finale jump. Its going to be cool.” So he and I sit there listening to the lady start to talk about this ride, followed by the designer of the jump. He’s kind of a funny guy, he goes into how he came up with the idea of the grand finale jump. Then, finally they complete their presentation and say, “now this kid is going to demonstrate the jump”. Its the same kid from earlier. Alright! Finally its going to happen, we’re going to see a little action. I look around, my oldest is now gone. “Where’d she go?” I ask. I begin looking for her – “she needs to see this”, I say over and over. Where is she? I’m becoming a little worried that she’ll miss it. Where is she, where is she? Then I see my oldest sister. I walk up to her and tell her, “I can’t find her, she’s going to miss the jump” “Where is she?” Then my sister puts her hand on my shoulder, looks in my worried eyes and calmly says, “There will be tomorrow.”

Do you know someone that may be struggling in their faith, perhaps a child of yours, or a friend? Have you ever asked, “What can I do about it?” Here are some scriptures I’ve found encouraging.

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Deuteronomy 28:1-68
“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9
5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

I got into a little bit of 1 Peter this morning. I bolded the parts that I felt I needed to bold for my daily walk with Him. Discipleship is about following his ways instead of my own…

As we continue living our life, as God calls us to live, we continue growing in our relationship with him. According to the text below, as long as we choose to continue living his way, He will watch over us and his ears will be open to our prayers. I cannot speak for everyone in the world, but for me, I do want God watching over us. I do want the blessing of his favor in my home. So I must always put him first in my life, I must live Christ centered – always.

1 Peter 3:8-12
All Christians

8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. 10 For the Scriptures say,

“If you want to enjoy life
and see many happy days,
keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies.

11 Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

12 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,
and his ears are open to their prayers
But the Lord turns his face
against those who do evil.”

It’s a blessing to be able to have the freedom to follow Jesus. From one day to the next we continue growing as Believers and Disciples, but then something happens. Anything from a test to temptation enters our lives. Do we continue following or is it in that moment when we decide, “I’ll try my way for a little while.

Our adversary is very skilled at finding the things that we find important in our lives, and then using these things to drive a wedge between us and God. If you are an auto enthusiast, you may wake up one morning to find your beautiful GTO keyed from bumper to bumper. If you love your job, you may soon find yourself fighting to maintain your position. If you have a collection of some kind, it may get stolen.

What is it in this life that you love? Is there a chance that, whatever it is,
it could possibly separate you from God? (even for just a moment)

1 John 2:15-17
Do Not Love This World

15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

I was watching a couple videos last night and wanted to share them with you. I love it when I see people take leaps in their life, which involve overcoming issues of self confidence and fear. This world can be judgmental and cruel to those they don’t understand. I believe we not only need to accept, but also support and embrace people, especially those who may have a unique appearance or those we sometimes shy away from. You just never know the back story.

I had this interesting dream in the earlier hours of this morning. In the dream I was walking down this walkway in a large office building. The walkway resembled an exit ramp from a freeway. The cubicles were large, like buildings you would see when exiting the freeway. Apparently I had just landed a job here. Everyone was welcoming me and encouraging me, “You’ll do great!” they say. As I was walking I began to see these motivational signs.

One sign said something along the lines of, “Let your motivation for professional success be driven by God, and not yourself, your loved ones or earthly wealth.”

Waking up from the dream I felt inspired. I have this entrepreneurial mindset, so I begin thinking of business ideas where the focus would be more on serving God. But then I felt like maybe I needed to stop thinking along these lines for a moment, I’m now feeling like the time is not right for some entrepreneurial endeavor. Then I thought to myself, “but I’m already in my mid 30s, times a wastin.” I know that may sound silly to some, and for good reason. After a little research I came to find that the average and median age of company founders, when they started their current companies, was 40. However, as soon as I said that to myself, “times a wastin”, then another thought instantly crossed my mind, “if it’s for God, my age shouldn’t matter”. Later that morning I considered, maybe it’s my work today that I should be thinking about.

It’s not until I give myself completely over, my full and complete trust, that I may do the best work I can ever do for him, regardless of the job given. If I don’t focus on growing in my faith, and giving over the wheel to him and trusting him so he may direct me on this path he has set, it’s possible that I may get in the way of succeeding to my full potential for his glory.

Often times our motivation for business success or success at work comes from the bills we have to pay, keeping our family supported, and other earthly goals such as saving up for that trip, that car, that piece of furniture, or even financial security. I don’t think it hurts to have goals, as long as our love, trust and faith in him continues to grow and take priority over the rest.

Mark 12:30-31
30 And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31 The second is equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” No other commandment is greater than these.”

Colossians 3:22-25
22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord. 23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. 25 But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites.

