You are precious to God.

A long time ago, before the foundation of the earth, He knew you. He knew the circumstances that would surround your birth. He knew about your childhood. He was aware of all you would experience in your life. He knows about the hurts, the disappointments, the hopes and the dreams.
What you have experienced, and what you will experience in the future, is no surprise to Him.

He has plans for you – plans far beyond anything you could imagine. All He asks of you is willingness, yieldedness, and obedience. He will open the doors, set the wheels in motion, bring things into alignment and establish them in such a way that you and those around you will know it has to be a God-thing. There will be no room for doubt.

He desires intimacy with you beyond what you have known before. He desires to bring you into the secret place, where you can revel in His presence and let go of the concerns of this world. He wants you to draw close and get hungry for Him in a way you never have.

God loves you. You have a special place in His heart. He has plans for you – ministry, family, blessing, and prosperity. You have only just scratched the surface of what He has for you.

Press in. Get hungry. Seek His face, and He will meet you. Cling to His word and His promises – they will come to pass.

His timing is perfect. His will is good. His heart for you is blessing. Yield to Him; let Him lead and guide you into what He has in store for you – His child.




Silence explodes
enveloping my world
like the mushroom cloud of an atom bomb
now that I am here
without you.

In youth I craved solitude –
the stillness, a lack of expectation,
no mindless chatter to clutter my thoughts….
now, like an old friend who has
outworn his welcome,
its presence dogs my steps
and demands my attention.

The emptiness created by your absence
overwhelms me.
I wander aimlessly,
night flowing into day,
nothing making sense.

There is no reality for me
any more
but the chasm of your loss.

I am alone.



Your smile lingers in my mind.
I can still recall the sparkle in your eye
and the sound of your laughter.

Memories comfort me
when missing you threatens
to overtake my heart.

I remember how we laughed
and loved
and gave each other strength
in the hard times…
how much we cherished
not being alone
any more.

We didn’t have it easy.
Our lives were constantly
challenged by circumstances
that could have broken our spirits
or even our bond….
but we had been through worse,
and we knew how precious
our togetherness was,
so instead they made us

I look back
and think of the things
you did for me out of love,
things you wouldn’t have done
for yourself –
the vegetable garden,
that silly chicken coop –
and I realize you did those
because you wanted to show me
how much I meant to you.

I hope you understood
how much your love changed me.
I hope you knew being with you
made me a better person.

Thank you for loving me.


Interment day

The silence was palpable
as I placed your ashes in their niche.
I wonder –
did they see me kiss your urn
or hear me say, “I love you”?

I should have spoken at the committal ceremony
but I didn’t know what to say.
How can you sum up years of memories
in a 15 minute window?
What could I have done
to show what our time together
meant to me?

You taught me unconditional love,
acceptance without judgement,
all parts of what love should be –
the kind I’d never known before.

You helped me accept myself
for who and what I was
instead of feeling like my life
had been a series of failures.

You loved my children as your own
and cherished our grandchildren
as much as they did you.

You were a living example to me
of a godly man
even though you never claimed to be one.
You didn’t have to –
your actions spoke volumes.

There was no way
to put that into words
so I left it unspoken.
Your life spoke for itself
in those who loved you.



I searched for you in the night
and my hand only met the air.

I listened for the sound of your breathing
but heard my own instead.

I made your favorite meal –
somehow it’s just not the same.

When we were first in love
I remember telling you I’d like to
open you us and
crawl in next to your heart.
Now I feel as if
I’m the one who’s been dissected,
left with a gaping hole in my life,
my consciousness,
my being,
where you used to live.

Sometimes it’s almost unbearable
going through the days without you.
I’m like a robot executing
expected movements without emotion
…….except I miss you
so badly it hurts.


simply be

silent tears
wash over my heart,
unseen by those who think
i’m taking this well.

so strong, they say;
so full of faith,
resolve and determination.

what they do not know about
are the hours i spend
staring into the darkness
not knowing what to do next,
whether to stay or go,
wander or settle down,
and how my whole being
longs for the sound of your voice,
the sight of your smile,
just one more time……

i struggle to make sense
of how quickly you were gone.
my whole life is topsy-turvy,
refusing to make sense.

and so,
with the wisdom born of experience,
i will choose
to do nothing
until what I should do
presents itself clearly.

i will simply


All I Need

Look at me.

I’m a mess.

Broken, weak, and bleeding, I make my way to the throne of grace.

I stumble over pride, shortcomings, and fear as I crawl to the feet of Jesus.

The cares of life grab at my ankles, demanding my attention, trying to distract me from my goal.

