Sometimes it is tough in life when you seem to get hit from every side by hateful people.  It is even worse when these people call you “friend”.  Betrayal is very difficult to overcome.  I have betrayed many during my time on earth and I can honestly say that I am deeply sorry.

I remember a situation where someone I knew was going through a tough time where we worked.  This individual was being targeted by others.  I don’t remember any of the details.  It does not matter what the details are.  What is important is our response.

You can get angry.  You can get mad.  You can cry yourself to sleep day or night or both.  That might make you feel better; but, it is not the solution.  The solution is between you and God.  We need to respond how He would have us to respond.  When I am hurt or slandered my first reaction is to lash out and try to hurt the person as much as or more than they have hurt me.  This is not God’s plan.  Remember, He knows all about it.  Because He knows all about it we need to talk to Him.

Look at Joseph’s response to his brothers in Genesis 45:5, “Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.”  That is an amazing response!  How do you respond to those who hurt you or even worse?  Respond God’s way and you will not be the same, for sure.

So, how are you doing?

A Gift From God 12

Last night I was watching the news; as depressing as that is.  I saw a story that caught my attention.  It was a story about infertility.  It caught my attention because a Pastor I know from another state is going to be a father.  His wife is 51 years old and he is 65 years old.  Yes, when their child turns 18 he will be a whopping 83 years old.  Well…

I thought about how this child; just like all other children, is a gift from God.  This Pastor even referred to himself in the context of Abraham and Sarah.  Thankfully he is in good spirits about it.

I thought about “A Gift From God” and this pastoral family now expecting.  Some in our world would see this as a set back or an interruption to their life.  Not this family.  They are taking it in stride like they should.  They see it as God sees the child.  A gift.

I thought about the promise God made to Abraham.  Look at Genesis 17:5, “Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.”  That is a promise from God.  “a father to many nations have I made thee.”  This is a fact.  Now, we can look back and see God bring this to pass.  Abraham submitted to God’s plan for the most part until he and Sarah stepped out of God’s plan and then Ishmael was born.  For the most part Abraham’s response was of faith and God blessed him with a tremendous gift.

Sarah’s response was a little different.  Look at Genesis 18:12, “Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”  No, I am not sharing this to knock or beat up on Sarah.  I am simply point out the difference in their responses to the promises of God and His gift to them.

So how do you respond to the gift of God?  We need to respond in faith and thanksgiving.  I thank God for the gifts He has given to me and my family.  Yes, even those gifts we did not really think we wanted or needed.

So, how are you doing?

Our Response

My ninth grade year I was the manager of the football team.  My mom would not let me play football because she was afraid I would get hurt.  Football would have been mild compared to growing up on the farm.  Anyway.  I remember hear Mr. Marcum and Mr. Pratt yelling at the guys during practice.  They were exhorting the members of the team to push themselves and do the best they could do.

If your heart is in it then you will do the task to the best of your ability.  I was thinking about examples in the Scriptures.  It came to my mind about a man who had two sons.  Individually, he requested each so to go into his vineyard and work.  Their responses were very different.

Look at Matthew 21:28-30, “But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.  He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.  And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.”

Which response is your response?  Would you rather be like the second son and have the appearance that you were being obedient?  Would you rather be honest and say that you do not want to do the task?

The fact is that there are many tasks that need to be completed in God’s kingdom.  Will you make yourself available to be the servant He called you do be.

So, how are you doing?


Yesterday I had the privilege of working on the farm all day.  I was in the field running the tractor and chisel plow.  It was so much fun.  One thing I noticed all day was the sheer power that tractor has.  I was running 6 1/2 miles per hour and it was nothing to that machine.  As night came on the ground got moist and I could tell that it was getting slightly more difficult.  All in all this was no problem for this green machine.

As I was thinking about the response of the tractor I also thought about another response.  That is the response of Mary when she found out she would be the chosen vessel to birth Messiah into this world.  She could have responded in many different ways.

I love her response in Luke 1:38, “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”  She responded in humility and submission.

Today is Sunday.  We often call today “The LORD’S Day”.  Is it really?  Do we observe it as He would have us to observe it?

More importantly, is today a day that we set aside for the LORD?  It should be.  We should make a priority of going to His house (Church), His Word (the Bible), His people, His passion.  The list could go on.

My point today is are we motivated by what motivates Jesus?

So, how are you doing?

Your Options

One thing I have learned is that life does not always leave us with a variety of choices.  It is nice to approach a decision and know that there are a few choices.  In II Kings 7 we see four leprous men.  These men were the outcasts of their society.  They had to go around crying, “Unclean! Unclean!”  They were not treated very well as you can imagine.

