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Showing posts from March, 2011

Glimpses of Glory

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When I tried to figure it out, all I got was a splitting headache until I entered the sanctuary of God. Then I saw the whole picture.” (Psalm 73:16-17 Msg)
I love it when I have a dream, though I seem to do more dreaming and imagining when I am awake than when I sleep. The reason that I like to dream is because it allows my mind and spirit to rally around images that God is bringing into focus in my life. These pictures are often what I refer to as glimpses of glory and I believe that they are used to compel me to follow Christ more diligently and to propel me to a place in the future that is being prepared for me.
I encourage you today to take a few moments each day and eliminate the activity, silence the noise and close your eyes while you pray. Ask God for some snapshots of where He wants you to go, who He wants you to know and then journal your experience. Often God works his own WYSIWYG method(what you see is what you get) and we find ourselves in that picture if we just keep on…

Hide & Seek

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You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance
. PS 32:7
Most of us when we were little kids played a game called "Hide and Seek". The purpose of the game was to go off and hide and let someone count and then come find you. The goal was to not be found. 
As we grew older the game changed, but just a little. We still ran off to hide. The difference was that sometimes it felt like no one was looking for us. And for many, the goal is still the same...to not be found.
Isolation not only breaks you away from fellowship but it also makes it harder for others to find you. As a kid when I played the game and got tired of looking for those hiding, I would just quit looking. People are like that. We get tired. It becomes too much work and we stop caring.
The Good News today is that the eyes of the Lord are searching the whole earth and looking for you. Jesus cares. Once you may have been lost but when the Spirit of God comes looking for …

All I Need

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The Lord is MY shepherd, I don't need anything. PS 23:1
All I must have and everything I need is found in one place: relationship with Christ. Joy that cannot be explained, peace that goes beyond what I understand and comfort for my body and soul is only found in Him.
Most of us today are in search of some type of normal and balance in our lives. When things become unbalanced we turn to people, substances and medication to bring balance back. After all of these "natural" things have been exhausted, we realize that when we live for Christ we lack nothing.
We will never understand why bad things happen to good people. We may never know why loved ones were taken before we thought they should go. But we must never forget that THE LORD IS our shepherd. We are His sheep and we can hear His voice. We can trust in Him and know that whatever is happening, has happened or may happen is going to be used in a way to make us stronger, more faithful and successful. So take a deep brea…

Bowl of Water

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Judges 6:36 Gideon said to God, "If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised—37 look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said."38 And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water.
Isn't this like most of us when "bargaining" with the Lord? God if you will do this for me, I'll serve you forever! For Gideon, it was a bowlful of water that changed everything...for a minute. He then went on to ask God to make the wool dry and the ground wet! Can't you just see the smile on the face of God?
Walking in faith requires you and I to simply trust and obey...there is no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey.
Choose to let yourself believe in all that He said He would do in His Word and stand upon those promises. Like Gideon, w…

Surrounded

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Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield. Psalm 5:12
Today I leave my house, blessed by God and empowered to become a blessing to others and an agent for  positive change to the circle I move in. I know that Jesus loves me because He said so in His Word. I know that He is praying for me because there are moments in every day where I feel something more than myself. It's as if someone is lending me a hand of assistance. I know where my help comes from...it comes from the Lord. And I know that He's got me surrounded: surrounded by favor.
Anyone can do you a favor but only God can surround you with it. Rest in the blessed assurance today that you are going to live and move and have your being in Him. Trust Him to "cover" you and walk with you through your day. Surely you are one of those that He has blessed! 