I wonder if I’ll ever make it….

Finally, exhausted and weary, I enter that most precious place – the Holy of Holies.

Everything else fades into the background when I hear the Father’s voice bidding me to come closer.

Burdens lift; encumbrances fall away; cares disappear.

All I hear is His voice.

All I want is His touch.

All I long for is His love.

His grace, mercy, and forgiveness overwhelm me. I fall on my face in reverence and gratitude. Tears flow, cleansing my spirit-man as they carry the dirt and weight of the world away with them. I am refreshed, renewed, and made clean as I submit myself to the all-consuming fire of a Holy and Righteous God.

In the overwhelming silence, saturated by the very presence of God, I am revitalized. He refills my empty cup and the Balm of Gilead flows abundantly over my wounded soul. The hurt, shame, rejection, and doubt are replaced by love, unconditional acceptance, and healing. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt I am right where I need to be. This place is the only source of restoration for my battle-scarred body and strength for the journey ahead.

Most Holy Lord, please let me never forget that all I have, all I am, and all I do relies on You. Let me never place faith in my own ability or wisdom, for You are my sufficiency. Without You, I am lost. In You, I am complete and able to do what You have called me to do.

You are all I need.


A candle on a hill?

I read an article today that said several Christian colleges are lifting the ban on alcohol and tobacco among their staff. It seems that going along with the crowd is becoming more important than standing on the Word. This is rather concerning for me, and for several reasons.

First off, let me say that I’m not necessarily against drinking per se, but I am against what social drinking leads to for many people. It’s like a lot of other things — one drink can lead to two, and that can lead to questionable behavior, and that can damage a person’s reputation or much more. Think about it….how many young people go out on Friday night, or whenever they choose to engage in social drinking, and have just one drink? Yes, there are people who do; however, the majority don’t stop at one. In fact, lots of people who go out for the purpose of drinking stop long after they should. See, the problem is that drinking isn’t just drinking. It affects the pleasure center of the brain, and it leads to decreased inhibitions. Decreased inhibitions lead to people doing things they might never do when they are sober; these things can and often do include vulgar language, drug use, and lewd behavior up to and including sex outside of marriage. How many people wake up the morning after and either can’t remember what they’ve done or are ashamed at what they did while under the influence of mind-altering substances?

Here is a short list of things that can happen as a result of going out to drink with friends (either directly or indirectly):

  • drunkenness
  • nudity
  • fornication
  • adultery
  • rape
  • car accidents
  • arrest
  • drunk driving
  • loss of employment
  • alcohol poisoning, which can lead to death
  • drug abuse
  • lying to cover up where you were or what you were doing
  • pregnancy
  • child endangerment
  • loss of respect
  • memory loss
  • overspending

These are short-term consequences of the effects of alcohol intake on the brain. The long term effects can be much more damaging and include losing your home, your family, your job and possibly even your life. Drunk people do all kinds of dumb things because they don’t have the checks and balances that exist when they are sober. This loss of inhibitions can even lead to a decline in personal hygiene, assault, stealing in order to get more money to support a drinking habit, alcoholism, drug dealing, prostitution, and murder — or even the death of the person doing the drinking.

Is it really worth taking that step? Is fitting in with the crowd important enough to risk your life? Do you want the people you go to church with to see you acting like a fool under the influence of alcohol? What about what we see in the Word of God?

  • Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”
  • Romans 13:13 “Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy”
  • Ephesians 5: 1-18 “Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father].And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God [for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.But immorality (sexual vice) and all impurity [of lustful, rich, wasteful living] or greediness must not even be named among you, as is fitting and proper among saints (God’s consecrated people).Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming; but instead voice your thankfulness [to God].For be sure of this: that no person practicing sexual vice or impurity in thought or in life, or one who is covetous [who has lustful desire for the property of others and is greedy for gain]—for he [in effect] is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.Let no one delude and deceive you with empty excuses and groundless arguments [for these sins], for through these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of rebellion and disobedience.So do not associate or be sharers with them.For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of Light [lead the lives of those native-born to the Light].For the fruit (the effect, the product) of the Light or the Spirit [consists] in every form of kindly goodness, uprightness of heart, and trueness of life.10 And try to learn [in your experience] what is pleasing to the Lord [let your lives be constant proofs of what is most acceptable to Him].11 Take no part in and have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds and enterprises of darkness, but instead [let your lives be so in contrast as to] expose and reprove and convict them.12 For it is a shame even to speak of or mention the things that [such people] practice in secret.13 But when anything is exposed and reproved by the light, it is made visible and clear; and where everything is visible and clear there is light.14 Therefore He says, Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine (make day dawn) upon you and give you light.15 Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people),16 Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil.17 Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit.” {Amplified Version}

