Showing posts from August, 2014

I Can't Take This Anymore!

We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.  In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety. 2 Cor 1:8-11
Each one of us can probably relate to the idea that we have faced something that absolutely overwhelmed us beyond our ability to endure. You've probably said, "I can't take this anymore!" Paul is describing some pretty dark times when hope was gone and so was the belief that they could survive. I guess he could have just pu…

Turn on the Light

We have a part of our church on the second floor that I walked through the other day. There are about six rooms that are connected together. The problem is that no lights were on. It was dark. And the light switches are not in the right places to help guide you. You have to walk several feet in the dark before you find the switch. As I took that little journey I crashed into a variety of items that had been stored up there. First I hit my toes on the poles that were on the floor, then something that was about two feet taller than that hit me in the waist! As I tried to move to the side away from those things the left side of my head hit on something that was higher than the other two! It was like the storage room was knocking me out!  Now all of this could have been avoided had I been able to flip on the switch that illuminates the room before I walked into it. Often I find myself accepting the fact that sometimes you have to start out walking in the dark but that is not what the Lor…

Live a Little

Ephesians 5:1 Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.
Freedom is a good thing. It's even a God thing. Christ HAS set us free so that we can live a free life. To do so will require us to make some adjustments. Why? Because freedom doesn't always mean liberty. Think about it. When the children of Israel were liberated out of Egypt, they were set free of the bondage of Pharaoh. But it wasn't long until the could be heard grumbling about the way life was where they were. They had to learn to adjust to the new found liberty and take a stand IN freedom. As Moses began to lead them and God began to orchestrate a plan to bring them to Canaan, they had to deal with this new life and the structure that God was setting up for them so that they could live the free life. They began to look at this freedom as a new kind of bondage. They were seeing this as a harness of slavery rather than an avenue of freed…

Heat Wave

The weather in Oklahoma is interesting. First its the random earthquake, the possibility of tornadoes and the booming thunderstorms. Right now, it is the heat. Heat index over 105! Really? I began to think of this Psalm and the Lord being "my shade" when the heat gets turned up. Many times life can be uncomfortable. We need the Lord to watch over us. When things get "heated" it will not destroy us. Why? Because the Lord is always looking out for our best interest. He will watch over our going out and our coming back home. He can soothe in the midst of the heat wave! After my 2 mile walk yesterday(where I thought I would pass out!) I was craving a cool down. Standing in the shade was so much better than running in the heat! Today, let the Lord be your shade and cool you down when tempers fire up. Realize that nothing can harm you because He is looking out for you...both now and forevermore! So chill! psalm 121:5The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your r…

Troubles are Small

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long.  Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! This is a great little reminder out of 2 Corinthians 4. Not everything is always going to go your way. Sometimes life can get messy and there can be challenges. BUT, the Good News is that in the trouble you can find strength. Jesus is all you need. You and I will become stronger because of Jesus. The difficulties will produce incredible blessings if we simply trust Him and hold on to His Word. I've been people watching this summer and I've seen folks that are struggling and some that are joyful. When I see those that have lost their smile or seem to be in a dark place I think about the good that the Lord is producing for them that is going to help them rise in this and through this. I also realize how small some of my troubles are in the grand scheme of things. What is God making in you and for you? Don't be depressed and don't get…

Prepared in Advance

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Eph 2:10 NIV
Think about that for a moment…God created YOU to do good things way before you started to do them! Before you were able to walk in this life that was divinely breathed into you, your design was fashioned. The map was laid out in advance. Now, each and every day the goal of your life is to walk upon that predetermined path that God had in mind for YOU when He created YOU in His image! That’s exciting isn’t it?
You were created by God. You were made to do great things…good things…God things. Take comfort in knowing today that YOU are God’s handiwork!

Set an Example

1 Timothy 4:12 Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
There have been many times in my life when I felt inferior and out of place because I saw myself as young and inexperienced. Guess I can't feel that way anymore as I'm not really very young! This scripture is a reminder that age and wisdom do not necessarily go hand in hand. Often, our youth and innocence can be refreshing. Like a child that comes to God without reservation and all of the distractions that more years on earth can bring. There is something very invigorating about being a youthful, godly example to others. Don't discount yourself. Be an example. Set the tone for your day with what you say and do. Steer the conversation with how you share your affection and your faith. Be genuine, authentic and pure. Sometimes the more miles you have on your life the more cynical you can get. While you are young…

This is YOUR day!

