Scripture Revealed During 2020

Here is a list of scriptures that God used in my life this year. At one point about mid summer, I completely unplugged from social media, the news, and articles posted by friends. There comes a time when we have to put confidence in God’s Word and God’s Word alone! I am thankful He gives wisdom!

Psalms 23:4  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

2 Timothy 1:7  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (Fear is a demonic spirit that has covered this entire planet.)

Psalms 56:3  What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. (While fear will not go away, I can use it to trigger higher levels of faith)

Proverbs 3:5  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (Been HUGE in my life this year!) – God loves me so much that He does not require understanding, He just requires trust.

Acts 5:29  Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. (In the words of a good friend – “I obey God not the governor”)

Romans 5:1-5  Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:  2  By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  3  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;  4  And patience, experience; and experience, hope:  5  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

1 John 2:25  And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. (Life does not begin at death, but life begins the day I trust Jesus Christ)

Colossians 1:17  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (God is the sustainer of all life)

Colossians 3:17  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (If we are going to do it, then it needs to be for His glory)

Acts 17:22-31  Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.  23  For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.  24  God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;  25  Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;  26  And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;  27  That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:  28  For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.  29  Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.  30  And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:  31  Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Week 52 Discipleship – Moving Forward

Well here it is! Week 52 is here. By now you have studied countless verses and read through the entire Bible once and the New Testament twice. Moving forward we are going to work very hard to create a much more effective discipleship format. I do not expect an easier 2021 to be any easier than 2020. All I know is that while the years change, God remains constant. Please help me pray that God gives wisdom on how to make discipleship more effective, efficient, and edifying. Enjoy this week’s study! God Bless each one of you and thank you for following!

Week 50 Discipleship – Unanswered Prayer

I know we may be expecting some great systematic process to handling unanswered prayer. It would be nice if there was some great revelation that helped us understand why prayer life seems so ineffective. Truthfully, the key, I think, revolves the purpose of our prayer life. Much of the time we have put more faith in our prayer than we have the Lord. We have got so caught up in the results that we have forgot that prayer is about a relationship with the Lord. Unanswered prayer should not drive us away from the Lord but it should cause us to a deeper relationship with the Lord. I have determined that if we based our marriages on the same basis of our prayer results then nobody would stay married. We do not stay with our spouses because the of what they give us or do not give us, we stay because we love them. If we are not expecting results from our spouses then we should not expect results like this from God. Prayer is not about gaining answers it is about dependence, delight and devotion. I hope you gain some perspective as you study this week’s material.

Our Comforter

John 14:18 “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”

John 14 has become one of my favorite passages lately. I have began to understand what Jesus was teaching his disciples over the past few months. I have come to realize that Jesus was trying to comfort His disciples prior to what they were about to actually experience. In the context of John 14, Jesus started to tell His disciples that He was going to be leaving. Well this made the disciples very uneasy. It is kind of like a teacher being out on the day you are going to take a test. A test is already stressful enough, but a test without the presence of a teacher can send a person right over the edge, at least it would for me. Jesus was telling the disciples about what they would experience and what they were going to be able to accomplish, and then He tells them He is leaving. I get the stress and anxiety the disciples were feeling during this moment. However, Jesus assures them of the fact that He will not leave them comfortless. He is actually going to send “another Comforter” that will not only abide with them but He will abide “in” them. Christ through His Spirit will dwell in them, and it will be His Spirit that will provide comfort during times of trouble, crisis, and tragedy.

He assures His disciples that the Comforter will be real good at His job. As we read John 14 we are given some key promises regarding the Comforter and what He will do:

  • John 14:26 – He will teach you all things. He will be the greatest of instructors. He will never not know the answer. The Comforter will teach us what we need to know regarding the current circumstances we are experiencing.
  • John 14:26 – He will bring all things to remembrance. The Comforter will remind us of lessons that have been previously taught. There have been times when God has taught me lessons through the messages of others. Sometimes it didn’t mean much at the present moment. However, when I needed it, I was reminded of the message. That is the Comforter reminding me of the truth I had previously forgotten.
  • John 14:27 – My peace I give unto you. The Comforter is a peace maker. There are many moments where He will step out on the bow of your ship and say, “Peace be still.”

Otherwise, He is living up to His name: “Comforter.” When we are weak, He will come beside us and hold us up. When we are falling apart, His strong, long arms will hold us together. When we are afraid, He will help us tap into a level of faith that will get us through.

Just recently I experienced a situation that broke me into a million pieces. Within an hour timeframe one of my best friends and his wife lost a 28 week old baby. While driving to the hospital to be with them my mom called thinking my dad had experienced a stroke. An hour later I was on the phone with my friend while watching my dad being carted into the ER at a local hospital. I was trying to be an encourager to a friend while reminding myself to trust the Lord at the same time. I was hurting severely for my precious friends and scared that I would never see my dad again this side of eternity. When I got off the phone, I sat down in a cold parking lot of the ER on the curb and started to cry. Then all of a sudden 2 Timothy 4:17 came to my mind: “…the Lord stood with me and strengthened me.” Honestly, I collapsed on the curb and was asking God how I was going to manage this and be a friend as well as a good pastor. I was stressed, scared, weak, and a little angry. Then that verse came alive, and it was almost immediately that I felt a warmth in the cold that no amount of cloth could offer. It was as though I had no strength but something picked me up off that curb. Something wiped my tears for me. Something encouraged me to believe even though I could not see. That something happened to be a someone. That someone was the promised Comforter. I am forever thankful for Him doing His job on a cold desperate night.

He is real folks. I hope and pray He dwells in you. The same God that is in you is the same God that will be with you. Really, a God that is in you has no other choice but to be with you.