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Grass People

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The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
Surely the people are grass
. IS 40:7
The people are grass. It made me chuckle this morning. Because I was just looking at my yard yesterday and trying to figure out what kind of grass is in there. Seems that there are more weeds, dandelions and other not so attractive things that the grass is a bit sparse. But spring has just started, hasn't even "sprung" yet and I know that it won't be long until I see more grass and fewer weeds.
I laughed about this because when I consider the "grass"(people) in my "yard"(life)", it can be difficult to allow the grass to grow through the other things that find their way into it. To get my grass to grow in the yard it takes some sunshine and lots of watering. To have a beautiful group of people in my life it will take the Son shining on my life and lots of watering with words: communication and love being poured out from me. …

May YOUR Cup Runneth Over

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Psalm 23:5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

This month my latest book, Cup of Joe, inspired by this daily web log hit the marketplace. Last weekend I was able to host a signing party at The Landing where I could meet the people that pray for me, support the work of the ministries I wanted to buy this book! As I signed my name I also wrote to each of them the phrase from this scripture..."may your cup runneth over!"
Our "cup", or our "portion" is the place and position that God has designed us for. Success comes from realizing where to place that cup, where to fill it up and where to pour it out.
Many of my personal experiences with my "cup" have happened right in the midst of great trial and tribulation. I fully understand what it means to have God fill you up, feed you and sustain you in the presence of people and things that want to hurt you. But don't miss the next pa…

A Good Name

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A good name is more desirable than great riches;
to be esteemed is better than silver or gold
. Proverbs 22;1
I do not follow much in college basketball except for this time of year when the best of the sport play in the NCAA tournament. It's March Madness and you see where the name comes from by watching the competitive nature of the games and the colorful body art of the fans during this part of the season! 
Each group of young men has an understanding of this proverb whether they understand it or not. They desire to be number one in the nation and to have all of the media look up to them and talk about them. They know that having a good name means everything. Advancing in the tournament is critical.
A good name is made with good decisions and striving to be a good at your life's purpose. It comes from treating others as you would want to be treated. Being esteemed comes from others that notice the good that you do and acknowledge it. We know that we are to do good works so that …

Take Me to the River

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I used to know someone who had a plaque on their wall of a fish. His name was Billy Bass. Every time you walked past this plaque, Billy came to life and began to sing "take me to the river!". I know, you are wondering "what kind of redneck friends do you have!"
I thought about that fish today as I read Psalm 1:3. It talks about the believer that chooses to walk and stand and sit in places that bring life and not death. I am to be like a tree planted by the river. My life, nutrition and health are determined by the location I plant myself in. Leaves that don't wither and branches that are fruitful can only occur when I stay by the flowing spirit of God. If you feel weak, tired and unproductive, check out where you are planted. Is there "living water" close by? If not why not  join me today and sing with that crazy fish...take me to the river!

Repent!

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And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie."
This little story out of the Book of Mark makes me wonder about how I judge people today. John wore clothes made of camel hair and ate bugs! Would I be compelled to listen to his message or would I ignore him because of what he looked like and his strange habits? It's easy to glance at folks and write them off rather than trying to imagine what they are going through and accept them for who they are. I would have to be honest and say that a man standing in the riv…

Bless You!

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"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ." 
Most of us have never really thought about what it truly means to be "blessed". We say I bless you in the name of the Lord without knowing the impact of a "blessing".We often equate it with things like a nice home, a cool car or an incredible job or a simple sneeze! Things are nice but when God says that we are blessed with every spiritual blessing he means so much more. 
In Ephesians 1 you can find some amazing additions to add to your "blessing" package. Living a blessed life means that you were CHOSEN by God. He chose YOU! Not only that but he PREDESTINED you to be a part of the family. He set it up in advance for you to not be a spiritual orphan. You are blessed because you are a key part of the family of God! Another option in your blessing package is ACCEPTANCE. Because he made YOU accepted you belon…

Shape Your Worries

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Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Phil 4:4
There's a great deal of "life" happening all around us. So much that its very easy to worry about everything. How are we going to make ends meet? Will my child be safe at school? Is my marriage strong enough to endure temptation? Will I end up in heaven living the way that I am? 
All of these questions can lead to long periods of worry. Worry often develops into anxiety which breeds stress and can even make you physically sick. Paul taught us in Philippians to not be anxious about anything. Don' fret it and don't sweat it. Don't hurry through it and don't worry through it. How do we do that? We let our praises shape those worries into prayers to God! Imagine being able to take every unmanageable situation and place it in a perfect size box that could be managed, close it and put it away. Even throw it away if …

Smile and Say Cheese!