Psalm 19:7-10 The law of the Lord is perfect,reviving the soul;the testimony of the Lord is sure,making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right,rejoicing the heart;the commandment of the Lord is pure,enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean,enduring forever;the rules of the Lord are true,and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold,even much fine gold;sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.Today, read these verses slowly and individually. Let this soak in for a moment until your spirit catches the depth of their power. You are trying to do too much. In an effort to be necessary in the lives of others you harm yourself by engaging in things that were never intended to be part of your journey. Watch closely and you will see. Today your soul will be revived. Your heart will begin to rejoice and your eyes will be opened to see things clearly that were dim and unlit earlier. Peace will replace chaos. Let go of the struggle and lea…

Shape Up!

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
Great advice...instead of worrying, pray! 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 ok at school? Is my marriage strong enough to endure temptation? What if I get sick? All of these questions can lead to long periods of worry. Worry often develops into anxiety which breeds stress and can even make you more 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 shape up!  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 thr…

Pay Attention!!

Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.  For we are each responsible for our own conduct. Galatians 6:4-5 It's easy at times to compare yourself to someone else. Often we look at what we are doing and how well we do it by holding our efforts up against another person's achievements. People today often feel like they don't match up because they see themselves as they relate to things that are not real. By comparing ourselves we fall short. We think we aren't pretty enough, tall enough, rich enough, smart enough and so on. Scripture encourages us to pay attention to our own mind our own business. You can only feel completely satisfied when you know that you have done your best for the Lord and not for anyone else. We are accountable for what WE do and what WE say. Pay attention to your life today!

Whatever you do, do it for the Lord and not for men.

Go Your Way

There was a certain nobleman that had a son that was ill. Everyone thought that he would die. The nobleman heard that Jesus was coming back to Cana, the place of his first miracle and this man sought him out to convince him to come to the house and heal his boy. Jesus' response is surprising. It wasn't "sure" or "absolutely". He said, "unless YOU PEOPLE see signs and wonders you will by no means believe". Not quite sure of the tone here but when you are desperate for a miracle, you just don't hear everything that is said. The nobleman then asked Jesus to come before the child died. Again, Jesus surprises by saying, "go your way, your son lives." What? No laying on of hands? Healing by proxy and not proximity! This is amazing! Today people seem to chase the latest miraculous event. We run after the concert, the seminar, the place where the last physical healing was because that means Jesus and the power that He gives must be THERE. H…

Life's Little Curveballs

As a young boy I had high hopes of playing major league baseball. I was a pitcher and shortstop and loved it. My hitting skills were so-so back in the day and that was before these amazing pitchers had so many types of pitches! This morning I started thinking about's curveballs. Standing in the batters box to hit a fastball is easy once you get your timing right. It's the off speed curveball that catches us off guard. I've watched many batters back away as it looks like the ball is going to be high and tight only to watch it curve right over the strike zone. Once the batter has seen it, they usually don't get fooled again. The curveball doesn't surprise them and when it comes they connect in a very big way! When life throws us curveballs it is easy to back away and be caught off guard. Things happen that we have not prepared for. Even if we had, they still cause us to rock back on our heels. Sometimes you even look foolish backing away from somet…

Depression Lingers

This week we lost someone who made us laugh and smile to a disease as subtle and dangerous as any poison. Robin Williams will be missed. Depression will still linger for millions of people. My daughter made a comment on twitter that said it always seems to be the happiest people that are the most depressed. Of the cases we hear about in the media that is probably true. Happiness cannot be found in a job, a spouse, a home or in acquiring some level of monetary success. Personally I believe you can not be truly happy until you are in union with your Creator and doing what you were intrinsicly gifted to do. People wrestle with success. They become dependent on other people or things. On jobs and circumstances. Others become hyper-dependent on substances which can lead to addiction and other dark behaviors. We don't have to live overwhelmed. I also believe that we don't have to be stuck on meds that change more than the symptoms we fight. It's not the load you are carrying th…

Turn the Page

The other day I was reading a book on my IPAD. It only takes a simple swipe of the finger to turn the page. It's so easy to go forward but it is also easy to go backwards. I started to think about the chapters of my life and how I turn the pages every day to begin a new journey, a new dialogue and a new season. I like to look ahead to all that God has in store for me but oftentimes I swipe the page and fall back. What I am learning is how to retain the lesson learned on each page and spend more time writing new pages rather than rereading old ones. Like Paul I have realized that I have not yet become all that I am designed to be. And neither have you! I encourage you today to turn the page and keep moving forward. It's easy to be fascinated with past victories and live in the glory of what has been so often that you miss what has come. God is doing new things all over the world and you have something new, something incredible that He is ready to place on the pages of your lif…

