The Palm Sunday Christian

John 12:12-13

12 On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.” 

palm sunday

Imagine the scene.

Large crowds were there for the festival. Most already knew the buzz around Jesus and many had actually seen Him and His Miracles in person. Whether being fed on the hillside miraculously with thousands of others or seeing hundreds of pigs filled with demons run off a cliff, or the healing of sight, the lame walking and even the dead being raised.

And Jesus was now here, and each person thought to himself  “He is going to save me from my hardships”

How many of you recall your first encounter with Christ. Whether (like me) it was a Saul to Paul conversion of great magnitude that saw immediate freedom from drugs and alcohol so that emotional and relational healing could begin. Or like many there was a moment of clarity sitting in church listening to the same verses and sermons you had heard a hundreds times before when something clicked and Jesus and the Gospels came alive like never before.

For many a feeling of incredible exhilaration followed by extreme devotion. The deeply heart-felt conviction that “I’m all in Lord – Your will not mine be done”. And we pressed into the sacrificial verses with determination that they would become our deepest chore character traits.

“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.




He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.



If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.




And we replied YES LORD, I’M ALL IN

but then….

As the years roll on and we “work hard” for the Lord, volunteering, leading, maybe even going to seminary and preaching; the years roll on…

And the hardships keep coming, and the emotional struggles continue, and the difficult relationships or health problems persist. There seems to be little rest, and even less reward.

And you begin to wonder; what did I sign up for? I thought….

And there it is, the Palm Sunday Christian.

As the throngs of people worshiped and treated Jesus as a King and gave Him a triumphant entrance into Jerusalem just a week before they were under the impression that Jesus would… would… would what?

Would overthrow Rome?

Would raise up a great army?

Would reduce taxes, increase freedoms, produce food, shelter and work on a scale they hadn’t seen before?

What did you think Jesus was going to do for you? Did he meet those expectations?

I know for me I didn’t think it was going to be so hard. The joy I felt in my heart was because I was sure that all the trauma of my childhood abuse which I was medicating away with drugs, alcohol and pornography was behind me… I was set free.

I thought “now I will become a greater success in my career and get paid what I’m worth” and “now my health will turn the corner and I will be able to do the things of my youth”.

I thought…

6 years down the road of being a Christian and I’m wondering why life is still so hard and instead of finding revival I find the message over and over and over that we are a world at war; not just physically as is so evident in watching the news but more importantly a spiritual battle rages and we are called to stand and fight.

The crowds of thousands who were so happy to see Jesus come through the gates of Jerusalem and downright excited and worshiped and honored his presence just one week earlier were now turning on him chanting crucify… CRUCIFY!!!

They had each drawn up in their own minds what they thought Jesus was going to do for them and it created great joy within them.

They were expecting a free ride that would make their life easier. Let HIM do all the work and we will reap the rewards.

If you find yourself today thinking “this is a lot harder than I expected” or “this is not at all what I thought it would be” it’s time for a heart check.

Was the “pink cloud” experience of those early days, months, years when you first came to Christ based truly on going all in and His will not yours?

Or was it with the hope and expectation that all of life’s hardships were going to go away?

And as we grow beyond the naïve notion that our troubles are going to go away; we are then faced with the reality that being a lukewarm Christian playing church once-in-a-while is nowhere near what He expected when He said Follow Me.

War is hell, and we all, every one of us are called to be soldiers on the front lines. We every one of us has special gifts of the Spirit and abilities we were born with and they are supposed to be used for the Kingdom; we are to be fishers of men, every one of us.

Every day we are to be aware that there is an Enemy who wants to destroy every person on the planet and we are to engage in that spiritual battle. We are to discover our specific Spiritual Gifting and use it for the glory of God.

We are warriors called to battle and the battle is real. It’s time to bust any illusion that following Jesus was going to be a gentle stroll down a well lit path and armor up and get in the game.

