Tuesday, March 17, 2009


“The people who do know their God shall be strong and do exploits.” Daniel 11:32

This oft repeated scripture delivers hope to us in these times. In the prophetic context, the messengers of God speaks to Daniel about a time of great spiritual conflict. The people of God have been captured. Ungodly leaders have stolen the sacred and polluted the sanctuary. Pagan worship and pagan agendas rule the day. The covenant of God is being perverted. Seduction is common. Flatteries and hypocrisies are the climate of political conquest...BUT…
In the midst of all this chaos, the messenger assures Daniel of this promise:
“They that know God shall be strong and do exploits.” In other words, regardless of the circumstances, those who really know God, spend time with Him in worship, thanksgiving, praise...those who meditate in His Word and listen to His voice...these kind of people, like Daniel, shall be strong and shall do exploits!
In our day of economic and political flatteries and seductive rhetoric, the Body of Christ should not only be strong enough to stand but should also do exploits. The Kingdom of God should advance. Those who stay strong through their relationship with God should go forward. The promises of deliverance, provision, peace and joy are still true for the righteous. Truth is truth, regardless of the upheaval in our world. Cheer up.
Jesus said it emphatically in John 16:33— “In this world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer (courage), I have overcome the world”. He did it for us.
In Christ we are as strong as we want to be!
In hard times, Paul wrote to the Ephesians: “Be strong in the Lord and the Power of His Might!” Being strong is not an option.
God doesn’t need us to echo the nightly news, Sunday TV or even talk-radio!
God expects those who know the Lord to wisely be His voice of courage and strength in the midst of tribulation. God expects us to give voice to His Word. He expects us to have the audacity in this hour to do exploits...not to merely “hang in there”, but to go forward, to advance, to believe, to declare, to receive marching orders and yes to do exploits.
It’s set up time for the greatest awakening our world has ever known.
Let’s act like it. Darkness can’t put out light. David admonished the righteous to remember that “even in darkness, light dawns”! (Psalm 112) Our charge in this hour is not to give in to echoing the rant of panic but to give voice to the truth of God’s Word. Our charge is to know Him, be strong, and to do His exploits.
Let’s purpose to challenge ourselves daily to be God’s voice, rather than to be another distraught echo. Let’s be courageous. Light dawns for the upright even in darkness. Let’s be among those who know God, are strong and who do exploits.
Let’s go for it!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

For Jesus the first temptation in the wilderness was turning stones into bread. Satan was playing on Jesus' desperation for provision after fasting for 40 days. Going without food for 40 minutes puts me at risk. I need my chocolate! Satan still loves desperate times, not that Jesus was desperate. The devil manufactures fear, extraggerates needs and blows day to day situations into monumental delimas. Take the current U. S. economy, for instance.

Here's the point. If Jesus had succombed to turning stones into bread, he would have compromised a basic truth. "Other" bread may have satisfied the immediate hunger for food, but "other" bread would not have brought eternal satisfaction. Jesus lived by every word that proceeded from His Father. That was his bread. Father's words nourished Jesus and provided for Him in ways that stones could not. In these economical times it may be tempting to turn something into provision out of desperation. Satan knows that.

Picture with me a basket of loaves of bread. Some made from stones of our own making and one made by and according to the Word of God. Father's direction leads to Father's provision. Provision of our own making may satisfy for the moment but not for the momentum. Immediate gratification is enticing, especially when there's a crisis at hand.

The word preaches that desperate times call for desperate measures. Jesus wasn't desperate. He wasn't panicing. His words rebuked Satan and sent him on his way. There will always be another attack on our finances. It's not the government's bread or the fanagling bread of our own making that runs the devil out, it's the Bread of Life. Jesus is that Bread! He's the Word made flesh and dwelling among us. His Word is His Bond.

He is our provision. We don't need a mixed bag of truth and consequences. From the Bread of Life, God's Word, comes direction for our provision. Satan's manufactured fear has not power unless we give it power. Turning stones into bread is a temptation in this day, but the Word of God is still the provision for times like these.

