★ Thought for the Day – Where Does Money Come From? ★

67 - Daily Dependence - Where Does Money Come FromWe have all heard the question, whether in real life or see it in a movie, “Mommy/Daddy where do babies come from?”  Then comes an awkward silence and some stalling until either “the talk” is done or in other instances some other reason is told to avoid the conversation until they are older.  Today I want to explore “Where Does Money Come From?”  I saw this comic and it got my creative juices flowing!

67 - Dilbert - Where Does Money Come From

The age old question, if it takes money to make money then how do you get ahead?  But I think that this Dilbert comic nails it!  God is the answer and if we can grasp it, it will forever change our path in our career and financial peace!

Deuteronomy 8:18 (NASB) puts it all into perspective:

“But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth…” 

Arguments abound over pride and self-reliance that what success has been achieved is a result of hard work and effort but I love how Deuteronomy cuts to the heart of the matter and sets things straight!  You would not be able to work hard, nor would you have the intelligence or ability if God did not first give it to you.  So you want to have success in your finances then you need to put God first!  Proverbs 3:9–10 (NIV1984) instructs us to,

 “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” 

Don’t get hung up with the agricultural references of crops barns and vats…substitute those for paycheck and bank account.  One thing that I have noticed is that if I do not make my tithes (or 10% of my income) and offerings (above the tithe) a priority in my budget, there will always be something else that will eat up the money.  When it says “First Fruits” here, it means above all things, first and foremost, Honor the Lord with your wealth which He has provided for you.  So the principle is to bring to God the first 10% of what you earn before you pay all the other bills.

I saw a church sign with this message, “Give God what’s right not what’s left.”  

67 - Daily Dependence - Deuteronomy 8-18

I love that and when you overlay the truth of Deuteronomy 8:18, things come into focus a little better, don’t they?  God deserves our best, and to make Him, and the building of His kingdom first in our lives.  If we don’t make our tithe first on the budget that is exactly what will happen, God will get the leftovers, assuming of course there is anything.  Robert Morris said perfectly:
67 - Daily Dependence - Robert Morris
If you do place God first, His blessings will overflow and you will see a radical change in your finances!!

Now before this post gets derailed, I am not talking about “prosperity gospel” where you “give to get,” that is the farthest thing from the truth!!  God is not a vending machine!

67 - Daily Dependence - God is Not A Vending MachineIn His book, “God Is Not A Vending Machine,” Marvin Hinten makes this statement,

“The Pervasive influence of the vending economy has had spiritual repercussions.  While still referring to God as a person, Christians increasingly tend to treat Him as a vending machine.  If they pop in their coins of prayer, Bible study, and church attendance, […I don’t think Mr. Hinten would mind, I would add ‘paying your tithes’ as well,] He is expected to deliver “the goods;” Financial security, popularity and good health.”

If you pay your tithes, it should be because you love Him and want to please God in obeying this requirement. Something to realize is that God does not need our money, but He wants our hearts to be focused on the Kingdom of Heaven, not on stuff here on earth.  He knew that we would have an issue in this area which is why God made the requirement in the first place so that MONEY would not have a hold on OUR HEARTS.  The tithe or 10% of our income is actually the minimum required by God.  It’s comical to think that we own any of our income when you shine the light of Psalm 24:1 (NIV1984) on the issue,

“The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” 

Rather than gripping about “losing” 10% we should be happy that we get to keep 90%!  Malachi 3:10-12 (NIV1984) says it all,

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.  I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty.  “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.” 

I love this verse because it is the only place in the Bible that God challenges us to “Test” Him.  And if we pass the test he promises to throw open the floodgates of heaven (or other translations say the “windows of heaven”) and bless us so much that we will not have room enough to store it.  Now that is what I want.  He also promises to prevent pests or the enemy from devouring what we have and that is not just finances and possessions but our marriage, our children and our health.  So you see we really can’t afford not to give our tithe to the Lord.  I could do an entire post just on these three verses alone, so we are not going to go much deeper in terms of offerings or extravagant giving but just know, the closer you get to God, and the more you love God, the more you will want to give to the building of His kingdom!

I will close with this last quote from Robert Morris,

“Every time you get paid, are you going to believe that God’s Word works, that 90 percent with God’s blessing goes further than 100 percent without? We live in a cursed world, and what God wants to do is redeem our finances out from under the curse, but it takes our cooperation—to give Him the first 10 percent.”

So if you want to see a change in your finances, first change your heart and give your tithe with true appreciation of everything that God has given you.  Believe that 90% with God’s Blessing is far greater that 100% without!

If you are interested in learning more about managing your finances God’s way, check out this post called ★ Thought for the Day – Keeping Up With The Joneses? ★.

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★ Re|Engage – Truth ★

ReEngage - Lesson 08

Lesson 8 deals with Truth and the main idea was:

“You are tempted every day to believe the lies all around you regarding your marriage. You need to identify the lies you’re choosing to believe and replace those lies with biblical truth.”

If you don’t know by now, there are many times that we believe lies about our spouses intentions or actions.  But we need to understand that our enemy, the Devil is always screaming in our minds with what sounds like our own voice lies about our spouse.  This lesson deals very practically about this.

Gary Thomas said,ReEngage - Lesson 08 - Old Ways Wont Open New Doors

 “What if God intended marriage to make us holy more than happy?” 

Don’t see that on a Hallmark card do you?

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (ESV)

We need to allow God to change the way we think. Old ways of thinking won’t change our marriage.  Nothing changes if nothing changes.  Let God transform your “old ways.”

In the book, they asked listed the common lies that we tend to believe about our spouse but then what the truth really is…

Lie:         I should feel “in love” at all times


“Love is described by actions rather than emotions…
Oftentimes it is actually the loving actions that will bring about loving feelings.”

Lie:         My marital issues and problems are different or unique.


“There are no new or unique problems in marriage.
1 Corinthians 10:13 says, No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.”

I heard James MacDonald once say, Satan has three strategies to take us down in every area of our life…

“Disguise, Divide and Destroy.  He comes to us as an angel of light.  He gets us isolated by ourselves, and then he takes us down.” 

Lie:         I married the wrong person and my “soul mate” is still out there?


“You made a commitment to your spouse and God has joined you together.
Remember Mark 10:7-9.”

Lie:         My Marriage shouldn’t be this hard.


“When two sinners marry, there will always be difficulties.” 

1 Corinthians 7:28 says:

“But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that.”

Not the most positive spin on marriage but it makes the point.

Lie:         My Marriage and spouse are supposed to make me happy.


“Real joy comes from God. If you look to your spouse and your marriage
to meet 
needs that were intended for God alone to meet, it will be exhausting for your spouse, and disappointing and frustrating for you.”

Lie:         I can never have a great marriage because there has been so much damage.


“When you sin you may believe that God will withhold His Plan A for your
and give you His Plan B instead.  While there still may be consequences for past actions, the good news is that God is for you, not against you, and wants you to experience the ideal of marriage.”

Psalm 103:10 (ESV) is a great reminder of this…

“He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.” 

The book made this point that I love!

“The truth is your spouse is God’s provision for you, not God’s curse on you.”

James MacDonald made a great point about how to get “unstuck” from the cycle of lies:

You don’t have a good marriage because you want one.
You don’t have a good marriage because you tell people you have one.
You don’t have a good marriage because you can teach a class on how to have a good one…[including re|engage…hahaha!]
You have a good marriage because you work on your marriage.
You want to get unstuck, you have to prioritize your marriage. 