Father God, forgive me! As I become more aware that much of my joy in the early years of knowing you was based on my expectation that someday it was going to get easier. That was never your promise Lord. Yes my soul can have rest but the Enemy will never stop coming at me and the ones I love… and more importantly the ones YOU love (which is everyone) and I must always be ready to engage the enemy when I see him trying to kill, steal and destroy. You have blessed me Father with a life free from drugs and alcohol and a heart that longs to worship you. I know that I have been set free but my emotional struggles indicate that I’m still not living free. Help me to accept the reality that my life is not my own and that fighting for and with you is a far more glorious destiny than my little mind would ever dream up. I here and now reclaim the joy I knew when we first met and renounce any place in my heart that reduces you to a gumball machine. You are my Savior and my Lord and my life story will sing Your praises. In the mighty name of Jesus I pray…

Posted in Addiction, alcohol, bible study, conviction, drugs, encouragement, Jesus, my story, pornagraphy, Recovery | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Fear of God

Romans 3:18
There is no fear of God before their eyes”

fear God

Brothers and Sisters we have NO excuses for not gaining wisdom on a biblical scale. What once would take a pastor or biblical scholars days, weeks or even months to research now takes mere seconds with the click of a search button in a bible app.

Case in point: the ABIDE APP has a series on anxiety and offers tools, tips and most importantly God’s Word and prayer to address our worry and anxiety.

Because these are strongholds in my own life (worry of things that haven’t happened and anxiety over things I many times cannot even pinpoint) I desired to look more deeply into the Bible for insight.

What I found?

In the NIV there are:

  • 15 verses on worry
  • 7 verses on anxiety
  • 336 verses on fear

Hmmm, huge contrast! So I decided to dig deeper

We are basically told about the folly of worry. Do not worry about your life, food or drink, what you wear, about tomorrow, or even how to defend yourself verbally when in confrontational situations. We are asked the question: does worry add a day to your life? And told to “decide to not worry”.

Again we are told of the needless burden of anxiety

Proverbs 12:25

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.

 Ecclesiastes 11:10a
So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body…

Here is where the 2×4 of God’s Word slammed me upside the head this morning in a mighty way.
  • 336 verses in total
  • 92 verses on the Fear of God or lack there of
  • 135 verses to Fear the Lord

We are also told to fear the Word of  God, and about those who feared God and who didn’t fear God as being those who were blessed and cursed.

Then it got real interesting, I looked in the right-hand column and saw it was broken down by Old Testament and New Testament. What did I find?

With “Fear Lord God” the breakdown is

  • 38 Old Testament
  • 2 New Testament

This made sense to me. Under the Old Covenant the LAW and sacrifices was the path to God.

Out of the 2 verses in the New Testament only 1 was directly relevant (and what I found spurred this blog this morning)

The Ministry of Reconciliation

2 Corinthians 5:11-21

11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 

12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 

13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 

14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 

15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 

18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 

19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 

20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

How true I find Oswald Chambers’ in my own life.  I still in so many ways live “under the law of sin and death” yet sadly without the OT covenant of fearing the Lord.

I so easily fall back to pride, anger and judgement to build myself up, or fear external circumstances as if they hold the power to make or break me or fall back into sins of performance for validation or lust for escape. So often a healthy Fear of God does not prevent those behaviors but instead an unhealthy view of God convicts after those behaviors.

And from a New Testament perspective of fear I completely miss the “Ministry of Reconciliation” and when I fall into those sins I reap self-condemnation and self-loathing instead of rejoicing in the atoning price that Jesus paid to cover my transgressions.

Our righteousness is not a matter of measuring the degrees of sinlessness we obtain (although that is the goal) but our right-standing with God is what was purchased on the Cross.

Our missionary work in day-to-day life has nothing to do with flogging ourselves over our sin-nature but instead simply to preach the good news of Christ’s salvation available to all who call on His Name and to walk with our heads held high and praise on our lips and worship in our hearts because of who HE is.

