Simple Truth, Short Devotions, Encouraging Prayers
Planted in Promise

Planted in Promise

March 31, 2019

Matthew 25:24-25
“Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back."

The servant thought he knew God but clearly he didn’t. Somewhere along the way he became fearful of God, but God’s perfect love cast out all fear (1 John 4:18). What happened after he received his gift that convinced him it was better not to use it? This story is a great example of the tactics the enemy still uses on God’s children today. He is continually trying to instill fear, doubt, and confusion within us. The Bible says the devil is the "father or lies" and that lying is his native language (John 8:44).

There was once a season in my life when I was surrounded by someone that continually spoke lies. I was grounded in truth, but over time, I unknowingly began to believe the lies. There was a gradual acceptance of the other person's words instead of God’s truth. It was an incredibly challenging season. Like this servant, I began to bury the things that God wanted to grow.

This season eventually passed, and I was able to see it for the deception it was. No matter how strong our walk is with Christ, we will absorb what we are around. Proverbs 22:24-25 says, "Don't befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul."

While walking in the valley, I realized the enemy isn't after us as much as he is after our calling. We are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). As we walk through life, the light of Christ that resides within us not only lights our path, but also provides light to those around us (Philippians 2:15). If the devil can convince us to hide our light or bury our spiritual gifts, he’s not just robbing us, he’s also robbing others (Matthew 5:15).

Father, help us to become more like you in everything that we do! Help us to be your light and shine bright in all the dark places. Help us to not be deceived by the enemy's lies, but to remain firmly planted in the truth of your word! It is in Jesus’ mighty name we pray! Amen.

Appointed and Anointed

Appointed and Anointed

March 31, 2019

Exodus 23:29-30
"But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals would multiply and threaten you. I will drive them out a little at a time until your population has increased enough to take possession of the land.”

God’s blessing and His fulfillment of that blessing often occur over the course of time. The older I get and the further I walk, the more I am able to clearly see His hand of faithfulness. God continues to provide and fulfill His promises along life’s journey.

The Bible gives us many examples. David was anointed as king years before he was appointed as king. God’s promise was true the moment it was spoken. However, it took time before David and those around him were able to visibly see the promise come to pass. Joseph had a God-given dream that took years to become fulfilled (Genesis 37:5). Abraham left his familiar land to inherit land he didn’t know how to reach (Hebrews 11:8).

Oftentimes, the beginning of our journey appears to be heading in the opposite direction of the fulfillment of God’s promise. Joseph didn’t mention prison in his dreams, but it was actually his time in prison that prepared him to rule the land, which later led to the fulfillment of the promise (Genesis 45:7-8). It was David’s confrontation with lions and bears that prepared him for his unforeseen battle with Goliath (1 Samuel 17:34-36). Even Jesus himself “grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52).”

I am reminded that delays are not the same as denials! They are simply preparation for what is to come. Let us celebrate that our Father not only has good things in store for us, but He also takes the time to prepare us for those things He has in store (Ephesians 2:10). He knows what we need even before we ask for it, and He is a faithful Provider of all good things to fulfill our created purpose!

Lord, thank you for creating us with purpose and completing the good work you start in each of us. Help us to not get discouraged as you prepare us for what lies ahead. Thank you for molding us, shaping us, and training us to walk in the land that is already ours. It is in Jesus’ mighty name we pray. Amen!

Listening and Looking

Listening and Looking

January 1, 2019

Luke 2:8
​That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.

Luke 2:12
And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger."

I recently went for an early morning walk while it was still dark outside. The sky was full of stars, but there was one in particular that appeared to be shining brighter than all the others. As I looked at it, I began to think about the star that guided the wisemen to our newborn King. I began to wonder if the star they followed looked something like the star I was watching. Was it brighter than all the other stars? Was it visibly moving like the lights on an airplane that slowly glide across the nighttime sky? While thinking about how far they had to follow the star, I decided to look up this story in the Bible.

As I read it, I noticed something I had never seen before. The shepherds were staying in a field “nearby” (Luke 2:8). They weren’t a long ways off! They were close to the miracle that the world had been anticipating for thousands of years, but they still couldn’t see it. It took an angel to reveal it to the shepherds, and the Lord used a star to guide the wise men (Matthew 2:1-2, Luke 2:9-15).