Sunday, January 25, 2009



The older guy at the ordination was repeatedly admonishing the new minister to "stay close to the cross". No one told the new minister how...just do it! I knew a similar phrase from an old Baptist hymn: "Jesus keep me near the cross" but honestly I didn't know what it meant in the day of its origin. Driving home that night, I wondered who said it first! Jesus? Paul? The hymn writer?

The Gospels record Jesus using the word "cross" in confrontations with his followers, especially with Peter. (See Matthew 16:21-25) But Jesus also used the same word with the rich young ruler in Matthew 10:17-22. The rich young ruler was loved by Jesus (verse 21) and he was obedienct to the law. Honestly, the young ruler seemed a better choice on the outside for a disciple than some of those other guys, especialy Peter. But Jesus cut through the exterior and went straight to the "one thing you lack" teaching: "Sell everything you have, give it away and come follow me!" The young ruler went away grieved because he had great possessions. Not only was the young ruler's identity in his wealth, but so was his trust. To lay down what he really trusted in was a step he couldn't take.

Laying down what we trust in requires trusting in God's provision and direction instead of our resources, talents and pre-set agendas. We like predictability because it is so compforting. Yet it is so limiting.

Among the Greek meanings for the word "cross" is "self-denial". Jesus couples this invasive directive as a pre-requisite to following him. Trust precedes knowing God's direction for our lives. The rich young ruler had the rules figured out. He had crossed all the "t"s and dotted all the "i"s but Jesus wanted more than a starched shirt, He wanted followers. He wanted trust.

Predictability does not root out of our character the stuff that Jesus wants to deal with in His followers. Letting go of our security blankets and taking hold of him digs deeper into where our trust level really is. The older minister at the ordination knew what Jesus requires through a long life of servie. He was trying to warn the younger minister that being a follower is a daily commitment and necessitates trusting Jesus 24/7.

By self-denial, Jesus does not picture his followers with sour and somber expressions on their faces, dressed in rags and paranoid of screwing up every day. Religion pictures Jesus' disciples that way, but scripture does not. Looking to Jesus as author and finisher of our fatith, we see our Savior confident, enduring the cross because of the joy He set before Him. Being transformed into His image spares us much heart ache. Following Christ is not about the rules, it's about something much deeper. It's about following someone else's vision, direction, purpose, priorities, and it most definitely is about trust.

Self-denial begins with humilty. Why? Because humility releases God's grace. We need the enabling power of His grace. In the Greek, the spiritual meaning of the word grace is:
"the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life"!
Yes, it is unmerited but it is also enabling, empowering, supernatural, strengthening and over-the-top amazing.

Our trust level wavers whenever our grace level dips! Both are spiritual indicators of our heart condition. Jesus set the example. He followed Father in words and deeds and He did it joyfully from the heart. Religion has so distorted this concept that we are often robbed of the joy of daily taking up our "self-denial" and following Christ. It's liberating not to be in charge. It's like finding a whole new life...that's why Jesus said "lose it (your own) and you'll find it (His)"!

Keeping ourselves near the cross comes down to keeping ourselves humbled before him. Keeping ourselves humbled empowers us with grace to run this race on a daily basis. We set the joy of our salvation before whatever is called for and like Paul we look at whatever comes and say:
"None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto
myself, so that I might finish my course with joy and the ministry,
which I have received for the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the
grace of God." Acts 20:24 (KJ)

It's not walking on egg shells in fear of an angry God. Following Jesus is a great adventure for those who trust fully in Him. Living on the edge keeps us near the cross. As Andrew Wommack says: "I you're not living on the edge, you're taking up way too much space!"

Stay near the cross.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


This morning I was reminded of a principle the Holy Spirit taught me years ago. I was serving as Youth Pastor at Westside Assembly in Davenport and I was heavily involved with the evangelical association of pastors. I was on the board for that group and enjoyed the fellowship immensely.

The Holy Spirit began to encourage me to let go of the position and board for the evangelical association. He gave me this simple principle: You have to let go this so you can take hold of what I have for you. He would not tell me what was coming. I had to be obedient without knowing the "rest of the story"!

Finally I resigned from the association and waited to see what the Lord was up to. Within a few days, our Children's Church pastor resigned. I knew immediately that I was to take over those responsibilities. The reason I knew that is that this new opportunity met a need I had in the youth ministry. We had watched the youth grow to nearly 75. They had grown spiritually to the point that they were well equipped but they needed something to pour themselves into ministry wise.