To fear God is to exalt Him with our life because nothing in this world holds the power of heaven or hell. Our battle is spiritual in nature and freedom is ours today, purchased by the Blood of Jesus and it will never be about our performance.

We’ve got to get over our focus on us and others and instead focus on the love of our Father who gave us a new name, we are co-heirs with Christ!

Glory to God forever!

Father God your Word cuts life a knife exposing those areas of our old selves that still cling for control and comfort in the flesh… and I thank you for that. The revelation this morning that fear and anxiety are to be tossed aside as folly without another thought because they do nothing but weigh us down. However a holy fear of You is healthy, a reverent fear that doesn’t generate anxiety over our destruction but instead becomes fuel for rejoicing as you took care of our right standing with you through the Cross. Help us Lord recognize the incredible power You have over our destiny and claim with boldness and authority the power of the Holy Spirit within so we can tackle the insignificances of life with a sole vision on the eternal glory that gives us new life, purpose and calling today.  We thank you and praise you in the Mighty Name of Jesus…

Posted in Addiction, alcohol, bible study, drugs, hope, Jesus, love, my story, pornagraphy, Recovery, Salvation, sex, The Cross, trials | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Unchangeable Choices

We all make hundreds of decisions each day and thousands if not a million in a week.

Some are incredibly insignificant such as what kind of muffin;  blueberry or cinnamon.

Others could have greater impact in the short-term, turn left or go straight at the next traffic light.

And still others take on a much greater importance such as to take a full time job or go to college.

There are also those also that seem life altering and they are; such as getting married, move across country for the career or become a missionary.

As many of our son’s and daughters get ready to graduate high school and potentially move away from home for the first time I think this message of unchangeable choices which hold life long ramifications is critical to convey (or re-convey).

An unchangeable choice is one that once made and the consequences come to bear they can never be undone or if they can be altered it comes with painful consequences.

  • Getting your girlfriend pregnant
  • Catching a sexually transmitted disease
  • Having an abortion
  • Committing a crime
  • Committing suicide

Yes through Christ there may be found forgiveness and redemption however you cannot avoid the life-altering consequences that comes with it.

You can change a house, a college choice, a career and even get divorced and have an abortion but you cannot un-abort, or un-suicide, un-std, or un-steal.

Yes you can indulge in the pleasures and shortcuts in life that Satan puts on our options list, but if the consequences are reaped it will be something you live with the rest of your life.

The expression of wisdom doesn’t comes from knowing you have choices but moreover having the courage to make a stand on the decisions that extend life and promote our dreams and avoid at all cost making the short-sighted decisions that can shut the door on or make incredibly harder the hopes and dreams you currently have.

Father God we pray for protection over our son’s and daughters that are graduating high school and soon to be walking into a major life transition. May their newfound freedom with driving, money, relationships and living situations not tempt them beyond their ability to make wise choices or make irreversible life-altering decisions. Help them to know they always have an advocate in You Lord and that the Holy Spirit within those who are saved will always be the guidepost to making life affirming choices that will open exciting new horizons every step of the way.

We place their care and protection in your all powerful and capable hands Lord. Surround our children with men and women who know You well and will help continue to guide and nurture our children while they are away from us. In the mighty and precious name of Jesus we pray.  

Posted in encouragement, faith, hope, Jesus, sex, trials | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Man Fully Alive

Philippians 3:13-14

13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

saul to paul

Imagine the shame the Apostle Paul likely felt over and over throughout his life in Christ as he would reflect on the miracle of his life transformation and then the Enemy of our souls would remind him how he tortured and killed the very Christians he now loves and serves.