Matthew 6:33
33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

After the dream, a couple more questions came to mind…

Does my motivation for success derive from earthly things or heavenly things?

Do I have earthly goals or heavenly goals?

I started out this morning watching a program by Joyce Meyers with the Mrs.

Joyce’s message helped me ask myself this question, “Are there areas where I need to work on self-discipline”. The way she defines discipline is going through a little pain now for pleasure later. She talked about how many of us want the pleasure without the discipline. This couldn’t be any more true, and yes, there are definitely areas in my life where I need to work on being more self-disciplined.

Hebrews 12:11
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Proverbs 13:4
The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.

1 Corinthians 9:25
Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

I really like these few verses and the last one hits home for me. When you see athletes, whether on TV or in person, their lifestyle both on and off the field conforms to maintaining a healthy, physically fit, body for the challenges that lie ahead. Some runners eat, sleep and breath running in order to be the best at what they do. It’s common for many athletes to check tape (for the younger people that means review old videos), to seek out areas where they can improve.

I know discipline isn’t always about going through pain now for pleasure later, but is about going through something that may not be first choice on the list of things I really want to do at that moment.

For example, I would not say reading the Bible is painful, but for me it does take some level of discipline.

I don’t just want to be a Christian skimming by, performing to the bare minimum of my abilities – which God has given me. Am I staying physically fit in my faith for the challenges that lie ahead for me? What do I need to work on? Where can I improve? As I hinted above, I know I can be reading my Bible more. I know, although scary at times, I can be sharing my faith with more people. I know I can be praying more. I should be praying with my wife every night before bed, but I can’t say we do.

Sometimes it helps to take a moment and check tape. But don’t stop there. Follow it up with building solutions and making small changes, which may include some self-discipline, to help improve the level of effect we have with our mission and purpose. This will also help us continue growing in our faith.

Have a good weekend!

I know one of the things I need to work on is the way I bring up my children. Sure, I bring them to church every Sunday and throughout the week pray with them and talk about Jesus with them. But there are some things that I need to work on, because I know I’ve made compromises with them in certain areas.

For example, some of the cartoons they watch and games they play are good while others are questionable. I don’t let them watch any of the cartoons or play games that are obviously vulgar, but then there are cartoons where every so often something is said that they (the kids) don’t catch, but I do. But, one of my biggest concerns is video games. I remember when I was younger, I played some video games that were pretty bad. I have withheld some of this from my kids, but have made compromises on others.

On the one hand I want to be a parent who doesn’t take everything questionable away from my kids for multiple reasons (or excuses), and some of this does have to do with their perception of God. On the other hand there is a way God want’s me to raise our kids. He blessed us with these kids and wants us to manage them per his instructions.

One of my kids recently was having a hard moment and had a sour face. I asked him, “what is wrong”, with that he replied, “I’m bored :(“. I shared with them the idea that when somethings wrong and the reason starts with, I or I’m, that just might be the source of the problem. We are focusing on to much of I and not enough on God.

As you can see from above (in maroon) I wrote, “On the one hand I“. I know I need to work on trusting in God and his ways and not leaning to my own understanding.

Often, in the morning I’ll pick up my Bible and begin reading the red lettering found within the New Testament. I’ll eventually come across a verse that will stop me in my tracks and get me thinking about it. Then I’ll begin writing about it. Here’s the verse that got this post rolling…

Mark 10:42
“And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.

Is this verse focused on those who force Kids to sin or does it reach further to parents who allow a way for kids to sin. I’m thinking both. When I read the verse it says “if anyone causes“. My decisions as a Father can have an impact. I know my kids are not perfect and like any other kid they will make mistakes. But am I allowing anything, not just limited to games or shows, but anything in my home that may be causing my kids to sin? I believe this is a question I need to carefully consider.

Lately I’ve been praying for both the Christians and others groups being persecuted in Iraq. To pray for those persecuting these groups, quite honestly, hasn’t even in the slightest way come to mind – until I read the following verse below.

Matthew 5:43-48, Love for Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

I’ve read the verse before, but today it hit me in a whole new way. The first thought that came to mind after reading this was, “Do you really want me to pray for them?”. The second thought was, “Love them? Is that even possible?” The truth is it has been written, and further more it’s been written in red. Need I really ask if he meant it? Okay, here it goes, I’ll try, I’ll be sure to do the first, I feel like I’m going stumble for awhile over the second. It’s hard to even say I’ll try to love them, but I will. I’ll probably be mentioning my struggle with this in the same prayer.

Concluding Thought: Whether I am thinking about all the struggles in Iraq, or struggles in my own life, I need to be sure I start this day focused on God, and not myself. Today I need to work more on loving and praying for others, regardless of the relationship I have with them.