The Power of Being You

     First, I want to take some time to apologize for the lateness of the update. I had surgery early this week, but everything went well, and I am recovering wonderfully. Our last two topics have taken place around Psalms 139. And for me, these have been profound because whenever I re-consider this particular Psalm, I am awestruck again and again at the magnitude of God’s love and mercy. While we often consider how loved we are by God, how often do we begin our day with the realization that each of us are part of the overall, overreaching plan of God in this world, that your life and mine are significant in one way or another to God’s overall purpose in  human history? Indeed, each of us are here for a reason. I woke up this morning because my life is in some way significant to the ongoing plan, the unfolding purpose of God in this earth, and the same goes for you. My point is this, no matter what you are facing today, you are important. You are important to the heart of God because he loves and adores you, but you are also important to what God wants to do in this world and how he desires to further his Kingdom.

     Still,  it can be really easy to get caught up in  the day to day  issues of life. That being said, take the time today to remember that your hardship may be someone else’s hope. The story of your life, who you are, what you have endured and who you are becoming as a result has the potential to change someone else’s life for the better.

        First Corinthians 2:3-5 says, “I came to you in weakness-timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than clever and persuasive speeches, I relied on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God. -ESV

       Though we would all like to operate in it, God does not need our eloquence, gifting or talent to change the life of another human being. All he needs is our willingness to yield to his promptings. So don’t be afraid to share your story, what you have endured and how you have grown as a result. Don’t be afraid to share your weaknesses or even the pain you may be feeling in your heart. It may seem ironic. But sometimes, simply sharing the most human or ordinary life experience, who God has been and how he has met you in that circumstance has the greatest potential to produce  the most supernatural change in the life of another. Most of the time, God uses an individual in the most profound ways in the plain old everyday life situation of being his or herself. This week, if the opportunity presents itself, share your experience with someone else, and be yourself. You might be surprised at the miracles that can take place. The bottom line is this, you are the most powerful in the ordinary setting of simply being you.

Have a beautiful and blessed rest of your week.





Empowered to Forgive

     Simply put, we are empowered to forgive because of what Christ has done for us and in us. Last week, as I was preparing for the small group of which I am a part at the local church I attend, I found myself meditating more and more deeply on God’s gracious gift of forgiveness. And the more I contemplated its reality, the more awestruck I became as the magnitude of God goodness (if that is possible) became more clear to me.

     The Noah Webster 1828 dictionary defines forgiveness as, “The act of forgiving; the pardon of an offender, by which he is considered and treated as not guilty.” I mean seriously, Selah, just pause and think about that.  He treated us as not guilty, even when justice demanded that he should not. We have all failed miserably in certain places in our lives, sinned horribly against God. In some cases, we have blatantly disregarded what we have known to be right. Yet in all of this, God has remained faithful in both his willingness and desire to forgive us, to make a way whereby we can be reconciled to him through the completed work of Christ on the cross. Romans 5:8 says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” In other words, while we were still doing our own thing, not concerned or even caring about anything God had to say, he sent his own Son to die for our sins. According to today’s understanding, that would be equivalent to giving your child as a sacrifice for the benefit of one who not only worked against you but potentially did not like you. It may sound crazy, but it’s true. In reality, it is harder to see someone we love be wounded rather than suffer that same wound ourselves. Yet, that is what God did when he sent Jesus to suffer and die for the wrong each of us has committed against him.

      Though it may not be easy, because of this, we are empowered to forgive. Romans 6:6 says, “Romans 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” The verb used here is present tense, signifying the present state or condition of the one who has placed his or her trust in Christ.  To think about it a different way, we are set free from the that which held us captive to living lives contrary to God’s standard. We also read in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And from in Romans 5:1 we learn, ““therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” All of these are present tense. We have the power to carry out all that God desires because of who we have become in him. The completed work of Christ on the cross and the indwelling Spirit, who comes to live in us as a result, empowers us, fills us with the grace to do all God requires, that includes the grace to forgive. In the book of Philippians 2:13 we are informed, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” God did not only require us to forgive. He first became the example by doing it himself. Before we are commanded to forgive, we become the beneficiaries of the same forgiveness. We are brought back into right relationship with him. We are filled with his grace, which is his divine influence on our heart for the enabling of its manifestation in our lives. To put it another way, while forgiveness is certainly not easy, it does become possible both through what God has done for us and in us in the person of Jesus Christ.

May God fill you with his peace and joy this week, and my you empowered with the grace that he provides to live in continued alignment with his will for your life.



God’s Faithful Forgiveness: Psalm 139

        Have you ever taken the time to read Psalm 139? If you have not, I seriously advise you take the time to do so, and soon. Today, sitting here in meditation, while preparing for the small group of which I am a part at the church I presently attend, I find myself once again awestruck by the goodness of God, his undying faithfulness and mercy. Today, we are beginning a study in the book by R.T. Kendall, Total Forgiveness. That being said, I have read through the introduction and the first chapter, and I am floored as I consider and reconsider the magnitude of the mercy of God. Psalms 139 opens with these words, “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.” It goes on to say, “You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I am far away.”

