Have you ever heard it said that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence in life? So often we as our Father’s kids can look at our struggling lives with gloom and despair and long for a different life and because we can’t have that different life, we let discouragement control us. Yikes!!! That is so not the heart of our Father who desires us to be filled with His joy! He longs for us to be encouraged and feel His love in life. We all live in a sinful, fallen world with the affects of sin in us and all around us. Life can be hard! Often people are told “Give your life to Jesus and you will never have any problems again.” That is so not true and to tell someone that is to set them up for great disappointment when they find themselves after making a decision to trust Christ right smack in the midst of a trial that our Father allows to help them grow in life. Our Father desires to help conform us all to the image of His Son because He loves us too much to leave us where we are at when there is a much better place for us to be in our spiritual growth. Any good parent desires to teach their children and help them be their best. Our Father is no different with us, but where the grass is greener on His side of the fence over the side of the fence that can be full of weeds of discouragement, gloom and despair that we can let grow there is that our Father gives us hope in the midst of the trials of life. When we climb over the fence to be in His presence and graze on His Words of hope and encouragement, trusting Him to continue to care for us and grow us, we find ourselves well fed and much more satisfied in life, filled with His joy and zeal! In fact, you often see His kids, His sheep in the midst of trials on His side of the fence running and kicking up their heels, having fun despite the trials around them. Now how cool is that? I agree with the Psalmist who wrote “Why are you downcast, oh my soul, put your hope in the Lord!” Oh, I just love my Father’s green pasture of life. I am definitely most content to stay grazing on His side of the fence as I await the day when He moves us all to the ultimate of green pastures, the place called Heaven where we will all be like Him and where He will wipe away every tear from every eye, there will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain or sin! Woohoo! While I so look forward to that day, until then, I’m happy in the pasture He has me in, knowing it is His best for me now as I hope in Him! Much love to you all!
Ps 42:5; Ro 8:28-29; Jn 15:1-17; Ja 1:2-4; Ro 12:2; 1 Co 15:49; 2 Co 3:18; Rev 21:1-5
I’m pondering a man with leprosy today as he steps forward to approach Jesus for help with his condition. Leprosy was often referred to as one of several skin diseases that placed many restrictions on a person who was struggling with it. Often in days of old, they were banned by society and the thought of approaching one such as Jesus was considered very wrong in the eyes of the Law and society. Therefore, as the man with leprosy stepped out to approach Jesus, I have to say that I admire this man as he chose to act on his faith in who Jesus was rather than fear judgment. In fact, this man had a very interesting attitude towards Jesus, in that he knew that Jesus had the power to destroy him for breaking the Law and if God chose to be a God of wrath, He was certainly capable and he also knew that if Jesus wanted to heal him, that he could do that as well! The man could’ve let his fear of God and his own legalistic approach to life prevent him from approaching Jesus, but instead he chose to act on his faith that God was capable to help him and that He might be a “merciful” God, however, the man had some question about Jesus being merciful. Sometimes it is easier to believe in God’s power than in His mercy, but God is indeed rich in mercy and this was very evident when Jesus responded to the man by saying “I am willing, be healed!” In so doing, Jesus placed love and relationship over the Law. This was His heart evidenced when Our Father demonstrated His love and mercy for us in that while we were yet sinners, He died for us so that we could have a relationship with Him. His mercies are new every morning when we confess our sins to Him and He cleanses us from all unrighteousness! He also promises to work all things for the good of those who are called according to His purpose. Hallelujah! Now how merciful is all of that! Jesus is someone who understands us and sympathizes with us and the author of the book of Hebrews encourages us to approach the throne of grace (Jesus) just as the man of leprosy did, with confidence to receive of His mercy and grace to help us in our need! Jesus was all about mercy over sacrifice, but in view of His mercy to us, let us do as Luke tells us to as a spiritual act of worship of our Lord - to be merciful as our Father is merciful. Jesus so longs for us to love one another as He loves us and that is with mercy. Mercy is to have pity or compassion for the ills of others, to exhibit and feel compassion towards one another. Mercy was shown to the leprous man and his life was forever changed. That thought just has me all inspired! Let us approach His throne of grace with confidence and pray for mercy and grace to have hearts of mercy with which to love others. We as our Father’s children can do just as Jesus did – show mercy and change the world! How wonderful is that thought? Much love to you all!