As you prioritize and work on your marriage things will improve!  But we MUST push out the lies and focus in on what Philippians 4:8 says.

ReEngage - Lesson 08 - Philippians 4-8


Scripture to Review:

  • “Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” Matthew 19:6 (NLT)  
  • Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun.”  Ecclesiastes 9:9 (ESV)
  • “Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the Lord, and keep their promises even when it hurts.”  Psalm 15:4 (NLT) 

If you would like to read the next installment to the re|engage class, click here . . . ★ Re|Engage – Communication ★

If you want to read previous re|engage lessons click here…


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★ Act Like Men – “Watchful Home Improvement” ★

Day 16 - Watchful Home Improvement

Daily Dependence - Section 2 - Be WatchfulI don’t know what but when I read this title I thought of the 90’s sitcom “Home Improvement” with Tim Allen but the subject matter is quite different!

“The great need in our world today is quality men applying themselves to God’s purposes with urgency.”

First sentence of the lesson and I stopped and said “amen!”  Section 2 of “Being Watchful” has been really powerful to me and has opened my eyes to a lot of things that I thought I am doing pretty good at but certainly can do a lot better than I have been.

“Men act like men at home when they realize they will be held responsible for how well they represent God to their family.  Training your children is commanded But it must be age-appropriate. ‘By mere words a servant is not disciplined, for though he understands, he will not respond.’ (Proverbs 29:19)  

I know this to be true…Failing to discipline whether because of laziness or concern of hurting their feelings, will only hurt my daughters development in the end.  Israel Houghton has an incredible song called “Where Are The Fathers” that really brings home this point!

“Where are the fathers?  The responsible ones?  Where are the fathers?  Have they helped to raise their sons?  Look at the daughters, do you see their violation?”

MacDonald goes on to say,

“Pain is a powerful teacher. So much so that God has woven pain into the fabric of every sinful action. We always say, ‘choose to sin, choose to suffer.’  And because God loves us, He ensures that all human behavior works that way. It’s Dad’s job to drive home the lesson. Doing right leads to blessing as surely as doing wrong leads to pain.”

Sad reality but so true!  When you think of that “choose to sin, choose to suffer,” it’s such a simple concept to understand but yet why do we fail so often?  Here’s the capstone quote from James McDonald for me:

“As a father, you are patterning your discipline after you heavenly Father, whom your children need to realize you deeply respect and love. God trains His children on a foundation of fear and later, perfect love casts out fear…It’s important that your kids know that you’re not perfect. One of the best ways to show them is when you admit you’re wrong and ask them for forgiveness.”

This is an area that I have worked really hard at, because I saw so much hypocrisy growing up that I never wanted my daughters to feel that about me and I also did not want them to feel like they were failures because of a “perceived” or “presented” perfection that their father was unable to reach either.  Looking at my now 11-year-old and 14-year-old and admitting I am wrong is quite humbling but when it comes down to it, there is nothing more powerful in forming a child’s understanding of a loving Heavenly Father like saying ‘Daddy messed up, will you forgive me?

So I pose this question, how are you at asking for forgiveness to your child?

Here is the next installment. . .★ Act Like Men – “Urgently Unclear” ★


If you want to read previous Act Like Men posts click here.



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★ Act Like Men – “Jesus Was Fired Up” ★

Day 15 - Jesus Was Fired Up

Daily Dependence - Section 2 - Be WatchfulI love this lesson as it is everything I am about!  I was once told by a co-worker that he gets anxious every time I call him because it’s like I am on fire and that the project always feels like it in crisis mode.  What I have learned in leading a team, is that unless you are completely “engulfed in flames,” then others won’t even “warm up” to what needs to get accomplished.  In the reading James MacDonald asked these two poignant questions…

“Are you fired up about the things of God? Does an urgent passion burn in your heart to see God’s purposes advanced in your life and through you, to others?”


I am fired up to see lives transformed and renewed. To see people who are lost find the answer to the God shaped hole in their heart!  To see strongholds broken and people set on a new trajectory, a new legacy!  I want to be just like Jesus!  To exhibit every aspect of His attributes. I like how MacDonald put it:

“‭Jesus is strong and masculine in every righteous way that word can be used. And He didn’t need to act like a man, he created man (Colossians‬ ‭1‬:‭16‬) and became a man (John‬ ‭1‬:‭14) to reconcile things to Himself.” (Colossians‬ ‭1‬:‭20)

“Oh yeah, Jesus is fired up about everything that matters and he wants men to have the same urgency. Do you?”



Here is the next installment. . .★ Act Like Men – “Watchful Home Improvement” ★


If you want to read previous Act Like Men posts click here.



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★ Thought for the Day – Sweetly Broken ★

66 - Jeremy Riddle - Sweetly BrokenThis post was inspired by a reader who requested this topic on the “►► You Opinion Matters…” page to see a blog on what if…

“People turned their lives over to Christ daily!”

Well that topic is what we are all about here, so here goes….

Turning your life over to Jesus is the best decision anyone could make!  Another way to say it is surrender…not something that many people like to talk about or do.  When you think about the word “surrender,” images of criminals with the arms raised to the police come to mind don’t they?  Surrender is giving up, or yielding control to another, and accepting the outcome. In the case of police, turning oneself over is accepting the consequences of criminal behavior and inevitable punishment for the crime…but surrendering or turning your life to Jesus, it is just the opposite…in that transference, we accept His grace and forgiveness in place of punishment for our criminal behavior (sin).  Quite a difference!

So before we start to discuss the surrendering daily, the first question to ask…have you surrender to Jesus at all?  You may be reading this and wondering what is this person even talking about…let me just run through a couple scriptural truths…

You have seen “John 3:16” I am sure all over the place, whether held by a fan in the stands, or on a t-shirt, or spray painted along the road or maybe even seen it on Tim Tebow’s face.

66 - John 3-16 Appearances

John 3:16 (NLT) proclaims…

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”

And verse 17 goes on to say,

“God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.”

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NLT), the Apostle Paul said,

 “I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.”

God sent His son to save you and me!  He loves you more than you can ever imagine and sent Jesus to establish a “relationship” with us… You can read more on this in previous blogs called ★ Thought for the Day – What Does The Love of God Mean? ★  All this was done so that we could have eternal life with God and Jesus in heaven; but as you well know, there are consequences to sin and Jesus was the payment for those sins, as Isaiah 53:5 (NLT) prophesied over 700 years earlier about the death of Jesus…

“But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.  He was beaten so we could be whole.  He was whipped so we could be healed.”

So with all that said, what is the hold up to turning to Jesus?

Here are some common Excuses for not surrendering…

Don’t know You Are Chosen!  

Some people will not surrender to Jesus because they think of our Heavenly Father as a “Cosmic Killjoy” or as an angry God just waiting for us to mess up so that He can punish us; but as you read those verses above look at the lengths that He went to establish a relationship with us!  He truly loves you and I…we are CHOSEN, not because of anything we have done but simply because God loves us…You can read more on this in a previous blog called ★ Thought for the Day – You Are Chosen! ★

Don’t know that there is a difference between Religion Vs. Relationship!

66 - Robert Morris - SurrenderI have shared in the past about how growing up I had virtually no connection to God and quite honestly wanted nothing to do with Him as a result of the words and actions of “religious” people.  I struggles hearing one thing from the pulpit and then seeing another thing outside the four walls of the church.  Hypocrisy was my excuse for not surrendering to God.  Robert Morris made this point,

“Sometimes our religion gets in the way of our relationship with God…you have to make a choice to follow Jesus and to submit your will to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and that’s when salvation occurs.”