It was in this moment that I began to realize it isn’t much different in our lives today. Some of God’s mighty handiwork is happening all around us and in us, yet manytimes we still don’t see it. What if the miracle we have been praying for or seeking has already arrived and is "nearby" (Luke 2:8)? What if it is wrapped up “in strips of cloth” instead of  the shiny wrapping paper with a big bow that we may be expecting to see (Luke 2:12)?

God's ways are above our ways (Isaiah 55:9). Some of His greatest blessing are oftentimes found in some of the most unexpected places. For most of my life, I imagined a manager to be a nice baby crib filled with hay like we see in so many of the nativity scenes today. It was only after visiting Israel that I learned that a manger was nothing more than a stone feeding trough for animals. The world greatest gift, Our Savior, was found wrapped in pieces of torn up cloth and laying among the animals that He created. The world was waiting and didn’t see Him, but the wise men found Him because they were listening and looking (John 1:10).

Father, help us to see your ways and to hear your voice. Help us to always look up to you before looking out to others. Help us to lay down any and all of our preconceived notions and to willfully and joyfully open our hearts to everything you want to show us. In Jesus mighty name we pray, Amen.

Don’t Miss the Moment

Don’t Miss the Moment

December 31, 2018

Luke 2:38
​Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

Recently, our team was  discussing some missed opportunities. We had experienced multiple disappointments in a rather short period of time, moments when we had a chance to make a difference in someone’s life. However, in these particular instances, it wasn’t something we could do on our own; it would require the help of others. To our surprise and disappointment, we didn’t get the help we were hoping to receive.

Honestly, my initial thoughts were not good ones. However, as I continued to pray about it, I began to see that the Lord was teaching me something through this. The words from the Holy Spirit that came to my heart were, “Don’t miss the moment.” In a world where we are continually making room for more things, we must also make time for more individual moments.

Until now I hadn’t given much thought to “moments” as they pertained to the Bible, but as I did, verse after verse began to come to mind. The centurion’s servant was healed at that “moment” (Matthew 8:13). The woman who had been bleeding was healed in a “moment” (Matthew 9:22). When Mary and Joseph brought baby Jesus for the first time, Anna came up to them at that very “moment” and gave thanks to God“ (Luke 2:38).

I was reminded I must not get so caught up in the mission or the meeting that I miss the moment. God changes things in a moment! He heals and redeems hearts in a moment, and I need to be looking for moments! Through it all, there was the realization that I not only need to treasure my time but I also need to make time for what is treasured.

Father, thank you for taking the time to know us. Jesus, thank you for making time to to die for us. Help to become more like you. Help us to see moments and to never miss an opportunity that would bring glory and honor to your name. It’s in your mighty name, Jesus, we pray. Amen!

Heading Higher

Heading Higher

December 31, 2018

Isaiah 55:9
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

I recently got back from hiking the Grand Canyon from one side to the other. My friend and I went off the beaten path a few times, and it turned into a 25 mile journey. We arrived with purpose, and our mission was to hike it in a single day.

The hike began early that morning before the sun started to rise. It was dark and foggy, and even with headlamps on, our visibility was very restricted. As we continued the fog lifted and the darkness began to give way to the morning light. We hiked for hours, stopping briefly at times to take pictures along the way. Eventually, we crossed the Colorado River and began our ascent out of the canyon. The terrain was steep, and our legs were continually becoming more weary and fatigued. I found myself gazing upward and looking intently for the top that marked our way out. I was hoping that the end of our journey would finally be insight.

Another mile was hiked and another 1,000 feet of elevation was climbed. Every time we thought we could see the top, another peak emerged behind it, higher than the one before. This went on for hours!  I was tired, my body ached, and I began to wonder if the end was ever going to actually appear. I was ready to rest, but the path before us insisted we continue our journey to higher ground.

It was in this moment that I began to realize that this journey through the Grand Canyon is not much different from the grand journey of life. There is a path that He has set before us (Isaiah 30:21). We can wander off the trail all we want, but it much easier to stay on the course (Deuteronomy 30:15-19). Take time to enjoy the scenery and appreciate the beauty all around us. There will be times when we get tired and weary, but His strength works best in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Even when we face many disappointments, we can be certain that this, too, will pass, and the end will eventually be insight (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). His ways our above our ways! If we are going to see the splendor of things that we could never imagine, we must also be willing to follow Him to the higher ground. It is only there that they can be seen. (Ephesians 3:20).