{links now open to the verses in full context of the point being made}

1 Timothy 1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

Imagine Peter, the Rock himself who when reflected about Jesus greatest and ultimate sacrifice remembers his role of denying Him 3 times then running away in shame and not even being there to support his closest friend; especially after being positive in his soul that “he would die for him”

Mark 14:31 “No!” Peter declared emphatically. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the others vowed the same

Or how about David’s confession and mourning after coming to grips with the horrifying reality Nathan revealed to him about his affair with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband.

Psalm 51:1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.

Also worthy to note there were immediate consequences to sin with the death of his son and curse on future generations. However – He was fully forgiven, considered a man after God’s own heart and in the lineage of Christ!

Consequences of sin is not the same as condemnation for sin.

The point of which I’m prayerful is coming into clear view is that God does not love or bestow calling upon those “other people” who are pure in heart and perfect in faith. He is not looking over our resume’s and determining our value based upon our high morale history.

Romans 8: 1-2 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

Our sins (past, present and future) do come with a price however NOTHING can separate us from the love of Christ or the redemption found through the cross.

Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We are at war. There is an Enemy and he wants us to believe that we have gone too far in our sin. He less concerned about non-believers because in their current state he already has a lock on their destiny. He after believers!

Our enemy wants us silenced and sidelined and he uses shame and guilt and overwhelming senses of hopelessness and unworthiness to take us out.

But God…

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

He does not say He came to save us; to give us the opportunity to barely get buy in our suffering state…


Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Do we glorify our Creator, Savior, King, Comforter, Confidant, and Redeemer from a past filled with wreckage by continuing in strongholds, shame, depression and fear?

Only when we acknowledge that we are at war and we know that the Enemy will constantly be hurling insults and hardships our way will we begin to get over ourselves and recognize that the glory and joy of our new lives in Christ has nothing to do with our circumstances but instead about the glorious new ownership and destiny that is upon us today and forevermore.


If we focus on what the enemy is doing we are going to be filled with fear, anguish and depression

If we focus on what God is doing we are going to be filled with a confident hope, praise and worship

Gut check: how are you feeling right now?

Are you looking forward to a great day of opportunity to watch God at work in and through you – to be the thermostat setting the temperature in the room instead of the thermometer responding to others emotion states?

Or are you feeling a sense of dread that you have to wake to the same hurtful people, work at the same miserable job, fight the same miserable traffic, scratch for the same miserable existence.


Everything starts with our attitude. We have to keep forefront 3 critical truths at all times

  1. Yes I am a sinner
  2. There is a God who covers my deficit
  3. I am His and He is mine

With that foundation our lives becomes an outpouring of service and love and response to Kingdom calling. We acknowledge our sin when our flesh or fears rear it’s ugly head but WE DIDNT SURPRISE GOD with it, nor did we disqualify ourselves from “life on earth as it is in heaven”.


Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life


John 5:40 come to me to have life


Acts 5:20 Tell the people the full message of this new life


Romans 6:4 Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives

So today and everyday we get to choose what kind of day it will be. There will always be hardship, but we have been given the weapons of war by God Himself


Ephesians 10-18

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Father God here our cry. Search our hearts. Leave no hurt uncovered. Reveal to us Lord those places that we still desperately cling to for identity and escape which were born of the Enemy of our souls. Let the voices of our past, the condemnations of those who don’t truly know you be silenced. Write on our hearts Lord the new identity which You purchased for us. We desperately need help to claim our new birthright as Your son’s and daughters, co-heirs with Christ Himself. This is the Good News that we will never be able to give away to others if we don’t first have this message written deeply into our own souls. We have been set free – only through a growing faith and believe in You Lord will we ever be able to claim that victory which likely stands in great contrast to our current circumstances. The Enemy no longer holds claim to any part of our hearts Father, we joyfully surrender to all the goodness You have for us. In the precious name of Jesus we pray…

To learn more about who you are in Christ check out the I AM series

Posted in 12-steps, Addiction, bible study, encouragement, faith, God's story, hope, Jesus, love, Recovery, Salvation, The Cross, trials | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mental Masturbation

James 3:17

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.