You can read more on this in a previous blog called ★ Thought for the Day – I Hate Religion and I’m a Christian… ★

Don’t know that there is Value in Weakness!  

Many people struggle with viewing Christianity as a crutch, believing that if they surrender to Jesus, they are weak, but that is the farthest thing from the truth!!  It takes a strong person to admit when they are wrong…You can read more on this in a previous blog called ★ Thought for the Day – Value in Weakness? ★

Don’t know you don’t have All the Time in the World!  

And finally the biggest excuse of all, is to toy with the idea of accepting Jesus as Lord and savior but to put off the decision for whatever reason.  Maybe because of the feeling that God is a “cosmic killjoy” and so you want to keep having fun so you will make that decision to turn your life over to later.  Or maybe it is a feeling of unworthiness that you need to “clean yourself up” before coming to Jesus, not realizing that you are “chosen.”  Or maybe your pride is getting in the way because you don’t want to admit that the way you are running your life (or not running it,) is not working.  Whatever the reason, Matthew 24:36 (NLT) is clear about the end times:

“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen [when Jesus will come back to judge the world], not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself.  Only the Father knows.”

So don’t wait, make the decision today, you will never regret it!!…You can read more on this in a previous blog called ★ Thought for the Day – All the Time in the World ★

Okay, so now that we have covered the critical first surrender, let’s talk about surrendering daily.  My pastor has been talking for the past few weeks about “living on mission” where you live, work and play, having an eternal perspective in all that you do.  When we talk about surrendering our lives daily to Jesus, it will result with us living on mission for the kingdom of God.  Philippians 2:5-8 (NLT) has some insight for us…

“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.  Instead, He gave up his divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.  When He appeared in human form, He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”

So the first step of surrendering daily to Jesus is humility.  Everything that Jesus did illustrated His humility and was done for our benefit to know how we ought to live.  Now as you live out life in humility, does that mean you will get it right every time?  Absolutely now!  My mother was named after the late country music legend, Loretta Lynn who made this astute statement,

“Nobody’s perfect. The only one that ever was, was crucified.” 

I like that so much!!  So often the enemy screams lies at us that as followers of Jesus we should be perfect and when we don’t measure up that must mean that we are no good or don’t have enough faith.  But that is just a lie because he knows that if we truly surrendered to Jesus we would be unstoppable, see James 4:7-8.

“I Surrender” is one of my favorite songs off the “Cornerstone” album from Hillsong Live.  As you continue to read, let this song play in the background and wash over your spirit. 

Here are a couple of verses from this great example of what turning our lives over to Jesus daily looks like…

Here I am
Down on my knees again
Surrendering all

Like a rushing wind
Jesus breathe within
Lord have Your way

Lord have Your way in me
I surrender
I wanna know You more

As we surrender, we are putting aside our desires, our agendas and our thoughts and placing it all on God’s capable shoulders.  ‭Hebrews‬ ‭12‬:‭1-3‬ (NLT) gives great advice.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. 

And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. 

Because of the joy awaiting him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.  Think of all the hostility He endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.”

Jesus “endured the cross, disregarding its shame”…why, because of the “joy awaiting Him.”  So if you want to me more like Jesus and serve Him daily, realize you will face opposition and harsh words from non-believers because of what it says in 1 Corinthians 1:18 (HCSB),

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved.”

But don’t let naysayers stop you from reaching out to them because that is What Jesus Would Do.

“Every decision we make will ultimately result in regret or reward for all eternity.”  Marty Collier

While here on earth Jesus dealt with His fair share of scoffers and cynics but with humility and He lived a life that was without a doubt “mission minded,” doing His father’s will.  But following Jesus will not only bring insults but will also cost you as he warned in Matthew 16:24-27 (NLT)…

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.  If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it.  But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.  And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?  Is anything worth more than your soul?  For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of His Father and will judge all people according to their deeds.”

Now surrendering to Jesus daily may not actually cost you your life but it may cost you friends who don’t want to be around you because the light you emit will shine a spotlight of their sin.  I love what Lara Casey said…

66 - Daily Dependence - Lara Casey - Made New In Christ“Every day we are given the opportunity to be made new in Christ, not by our might but by our surrender.”  

It really is about Surrender vs. Self-Reliance.  Are you strong enough to admit that you need Jesus and surrender daily to Him or will you pride get in the that like a strong-willed 2-year-old, you say “I can do it on my own?”

The key to happiness is full surrender to God.  I know I have already shared a song in this post but I would be remiss to neglect to share Jeremy Riddle’s song Sweetly Broken” that displays the heart of a person who is “Sold-Out” for Christ, daily surrendering their lives to Him…

At the cross You beckon me
You draw me gently to my knees, and I am
Lost for words, so lost in love,
I’m sweetly broken, wholly surrendered

What a priceless gift, undeserved life
Have I been given
Through Christ crucified

You’ve called me out of death
You’ve called me into life
And I was under Your wrath
Now through the cross I’m reconciled

In awe of the cross I must confess
How wondrous Your redeeming love and
How great is Your faithfulness

My favorite part by far…

“And I was under Your wrath / Now through the cross I’m reconciled”

Wow!!  Because of Jesus, we are a “new creation,” (see 2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB) and have eternal life through faith in Him, so there should be nothing stopping you from surrendering daily and serving Him with everything in you!


★ Act Like Men – “Never Give Up” ★

Day 14 - Never Give Up

Daily Dependence - Section 2 - Be WatchfulThis lesson was really powerful about the struggle that we have all been faced with between God’s sovereignty and continuing to pray for what seems impossible, especially for a child that has wandered away from the faith, (as James MacDonald’s daughter had;) but I love the fact that she is now walking with the Lord and that God has changed her so much that she is the most authentic and compelling Christian woman MacDonald knows!  There is always hope, I always say if God could save me, He can save anyone!  There’s great wisdom in what he said,

“God is sovereign even over people who make His sovereignty into a reason not to pray in faith and believe…God is always infinitely larger than any of our descriptions of Him.”

I think the enemy really gets a hold of us, making us misunderstand God’s sovereignty so that we give up.

“Giving up is easier than going to war.”  The key is to follow “Christ’s instruction that men ‘ought always to pray and not lose heart,” (Luke 18:1 ESV)

Hard to do sometimes but I realized that if I really want to “conduct myself as a man,” and be the Godly Man I say I want to be, I must keep in the forefront this last statement…

“Our highest calling is to our wife and kids. If you are serious about acting like a man, you won’t stop until all whom the father has given you are resting safely in His saving embrace. Refuse to see God’s sovereignty as a barrier to your prayers; see it instead as the assurance that no matter how far those we love get from Grace, sovereignty can find and bring them home.”

Do you find yourself in a stronghold or mindset that prevents you from praying as you ought to?  Let’s have a discussion on this…

Here is the next installment. . .★ Act Like Men – “Jesus Was Fired Up” ★


If you want to read previous Act Like Men posts click here.


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★ Act Like Men – “Headed For The Ditch On A Sunny Day” ★

Day 13 - Headed For The Ditch On A Sunny Say

Daily Dependence - Section 2 - Be WatchfulThis day’s reading for me was really powerful because it exposes all the lies and ways that the enemy tries to trip us up in our walk with God.