I’m thankful to walk through this day with you today. Life is a gift! As our Father’s kids, we have so much to be thankful for because we are in the hands of a Father that greatly loves us and has our very best interest at heart. He is always working towards the good of His kids who love Him and are called to His purpose and He has great plans for each of us! This is the time of year when you begin to see cornucopias that are symbolic of abundance and nourishment. As a child of the King, each one of our lives is like a cornucopia - overflowing in blessings in many ways, however, sometimes we can view our basket of life as empty and lacking. It seems one life can have either set of circumstances, in that our minds can be a friend or an enemy to us depending on what we allow to fill it. When we are well nourished by being filled up with Him, putting into practice Paul’s advice to live in Jesus, being rooted and built up in Him and strengthened in our faith, then we will overflow with thanksgiving. One good exercise is to remember your blessings in life – count them no matter how small they may seem. To remember and reflect upon all the good things the Lord has done for me and to put my hope in Him for the future can quickly give me a change of heart towards life and make the difference between having an abundant fruitful life or just being an empty basket case that is focused on all the things that are wrong in life. I find the abundant fruitful life so much more appealing and exciting! We must beware though, when we are filled up with Him, we will probably overflow with joy and thanksgiving. It will just pour out! Life is good and I’m so thankful for you all in my life. You are among my Father’s great gifts to me! May we all be filled to overflowing this day with all of His blessings to us, bearing much fruit! Ya know - we might just end up with bananas out our ears. Whoohoo and Yippee!
Col 2:6-7; Ro 8:28-29; 1 Th 5:18; Ps 1:1-3, 95:2; 2 Pe 1:2; Php 4:4-9; Ro 12:2
It’s Thursday morning and as we do each morning, part of our day is spent grooming in the bathroom and working to make ourselves “presentable and not offensive” to others. I think pretty much everyone when they look into the mirror, they realize they have some physical thing(s) about themselves that is less than “perfect” in their eyes, based on the voice of society. Society is so hard to please and in fact, it is down right impossible apart from touched up photos! People can become very downcast in their souls over it and may spend mega bucks and time to attempt to change their perceived imperfections or cover over them and with age, the more of these imperfections appear. I really haven’t ever met anyone who confidently says “Yep, I’m a perfect physical specimen in the eyes of the world!” If you can relate to the struggle over what seems as physical defects, be encouraged that everyone is in the same boat on this issue, in that we all have them and it keeps us humble so it is actually good for us not to see ourselves as perfect in appearance. Our Father shows me these Words this morning to help us to have a good viewpoint of ourselves. He tells us we are fearfully and wonderfully made and I agree. Let’s see any of us create us from nothing and see what we get. YIKES AND SCARY!!! Can you imagine the time, cost and energy and smarts it would take to even attempt it and where would we even start? I’m glad I don’t have that job assignment!!! Are ya listening, boss? Our Father says man looks at the outward appearance, but He looks at the heart of each of us. It is the heart that is the most important part of us! We should help each other to view and beautify this part of us far more as a priority over our appearances. I am thinking it is important in the mornings to groom our hearts to make them presentable and not offensive by spending time letting our Father’s voice speak to us. At the end of life, what we will desire to be remembered about us will not be “Well, back in her younger days, she physically looked pretty good! I really doubt it will be said “Why she looked as good physically at 92 as she did at 29! I surmise it will be far more important what we did with our life. I hope based on my heart it is said “Why at 92, how she lived her life for the Lord was much better than when she was 29!” Do I hear any “amens” out there? An outwardly beautiful person can be very unattractive if they have an ugly heart and vice versa. As I think about grooming myself for presentation in life, I find my Father’s voice about how He has “groomed” us encouraging: Jesus loved each one of us so much as the church and as His bride that He laid down His physical self to death on the cross to cleanse us from our sin by the washing with water through the Word (renewal and rebirth in Him) and to present us to Himself as radiant (shining, glorious, brilliant, bright), without stain (spot or discoloration, taint of guilt) or any other blemish (a flaw that spoils, a shame). Hence, we are holy (set apart as His and sacred as a temple of God) and blameless (without fault). We now shine with unsullied (unsoiled, undefiled) splendor in the eyes of the Greatest One in the Universe. Ya can’t impress anyone any grander than He and He designed each of us just the way that He desired us to be and covered over all our imperfections through Christ’s cleansing of us. So let’s step out into this day with confidence in Him! We can smile a big smile as we are His amazing, special and loved kids – beautiful right down to our feet that carry His Good News into the world! Whistle, whistle! Eph 5:25-27; Ps 139:14; 1 Sa 16:7; 1 Pe 5:5-6; 2 Cor 6:16; Col 1:22; Ro 10:13-15