As sons and daughters of a Holy God, we are admonished again and again to be examples of His love and grace, His light and mercy; of how He has changed us, how He has brought us out of darkness and into light. How, then, is drunkenness any part of this? How can we equate “getting loose” with others to the glory and mystery of our salvation? We have been purchased by the blood of a Holy Savior; paid for by the sacrifice of His life, which paid for our sins. Can we not give up drinking booze for that sacrifice, or is it so important to us that we have to lay aside our salvation (or put it in a box on a shelf in our hearts) so we can go have what the unsaved call “fun?” Do you really want to risk your witness … wait, before you answer and say that’s not going to happen, think about the person God has you mentoring…think about them coming along the street after you’ve had a few drinks, stumbling out to your car so you can take the lives of others into your hands as you drive home with decreased response time because of what the alcohol does to your brain. What kind of message does that give them? “Oh, it’s okay to drink, even though we just read this week that being drunk isn’t good. Maybe those words were for another time and place. I guess the Word of God is just a guideline, not something we need to take literally. It’s….well….it’s just a story, then. Just an example. Just fiction.”

Lest you think this isn’t hitting me too, I’m being convicted myself as I type — not of drinking, because I don’t and haven’t for over a decade, but I’m being convicted of other behaviors I engage in that don’t glorify God; behaviors that might lead others to think that we can make exceptions to the Scripture for our own benefit. I need to repent, too. See, this is how it is…we get a message for others, or we sit down to discuss something important, and God takes the light of His Word and shines it on our lives as well.

Is your life a candle on a hill? Or do you hide that light so you can indulge in worldly pleasures? I know I have some repenting to do, and some changing.  Repenting is no good if it doesn’t lead to change. That’s like adding soap to the washer but putting it in a plastic bag first — it doesn’t get the clothes clean unless it can mix in with them and touch them. Repentance is when the Word of God touches your life and cleans it up, each time leaving you a little more like Him and a little less like the world.

“May God bless you and keep you; may God make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; may God turn His countenance upon you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)


No longer set apart 2

Praise is equivalent to being in the outer courts of the temple, and worship is like approaching and then entering the Holy of Holies. The goal should be bringing the body together in unity, rejoicing or praising, and then moving into a time of intimacy with the Father, in preparation for hearing from Him both as a body and personally. He speaks through prophecy, the Word, words of knowledge or wisdom, and/or revelation. It might be in the sermon or message. It might be that as you read the Bible a sentence, phrase or chapter speaks to your heart. It can come in all kinds of ways. One way that is hard than many others is through a still, small voice. This is difficult because, in this day and age, finding time to be quiet enough to hear Him when the voice is still and small takes more effort than some of us are willing to put forth. How many of us can actually turn off the TV, the computer, the phone, the cell phone, and all other distractions to spend even just a little time listening for the voice of God? Do we even know how to do it? Would we recognize His voice if He spoke directly to us?

Have you taken the time to listen to God lately, or is your prayer life full of petitions and reminders to God about His promises? We should be spending more time praising God for what He’s done and for what He will be doing in our lives and the lives of those around us than telling Him what to do and how to do it. If you ask God to do something specific in a specific way, and His plan doesn’t include moving in that way, His only answer can be no. We need to remember that left to ourselves, we would be on our way to hell. We can’t even manage our own lives, much less the lives and needs of others. We are in need of His intervention in our lives in order to have hope for today and tomorrow. His promises encourage us. His hands surround us. His wings protect us. He deserves our praise, adoration, worship, and thanksgiving. Just getting up this morning was a blessing. Being able to dress yourself, feeding yourself, going to the bathroom, communicating your needs and desires — all these are blessings. Many people live without even the simple things we take for granted. For that, we should be full of praise and gratitude.

Setting ourselves aside for God doesn’t necessarily mean living in a hut in the desert (unless you’re called to do so), but it does mean thinking before we act about how our actions will reflect on Him. We are His ambassadors. People look to us to be examples of what it means to be a Christian. As a group we’ve fallen far behind in this area. Christians – not all, but enough to be noticed – get drunk, fornicate, commit adultery, steal, lie, commit fraud, gossip, dress immodestly, live together outside of marriage, and put ourselves before others; all of these are in defiance of the commands in the Word of God. We don’t display humility, but instead show off and act proudly. Instead of striving to be shown a good workman, we strive for worldly recognition and financial rewards. We see people in need and instead of helping them, we either pass right by or we proceed to preach at them about how their behavior led them to be in this situation – forgetting that it is God’s place to judge, not ours.