“Our enemy Satan comes to us as an angel of light. You may be hearing from the devil when you least expect it. Since the garden of Eden, his approach has always been the same.”

It’s scary to think of an enemy that’s constantly coming after me, it was sobering how MacDonald put it…

“First, he disguises himself… Satan’s moves are so pathetically consistent it’s shameful we still get fooled.”

He is pathetic, but yet we keep failing in the same area over and over!  The next strategy, I think is why it’s so critical that we keep on communicating with each other is the dividing strategy.

“Next, he divides you from The people you need most in love most deeply.… For Satan’s purpose, making you a completely ineffective and isolated follower of Jesus is as much a success as keeping you lost in sin.”

How sad indeed will it would it be if we end up ineffectual of being corrupted by self-righteousness!  And the final strategy through strongholds or satanic deception is the worst.

“Once he has the lie disguised as light and has divided you from those who can turn the light on for you, he moves in for the kill with the final move: destroy.”

As you can tell I got a lot of this day. What about you?

Here is the next installment. . .★ Act Like Men – “Never Give Up” ★


If you want to read previous Act Like Men posts click here.


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★ Re|Engage – Commitment ★

ReEngage - Lesson 07The reading for the next two sections focused on this Principle:  Nurture truth.  “Nurture Truth?”  At first that seems to be an odd combination of words.  We know all about nurturing children, but what does it mean to Nurture Truth.

Mark Dietrich said,

“It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.” 

When you think of the principle of nurturing truth and contrast it to this quote, it should open our eyes to a new way of viewing marriage.  Your love may have gotten you down the aisle, but marriage is the vehicle in which our love is nurtured.

Lesson 7 was about Commitment with this main idea:

“God’s covenant to love provides an example of the way you are going to love your spouse.  Marriage is a commitment not a contract.”

When you got married, you made a covenant with each other, not a contract.  God’s expectation is that this is permanent.  Unfortunately, our culture does not view it in such a way. In fact is quite the opposite. If you look around, it’s not too hard to see that marriage is really viewed as a temporary convenience that only lasts as long as the other person is meeting my needs, rather than a lifelong institution.  Love this from the lesson,

“Much of our life operates under the guidelines of contracts…Our ideas about contracts often carry over into our marriages, where we love and expect to be loved, sacrifice and expect sacrifice in return, and try to our spouse happy and expect them to do the same.”

Wow!!  That sure is a conviction about not letting the world’s influence corrupt what marriage was designed to be!  The book continues with this…

“The contractual view of love is the opposite of how God loves us and how we are supposed to love our spouse.”

“God’s irrevocable commitments to His people are called covenants.”


When you look up the definition of irrevocable, it means “Incapable of being reversed, retracted or revoked.  So in other words God’s commitment to us is incapable of being reversed, retracted or revoked.

ReEngage - Lesson 07 - MalachiNo Plan BReal Love has no Plan ‘B’…So how would that look in your marriage if you took that same mindset?  Lesson 7 gave this advice…

 “Jesus made a new covenant with us by His death on the cross – not because we deserved it, but in spite of the fact that we were His enemies.”

Romans 5:10 says

“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life?”

The book made this incredible parallel

 “Since God is a covenant-keeping God, He expects us to keep our covenant with our spouse.”

 “Covenants are serious, and when we keep them, we love the same way God does.”

So how could you apply Roman 5:10 and these two quotes in the way you look at your marriage?

For me, my marriage is an Unconditional Commitment!!  Divorce HAS NEVER been and NEVER WILL be an option. The promise I made to my wife and God 15 years ago is the best decision I made, second only to receiving Christ.

The key is to “Commit to your spouse the way God does.”  Here is what the book taught on what “Commitment In Action” looks like.

Commitment In Action.

  1. “Commitment is often an internal decision. It’s not thinking about escape, or wondering or fantasizing about what it would be like to be married to someone else; instead, it is daily reminding yourself of God’s commitment to you and that your spouse is a gift from God.”

It is a decision or choice. Just like last week when we said that we have to choose to forgive our spouse, we have to choose to remain committed to our spouse to the vows we both said in the presence of God on our wedding day.

  1. “Externally, commitment looks like never mentioning divorce.”

This is important because too often spouses threaten divorce as a weapon to beat the other into submission which is the complete opposite way that God has intended our covenant marriage to be like.

  1. Commitment in action…”looks like not becoming close friends or flirting with anyone of the opposite sex or getting emotional needs met from someone other than your spouse.”

Need to establish boundaries and maintain them.  Don’t give the enemy a foothold in your marriage.

  1. Commitment in action…”looks like continuing to reiterate to your spouse that you love them and plan to meet married to them until one of you dies.”

When I got married, I had wanted to change our marriage vows to replace the phrase “until death do us part,” to say “for all eternity.”

In the reading they talked about shutting the doors of escape in our marriage.

three open doors in green roomYou could walk through the door of:

  1. Divorce or separation.
  2. Escape by staying busy with work, friends or activities that keep you from dealing with the issues in your marriage.
  3. Giving up or just living as undivorced roommates.

Look at this and think about your marriage, do you have any doors open or still unlocked in your marriage to escape from?  What do you need to do to shut and lock them?

“Commitment looks like shutting and locking all the doors in the room; telling your spouse that you won’t leave, become apathetic or preoccupied; and working it out no matter what.”

Amen!!  This lesson is so incredible.  We all have a choice, we can live our marriage as a contract or a covenant.  They also made this profound statement,

“When you commit unconditionally, you will be amazed at how you can work through issues, deal with difficult seasons and move to new levels of intimacy.”

In the supplemental reading, it said that:

“The #1 most probable determiner for whether a couple makes it:  did you view your wedding vows as a commitment or a contract?”

What is your view?

James MacDonald said,

“Marriage is focused delight in a single person.  It is maintained by maintaining that focus.”

Mark 10:7-9 (NLT) says.

“‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”

And Malachi 2:16 (MSG) says,

““I hate divorce,” says the GOD of Israel. GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies says, “I hate the violent dismembering of the ‘one flesh’ of marriage.” So watch yourselves. Don’t let your guard down. Don’t cheat.”

This verse is such a powerful statement from God which many people have misunderstood because they read that God hates divorce and make the jump that God hates them because of the divorce but that is a LIE OF THE ENEMY.  Look at it again, God said “I hate divorce,” NOT the “DIVORCEE.”  Divorce is real; many of you reading this may have experienced divorce in your life, whether it was your parents or yourself.  And if you were asked the question if you liked going through the divorce or watching someone you love go through it, you would undeniably say “I hate divorce” and so did I.  From firsthand experience, I know what that “dismembering” felt like, having experienced this at the age of 5 when my parents divorced.  That description is right on, it was a violent dismembering of the ‘one flesh’.

ReEngage - Lesson 07 - MalachiI have always related my parent’s divorce like a chess match where I was a pawn pinned between the King and Queen who were battling one another, using me to hurt the other.  Now I don’t mention this to condemn anyone but to show what God intended for marriage and what He thinks of Divorce.  If we want to stop from becoming part of the statistic of yet another marriage gone south, we need to view it as a covenantal commitment, not a contract! 

If you would like to read the next installment to the re|engage class, click here…★ Re|Engage – Truth ★

If you want to read previous re|engage lessons click here…


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★ Act Like Men – “You’re Only Lying To Yourself” ★

Day 12 - You're Only Lying To Yourself

Daily Dependence - Section 2 - Be WatchfulThis study opens up with a powerhouse statement, that when you first read it you could be offended but when you really think on it, it is spot on!!!