Shark Week

#SharkWeek is one of those times each year that I look forward to. Since "Jaws" made a huge splash at the box office, I have been fascinated by these large creatures. To watch something that weighs a couple tons move so gracefully through the water and then to watch their jaws open to expose hundreds of teeth....well its one of those things that you just keep looking at. And then to watch Fluffy, that poor little seal...well you know the end to that story. It's a bad week to be a seal. So, Cup of Joe, lets see you turn shark week into something spiritually beneficial that will encourage us:) OK, let me try! I think many people feel like their enemy is huge...enormous and unstoppable; smarter than they are. They feel like seals swimming in Shark Alley. They are paranoid, fearful and worried about the next attack. They say things like, "i'm gonna need a bigger boat!"  The Bible tells us that satan roams about seeking people to devour and destroy. He's not…

Overlook the Offense

Proverbs 19 teaches us that "a man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense." There is a great difference in "overlooking" a mishap and and looking over it. Too many folks tend to get into others troubles and analyze them in search of more and more details and dirt. They may even help those troubles become larger than life. They become consumed with looking over what went wrong and what happened. According to scripture it might be better to let God bring a resolve: to allow ourselves to overlook it.  Every day we are challenged by people and things that are trying to slow us down and get us off track. The simple lesson of this scripture is that there are times when it is better to not say anything. Remember what mama said, "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all!" You don't have to engage in every trouble that shows up to face you. Wisdom helps you use the patience of God to "overlook&…

Deer Feet

"I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold...As for God, his way is perfect: the Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights." Psalm 18:1-2, 30-33 (NIV) Ibex are small deer-like animals able to survive hot desert-like conditions and predators because they have mastered climbing unimaginable heights. According to the Tisch Family Zoological Gardens in Jerusalem, the Ibex have been present in the desert region of southern Israel since Biblical times. This means that King David could have easily been awed and inspired by these incredible desert images when he was writing Psalms while fleeing from King Saul. (Special tha…

The Art of Humility

The Bible tells us that IF we would humble ourselves, we WOULD be lifted up at just the right time by God. Humility is a trait of a blessed life. Thinking of others before yourself...looking out for your neighbor...helping a co-worker finish a project on time...all ways to start learning the art of humility. So often we want to "blow our own horn" to make sure everyone else knows that we did something worthy of credit. I remember a story about a turtle and some geese. A turtle wanted to spend the winter in FL but he knew he could never walk there. He convinced a couple of geese to help him, each one of them taking the end of a piece of rope while the turtle clamped his vice like jaws on the center. The flight went fine until someone on the ground looked up in admiration of the genius in this plan to fly a turtle through the air and asked, “who in the world thought of that?’ Unable to resist the chance to take credit the turtle opened his mouth and said, “I diiiiiiiiiiiiiiii…

It's Not Your Fight

"He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself,
And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. Proverbs 9:7

A scoffer is one who likes to ridicule and not the type of person that you and I should "hang" with.  One of the definitions of a scoffer is: someone that is derided. In other words they are off track. Often I find myself getting caught up in things that I should not have even been in simply because...."I was only trying to help". Have you ever found yourself in someone else's battle and wondered why you were standing there in the middle of a war zone with wounded bodies all around you? You may have said those words too..."I was only trying to help".
Not every battle is yours to fight. I would imagine that at some moment today, another person will try to attach you to their mess either with a phone call of gossip, or a conversation over coffee full of envy or bitterness. Choose to say no to "trying to help". Remember, you …

Fly Like an Eagle

This weekend I had the privilege of flying in a PT-19 set up for me by some great friends of mine, Clay and Winona Harris. The picture is the plane I was in and that's Clay standing with me with my pilot Jim looking in total control. I’ve never been in an aircraft like this one and the fact that you are just strapped in with nothing over your head was a bit unsettling at first. As we went up a few thousand feet I got a little bit of courage to look over the edge and once I got a glimpse of our city form this vantage point, I settled down and really enjoyed the trip. It was inspiring and exhilirating. Seeing Tulsa from above is much prettier, more peaceful and absolutely beautiful. It made me think about how life changes down here when you look at it from a different angle…a fresh perspective. Maybe that’s why we are encouraged to “mount up with wings as eagles” In Isaiah 40. Living above the circumstances is much better than being buried under the circumstances. It so much more t…

Friday Faith Builder

Psalm 3:3 But You, O LORD, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.

Friday faith builders:

Lord you are MY shield. All around me…I am completely covered by the power of the Lord. On my right and my left, ahead of me and behind me. No weapon formed against me can prosper for I am unable to be penetrated! Divine protection.
Lord you are MY glory. David was a prominent man with status and position. Yet he knew that his identity and his value was not in his job or military rank…His validation came from God! Your identity is not tied to your past…your value is not tied to your performance…He is YOUR glory…your validation comes from Him not people! You are divinely defined!
Lord you are the One who lifts my head. In those days when the king lifted up your head it meant that you were accepted. You were once again restored to the place that you had been. On the other hand when the king put his foot on your neck, it meant that rather than lift up your head he was about to cu…