Monday, August 31, 2009

Letting Go

Letting Go

It is my personal opinion that those 2 words together is one of the hardest things to do in life. “Let go”. There are different things and different times we need to let go of certain things in lives:

· A loved one who has died or is dying
· The pain of divorce
· A relationship or friendship
· Pain/hurt in our lives cause by someone else or our own doing
· SIN or anything that is coming between us and God or His will or plan for our lives
· Struggles/bad habits/negative behaviors/
· Wrongs/unforgiveness done to us or by us
· Negative or destructive thoughts
· Lies, deceit, greed, or selfishness
· Injustice
· Loss
· Grief
· Guilt
The list can be endless at times of the things in our lives that consume us, bury us, eat us up, or weigh us down. Anything from relational, to spiritual, to school, careers, feelings, or attitudes. Letting go can be one of the most difficult things we have to do. I wish I had answers because I am struggling with letting go of some things in my life right now. I do know that I cannot do it alone and neither can you. We need God and His spirit, strength, guidance, and support to let go. We need accountability and people in my life who love me enough to tell me what I need to hear and not what I want to hear and who don’t put up with my excuses or rationalizations.

You cannot heal a broken heart, a broken trust, a broken relationship without sometimes letting go. You cannot heal the pain of abuse, neglect, or suffering without letting go. You cannot heal the hurt, confusion, miscommunication, or misunderstandings if you are not willing to let go. The old saying is “LET GO and LET GOD”. I think that makes sense because without His wisdom, direction, guidance, love, and forgiveness, we are not able to let go of much anything at least in a healthy and productive way. We can learn to let go one situation at a time, one day at a time, one moment at a time, and one decision at a time. Everything takes time, even letting go. Give it to God we can’t let go of things alone. You want a life of peace, hope, and love? Join in as I strive to “let go”.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6(NIV)

Friday, August 28, 2009



“And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.”

2 Thessalonians 3:13(NIV)

One thing I find interesting is that there are no coincidences when it comes to what God is trying to teach us. It seems here lately that even through reading, preparing lessons, or listening to others teach I seem to hear the same bible stories, scriptures, principles, or characters. Do you ever notice that happening with you? I’ve been doing a lot of reading and teaching on David and Solomon. Both of these men did great things, followed God, and led God’s people, however they both also made mistakes and like most of us sometimes when we make a mistake if we’re not honest, admit it, and learn from it, we do the opposite which is ignore it, deny it, make excuses, blame others, cover it up, rationalize or justify it, pretend it doesn’t exist and it will go away, or hide from it.

David was in God’s own words “a man after my own heart”, Solomon was given wisdom and blessings from God and called “the wisest person to ever live” yet both of these men made mistakes. The man with the same heart as God committed adultery, tried to cover it up, and had someone murdered. Solomon the wise, married many foreign women and allowed them to bring in their “false religions” and have places built in God’s land where people could worship these false God. Both God’s men, both led and blessed by God, both failed God. There are other people in the Bible who God chose, called, and led, yet they decided to follow their own desires. Peter, Mark, Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, Moses, Noah, and the list goes of people who made mistakes.

I think we can learn a lot from these stories and men in the Bible. First, no matter how close we are to God or how good a Christian we think we are, we are all capable of falling away, making mistakes, and not being in God’s will. Secondly, I think we can also learn the best way to overcome a mistake(s) is to face it, deal with it, and learn from it . Thirdly, we need to repent to God and seek His forgiveness and guidance. Finally, we need to move forward and be better because of it. No one is going to go through life mistake free. We are capable and subject to temptations especially during weak times, tough times, problems and struggles. I will be the first to admit my past has many mistakes in it and I hope in my present I will continue to learn from them so that my future will have less of them.

God is always trying to teach us, lead us, grow us, and keep us in His will. We have so much to lose when we make mistakes and fall short and don’t recognize it, deal with it, accept it, and learn from it. We have everything to gain when we like David and Solomon and many others, become better because of the lessons we learn from our mistakes and accepting responsibility and the consequences, so that God can use us again. I would not be writing this devotional today if my past mistakes were still unresolved and not dealt with and not been washed in God’s grace. Thank you God for erasing our mistakes when we truly repent and seek to honor you. As the scripture teaches us, we must never become tired of doing what is right.

Monday, August 24, 2009

King of Deceit

King of Deceit

I’ve been studying the life of King David, the slayer of the giant Goliath, the greatest King to ever live, the “man after God’s own heart”, and the human. David saw a woman that was not his own, but someone else’s wife. King David could have had any woman he wanted, yet He saw Bathsheba, gave into His own selfish desires, compromised His values, and slept with her. That may have been the end of the story, but then she became pregnant. Her husband Uriah was ironically, out fighting on behalf of King David.