“People who have been saved by grace through to love giving grace to others. If you don’t love more and better than you used to, you are just not saved. It’s time you stop lying to yourself.”

It is also supported by 1 John 4:20 (ESV) which says,

“If anyone says, ‘I love God’ and he hates his brother, he is a liar.” 

Wow this is a very strong statement and I love the way that James McDonald just says it as it is!  I think it’s an interesting challenge that we need to “love more” and “love better” than we used to!  This is something that I try really hard to do myself, I think I do okay but is always room for improvement!  I am a firm believer of trying to “leave people in a better than you found them.”

“The Bible commands, ‘Be not wise in your own eyes,’ (Proverbs 3:7) and ‘In humility count others more significant than yourselves.’ (Philippians 2:3)  God’s word has nothing good to say about the critic, but it does command the wise man who listens and learns from everyone, even loving his enemies. Let’s do better at ignoring the noise of those who only seek to destroy, and let’s continue to grow in grace and the knowledge of Jesus, seeking to serve Him with greater urgency every year, as long as He gives us breath.”  

So where do you stand with this?  Would love to hear your thoughts?

Here is the next installment. . .★ Act Like Men – “Headed For The Ditch On A Sunny Day” ★


If you want to read previous Act Like Men posts click here.



★ Act Like Men – “Man – Do I Feel Stupid!” ★

Day 11 - Man - Do I Feel Stupid

Daily Dependence - Section 2 - Be Watchful“Man – Do I Feel Stupid!” is a phrase I have used more times than I care to admit!  I love the way James MacDonald begins this chapter,

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you, and you won’t know when you get there.”

I have noodled this statement quite a bit. Pretty good advice. The story of Esau and the selling of his birthright for a bowl of soup has always perplexed me but viewed through the lens of this idea of not knowing the road he was on or rather understanding the truth of God’s love and grace, it helps to see how he could throw it away.

“Every Christian with biblical watchfulness knows the importance of ‘work [ing] out your own salvation with fear and trembling.’ (Philippians 2:12)  Good works save no one but they are the obvious and increasing evidence of a person genuinely saved.”

This section on “watchfulness” and the reminder that God will “strive with man forever” in our disobedience to repent is something that has really hit me hard so that this is not true of me.

“You must wake up and live for Christ with urgent thoughtfulness while you still can, while you still care.  If you don’t, you will reach the point of refusal Esau reached and find out in the end, through your tears, that you never really had saving faith and tolerated your unbelief past the point of no return.”

Thoughts?  I pray that is not true for you!  Don’t wait to live for Christ!

Here is the next installment. . .★ Act Like Men – “You’re Only Lying To Yourself” ★


If you want to read previous Act Like Men posts click here.


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★ Thought for the Day – Don’t Settle For First Place ★

As the winter doldrums are upon us, and frigid weather wreaks havoc across our nation, I think to myself, how can anyone work outside in such cold weather.  When the thermometer reads below freezing and it has been nothing but gloomy for weeks, it’s hard for me to get motivated to leave the house to go to my heated office.  As the stream of consciousness flows, I start to think about how incredible the athletes are who compete in the Winter Olympics.  I must confess, I don’t watch the Winter games as much as the Summer ones.  My personal favorite, (along with the rest of the world,) is American swimmer, Michael Phelps who holds the all-time record for Gold medals, and is the most decorated Olympian of all time!  My reason though is because I was a swimmer back in the day, and marvel at his superhuman skills!  But I digress…back to the Winter games…In looking for a “winner’s box” photo, I stumbled across this photo from February 12, 2014 of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia which really caught my eye.

The article that it was associated with was titled the “Best of Sochi: Day 5 at the Olympics,” (having not seen it, I will take their word,) but what got my attention was not the celebratory leap from Gold medalist Eric Frenzel of Germany, but rather the expressions and body language of silver medalist Akito Watabe of Japan (L) and bronze medalist Magnus Krog of Norway (R).  It is clear that Akito and Magnus were not as thrilled with their accomplishments as Eric was!  As each of these athletes stepped onto the winner’s box and received their medal, you know, a sea of emotions and thoughts were flooding their minds from “I can’t believe I placed” to…”How did I only come in second (…or third place).”  It is so easy for us to go from celebration to condemnation and that’s the pitfall of comparison!  One of my favorite quotes from Theodore Roosevelt is,

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”  

STOP!  Go back and read and ponder on that incredible truth!  “Comparison is the thief of joy.”  When we compare ourselves to others, we open ourselves to disappointment.  Have you ever felt like Akito Watabe that you are “Mr. 2nd Place?”  Are you tired of never making gold?  Though he is an incredible athlete, and has competed in two Winter Olympics, Akito has never brought home the gold!!  Are you always ending up second in line, playing second fiddle, or being runner-up?  Regardless of what you label it, second place can be very frustrating for sure, especially when you have put in the work!  For me, I have always finished 5th or 6th place…(out of 8), when I competed on the High School Varsity Swim Team; a very different league from “Mr. 1st Place” Michael Phelps..  Now before you start feeling bad for me, I am way over the agony of the defeat. Hahaha!  I learned long ago that nothing good ever comes comparing my accomplishments with others.

Do you know that there was one guy in the Bible who truly was “Mr. 2nd Place?”  This guy had a huge following, with many disciples and more and more converts coming to be baptized every day…but when the #1 guy showed up on the scene, people flocked to Him instead…that of course was John the Baptist, who very well could have been the originator of the “I Am Second” campaign…Just look at his response to the critics when the people left to go to follow Jesus…he said:
 65 - Daily Dependence - I Am Second - John 3-30
“He [Jesus] must become greater and greater,
and I must become less and less.”  John 3:30 (NLT)

See John the Baptist understood what his purpose was, that he was not the star…Jesus was!  Galatians 6:4-5 (MSG) says,

“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.  Don’t be impressed with yourself.  Don’t compare yourself with others.  Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”

I love how the Message Translation puts it, “make a careful exploration of who you are,” once you know who you are, then what other people do or say will not affect how you think about yourself.  But it is very easy to get sidetracked looking outward versus inward, as a result of Social Media.
65 - Daily Dependence - Social Media Summary
Though it has revolutionized our lives, allowing us to share our interests, lives, and make new connections, whether you Pin It, Tweet it, Facebook it, Instagram it, Google+ it, or Link In with people.  But with every great thing, there is always a flip-side.  Steven Furtick has a new book called “Crash the Chatterbox” which is all about hearing the voice of God over all the other voices in our mind that try to tear you down causing us to be discontent and insecure with ourselves.  He said,

"One of the main reasons we struggle with insecurity: we're comparing our behind-the-scenes with everybody else's highlight reel." Steven Furtick

Wow!  If you struggle with insecurity, this truth should set you free right now!!  Receive that today!

The next part of Galatians 6:4 says that we should make a careful exploration of “the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.”  See just like John the Baptist knew who he was in God, he also set himself to the task at hand to “prepare the way of the Lord” in the desert, see Mark 1:1-8 for the full story.

Oh that we could “sink ourselves into the work that God has set before us.”  Francis Chan made this sobering statement what are we really succeeding at…

65 - Daily Dependence - Francis Chan - Our Greatest Fear

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”

Where are you at?  As you compare your lives to others, trying to “Keep Up With the Jones,” I urge you to make that careful exploration!