How should children of God act? Well, we should be gracious, honest, and kind. We should function with integrity and honor both at home and in the world. We should dress modestly and conduct ourselves in the same way. Avoid putting yourself in a position where you have to choose between right living and sin. Don’t go in bars. Don’t spend time alone with members of the opposite gender unless you are married or a sibling. Stay away from temptation as much as you can, and ask for help with the things you can’t avoid. Seek to honor others before yourselves. And, last but certainly not least,




That there is the most important way to live as set apart for God. Step aside and let Him have the first spot in your life, and then live that way.

No longer set apart 1

“13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

“16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

“25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (I Cor 5:13-25)

The more I read, the more I wonder. The more I wonder, the more my heart aches.

So many of today’s churches have turned away from the things of God and are, instead, embracing a form of godliness while those with discernment can see without effort that sin is rampant in those churches. It used to be that Christians were held to a higher standard than those in the world. Now? It’s hard to tell the difference sometimes.

  • We got rid of wearing suits and dresses so that we didn’t offend people who wanted to come to church in jeans and t-shirts instead of waiting for them to catch on to the idea of looking your best for God, to honor Him.
  • We stopped using the word “sin” so people wouldn’t be uncomfortable during the message.
  • We stopped preaching directly from the Word, instead using illustrations and examples. After all, the Bible is an archaic text that shouldn’t be taken as being relevant for today’s world, right?
  • We stopped telling people that living together outside of marriage was sin. We didn’t encourage them to be celibate, because that might make them squirm in their seats.
  • We instituted giveaways, raffles, and contests to draw people in rather than letting the Presence and Power of God draw them in. After all, the Holy Spirit isn’t relevant today; only foolish people take the Bible as literal instead of symbolic.
  • We stopped having Sunday and Wednesday evening services because people are busy and expecting them to give so much time to church is unrealistic. They have so many things to do!
  • We limited our services to an hour so people don’t get bored. Some folks will just flat get up and leave a service if it goes over an hour in length.
  • Worship? Sure, if you can fit it into 15 minutes or 3 songs. After that, people get tired of standing up and get bored. Come on, we have to be relevant. People have schedules; places to go, things to do, people to see.

I’ve watched a number of churches that used to be full of the fire of God and the move of the Holy Spirit shrivel up and become a mere suggestion of who they once were because worship is no longer the reason they come together. Many church services today have an awful lot in common with a concert during praise and worship — a prominent worship leader, instrumentalists, drummers, back up singers, and sometimes even lights or special effects. Sometimes it’s so loud you can’t hear the person next to you singing, but everyone can hear the worship leader. This ambition, this spotlighting, goes against the Word regarding how we are to serve others.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)

I suggest that we get back to basics. Church should be a place for believers to gather for praise to and worship of  God the Father, Jesus his Son, and the Holy Spirit. It’s not a social club, though fellowship certainly has its place. Our primary focus should be gathering together to praise and thank God for the miracle of salvation, for the things He has done in our lives and for His Presence within us. It’s about worship – corporate worship – setting aside the temporal, the day to day worries, the fusses and conflicts we deal with, and focusing our beings on the goodness and awesomeness of our mighty God. It’s a time to close our eyes, leave the worries and cares of life behind, and simply




It’s hard. I know it’s hard. We have so many things going on — work, raising children, keeping our homes clean, maintaining our cars, managing our finances, dealing with difficult relationships, health issues, parents, stress in our marriage or stressing about not being married, and so on — that it’s not easy to set it all aside and focus on our Lord and Savior. This is the purpose of corporate praise.

When there’s a group of people, from 5 to 5,000, all focused on giving God praise, something happens. Joy is infectious. Praise edifies us. It’s catching. We hear the joy around us – the hands clapping, the laughter, the lighthearted singing, the thankfulness for getting through another week – and we start to feel lightened ourselves. “A merry heart does good like a medicine.“(Prov. 17:22) No truer words have been spoken.

Once praise has helped us set aside our detailed lives, it’s time to worship. Worship is coming into the very presence of God in an intimate way. It’s opening our spirits to Him and sitting at His feet, which is the perfect place to tell Him how thankful we are for salvation, for healing, for how He has changed our lives….the list goes on and on. While worship may start with singing, it doesn’t necessarily end with singing. It often ends in prayer, whether corporate or individual; the manifestation of one or more spiritual gifts; or even a time of deep silence and communion between God and the believer.     (continued next post)