Answering Tough Questions – COVID-19

Psalms 23:4  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Over the past several months I have been more observant than outspoken, not to say that I have not voiced my opinion or thoughts about this COVID-19 pandemic that is so globally widespread. I want to spend some time sharing my heart. I am hoping that in the midst of this I can shine light on what I believe the scripture teaches regarding this.

I have no doubt that COVID-19 is real. At this time the virus has made its way into almost every home. Some have suffered minor symptoms, some have become extremely sick, and regretfully some have died. I have watched the world, especially America go into turmoil over this virus. I have seen it divide our country in ways that we could never imagine. I have seen this virus shut down businesses, schools, and sporting events. It has truly affected the way everyone now lives their lives. I truly believe it is a real virus and it is here to stay.

I also have no doubt that this virus was created by the hands of some very evil people. Regardless of how the media spins it, China had a major part in this pandemic. My personal belief is that the liberal agenda of this country worked hand in hand with China to bring this virus into the country in order to move our Republic under a more socialistic and even communist country. I want to emphasize that this is my personal belief. This verse tells us that while we walk through the valley of the shadow of death we should fear no evil. Please understand evil is playing its hand in the midst of these days. I have heard the quote from some high powers in governmental positions: “never let a good pandemic go to waste.” We are seeing an evil agenda pass through this land that is unlike anything we have ever encountered in our past. The scariest thing is how deceived we have become. It is like our entire country has become a frog in water. The government is using this pandemic as a platform to take control. Political or not, we need to realize that there is a severe attack coming on the Church in America. Not only are our constitutional rights hanging in the balance, but our entire way of life is being threatened by those that want the government to control our way of life. Personally, I prefer freedom, but that is just me.

Regardless of how a person views this pandemic we must realize that we are certainly in the process of walking through valley of the shadow of death. The Psalmist tell us that while we walk through this valley we do not need to fear evil. That is such a hard concept to imagine when you start to examine the means and extremes of evil. We need to realize that fear never comes from the Lord and that it truly is a “spirit” that can take control of any of us. As we walk through such valleys I want to share some verses that God has given me during these uncertain and fearful times:

Romans 8:31  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:37  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

Psalms 56:3  What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.

Proverbs 3:5  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Acts 5:29  Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Colossians 1:17  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

I think it is good to understand that non of this is a juggling act to the Lord. We are seeing some very severe results (wages) of what sin does to the world. God has not lost control. We are to ultimately answer to Him and to Him alone. We have to realize that God is preparing for a major take over of His own and I truly believe the time is getting nearer than ever before. We need to make sure we are operating with urgency in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we also need to make sure we are putting our trust in God rather than the skills, sovereignty, and science of humanity. Man will lead us down the wrong path. God will always lead us in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Answering Tough Questions: Death

Romans 5:12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I truly do not believe we understand the definitive results of sin. Death is a result of sin. People seem to overlook the realization of what happened in the garden following the fall. God told Adam that if they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil the results would surely be death. Death is the cost or “wage” of sin. The severity and finality of death should help us understand God’s true feelings toward sin. When Adam sinned then death passed upon every person. Death became a certainty for every human in the known world from that point forward.

Cancer, disease, viral infections, murder, hunger, starvation, and other horrific forms of death are all results of sin. Please understand that if this is the result of sin then it should give us all a good idea of how God views sin. You might be thinking this is a little extreme for just one simple mistake. Please take a moment to consider the grace that God has extended through all this. He created man in His image, placed him in a perfect utopia without any knowledge of good or evil, and gave him one command. Man disobeyed that command and rather than dying immediately God came into the garden, killed an animal to clothe man’s nakedness, and created a redemptive plan to restore humanity back to himself through the death, burial, and resurrection of his own Son, Jesus Christ. I tend to believe that as horrific of a thing such as death is it could have been a lot worse.

When sin entered into the world it also created a decaying effect. While the world is slowly deteriorating, death becomes more and more severe. Life is now one of the most uncertain experiences on earth. We have to make our election and calling of God sure. We have to run our race effectively. We have to make the most of this life. It is but a vapor that appears for a moment and vanishes away.

Answering Tough Questions: WHY?

Isaiah 55:8-9  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.  9  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Why? This seems to be a logical question? As a pastor, I encounter this question a lot. I wish people understood that even the most spiritual of leaders are constantly struggling with the same question. Learning how to understand the ways and reasoning of God is way more complicated than the human mind can imagine. This one passage of scripture gives us the ability to begin to wrap our hearts and minds around this one question: why?

When asked “why?” the only way to respond is, “I honestly do not know.” The thoughts and ways of God are not like ours. We often look at the question of why in a sense of what happens when bad things happen to seemingly good people. We must remind ourselves that the same question could be asked in accordance to God’s sacrificial love. For example, why would God sacrifice His only Son in order to rescue and redeem a world that rejected Him? You have to understand that the ways and plans of God are far greater than imaginable from both perspectives.

The only thing we can know with certainty is that God does not think like we think. Honestly, is that a good thing? I mean if God thought like we thought then lightning would be way more deadly. If God thought like we thought then He would hold grudges, hate, and become very vindictive. Thankfully, God does not think like we think. He is not contaminated with sin. Therefore, His thoughts are so much higher than our thoughts and his ways much more higher. Think deeply upon this for a minute. We can only see and think in one dimension. Our vision is at best 20-20. God’s vision is eternal. We have to understand that while we only see what we can see at the present moment God can see far beyond the moment.

It is not wrong to ask God why. I have often wondered that if we had the answer to why if it would make us feel better. It is my prayer that we (me included) would come to a place where we realize that God just has a higher, holier, and sometimes hidden perspective that we may not understand until we see things in light of eternity.