As Galatians 5 continues, “Don’t be impressed with yourself.  Don’t compare yourself with others.”  You think if you were the forerunner to the Savior of the World, you would have a big head but, John the Baptist’s response that “I must become less and less” should be our modus operandi.  Jon Acuff made this profound statement,

65 - Daily Dependence - John Acuff - Comparison

Again, nothing good comes from comparison!  Finally the last portion of Galatians, “ Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”  I will go back once more to “Mr. 2nd Place” for fulfillment of this directive, in Mark 1:4, 6 (ESV) the gospel writer says this,

“John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey.”

Now that is creative indeed!  But you don’t need to go to the desert, clothed with camel’s hair, eating locusts and wild honey to be creative for Christ, but what I think Apostle Paul is saying in this passage is that we need o be BOLD FOR CHRIST!  Amen?

I close this Thought with this final point about the Bible’s “Mr. 2nd Place,” recognizing that Jesus Christ is the hero, the main character of the story, numero uno, will change everything. Humility is the key to everything.  In fact, Jesus Christ’s first character trait that he showed us, was humility when he was born in a manger. All through the bible it talks about how God opposes the proud and exalts the humble, and that is what happened for John.  ( I posted this blog recently, ★ Re|Engage – Humility ★ talking all about Humility if you want to read more about this.)  John the Baptist’s attitude of humility lead to the Son of God, the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ to say that John the Baptist was the greatest man who ever lived, (see Matthew 11:11 and Luke 7:28)…and that was because he knew his place and accepted it!

Can the same be said of you today?

So if you find yourself that you are always coming in second place or runner-up is your lot in life, consider yourself blessed to be in the same company of the greatest man who ever lived who also was second.  Don’t Settle For First Place!

“Comparison kills contentment in our lives.” Steven Furtick

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★ Re|Engage – Forgiveness In Action ★

ReEngage - Lesson 06

The previous lesson was all about what is Forgiveness…(If you missed that blog, you can read it here, it is called ★ Re|Engage – Forgiveness ★)…The main idea of Lesson 6 is:

“Forgiveness in action is a practical guide to ask for and extend forgiveness.”

 This chapter was a real eye opener because it revealed that just throwing out a lukewarm “I’m sorry” is not acceptable.  Instead, they offered 5 simple, but powerful steps to walk through.

If you are anything like me, you will love this lesson, because I am in need of instructions.  As a man I like to “fix things,” which at times can be frustrating for my wife.  Lesson 6 was the perfect solution, simple steps to follow to help the healing process.

Gary Thomas said,

“One of marriages primary responsibilities is to teach us how to forgive.” 

Marriage can sometimes be a really pressure cooker when it comes to conflict.  God’s game plan for marriage is for two people to unite and become “one flesh.” but the process of “becoming one” there definitely can be difficult times which is where forgiveness becomes the lynch pin that holds it all together.

The book asked these two questions which I will pass onto to you to ponder…

  1. What is most difficult about asking for forgiveness?
  2. What is most difficult about granting forgiveness?

Here is what Forgiveness In Action looks like…

Step 1 – I call it Self-Examination.

“Think about the ways you have hurt, disappointed, frustrated or not been truthful with your spouse.”

Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT) says,

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

“The first stage to any reconciliation is to acknowledge where you have fallen short.”

Step 2 – Confession to God.

“No one likes to admit when they are wrong, and we certainly don’t like to confess it but God already knows.  It is critical to confess to God.” 

1 John 1:9 (NLT) has this incredible promise:

“But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

Step 3 – Confession to Your Spouse.

“No distractions and no excuses.  Don’t rationalize why you hurt them, simply confess.”  The lesson also reminded us that we need to humbly listen as our spouse expresses the hurt or disappointment they feel.

Step 4 – Ask Specifically for Forgiveness.

“Ask specifically for forgiveness and avoid ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘I apologize.’”

Step 5 – Grant Forgiveness.

“If they have asked for forgiveness, we are to grant forgiveness specifically for what they asked.  Remember that it is our responsibility to forgive.”

Step 6 – Repeat for Every Offense.

Don’t stop at just a couple but do the work to make sure you make amends for all the hurt that you caused.  Proverbs‬ ‭17‬:‭9‬ (NLT)

“Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.”

In some supplemental reading I found this statement:

“If we will understand and be amazed by how we are forgiven, we will be able to extend forgiveness to others. Instead of asking, how could we ever forgive, the question then becomes, how could we not?”

Here are some great Scripture to Review:

I Peter 2:23

“He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered.  He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.” 

Romans 12:17-18 (NLT)  

“Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.”

Hebrews 12:14-15 – A Call to Listen to God

“Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” 

If you would like to read the next installment to the re|engage class, click here… ★ Re|Engage – Commitment ★

If you want to read previous re|engage lessons click here.

If you want to read more on Forgiveness click here…

★ Thought for the Day – How Many Licks to Forgiveness ★

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★ Thought for the Day – got fear? ★

After a long day at work handling the pressures and demands of the job, then coming home and juggling the kid’s schedules, then dinner…then the bedtime ritual with them (whatever that looks like in your house)….you collapse into bed without a single ounce of energy left.  But instead of drifting off to a much-needed 8 hours of sleep, you lay awake thinking about the mistakes of the day, things that have to be done tomorrow, and every other possible problem that exists or could possibly happen.  Why does this happen?  I think that it is from fear!

23 - Daily Dependence - got fear

Linda Godsey put it this way

“Did you know that behind every fear there is a lie?  I once heard someone say that the letters of the word fear stand for…In other words, fear comes from believing lies.”

I love acrostics and I love the advice here…when we are not grounded in the truth of God’s Word, the Bible, then we are open to attack from the Devil who will scream lies to cloud your mind which leads to fear.
23 - Daily Dependence - Fear is a Liar

Here are some truths for your stand on:

“But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?”  Psalms 56:3-4 (NLT)

“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.  When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.  When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.  When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”  Isaiah 43:1b-3a (NLT)  

The truth in both of these powerful scriptures is that:

  • WE WILL have fear.
  • WE WILL go through difficult situations.
  • WE WILL face heat in our lives
But the answer to all of these realities is to TRUST GOD and KNOW THAT WE ARE HIS and that no mater what the oppression, God will be there with us.
“Fear can keep you up all night, but faith makes one fine pillow.”
“Fear can keep you up all night, but faith makes one fine pillow.”

And I will close with Psalms 4:8 (NLT) that puts this “Thought for the Day” to bed…pun intended.

“In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.” 

Tonight if you can’t sleep, start to pray and ask God for His peace to come over you and quiet your anxious thoughts.

If you would like to read more on the subject, check out:


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★ Thought for the Day – Unstoppable Determination for God’s Holiness ★

Happy New Year!  I know this is 7 days late but I have been chewing on this for several days now.  As I have reflected upon the past year and started thinking about the new year, many things have been whirling around my mind.

This past Sunday, I heard a great message called “Rethinking Resolutions” by Jeremiah Sarvis, who preached on Lamentations 3:19-24 (HCSB) which says,

Remember my affliction and my homelessness,
the wormwood and the poison.
I continually remember them
and have become depressed.
Yet I call this to mind,

and therefore I have hope:

Because of the Lord’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for His mercies never end.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness!
I say: The Lord is my portion,

therefore I will put my hope in Him.”

You can watch the message here…rushcreek.org/sermon/rethinking-resolutions. Jeremiah said something that really got my attention that I need to:

“Live in the moment.  Live in the present.  Know God now.  Stop living in a past you cannot change and a future that is not here now.  Embrace Him now.”