Good morning to you! As I gaze upon our Father’s Word today, it is on my heart to write about the importance of putting off our old self which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires and to be made new in the attitude of our minds – to put on the new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. This is a message we have all heard before, meaning our old self is the sinful nature that lives within us, for which Christ died on the cross. This old nature within us misleads us from God’s ways and cheats us from seeing life at His best. Our Father mentions “attitude” of our minds in this passage. The attitude of our old self is one of worry, complaining and grumbling. Upon believing, He has placed His Holy Spirit in us to help us live our new self, to be like Him that is not anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, presenting our requests to God. And then the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. “Attitude” is something we can all struggle with and a bad attitude is certainly something to work on. I like to think about it this way: When our attitude is bad, we need to think “going to the car wash.” Say what? Yep, I said “car wash.” After all, we are God’s vehicles, so to speak, that carries His Spirit that carries the Good News along the road of life. Our vehicles have a tendency to collect dirt and be unclean (due to our sinful nature). As a result, the view through the front window (our sight) can become clouded over so that we do not see well the way of the Lord. This calls for the need to hose off with His living water (the Spirit in us), to apply the scrubbing bubbles called “Gratitude” as you follow the Word instructions (the Bible) so as to dissolve away the muck of our sinful attitude and then, use prayer wax to help guard (our mind and heart) and the cleanliness and shininess of Him in us (the new self) will be the result. We can then head out onto the road of life with peace of mind and His ride into the world through us will represent Him well. I’m thinking toting a good amount of change is a good thing to do. How about you? See ya on the road. I can do that well with a clean window (a Godly view)! Eph 4:1,22-24; Php 2:14-16, 4:6-8; Mt 6:25; 1 Co 3:16; 2 Co 5:20-21, Ro 12:2
Good Monday mornin’, dear family. I hope you all had a great weekend. I managed to transform my mountain of laundry into clean clothes to hang in the closet and as I begin this day, I join Jesus and His disciples as they are on top of the mountain, having just experienced the power of God as it changed Jesus’ appearance, leaving them not sure what to say and frightened. The next thing that happens is they find themselves within a cloud which is actually known as the symbol of the glory of God, the very presence of God. God personally spoke to them within the cloud and said “This is my Son and I love Him. Listen to Him!” All at once, they looked around and saw no one with them except Jesus. As they were coming off the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man rose from the dead which the disciples seized upon and discussed with one another what that meant. They had lots of questions for Jesus. They asked Him “Why is it the scribes say Elijah must come first?” Jesus said to them, “Elijah does come first and makes all things new again and yet how is it written of the Son of Man that He will suffer much and not be accepted?” He stated “I tell you, Elijah has come. They have done to him everything they wanted to do. They did it just as it is written about him.” Elijah is referring to John the Baptist who had came as a forerunner to Jesus, preaching repentance. He was put to death by King Herod. As I reflect on this story, these thoughts fill my mind. 1) First of all, what an honor for the disciples and for us as Dad’s kids to be able to see and hear the things of God. My heart so desires this for those who do not see and hear Him presently. It makes me want to keep going for Dad! 2) How would it be to have the God of the Universe personally recommend you as He did Jesus? Talk about a statement of accreditation! Guess what? Ok, I’ll tell ya – as Dad’s kids, He also gives us His vote of confidence when He says to “Go into all the World and make disciples.” We are His ambassadors or representatives entrusted to speak to others for Him. Are you like me, in that this encourages my heart to know my Dad desires “me” to be part of His team. Dad gives us this advice in so doing “Listen to His Son!” In stepping out for Dad, to successfully lead others, we must follow His voice and seek Him when we have questions. 3) After receiving the vision and hearing the voice of the Father, they saw no one except Jesus alone. I ask myself, do I see only Jesus in my life? He needs to be the focal point of my life whom I listen to and who leads me and and not anyone else. He tells us to seek the counsel of others at times, but everyone’s counsel should always be filtered through our Father for His guidance and final say. 4) When I think of one’s head in a cloud, I think of the importance to have our minds positioned in the presence of our Father and His voice and not be lofty or high up in the clouds of pride and self-talk. Apart from God, we can do nothing on our own. There are times when I can also find myself too low to the ground and frightened due to cloudiness of mind. I know others sometimes struggle with allergies, affects of medications, lack of knowledge, too many things on the brain and lack of sleep that affect our thinking and can leave us feeling inadequate, too lowly. It is always encouraging to me to know that others struggle with this as well not that I desire others to struggle, but it makes me feel I’m not the only imperfect in the world. In this state, we need to also “Listen to God’s Word (Jesus) which says to seek His healing, trust Him to help us, to give us wisdom, work good through us and to think of ourselves with sober judgment. Because of this struggle in my life, it helps me to lend grace to others who are struggling. Well, dear ones – it has been a great mountaintop experience with ya this morning. May the presence of our Father linger with you today and be a great reminder to you that He is ever present, He loves you and desires for you and me to join Him in His work. Bless you!