Father, thank you for opening our eyes to your will and your ways! Thank you for your faithful hand of provision! Thank you for already being at the end, before we even begin, and for walking with us every step along the way. We love you, Lord! Amen.

Patience and Promises

Patience and Promises

October 1, 2018

Proverbs 20:21 (ESV)
​An inheritance gained hastily in the beginning will not be blessed in the end.

There have been more times in my life than I would care to admit when I rushed things. My grandmother once told me, “Haste makes waste,” or as Proverbs 19:2 says, “hasty feet miss the way." Patience is hard! It goes against our natural human desire to seek instant gratification. Over time, He has taught me, “The right thing at the wrong time still isn’t right.”

It is hard enough to deny ourselves something we want. I personally believe it's even harder to deny our wants, knowing in our heart that He has already faithfully gone before us and provided for our needs. It is a blessing when our “if you can” prayers become “when you do” praises (Mark 9:23-29). However, this blessing also comes with the challenge of being patient until we receive it..

Abraham was confronted with this same challenge (Genesis 21:5). God promised him a son, and Abraham believed he would receive it (Genesis 15:6). God was able and Abraham was willing. However, as time went on, there became a problem. Abraham’s desire to receive the blessing outran his desire to wait on God’s timing (Genesis 16:1-3). God’s plan without God’s timing is never God’s way (Genesis 27:18-19). 

While reflecting on this, a portion of the Lord’s prayer came to mind when He said, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). It was the verse that followed this when He said, “Give us today our daily bread,” that reminded me of the importance of His timing (Matthew 6:11). If we truly want His will to be done, there is only one way for that to happen. We must be patient and wait for Him to “give us” the “bread” that He has promised. If Abraham, the father of faith, can get ahead of God’s timing, we certainly can too (Romans 4:16). Through it all, I was reminded His timing is perfect, and many troubles can be avoided when we refrain from trying to hastily obtain tomorrow’s bread today. 

Father, thank You for knowing exactly what we need and exactly when we need it. Thank You for preparing us for each and every blessing that You already have in store for us. Help us to never forget that an inheritance received too early is not a blessing in the end. In Jesus mighty name we pray, Amen.

Prevailing Purpose

Prevailing Purpose

September 30, 2018

Proverbs 20:5
​The purposes of a person's heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.

I was recently praying through several things and asking the Lord to show me the direction He wanted me to travel. I went on a morning walk, trying to quiet my soul and listen for His voice. I didn’t hear much at first. All I could hear was myself continuing to ask Him questions. Knowing I needed to be quiet to hear Him, I turned down my praise music and sat still. I closed my eyes and just listened. A minute or two had passed and all I heard was “purpose”. “Purpose? What does that mean Lord?” I asked. There was no further explanation, but verses began to come to mind as I reflected on the word. He created me with purpose (Ephesians 2:10). His purpose will prevail (Proverbs 19:21). All things have purpose (Colossians 1:16). I am here with purpose (Psalm 139:16).

The word “purpose” then transitioned to “rest.” There is rest in the middle of His purpose, and we can’t truly find rest until we pursue our created purpose. I was reminded that when we aren’t walking in His purpose for our lives, tension begins to build. Like a train that has become derailed, it is only after returning to the track that we become able to advance along the path He set before us (Hebrews 12:1).

At the end of this one-word conversation, I was reminded to rest in my purpose. There is no need to worry about accomplishing His plans for my life. He will do it (Philippians 1:6). I just need to be obedient and remain on His tracks of truth. He will take care of the destinations and the passengers along the way.

Father, thank You for being a faithful God and a loving Dad! Thank You for teaching us, guiding us, and loving us as we continue to grow in Your word and in Your ways. Help us to rest in our purpose and never forget that no matter how far we may travel or where You may lead us, You are already there! Amen!

Knock, Knock… Answered Prayer

Knock, Knock… Answered Prayer

August 1, 2018

Acts 12:12-15
When he realized this, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many were gathered for prayer. He knocked at the door in the gate, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to open it. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that, instead of opening the door, she ran back inside and told everyone, “Peter is standing at the door!” “You’re out of your mind!” they said. When she insisted, they decided, “It must be his angel.”

I love this story because it reminds me how easy it is to get caught up in the routine of prayer and lose sight of the power of prayer. This wasn't your typical Wednesday night service or fellowship dinner that just happened to include a little prayer time. They were up late at night; perhaps well past midnight, and they had gathered to "pray very earnestly for him" (Acts 12:5). They were praying with purpose, and that purpose was Peter! 