As a result, I was challenged to rethink the idea of New Year’s Resolutions since they are typically not followed through on and are pretty much worthless.  Instead a friend suggested making commitments to God.  I read this and think this is really the point…
64 - Daily Dependence - Commitment
“There are only two options regarding commitment.
You’re either IN or you’re OUT.  There is no such thing as life in-between.”  

Pat Riley, Former NBA player

So I am going to make Two Commitments that I will do in 2015 to develop my walk with God that will express to Him that “I am All IN.”

Commitment #1.  Unstoppable Determination for His Holiness.

I was reading a devotion from “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers, and read this phrase, “My Unstoppable Determination for His Holiness” which just struck a chord in my spirit!  He said,

“Whether it means life or death-it makes no difference!” (see Philippians 1:21). Paul was determined that nothing would stop him from doing exactly what God wanted. But before we choose to follow God’s will, a crisis must develop in our lives. This happens because we tend to be unresponsive to God’s gentler nudges. He brings us to the place where He asks us to be our utmost for Him and we begin to debate. He then providentially produces a crisis where we have to decide— for or against. That moment becomes a great crossroads in our lives. If a crisis has come to you on any front, surrender your will to Jesus absolutely and irrevocably.

This is my heart’s desire that “nothing would stop me from doing exactly what God wants” so that I will grow closer to Him and operate in all the fruits of the Holy Spirit to be more and more like Jesus!  I have been evaluating how I have been spending my time from what I am watching, listening to, reading and even drinking.  I want to live 2015 in an intentional way to grow in Holiness.

Commitment #2.  Reading the Bible Every Day!

I have done pretty good about getting up early from Monday through Friday and spending time reading the bible, journaling and praying, but once the weekend comes I tend to slack off and not read anything.  Now I am not trying to be legalistic that you have to read the bible every day, BUT you know that part of growing or developing in any area is by practice.  So if I am going to “grow in holiness,” then I need to be feeding my mind, body and spirit with those things that will accomplish my commitment.  Proverbs‬ ‭15‬:‭14‬ (NLT) says,

“A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash.”

Reminds me of the “Garbage in, garbage out” principle…If I am reading trash, watching trash, or drinking trash then what is going to be the result?  Even if it is only in small amounts, I know myself, I need to be very careful because just like it only takes a drop of strychnine in a glass of water to kill the body, so it only takes small doses of compromise to derail our walk with God.

64 - Daily Dependence - Crash the ChatterboxIn his book “Crash the Chatterbox,” Steven Furtick said,

“The more of God’s Word we know and the more reminding ourselves of His truths, the less dependent we become on others to snap us out of negative spirals.  We can begin to rely on God’s Spirit to renew our minds so we can get back to doing whatever God has called us to do.”

It is not that “I have to read the bible;” as much as it is that “I want to read the bible!”  I shared in a few months ago about the importance of Reading the Bible in the ★ Thought for the Day – All About The Big Ten ★ post that you can read if you are interested.  By reading God’s Word I know my perspective will become aligned properly and I will see things for what they really are.

64 - Daily Dependence -Steven Furtick - PERSPECTIVE

Isaiah 43:19 (NASB) says,

“Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.

Do you believe that God is going to do something new this year?  I do!

As we move forward into the New Year, let’s embrace God today, and trust Him completely and expectantly for what will be done in us and through us!  I urge you to make your commitments today and stick with them.  Be careful what you are feeding on because I know myself, my 2015 commitment for “Unstoppable Determination for God’s Holiness” will not be achieved if I am not careful what I am feeding my mind, body and spirit!!


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★ Act Like Men – “Snap Out Of It!” ★

Day 10 - Snap Out Of It

Daily Dependence - Section 2 - Be WatchfulThe prayer that James McDonald prayed at the end really got me…

“Give me wisdom as I seek today to bring greater urgency to Your [God’s] agenda for my marriage and family’s future. Please continue this work in my life so that I am daily being prepared for what You already know I will face in the future with your help.”

That is a prayer that is so close to my heart and one I have been trying to move towards my own walk. I really loved how he made a point to say “to bring greater urgency” for your God’s agenda, not mine and the reminder that God “already knows” what I will face in the future. The battle cry he makes in the following two quotes is truly my desire:

“Wake up, stay alert, pay attention, and live with urgency. Life is short; eternity is forever, seize you have your opportunity to lead and guide your home toward God’s purposes, do it now!” 

1 Peter 5:8-9 (NLT) warns us that we are to,

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.”

Spiritual warfare is very real…we have an adversary that is always on the loose looking to ensnare us but we also have divine appointments, aka, opportunities to reach those around us.  James MacDonald finished up with this great reminder!

“Opportunities are seized by God’s men with urgency. We recognize the chance to speak a word, take a stand, make a difference, carry a burden, and we. Take hold of it with urgency because we have been watching for that exact opportunity.”

Amen!!  and I will close with Ecclesiastes 9:10a (ESV) says,

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with [all] your might.”

What is your take away from this, would love to hear your thoughts!

Here is the next installment. . .★ Act Like Men – “Man – Do I Feel Stupid!” ★


If you want to read previous Act Like Men posts click here.



★ Act Like Men – “Keep Your Head Up” ★

Day 9 - Keep Your Head Up

Daily Dependence - Section 2 - Be WatchfulAs I am moving through this book, I am constantly amazed at how God is working through James MacDonald to speak into my spirit!

“Acting like a man means always being on alert, ever aware, at the ready constantly, paying close attention continuously.”

I think that one of the greatest strategies the enemy has, is busyness and this lesson was a sobering one..it really got to me.  MacDonald made a scary statement…

“Most Christian men are asleep; nevertheless it is true. Most men are not alert, not paying attention, and not watching out for their families as God commands them to do.”

Do you think you are asleep?  As I think about a lot of nights where I tell my girls that I am too tired to tuck them in, or miss an opportunity to share a scripture or two with them, I feel like I am dropping the ball.

It was humbling too what he said in relation to our jobs…“it’s so very sad when we do the job for others and failed to do it for those who need us.”

“Your highest loyalty after the Lord is to your family. Your first priority after God is your wife and your kids. You, metaphorically, are standing at the door of your home and watching to make sure nothing enters that could be detrimental and to neutralize all threats.”

Whether you realize it or not, being the man of the house is not one of honor, but one of service which involves being a gatekeeper to protect your wife and child(ren) from the garbage that is out there!  How are you doing?

Here is the next installment. . .★ Act Like Men – “Snap Out Of It!” ★


If you want to read previous Act Like Men posts click here.



★ Re|Engage – Forgiveness ★

ReEngage - Lesson 05I would like to start off reviewing Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NLT) …

“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but
Two [HUSBAND AND WIFE] can stand back-to-back and conquer.
Three [WITH GOD AT THE CENTER] are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” 

When you read this scripture and look at this picture below, do you agree with it?  How can you apply this to your marriage?
Ecclesiastes 4:12 is a fundamental scripture that can be applied to marriages for the importance of teamwork, not only for husband and wife but also with God in the mix.

As we talk about forgiveness, it is critical to realize that without God working within us individually and in our marriage, we will stay in the crazy cycle of conflict.

Lesson 5 and 6 focused on this Principle:  Extend Grace and Forgiveness.

There’s that word again…If you have not noticed yet there is a running theme, Grace is a central driver in any good marriage.  This week was the practical application of how Grace is expressed through forgiveness.