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"But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
If you don't have a goal in mind to strive for, you are almost certain to hit it! God had plans for you according to Jeremiah 29. You should have a plan too. The best way to live is to make certain that you adopt His plan so that what you want and what He desires are synonymous.
Here's the tough part: it will require a lot of forgetting and a great deal of straining. That's right, you and I will have to learn how to not let our past have power over us and then use the power in reserve to reach towards the things that God has set up in advance for us.
"How can I forget my past when it shows up everyday?" Good question! I think the only way to achieve this is to keep pressing on toward the goal of a godly life. Your past may never disappear. But when Jesus appears and you fix y…

When Things Move...

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(CNN) -- The powerful earthquake that unleashed a devastating tsunami Friday appears to have moved the main island of Japan by 8 feet (2.4 meters) and shifted the Earth on its axis.
It's almost unbelievable to think about a force of nature being so huge that it actually shifts the earth. Yet according to CNN the earthquake in Japan has not only moved us all emotionally, it has moved us physically! The main island of Japan moved eight feet! The EARTH shifted!
In this midst of this horrific event, I realize now more than ever that we do not really have control of anything. It leads me to a place where I want to be absolutely certain that my relationship with Christ is as it should be because I have no guarantee of tomorrow. I find myself praying for the tens of thousands of lives that have been lost as a result of something beyond our control.
I am certain that there is "shifting" going on everyday. Shifting from one career to another, one relationship to the next: mayb…
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Hey everyone! I want to personally invite you out to The Landing this weekend, Sunday March 13th at 11:30am so I can sign a personal copy of our first edition Cup of Joe book for YOU! I want to share this moment with all of you that happen to be close by and can make it. If you can't make it to The Landing this weekend, just email me a note and I will tell you how you can get a copy delivered right to your door!
Thanks to all of you that share a fresh cup of inspiration with me every day. I pray that your spirit will be refreshed and your heart encouraged as we enjoy a Cup of Joe together! May your "cup" runneth over!

Life is a Tent

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2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.
Sometimes life can seem so temporary...like living in a tent. I have to admit that I am a city boy and my idea of camping includes electricity, safety and a laptop or television! I can go camping and stay in a tent for a short period of time but I always look forward to my home and my furnishings. I think that maybe the Lord had those feelings in mind when he talked to us about not worrying so much about the stuff we have or the places we live. Life is like a tent. It's up and it's down. It's not always stable and sometimes its easy to cave it in. But we have an eternal place in heaven that has been prepared for us. 
You don't have to worry about human error in the construction of it for it was made by God! You may feel at times like your body is wasting away, your strength is diminishing and your eyesight is …

Lay-Off to Pay-Off

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2 Corinthians 4:16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
Difficult seasons have a way of halting breakthrough sessions. Abrupt changes in your marriage, at your job and in your faith can be disconcerting. People are struggling to survive financial hardship, relationship meltdown and spiritual apathy. We need to learn how to turn the lay-off into a pay-off!
When life causes you to be at a stand still, why not stand still and see the deliverance of God? Difficult patches will come but we must not lose heart. It may feel like the wheels are falling off when God is getting ready to bring you and entirely new car! His glory is being built through your challenges. 
Use the down-time to enjoy some up-time: lift up your eyes and give God praise! That my friend, is how you can begin to turn the lay-off into a pay-off

Pencil Lessons

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Cup of Joe-Momma

One of my favorite people in the world is my mom:) She is the first to like most anything I do and yes, she is the first to point out anything that is wrong too! I try to keep her in devotion material with this blog and sometimes she has some wonderful things to pass on to me as well. You never stop listening to mama so today I am going to share with you some wisdom that she has passed on for all of us. It involves lessons we learn we from the pencil. Of course I have added a sip of cup of joe flavor too because I can:)


Lesson1.) EVERYTHING YOU DO WILL ALWAYS LEAVE A MARK.
some lines are bolder than others but they are all visible

Lesson2.) YOU CAN ALWAYS CORRECT THE MISTAKES YOU MAKE.
thats what friends, I mean erasers are for! When life seems to have flipped upside down, it might be time for a do-over.