David instead of accepting responsibility for His mistake tried to cover it up and hide it. He sent for Uriah hoping Uriah would go home and sleep with his wife and no one would ever know. Uriah was loyal to his fellow soldiers and refused to go home and sleep at his house or with his wife while others were sleeping in tents and camping in open fields fighting. David was getting desperate so he tried to get Uriah drunk so he’d go home and sleep with his wife, no go. He still didn’t. David made a choice. He sent Uriah back to fight with orders for him to go where the fighting was fiercest and Uriah was killed in battle. David, then took Bathsheba after her mourning period to be His wife and she bore a son. The end of the story. David got away with it. His deceit covered with more deceit. He had covered His tracks, hid His sin, and now He could move on like nothing happened…not so fast my friends.

What David had done, how he handled the situation, displeased the Lord. God sent Nathan the prophet to confront David. Nathan told David a story about a rich man who had many sheep and cattle and a poor man who had only a little ewe lamb. The poor man and his family loved the lamb and treated it and cared for it like family. The rich man had a guest and instead of taking one of his many sheep or cattle to prepare a meal, he came and took the one little lamb from the poor man and his family to eat. David “burned with anger” at this story and told Nathan this man deserves to die and he must pay for taking the lamb four times over. I love Nathan’s words to David: “You are the man!” Nathan reminded David of all the things God had given him, His kingship, the palace, wives, the kingdom of Israel and Judah and God said he would have given him even more if that wasn’t enough, but David despised the Word of God by having an affair with Bathsheba, trying to cover it up, having Uriah killed, and then taking Bathsheba to be your wife.

David is confronted with his sin. What does he do? He accepts responsibility. He confesses his sin. He accepted the consequences. He learned from His mistakes and moved forward.

Being a Christian, a minister, an elder, a SS teacher, a deacon, or follower of God doesn’t keep you from the temptations of sin. It is very easy to cross the line in our morals, values, hearts, and minds when we do not keep our focus on God and His truth. It’s easy to be led astray by the world if we do not maintain our integrity and character and keep them in check. What can we do? How can we avoid this pitfall that David fell in? It’s tough, but we can take steps to avoid mistakes or overcome them:

1. We must always realize we are all capable of committing sinful acts if we do not guard our hearts and minds and maintain our Godly and integrity boundaries. David was a man after God’s own heart, but He was still capable of adultery, lying, deceit, false motives, pride, and murder. Not only was he capable, he was guilty.

2. If we do mess up and sin or make a mistake. Stop there! Don’t lie, don’t try and hide it, minimize it, blame shift, or deny it. Accept responsibility. Let it stop there instead of continuing by trying to cover it up or hide it like David.

3. Seek Forgiveness from God and others if needed. Make amends to those you’ve wronged or hurt. Our sins never only affect us. David confessed His sins to Nathan and God.

4. Accept consequences. The sooner we do this the less the consequences. The more we cover up or don’t admit the bigger the consequences. David lost His son that Bathsheba was pregnant with.

5. Learn from your mistakes. Many people refuse to learn from their mistakes because they live in this cloud of denial, or it’s someone else fault, or they’ve got too much pride to admit they were wrong or messed up. David learned from His mistakes and went on to continue to do great things for God. (check out Psalm 51)

The right thing is always the right thing to do.

Monday, August 17, 2009

mileage marker

I was traveling back to Indiana from WV and before hitting the KY border from WV my car hit the 100,000 mark. What an accomplishment. My car is a Scion made by Toyota so it's practially still new so i can put another 100K or 200K on there

almost a hole in one

Last week I took a kid in my children's ministry golfing, he's in 5th grade and he actually beat me. he shot a 46 and I shot a 48, but on the 6th hole, a par 3 at Ruxer golf course in jasper, I almsot hit a hole in one. It was a 95 yard drive to the hole and I hite the flag and the ball dropped beside the hole literally within 2 inches of the cup. So close, yet so far away.


“Uprightness of character; honesty; the condition, quality, or state of being complete or undivided.”-Webster’s Dictionary 1999

In his book “To Own a Dragon”, Donald Miller shares a chapter on integrity. He talks about taking his broken cell phone to the Sprint store and their computer systems were down and they didn’t know whether His phone was still under warranty, it wasn’t, but he told them it was and he got a new cell phone. He told a friend about it who shared with him a story from the movie “Family Man” where Nicolas Cage’s character goes into a convenient store and Don Cheadle plays a guy working at the counter. A girl is buying something for ninety-nine cents in the line in front of Nicolas and gives a dollar to the clerk, but He gives her back $9 like she had given her a $10 instead of a $1. The girls knows she got too much change back, but doesn’t say anything. Don Cheadle gives her a chance to give it back, but she doesn’t say anything and walks out with the extra money. Don’s character looks at Nicolas’ character and says “Did you see that? She was willing to sell her character for $9. $9! Donald Miller goes on to say in his book how he went back to the Sprint store and paid for his new phone and it cost him more than $9, but he got his character back.