In Matthew 18:21-22 (NASB), Jesus is teaching about The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant…

Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”

What does Jesus’ response mean to you and your marriage?  Do you think that He meant you only need to forgive your spouse up to 490 offenses or something else?  There are 3 things to gleam from this…

1.  Peter wanted to know ‘how many’ times until he could stop forgiving someone but
2.  Jesus is more concerned with the why’ behind forgiveness.
3.  “Jesus is saying: Don’t keep track.  Don’t keep score.”

The why can be summed up with this Andy Stanley

“The one who benefits the most from forgiveness is the one who grants it.”  

Do you believe that?  If you do believe that there is a benefit to forgiving, then why is it so hard?  Lesson 5 was all about Forgiveness, in the book, the main idea of Lesson 5 was:

“You have been forgiven everything by God’s Grace; therefore, you are able to forgive your spouse.”

I love the definition they gave on What forgiveness is…

“At its most basic level, forgiveness is the decision to pardon an offense and give up the right to be repaid.”

In the reading they discussed “What Forgiveness is Not.”

  1. Forgiveness is not forgetting.

“Rather than forgetting, forgiveness is remembering your commitment to forgive. It often is a choice you will continue to make when not if the feelings of hurt and disappointment return.”

  1. Forgiveness is not reconciling.

“Reconciliation and forgiveness are two separate processes. You can forgive without reconciling, but you cannot reconcile without forgiveness. Forgiveness is instant, but trust will take time to rebuild.”

  1. Forgiveness is not condoning.

“It simply means that they no longer owe anything for the pain and hurt they have caused you.”

  1. Forgiveness is not a feeling.

“If you wait until you feel like forgiving, you never will and you won’t re-engage with your spouse and experienced a death depth and richness that your marriage can one day half.  Forgiveness is a choice you make, sometimes in spite of how you feel.”

  1. Forgiveness is not just about the person who hurt you.

“Forgiveness has limited benefit to the one who caused pain. But the longer you hold onto the hurt the longer their actions continue to have negative effects in your life.”

Forgiveness primarily benefits you, the one who has been hurt. It really is a gift you give to yourself.

What I have learned going through this book is that our childhood can have an effect on our marriage in how we interact with our spouse.  I had posted ★ Thought for the Day – Never Fatherless ★ earlier about my father that you can see here, but I wanted to share this story with you in more detail.

I never really had a relationship with my father from the age of 12 years old.  I carried that hole in my life until I was 36, when God placed it on my heart to reconcile with him.

Just like we have been talking about, I had to choose to forgive him for the abuse I witnessed against my mom and choose to forgive the hurt of all the subsequent years of him not wanting to be in my life.  Though we had no relationship for most of my adult life, I am thankful that before he passed away, we reconciled and had a year and a half together.

The best part is that through God’s amazing grace, I was privileged to lead my father to the Lord 6 months before he died!  He is in heaven but that probably would not have happened if I was not obedient to God to forgive my Dad and extend God’s Grace to Him.

Colossians 3:13 (NLT) says:

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”

The reading made this great point that we need to always remember!

“We had a debt to God that we could not pay. Christ forgives us completely, yet we have the audacity to not forgive our spouses.”

Is it difficult to forgive your spouse? Do you struggle with this?  I love this what the Lesson 5 gave as the two options we have.

ReEngage - Lesson 05 - Fork in the Road of Your Relationship

“Each day you stand at a fork in the road of your relationship.

Your first option is to hold onto the hurt, disappointment and frustrations, which will almost always lead to anger and bitterness. This is a dead-end that will make you miserable.

Your other option is to begin to forgive and re-engage with your spouse. Left untreated, anger and bitterness often take on a life of their own.”

Do you see that as being true in your marriage?

“When we forgive and are forgiven by our spouse it helps us understand the nature of God’s forgiveness.”

In the book they made this statement:

“Your relationship with Christ and your marriage simply cannot move forward without forgiveness.”

Ephesians 4:31-32 (NLT) says

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

And Matthew 6:14-15 (NLT) says:

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

So if we are commanded to forgive, and we don’t, there will be consequences, we will not be forgiven.  Assuming no one wants those consequences, check out the next post from Lesson 6 called ★ Re|Engage – Forgiveness In Action ★

If you want to read previous re|engage lessons click here…


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★ Act Like Men – “Let Your Partner Take The Lead” ★

Day 8 - Let Your Partner Take The Lead

Daily Dependence - Section 1 - Act Like MenWe need to rely on a God’s grace “to stay motivated when we fall short.”

“God’s greatest gift to us since the cross of Christ has been the Holy Spirit.  As a follower of Jesus through faith in Him, the Holy Spirit is your only hope of ever consistently acting like a man.  He is the courage to make right choices, the guy toward truth and away from air, the source of our comfort, and the provider of our strength. His primary tool is the word of God.”

James MacDonald posed this question, in what ways can you say,

“I’m a different person because of the impact God’s word has made in my life?”

This book is reminding me day after day, that if we persevere, if we will conduct ourselves like men, if we continue to read God’s Word, we will be changed!


Here is the next installment. . .★ Act Like Men – “Keep Your Head Up” ★


If you want to read previous Act Like Men posts click here.


★ Act Like Men – “Disneyland Quality” ★

Day 7 - Disneyland Quality

Daily Dependence - Section 1 - Act Like MenGreat tile with a great message!  One that every man should read!!

“Do you notice and applaud the capacity to do the right thing, in the right amount, at the right moment, and for the right reasons? That is the quality Jesus Christ personifies for us and we do well to act like men and emulate Him.”

Boy sometimes it is tough one to get 1 or 2 of these right but to get all 4 in synchronicity that is a real challenge!  The motives behind my actions I think are the most challenging. I love how James MacDonald said that,

“Life is a series of choices. As men, we are faced with a barrage of choices every single day….The little things not addressed, dealt with, handled, or held up become big things that can bring devastation…A discipline not maintained can bring a weakness and yielding that could destroy multiple generations in my family.”

Being passive and letting things fester or not “staying the course” in my walk with God can have long lasting consequences…very humbling!

“Acting like a man, a quality man, has to involve conscious quality control. There is no quality without balance. Jesus exemplifies the importance of quality control of our quality choices by the way He often stepped aside from healing and teaching to attend to His inner life.”

Mark 1:35 (NASB) says,

“In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.”

Jesus shows us that setting time at the beginning of the day is paramount.  Rising early to spend time with God is probably the most critical aspect to becoming a Man of God.  I love how James MacDonald finished this lesson with this admonition:

“Don’t be ‘that guy’ who doesn’t pursue quality throughout his life.”

I was reading ‭Titus‬ ‭1‬:‭6-9‬ (NLT) and thought it was exactly what “Acting Like Mn” is all about!!  The passage is talking about the requirements to be an elder but I think it really applies to anyone who wants to be a “man of God” or a man after God’s own heart. See if you agree.
“An elder must live a blameless life. 
He must be faithful to his wife, and his children must be believers who don’t have a reputation for being wild or rebellious. 
An elder is a manager of God’s household, so he must live a blameless life. 
He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be a heavy drinker, violent, or dishonest with money. Rather, he must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must love what is good. 
He must live wisely and be just. He must live a devout and disciplined life. 

He must have a strong belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with wholesome teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong.”

What are your thoughts?

Here is the next installment. . .★ Act Like Men – “Let Your Partner Take The Lead” ★


If you want to read previous Act Like Men posts click here.