Lesson3.) WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS WHAT IS INSIDE OF YOU.
if you aren't showing up and being seen, you will have no impact

Lesson4.) IN LIFE, YOU WILL UNDERGO PAINFU…

Follow Me

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Jesus said that "whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross daily and follow me." I've never really gotten used to all the fuss over twitter, the short message "follow me" service. Last week the media was all over the record that Charlie Sheen set by adding more than 1 million followers in one day on the service. It seems everyone wants followers. Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber have more than 8 million. The President has over 6 million. 
The most interesting characteristic of twitter is that each message can be no more than 140 characters. If you had to deliver a life changing tweet today, how would you craft your 140? Here's one very important tweet from the Bible: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.(130)
Remember today that the important thing in life is not how many people are following you: it's about who you are following. Jesus …

They're Here!

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Finally, I am holding the paper pages of the journey that Cup of Joe is undertaking. So thrilled to see what is taking place and so grateful for friends like Keith and Bill who are doing everything they can to make certain you have a chance to sip a cup of joe for yourself!
Of course you can get Cup of Joe on Amazon or order your own Kindle or Nook version. I'd love the opportunity to say thank you by signing a copy for you. If you would like to go this route, just call our office and we will tell you how you can secure your own signed copy of Cup of Joe. (918-321-2300)
To everyone who has ever enjoyed a cup of joe, commented and followed the blog, I say thank you with all of my heart! I hope that this year I get the opportunity to come speak to your church or group so that we can move our dreams forward together! May Cup of Joe's rich flavor bring you God's favor today!

Mis-takes

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"The greatest mistake you can make in
life is to be continually fearing
you will make one."

- Elbert Hubbard
There are many people today that never move forward because they constantly worry about making a mistake. And when fear enters the picture, well, that can stop everything! Confucius says "Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes."
Most of the things that we worry about don't even happen. Faith enables you to step out when there is nothing to step on to. Faith in God realizes that even if we fall, we have within us the power to get right back up and try again. 
So stop counting the reasons why you can't begin and jump out there with blessed assurance that God will help you every step of the way. You are going to have seasons when you make a mistake. Just consider it a mis-take and take it over! Have a great weekend! 

40 Days of Community and Communion

Col 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.
6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. There is a difference in being in a fight to survive and being in it to win it. There is a difference in faith and audacious faith. A difference in standing in stillness and praying to the Son and a Sun Stand Still prayer. This is a year that will determine the future of our families and our churches. There is an urgency this year that we must get embedded in our spirit. All of us could learn how to connect better as a community of adults and use every tool at our disposal to get the Good News of the Gospel out so that God can get it in to the …

Feel

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Most of my life has been spent learning the art of hiding my feelings. Perhaps there is such huge pressure placed on each of us to succeed that we are unable to just be ourselves. Often we are encouraged to not let others see our emotions and to shield the truest version of ourselves from others. One of my favorite bands of all time, Chicago, in a recent album recorded a song that grabbed my very core the other day. Let me share the chorus with you...
Your heart is cold, your soul is numb
You don't like who you've become
You played the game and paid the cost for long enough
So grab the reins, yeah, take the wheel
Lose what's not and keep what's real
It's not too late,
Just close your eyes and feel, feel

My prayer today is that all of us will stop allowing life circumstances and problem people to cause us to grow cold and go numb. It's time to take off the masks and be the you that God designed you to be. Lose the fake and embrace the truth. It's not too late…
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God is so good! Today, they have released Cup of Joe on Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook! Cups are being poured out every day! So excited to share a cup with ALL of you! Go to the link on the right side of the blog and get the e-book today!

Pillars

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For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles. James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. Gal 2:8,9
What kind of a person are you? Paul, in his letter to the Galatians spoke of a few of his buddies: James, Cephas and John. He called the "pillars".
When I think of pillars I think of huge stabilizers attached to a building that add beauty, support and dimension to the structure. Some of the most beautiful pillars are connected to some of the most incredible buildings. The entire building would look different if the pillars were removed.
I think Paul was saying of this trio that they were a great enhancement to what he was doing. They made him look good, kept him balanced and provided a sounding board for his teachings and opinions.
Fact is, we are all buildings, God's workmanship and we all could use some &…