Integrity works that way. It’s the part of our character that isn’t willing to compromise. It’s a quality that makes us honest, complete, and undivided when it comes to truth.

We can lose our 401K, our house, our bank account, everything we own in a house fire, but integrity is something no one can take from us, we have to give it away. And we give away our integrity for some really stupid reasons. Usually because of pride, selfishness, greed, or revenge.

Proverbs 11:3
says “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.(NIV) We can be guided by our integrity that comes from our faith in God, or we can be destroyed by our duplicity that divides our character and leads us astray by the evil forces of our sinful nature and the devil. The Devil will corrupt our thoughts, minds, and hearts to convince us that compromising our integrity is ok, or not a big deal, or we deserve it. But really we are trying to live a double-life, live divided, and our duplicity will eventually catch up with us and could destroy our character, our relationships, our trust, our careers, our marriages, our faith, or our lives.

Cherish your integrity. I have compromised mine in the past and it takes a lot longer time to rebuild your character than it does to destroy it. I’ve learned the hard way that if you don’t have integrity, you have nothing. That you can think you’re getting away with it, no one will know, or you are not hurting anyone, but they are all the lies of sin. If anything compromises your integrity it is ALWAYS wrong. Always!

Integrity, honesty, trust, dependable, consistent, trustworthy, loyalty, and faithful these are qualities that God desires. We give up our integrity we lose all these things and more. Integrity keep it!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

30 lbs

Before at 245lbs.

so far...215lbs.

My original goal was to lose 30lbs. Well I have achieved that goal. I have went from 245 to 215 in about 4 1/2 months or about 18 weeks. I may go for another 10lbs and get down to 205 if I can! Anything is possible when you make the time, take the time, and keep at it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

More helpful reads

I am currently reading this book and it's a book about growing up without a father(which I didn't) but Donald Miller has a neat way of writing that helps you. This is my third Donald Miller book and I'm enjoying it.

this book uses KJV scriptures and has moments where the language is old fasion, but the ultimate point of the book is good, strategies for winning the battles of the mind.

If you or you have a family member, loved one, or friend who is struggling with OCD behavior this workbook is a great read. I struggle with obsessive thoughts and though they are minor compared to some OCD behaviors, this book was helpful.

This is one of Max Lucado's early books, but I re-read this book recently after reading it about 10 years ago. Max always has a way of writing short little chapters that encourge and inspire you.

I normally would not be a Joyce Meyer fan (no offense to anyone who is), but i have to say that the overall premise of this book helped me alot. It's about one of the things i've become passionate about the past few months as I've tried to change some of my thought patterns and thought behaviors. You might not agree with her doctrine or theology, but the subject and book are really helpful.

This was the I was reading the last blog I wrote about suggesting books. I finished it and am reading it for the 3rd time. I don't think I've ever read a book 2 times back to back, but I'm going through it a 3rd time and highlighting the important sentences and thoughts. This book is one of the most helpful books I've ever read.

Your Mind is Key

Your Mind is Key

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
2 Corinthians 10:5(NIV)

Apostle Paul makes a great point. He is trying to remind the Christians of His day that we should not think we live by the world’s standards(2 Cor. 10:3) that we live by a different standard and therefore do things differently and should think differently.

The mind is key. Every action, attitude, opinion, behavior, or habit we display or perform is a result of first being a thought. Our Mind is the beginning. When a thought first comes into our mind, we have 2 choices: Embrace it or Reject it. We choose where we take our thoughts. We can dismiss them, stop them, or not give them any time, or we can acknowledge them, dwell on them, mull over them, and allow them to dictate our reactions and responses.

Positive or God thoughts are good to act on, believe in, and trust. Negative, hurtful, or dishonest thoughts have no place in our lives. You see God’s voice (His spirit) dwells in those of us who are Christians. That voice tries to gently, softly, and lovingly show us the right way to think, act, and be. Unfortunately, the other voice (satan, the world, our flesh) sometimes scream a lot louder, because we give our attention to it.

If we are rejecting the voice of God and are embracing the other voice our mind will give time to these harmful thoughts which bring about insecurity, fears, jealousy, ignorance, hurt, anger, irrationality, obsession, and confusion. If we are not careful eventually over time, embracing these negative or harmful thoughts will become part of what we consider normal thoughts.