This wasn't a group of casual Christians; they would have already been in bed. This was a group of devout Christians. They loved the Lord and had seen Him do miracles. However, somewhere in this spiritual battle they got so caught up in their need that they lost focus of their Provider.

They prayed all night for Peter, so why didn't they believe when God answered their prayer and hand delivered him to their doorstep? When Rhoda told them, "Peter is standing at the door," they told her, "you are out of your mind" (Acts 12:15). I kept asking myself, "Why would someone stay up all night praying for something they never believed they would receive?" My first thought was that they really were out of their minds. But the more I reflected on it, I began to realize their lack of faith wasn't in who God is, but rather it was their believe in what He would do.

Perhaps everyone there was praying that Peter would be spared, but Rhoda was standing close to the door because she had been praying that Peter would be hand delivered. Why else would she be "so overjoyed" while everyone else was so full of doubt (Acts 12:14)? The words of Jesus came to mind when He said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" (Matthew 19:14). A little faith, in a little girl, can move a really big mountain! Perhaps, like this little servant girl, when our time with Him accompanies our faith in Him, we too will hear the answer to our prayer knocking at the door.

Father, thank You for teaching us, training us, and the privilege to boldly enter into Your presence with thanksgiving and prayer. Help us to never loose sight that You hear us, You love us, and You move mountains when we come to You with a mustard seed of faith and prayer.

Not By Sight

Not By Sight

July 1, 2018

Acts 3:4-6
Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!

We are abundantly rich in Christ Jesus! In Him, we are overflowing with love, light, and healing power. Not by our own might or strength but by the power of Christ that reigns and resides within us (Zechariah 4:6). 

How many times have we casually passed by opportunities to invest in the hurting, the sick, and the less fortunate, while looking to our physical wallets instead of our spiritual surplus? Christ has called and created us to be more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). He has empowered us to share the Good News to the ends of the earth. Perhaps, like Peter and John, we may not have the money; but what we do have is far greater (Ephesians 3:20). The same healing power that raised Christ from the dead resides in us (Romans 8:11).

​This story continually challenges me to move and walk in faith! I sometimes wonder how many hospital beds could be empty if all of us, as God’s children, walked in bold faith. Peter took the lame man by the hand, “and as he did, the man's feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened” (Acts 3:7). The man was healed “as” Peter moved in faith and not a second before. The healing occurred through the power of Christ, but it was transferred through the loving touch of Peter. The greatest Hospital in the world resides within our hearts! Isn’t it time to open the doors? 

Lord, give us the strength we need to move in faith. Thank you for Your healing power that resides within us. Help us to freely give and share with others all that You have so graciously shared with us. Help us to be Your hands and feet! In Jesus' mighty name we pray, Amen.

The Sea in Front of Me

The Sea in Front of Me

June 1, 2018

Luke 5:5
Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." 

While standing on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, I became convinced that Jesus was a bottom fisherman. Not only was He born in one of the lowliest of places, He also journeyed through some of the geographically lowest places on earth. The Sea of Galilee is about 700 feet below sea level and is the lowest fresh water sea on earth. The only sea that is lower is the Dead sea which isn't far down the road. Jesus was literally using lowly people from the lowest places! 

On this trip to Israel, we were able to see what many people believe to be Simon Peter’s home. As I gazed at it, it became evident that Peter’s abundance didn’t come from how much he had. His abundance came from who he was with! It wasn’t Peter's and Andrew's earthly success at fishing that qualified them; it was their willingness. After all, they hadn’t even caught a fish when Jesus showed up that day (Luke 5:5). Jesus spoke to them about fishing because that is something they knew and could understand. Matthew 4:19 came to mind when Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Fishermen and "fishers of men" are so similar in sound yet so different in purpose. The first is for the purpose of living, but a “fisher of men” is living for a purpose.

Jesus changed the world through the people who were in front of Him. He invited fishermen as He walked by the sea and a tax collector as He passed through the streets. He invited those He came in contact with as He walked through life. He didn't have to fly across the world to reach it. Instead, He reached the world from right there where He was! He did it one person, one conversation, and one day at a time. With His help, so can we! 

Father, open our eyes to the people You place in our path. Help us to never miss an opportunity to share Your love and light. Give us the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and the syllables of every word that we need to speak. In Jesus' mighty name we pray, Amen.