Mk 9:7-13; Mt 11:13-14, 28:16-20; Ex 24:15-16; 2 Co 5:20-21; Ro 8:28-29; Ps 103:1-3, 121, 139:7-12; Ro 12:1-8; Jn 3:16
>It’s morning again and Jesus and His disciples made it through the storm and arrived ashore at the region of the Geresenes. This is an area that had several cavern tombs that were often used as dwellings. As soon as Jesus climbed out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man was possessed by a legion (many) demons and had become so strong that nobody could subdue him. Day and night he cried out and cut himself with stones. The demons in him knew who Jesus was and shouted at Him not to torture them, begging him time and time again because Jesus told the evil spirit to come out of the man. The demons begged to enter a herd of 2,000 pigs nearby and Jesus gave them permission to come out of the man and enter into the pigs, but then the pigs rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. Those tending the pigs ran into the town and countryside and told the people what happened. When the people came and saw the man formerly demon possessed and now in his right mind, they were afraid. The people who witnessed it told about the man and the pigs and then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region. When Jesus went to get into the boat, the formerly demon-possessed man wanted to go with Him, but Jesus did not let him. He told him to go home to his family and tell them how much the Lord had done for him and how he had mercy on him. So the man did as Jesus said and people were amazed. When I think of the man in this story, separated from his family and society and so tormented by the army of demons within him that he could be heard crying out and he cut himself (destructive habits) and was so overpowered that nobody could restrain him, I don’t know about you, but I agree with Jesus, the man’s old life needed to go! Jesus can definitely take a life and change it for the better. My heart is so touched by how the man wanted to go and be with Jesus his rescuer. I relate to him ‘cuz once you experience the love of Jesus, you can’t help but want more. But like this man, the Lord has plans for each of us – plans to go and tell others what the Lord has done for us. Paul understood this when he said “To live is Christ, and to die is gain (departing to be with Jesus). If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far, but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” The changed man in Mark’s story chose as Paul did, to not depart to be with Jesus, but to go and tell others what the Lord had done for him and in so doing, the ones he told were amazed. Jesus’ grace – it’s too amazing not to share. Jesus has given each of us new life and though left behind to go tell others, He is with us in Spirit always to the very end. So, gotta go! My heart is with ya’s! Mk 5:1-20; Php 1:21-26; Mt 28:18-20; Jn 3:16, 15:1-17; Heb 13:15; 2 Co 5:11-21
Hi family. Those of you who are parents will understand why this update is such a highlight to me. I want you all to understand what our Father is doing in the men we serve and how that continues to change the culture surrounding them.
The PBR event in Dallas was huge as we drew 30,000 people. The service we did in the fan zone was better attended than any other event outside of the competition and our men shined. For me, seeing these men pour their hearts out to people is like seeing my own son hit a home run. We went from there into the Dallas coliseum where I was able to witness Wiley Petersen stand before the masses and lead them in prayer. Later I found that the prayer itself was nationally televised. Know this – the work our Father has us in is having generational impact and the reach is enormous. We are not hosting Christian events that draw Christians. We are right in the midst of the pagan crowd declaring the good news of the Kingdom and people are being drawn to the light.
From there, I went and spent the night with one of the young couples that live in the area. It was scheduled by our Father for the sake of their marriage and was precious time. Early the next morning, we went to a service at a local church (Tabernacle of Praise), met Travis Briscoe and his wife Jessie, worshiped till we were exhausted, then headed to Albuquerque. It was about a ten-hour drive that was another divine appointment for us to build a deeper relationship so the Kingdom could come more fully among us. The next three days I spent with Travis and Jessie as we worked around their place, broke a horse, played pool and met with the church leaders of Albuquerque. Each meeting we went to I became more excited about what our Father is doing. Not only did they show real enthusiasm about the event we are doing on March 25th but they recognized the reality of what God is doing in our men. Once again I sat back like a proud father as I saw Travis take the lead in sharing the vision and watching these church leaders melt with his passion and sincerity. Remember, we are commissioned to make disciples, not all the other things that consume our resources. This type of evangelism is coming out of discipleship. Discipleship doesn’t necessarily come out of evangelism. What a beautiful mystery.
This last weekend I didn’t even attend the event in St. Louis and ministry flourished. Darrel took two of the riders to the local chapter of “Teen Challenge” and the guys poured the Truth into these young wounded men. The outreach service was hosted by the PBR’s assistant production manager. We had great attendance and Jim delivered the Word. This week Wiley Petersen will go to Chicago and do the service. Pray for him and the rest of the crew as they navigate through this dangerous culture with a mission in their heart. I love ya’all.