For example, someone doesn’t speak to us when we speak to them (they could not have heard us or seen us or been daydreaming), but our negative thoughts tell us they are rude, mad at us, or ignoring us intentionally. Or we hear something someone supposedly said about us, and instead of going to that person directly or giving them the benefit of the doubt until you’ve had a chance to talk to them, the negative thoughts convince you they are lying, they are untrustworthy, or they are out to get you. Or maybe you are at school or work and your negative thoughts tell you that you are working hard and you are not being treated fairly or being appreciated so you justify through your negative thoughts that it’s ok to take something that is not yours, or you decide to cheat on a test, or take something from your company because you deserve it or they owe you. Or maybe you don’t feel your significant other appreciates you or takes advantage of you, so your negative thoughts tell you it’s ok to flirt or show attention to someone else who is not your significant other. Or maybe we see someone who we think is an attractive and fun person and they are having relationship troubles and our harmful thoughts tell us that we wouldn’t treat them that way or we’d appreciate them, so we begin to find ways to spend time with them and show them we are better than their significant other. The cycle of scenarios are endless.

The point is, we have a choice to stop those negative or harmful thoughts before they give birth to negative or harmful actions, behaviors, mindsets, or consequences. We can stop the thought by admitting the person we spoke to may not have heard us or not been paying attention. We may stop the negative thoughts about hearing someone said something about us, by going to the person first before we entertain negative thoughts about the person. We can stop the negative attitude at work or school by not giving time to thoughts about cheating on tests or robbing our company of time and letting our integrity and character speak for itself. We can avoid more relationships troubles by not doing or saying anything that would break trust or be inappropriate actions. If we don’t feel appreciated by our significant other we need to talk to them about it or realize we might be part of the problem because we are spending too much time thinking about negative thoughts. Or if we need to not put ourselves in situations that are not ours to be in. If we think someone is not being treated fairly by their spouse or loved one, we can encourage them, but not with impure motives that have came from our focusing on hurtful thoughts.

Our mind is truly a place of warfare and battle. We must be careful the amount of time we give to thoughts and the amount of time we focus on thoughts that are not true, false, selfish, irrational, or not based on facts or reality. We must analyze each thought to see what the source of that thought is and then we must choose to embrace positive, true, and loving thoughts, and we must reject negative, hurtful, harmful, and untrue thoughts. It takes a lot of concentration, effort, and willingness, but we can learn to change our thought patterns and mindsets if we can learn to distinguish between God’s voice and the devil’s. They both sound like our voice.

Monday, August 03, 2009



“These men are grumblers and fault-finders; they follow their own evil desires;” Jude 16(NIV)

Blame. It’s one word that we use to put fault on someone else. As long as we have something or someone to blame, we don’t have to accept responsibility for ourselves, deal with our problems, or change our attitude or behavior.

We blame the referee or coach for our team losing the game. We blame our husband for our unhappiness or our wife for our hostility. We blame our kids for our moods. We blame our parents for not loving us enough. We blame our boss for us not getting promoted or a raise. We blame our employer because we lost our job. You blame the church that your not spiritual enough and you blame God for everything in between.

Blame. It’s a cop-out, an excuse, a justification, it harms our integrity and it robs us of accepting responsibility, admitting our mistakes, or addressing our problems so that we can change, find resolution, or engage in truth.

I would by lying to say I’ve never blamed someone or something else for my problems or situations. I think it’s human nature and a great tool the devil has to mislead us into believing we are always “victims”. We are victims alright, but we are victims of our own choices. We choose to blame instead making things right, or accepting responsibility for our actions, or admitting our fault, or making effort to make things right. Most of all I think we do God a huge injustice when we don’t include Him in the process or as Christians we don’t seek Him out for His guidance, support, and wisdom.

Good people make mistakes. Decent people mess up. Honest people can use blame. I've been guilty. But, blame does nothing but destroy relationships, cause bitterness and resentment, and keeps us from truly healing, changing, or fixing anything. We will never truly heal, mature, grow, or change in the way God desires for us until we stop blaming others for our faults, problems, and behaviors. We all may have things in our past that have caused issues in our lives, but how we choose to handle those issues is our choice.

Maybe you have a bad childhood, an abusive relationship, been stabbed in the back, or had your feelings hurt. Sometimes there is no one to blame, but even if there is don’t.
Blame is not the answer. Forgiveness is. Becoming bitter is not the answer. Healing is. Blaming others is not the answer. Accepting responsibility for yourself is.

Find peace, hope, grace, mercy, comfort, shelter, refuge, and answers in the presence of God. God can turn our blame into reality. Putting our problems in His hands can change our perspective and most of all our hearts and minds. So, that we can heal, move on, be healthy, grow, and have peace.