     Reading this Psalm, especially in light of the information in the first chapter of R.T. Kendall’s book, Total Forgiveness, many thoughts and emotions were brought to the forefront of my heart and mind. God knows everything about you and about me. He is completely acquainted with every strand of our DNA. He knows what we will decide to do  even before we make the decision or act on what we have decided. He knows what I will contemplate long before I even become aware. God knows my innermost thoughts, the meditations of my heart. Of the fulness of our being, there is not one atom with which he is not fully and completely unfamiliar. He knows when I have failed unintentionally as well as when I have do so by making a deliberate choice to act contrary to what I know is right. God knows all of this about me and about you. And still he loves us, still he cares for us.  And still, he forgives us.

       The Psalmist also writes, “I can never escape from your Spirit, I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to the heaven, you are there. If I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest side of the oceans, even there your hand will guide me and your strength will support me.” In other words, no matter what I do or where I go, wherever I may find myself, in any given situation God is there.

      In reading Kendall’s book, this is something I began to consider in light of God’s faithfulness to forgive.  Matthew 26: 27-28 says, “And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many.” I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins.” (my paraphrase) We further read in Hebrews 10:16-17, “This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, ‘says the Lord’: I will put my laws in their hearts and in their minds. Then he says, I will never again remember their sins and their lawless deeds.” God is so committed to forgiving us that he sealed it in stone, in a manner of speaking. He established his commitment through covenant. And it is a covenant to which he will remain forever faithful.

     Talk about forgiving and forgetting! Even though the book by Kendall seems to be written from a slightly different perspective, in that it seems of focus more on the necessity and benefit of forgiving rather than the forgiveness we receive from God. It definitely also touches on the latter. And I expect more so as I continue to read through its pages. Still, these are some to the thoughts that have come to me as I have enjoyed the book thus far.

        As I hope to touch on in next week’s blog, we have the power to forgive others because God has forgiven us. If you have never done so, or haven’t done so in a while, take time to read Psalm 139, and just meditate on the unfathomable depth of God’s love, God’s mercy, God’s faithfulness, and God’s willingness to forgive.

Have a blessed and prosperous week,


All Scripture references are taken from the New Living Translation of the Holy Bible (NLT)

Stepping Outside of Your comfort Zone

While it is not always easy, throughout Scripture it was often a method God used to accomplish his plans and purposes in the lives of countless individuals. Ruth left her homeland to return to Bethlehem with Naomi. Rahab the prostitute welcomed strangers she knew would one day possess the land in which she, her family and her people resided. Jael helped  defeat a king and a nation in a day when it was not popular for women to participate in Battle.  At a time when one man threatened an entire population with genocide, Queen Esther hearkened to the voice of her uncle Mordecai, who declared, “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

     Over and over again throughout Scripture, men and women accomplished great things for God. They lived in different places and at different times in history. They faced different situations and had different challenges, but one thing all of these individuals had in common: at one time or another in their lives, each of these decided to step outside of their comfort zone, outside of the places and spaces of familiarity and comfort.

     When God called Abraham to go to a ‘place where he would show him’, Abraham was used to living near his father’s family and those of his own culture and ethnic group. He grew up with a worldview passed down to him from his father. So when God called Abraham to leave his country and his father’s house, Abraham was leaving all that was familiar to him. Take some time today, this week to consider what God is leading you to do. Is God calling you to step outside of your comfort zone in some way, or embrace a situation where you are already outside of your comfort zone in some area of your life? It may not be leaving a geographical region. It might be embracing a different way to handle finances, or establishing a friendship with someone from a  different ethnic or cultural background. Whatever it is in the end, it is something you will not likely  regret.

     When Abraham stepped outside of his comfort zone God revealed his identity. He said, “You are not longer Abram (high father); you are Abraham (father of a multitude).”(Genesis 17:5) In revealing his identity, God was showing Abraham his purpose. He would become the father of a multitude. Finally, when Abraham stepped out of his comfort zone, God showed him his potential. It was in God’s plan to bless all nations of the earth through the life of this one man and his descendants. It was God’s desire to bless Abraham, to make his name great and to accomplish all he had in store for his life. However, Abraham would have never realized all God had for him if he had refused to leave that which was familiar and comfortable to him.

     When we refuse to leave the places and places that are familiar and comfortable to us ultimately for that reason, we get to experience the world we know, but sadly, we never get to learn from or encounter the world that is. We get to experience the individual we know ourselves to be, but we never get to encounter the individual we can become because we never realize what is actually inside of us. Even more, we get to remain familiar with the way we have always known God, but more tragically, we never get to encounter his love and power in the way he ultimately desires to reveal it to us.

     When it comes to stepping outside of our comfort zone, it is easy to focus on what we  have to lose without ever considering all we have to gain. Again, take some time this week to think deeply about this area in your life. Is God prompting you to do something that is outside of your comfort zone?

     My prayer this week is that God would give you strength and wisdom. And that he would fill you with his peace and assurance. Remember, if God is leading you in a certain direction or to a certain destination, not only will he go with you, but he will meet you there.

Be Blessed,