In II Kings 7:1-20 we see Elisha telling that better times are coming.  On of the leaders opens his mouth and God passes judgment on him and he sees this prosperity; but, dies before he can partake of it.  This is so sad.

These four leprous men are outside the city and they come to the place that they reason whether or not to stay where they are or take a chance of dying at the hands of the enemy.  Look at II Kings 7:4, “If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.”

They discuss three options here.  First they can retreat into the city.  If they do then they will possibly die from the famine in the city.  There might also be someone take things into their own hands and kill them too.  This is a dark place to be in life.  It reminds me of a Christian who backslides.  They go back into the world.  This is sad.  This option should not be an option.

Secondly they discuss the option of remaining where they are at now.  They realize this is not a good option either.  If they stay where they are currently they will die from the famine.  This is not a good option for the Christian either.  We are not to be standing still.  We are to be growing spiritually.  It is a command and not a suggestion.

Thirdly they discuss the option of running.  They could run to the camp of the Syrians and throw themselves on the mercy of those people.  They believe that either way they are going to die.  Remember they are lepers so they are living a death sentence.  They can run to the camp of the Syrians and see what happens.  At least they would be taking some kind of action and not just sitting idle and waiting to die.

They pick the third option and arrive at the camp of the Syrians to find they ran away and left everything.  God allowed the lepers to find the camp empty of people; but, full of the spoils that were so desperately needed.

So, you have your options.  You can retreat.  You can remain.  You can run.  I suggest that you run to the LORD and see how He will provide for you in whatever you are facing.

So, how are you doing?


On Monday this week I had the amazing opportunity of spending the morning with some dear people to me.  I went to Lighthouse Baptist Church in Dennison, IL for a Pastor’s breakfast.  That Church is one of a hand full of Churches that are very dear to my heart.  The breakfast was wonderful.  Spending time with the Pastors and Christian workers that attended was deeply valuable to me (and others I am sure).  Pastor Phil Price and the dear people of the Church did a great job making us all welcomed and full.

My dear friend Dr. Larry Lilly was asked to give a charge from the Scriptures.  Once again God used this man to minister right to the heart of all who attended.  His text was Habakkuk 3:17-19.  I was so moved by his message that I could not even make my pen scribe notes on paper as I listened.  So, I cannot recreate what I heard; but, I can share some thing with you that came to my mind as I read again this passage.

Habakkuk 3:17-19, “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:  Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.”

The first thing I see is the ruin.  We are told about the fig tree will not blossom, the vine will have no fruit, the olive will fail and the fields will not yield.  This spells total ruin to me.  When I look at this from the standpoint of a farmer it is total ruin.  What will we eat?  What will we drink?  How shall we live?  Maybe these are questions that you posit on a daily basis.

Then I see the response.  The writer is giving us a look into the heart of someone that is deeply courageous.  This person is deeply committed.  Did you see that?  Look again, “I will joy in the God of my salvation.”  What a response.  There is no pity party here friend.  There is only simple worship directed to The One who gives us breath and life.  Joy is based upon your relationship with Jesus Christ.  Happiness is based upon your circumstances.

Thirdly I see the reality.  The writer says, “The LORD God is my strength…”  Our biggest problem is that we try to figure out our problems.  We try to fashion a plan to get out of our problems.  Then we end up fighting against God’s will for our lives.  We need to quit trying to orchestrate the end of our problems.  We need to rest in the reality that God is our strength.  Read the Psalms and see how they minister to you in your hour of darkness.

No matter the ruin in your life you can have a godly response when you realize the reality of Who is really in control.

So, how are you doing?


The other day I had the opportunity to teach Sunday School.  I shared about the storms of life.  I also shared how we should respond to these storms.  So many people do not respond in the right way to storms and that makes for a disaster.

Our response can make or break us.  Most of the time we respond by flying off the handle or shooting from the hip.  I know that there are situations in life that do not allow for time to contemplate a response.  The thing is that we need to pre-program ourselves to respond in a way consistent with the Word of God.  This is easily said; but, sometimes it is not so easily done.  This takes time and effort.  We live in an instant society and things come instantly so we think everything should be this way.

Nehemiah was delivered terrible news; but, responded in a way that you and I need to take note of and put into practice.  Look at Nehemiah 1:3-4, “And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.  And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,”.  This is a lost art in our day.  God help us!

So, how are you doing?