I have spent years studying scripture, attending bible studies, reading devotionals and have invested hundreds of hours in various 12-step and other recovery groups and yet somehow my emotions continue to betray me.

After many recent months of wrestling with this Ecclesiastes-like conundrum in my own life (nothing I do seems to make a difference in how I feel) I have come to a single conclusion.

The pursuit of knowledge alone will never positively affect one’s emotional health or change one’s life.

Much like reading about flying a plane. The imagination of being in the cockpit and soaring through the sky can produce a euphoric sensation as we can really feel like we are flying.

But soon enough reality kicks in and I realize I can’t fly. I could take lessons and learn how to fly… but that takes time, money and great effort. Too much work.

It would seem since coming to Christ I have in many ways simply been in love with the idea of being a disciple of Christ; that my imagination has reveled in how different my inner and outer world “could be” if I woke each morning truly transformed by the gospel.

But that knowledge requires a response

Proverbs 16:32 Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.

Proverbs 25:28 Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.

Acts 24:25 As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.”

1 Corinthians 7:5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Galatians 5:23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

1 Timothy 3:2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

2 Timothy 3:3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,

Titus 1:8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.

Titus 2:2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

Titus 2:6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.

Titus 2:12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,

2 Peter 1:6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;

Satan tricks the fool into believing knowledge is wisdom however, true wisdom takes advantage of the new choices knowledge provides and it is the new behaviors that bear fruit. 

It’s easy to visualize a child of abuse being in an emotional prison created by others.

It also shouldn’t be hard to sympathize with that child becoming an adult locked in that same emotional prison even if they are now the key holder created by their own poor choices to medicate through drugs, alcohol, sex, food, etc…

But as we learn that we are indeed set free by the blood of Christ and that God has given us a new name and free will the prison door truly swings wide open.

Why then do so many sincere Christians actively pursuing restoration and recovery continue to struggle with emotional strongholds of addictions, anxiety, depression, poverty and hopelessness?


Much like the serenity prayer laments:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Wisdom without the Courage To Change is merely mental masturbation  

For many years I have been under the impression that the wisdom I was gaining in pursuit of both gospel truth and the neuroscience of addictions combined with my ability to lead other men toward greater levels of awareness in these areas should be having a greater impact on my inner well-being

Why then with a nearly immeasurable number of of ‘ah-ha’ moments of revelation and clarity do I seemingly still struggle at the soul level with the emotional bondage of lack of self worth and bouts of isolation and mild depression?

It comes down to a lack of self control.

Romans 7:19 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.

How much do we all struggle with living out “the courage to change the things I can

  • We have a toothache but don’t go to the dentist
  • We don’t like our job but don’t persue a new one
  • We have friends who are unhealthy but don’t change them
  • We may be overweight but still eat cheeseburgers and fries
  • We could be out of shape but never even take walks
  • We may have an estranged relationship with a parent but don’t pursue amends
  • We know we are judged by the level we judge others yet still gossip or road-rage
  • We desire deeper relationships but still text more often than we call
  • We may struggle financially but don’t maintain a budget
  • We could feel lonely yet isolate often
  • We know drugs, alcohol or porn are the enemy but we still go to them for comfort
  • We are told we a great person who helps many but we don’t believe them
  • We desire better relationships with our spouse or children but don’t pursue their hearts
  • We love Jesus but don’t heed his commandments
  • We constantly confess our need for more prayer but never make more time

Daniel 9:4 I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments

John 14:21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

Yes, the Good News of Christ Jesus is REALLY GOOD NEWS, but response to the gospel requires the courage to make new choices and behave differently.

Simply being aware of the option of living a new life is an exciting prospect but Jesus purchased our freedom that we may LIVE DIFFERENTLY.