We established a 25 member team of youth & adults to minister to children. We set the ministry in River City, a western town and cast stock characters, who would act out senarios weekly and then teach, sing, feed, exercise and do object lessons. We also wrote original material weekly to facilitate this ministry. My final two years at Westside was spent with the dual task of Youth and Children's ministry. It is a time I will always cherish. Many of those youth are not only walking with the Lord but they are serving full time in ministry.

The principle learned is often applied season after season in my life. I continue to learn to let go of "something" so I can take hold of a new "something". Sometimes it comes quickly, sometimes, as now, it seems to tarry! But letting go is powerful. The waiting time nourishes and grounds me for the next assignment or season.

Examples from scripture:
Esther had to let go of her security and secret identity for such a time as this.
Moses had to let go of shepherding and become the great deliverer.
Paul had to let go of his stubborn mindset to become what the church needed.
Jesus let go of heaven and came to earth to become our savior.
You have had to let go of things that beset you (Hebrews 12:1-2) to become who you are today and who the Lord is calling you to be for tomorrow.

Serving the Lord with gladness,

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Wrapping up the previous two blogs.........it comes down to this:



Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Continuation from Newsletter/Subject:
Expect Gladness!

It is powerful to declare expectations of gladness over 2009. Don't defer your expectations, declare them. What is God's desire for your life? When the Holy Spirit drops His desire into your heart, declare His desire. Make known to yourself and to your circumstances what God's word says. Speak to your mountains but also declare your expectations.

New Year resolutions are powerless but the Word of God is all powerful. Resolutions have limitations, but the Word of God is without limits. God knows how to make you glad. Gladness is His desire for your life. With gladness, the psalmist instructs us to: "Serve the Lord!"

In Psalm One the righteous are compared to a tree planted by rivers of living waters...life-giving waters. The righteous bear fruit in season, our leaf doesn't wither. Whatever we do prospers. God has not only made us righteous by the blood of Jesus, but He has also makes us glad. His gladness is in us.

Because Jesus loved righteousness Hebrews 1:9 says that:
"God anointed him with the oil of gladness."
His anointing is our anointing. Gladness thrives in the lives of the righteous! Expect gladness.

2009 is your year. Paul ran the race for the joy set before him, you can too. There's more than enough gladness to go around to others. Paul writes in II Corinthians 1:24 (amp):
"We work with you as fellowlaborers to promote your joy". How can we promote one another's joy without gladness in our heart? It is the deferring of hope that makes our heart sick! Yuk! A longing fulfilled is a Tree of Life! This "Gladness Anointing" is meant to be shared.

See yourself as God sees you. Always see your circumstances from His perspective. This year train yourself to see things from God's perspective. I dare you to take your 2009 calendars and write boldly across each month:


Tuesday, December 30, 2008


The following is from my monthly newsletter and focuses on a scripture the Lord emphasized to me for 2009...........enjoy.

The righteous are an expectant people in all seasons. The 2009 season is fertile ground for expectations. Hopes for a new year are never built upon the political, economical or medical circumstances in which we live. We don't base our expectations on man's limited understanding or predictions of our financial or medical conditions. And we never base our expectations on past failures or missteps. Instead we declare God's Word over our life. In Proverbs 10:28 His promise shouts loudly in our direction:
Our hope is based on the Word of God. 2009 is a season for boldly building expecations on His Word. Limitations aren't God's style. Psalm 119:96 encourages us to live beyond limitations:
"I have seen that everything [human] has its limits and end [no matter how extensive, noble and excellent]; but your commandment is exceedingly broad and extends without limits [into eternity]. (amp)
Verses 97-105 reminds us that God's Word is more powreful than any circumstance or challenge that may come our way. Paul charged Timothy to "preach the word: be instant in season, out of season..."! The amplified version adds "...keep your sense of urgency, whether the opportuntiy seems favorable or unfavorable."
While the world panics and plays "fix-it" within their limits, God's Word boldy declares victory without limits! In 2009 the hope of the righteous is still gladness.
Get your hopes up!
...more to come tomorrow.