Father God, you alone know the hearts of men. Search us Lord and leave no stone unturned. But please Father don’t just leave us with the knowledge and wisdom of our own sin-nature and shortcomings but infuse us with the courage and power to live out the very freedom You alone paid for through Your life, death and resurrection. Help us all to see that claiming freedom comes up far short of  courageously and boldly living free. Let us not mistake knowledge as fruit but instead let our actions bear witness to the glory of God. It is in Your precious and holy name I pray Jesus… 

Posted in 12-steps, Addiction, alcohol, bible study, conviction, drugs, encouragement, God's story, Jesus, pornagraphy, Recovery, Salvation, sex, The Cross | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why I Make Resolutions

Revelation 21:5 
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.


What a GREAT feeling to wake yesterday (January 1st) with the energy to JUMP out of bed and greet the New Year with enthusiasm. Filled with a sense of a clean slate, new promise, renewed hope, motivated with goals and action steps defined.

It didn’t hurt that New Years fell on a Sunday so the occasional feeling of “ugh, not this morning, I’ll just listen to the sermon online tomorrow” was nowhere to be seen. I was excited to go greet all my friends, true friends. The brothers and sisters that know my story and struggles from years of serving along side them and knowing many of them intimately from the various seasons of Life Groups, men’s conferences and other events we share together.

And I was my best self, encouraging, filled with the Spirit and engaged in listening to where others were that morning. I took notes at the service, cried as the Holy Spirit used the sermon to touch a deep place of hurt and shame over my shortcomings as a dad and felt the grace that reminded me that God is the one who will restore what the locust have taken and that I need to let go of the many “yesterdays” and PRESS ON into the now-ness and new-ness of TODAY.

On New Years Eve I shot my sponsor what I felt was a good New Years resolution list. In response he reminded me to KISS (keep it simple stupid)

AA Step 11.JPG

And it hit me – we are to do this daily, not just once and consider it done.

We don’t just say the Sinners Prayer and then get back to living life the way we decide.  We are called to FOLLOW HIM.

Psalm 81:13
“If my people would only listen to me, if Israel would only follow my ways

Jeremiah 3:19
“I myself said, “‘How gladly would I treat you like my children and give you a pleasant land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.’ I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me.

Matthew 4:19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

Matthew 8:22
But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 10:27
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

John 12:26
Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

And this is not an exhaustive list!

I’ve heard many so-called experts in psychology say we shouldn’t set unrealistic New Years resolutions because it only sets us up for failure and further self-condemnation when we inevitably fail again. And there was a time when I stopped setting resolutions because I agreed with that but I woke this morning with a question.

What – we should drop our God-sized desires for losing 100lbs, or stopping a bad habit, releasing a stronghold or overcoming an addictions, we should stop striving for that promotion or new job, saving for the down payment on the new house, stop praying to beat cancer or get married or restore broken family relationships and crush generational curses?

I suggest we should hang on to those God-sized dreams and…


Every morning re-affirm the healthy God-honoring desires of our hearts and PRESS ON!

We need to double down each morning and even morose when the apathetic and lazy voice of the Liar starts whispering “it’s too hard” rebuke that with God’s word which says


Goals.JPGThe world tells us we need to cater to our feelings, find our self-worth through power, wealth, fame and materialistic gains. But God can see the best version of ourselves and it is that which He desires for His glory and our growth.

2 Corinthians 3:18
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

What if Nehemiah gave up on rebuilding the wall

What if Moses gave up on leading his people to the promised land

What if David changed his mind on Goliath

What if Ruth chickened out in confronting the king

What if Jesus felt the cross was too big of a burden

If you have a God-sized desire in your heart then PRESS ON EVERY MORNING with the same zeal, focus, enthusiasm and commitment that you did on January 1st.

Prayer For Today

Father God, You are the center of it all. Help us to remain inspired and filled with hope, determination and committed to the causes with the knowledge that if the deepest desires of our heart honor You then You will bring that dream to reality. We are more than conquerors when we first seek Your will for our lives and then pursue each step through Your power. I know that You desire us to be healthy physically, desire for us to be connected deeply to others, empower us to break generational curses and relinquish strongholds, that You can inspire one person to lead a movement that will redeem a broken social condition, that You can feed the hungry, clothe and shelter the cold, heal the sick. You will do those things through us Father God by your grace Lord may our deepest desires revolve around glorifying You. May this be our prayer and vision every day and may we not grow weary in pursuit of the works You created us for. In Jesus precious name we pray…

Posted in 12-steps, Addiction, bible study, encouragement, hope, Jesus, love, Recovery, Salvation, The Cross | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

50 Days of Promises (46): Do you have a little “g” god?

1 John 4:4

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

My last conversation with my recovery mentor was not so much a conversation but more of an outpouring of my own lamentations;

… My son is 18 and we rarely have significant life-affirming conversations

… My position as IT Manager of the last 16 years has been eliminated at my company

… the career changes now taking place are cutting into my time serving in various church ministries and will likely get worse not better

… I’m nearly 53 years old and have never been married

… my emergency fund would only cover 30 days, not several months as they should

… I have chronic health issues which the doctors have basically written off as “fatigue”  as they can find no underlying medical problems

And my sponsors response? “You have a little “g” god.

I hate it when he says that!

But at the same time I’m always incredibly grateful for his laser guided convictions that cut through the noise in my head and leads to the same place that all truth leads; how’s my faith?

God never promised an easy life. Much to the contrary actually.

Luke 9:23 
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

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

2 Corinthians 6:4
Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses;

2 Corinthians 12:10
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

1 Thessalonians 2:9
Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.

2 Timothy 4:5
But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

Hebrews 12:7
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?

Revelation 2:3
You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

For probably everyone reading this, our daily struggles are borderline pathetic compared to the very real persecution, poverty and suffering that our brothers and sisters in Christ are facing around the world. When we ruminate on our trials we are succumbing to prideful arrogance and entitlements that dictate somehow we should be above hardship.

This is Satan’s oldest ploy since his reign over earthly things began

Genesis 3
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Adam and Eve were in perfect union with God until Satan planted the seed “you are missing out on something better”.

1 Peter 5:8
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

When we drift away from reading the bible daily, when we find it harder and harder to squeeze in times of solitude and prayer, when we forsake meeting with other believers, when we return to leaning on our own understanding and power to get through the challenges and hardships of this life; it will always open us up to the voice of the Evil One who seeks to implant a feeling of self-pity.

Self-Pity is defined as a self-indulgent dwelling on one’s own sorrows or misfortunes

When we have a little ‘g’ god our troubles overwhelm our thoughts and feelings and we no longer are focused on how we can be a light to those around us but instead fearful that the darkness may overtake us.

This is why it is so critical to stay rooted in God’s word and be constantly reminded of WHO I AM IN CHRIST.


It is HE who has overcome, is overcoming, and will overcome. Satan doesn’t know that he has already lost and that his lies are powerless to the one with a Big “G” God.

More Than Conquerors

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Prayer For Today

Father God, forgive me that I relegate You to a vending machine at times as I whine about how things seem unfair and the trials seem beyond my ability to not only endure but overcome in a mighty way through Your strength and power. The price You paid through Your Son is beyond comparison throughout all of time and creation and yet I indulge in self-pity? Today Lord I gratefully lay down my small burdens and instead press into the rebirth of gratitude and hope and purpose and calling. You are a mighty God, all powerful and worthy of our praise. Let there be no doubt in Your children this day that we are not burdened with the need to generate the light but instead simply reflect the light and hope that You alone produce Father. We pray for our eyes to be opened to the needs of those around us and that You will provide the desires of our hearts, the direction of our feet and production of our hands for Your glory this day Lord. In Jesus name I pray…

Posted in bible study, conviction, faith, God's story, hope, I Am, Jesus, my story, Recovery, trials | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment