Answering Anger With Forgiveness

Psalm 118:5-8

5From my distress I called upon the Lord;

The Lord answered me and set me in a large place.

6 The Lord is for me; I will not fear;

What can man do to me?

7 The Lord is for me among those who help me;

Therefore I will look with satisfaction on those who hate me.

8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. 

How often in times of distress have you looked to God for relief and protection from those who slander and despise you? Do you look to God and seek peace and forgiveness or do you plot revenge? Do you have the faith to trust the promise that if God is for you, you need not be afraid? Sometimes, in order for us to learn how to fully trust God, we are put in these difficult and trying situations, so that we can experience God’s peace, and learn to trust Him more completely. When we respond to hate filled words with grace and words of peace, we can be certain that God’s Holy Spirit is with us, helping us to respond with forgiveness.

This week, I have been reminded that I cannot worry, or dwell upon other people’s long standing anger and resentment. When people allow themselves to be consumed with hate and bitterness, it can be difficult to reason with them or carry on a rational conversation with them. They believe what they believe and it seems that you can’t convince them otherwise. I can’t begin to imagine how it feels to live day in and day out with this type of anger, which over a period of time will utterly consume your very soul.

Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me” (Matthew 5:11). When I face insults, and deceitful words are spoken against me, I cling to this promise from my Lord and Savior – and proclaim that I am truly “blessed.”

With Christ as my Lord and Savior, those insults and falsely spoken words do not affect me – instead, I feel truly “blessed.” With Christ as my Lord and Savior, I pray for those who proudly identify themselves as my enemies – I forgive them and then I move on – because I am truly “blessed.”   

Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:43-45).

Receiving Mercy and Finding Grace

Hebrews 4:14-16 (NASB): 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

I am aware of a lot of people who are in “need.” There are those who are struggling with severe family relationship issues. Many are worried about their jobs, or lack of a job, and the mounting bills that seem overwhelming. Several are struggling with taking care of elderly parents or relatives and they are seeking the strength to make it through each day. I know of those who are carrying around heavy burdens and they wonder how long it will be until the weight of those burdens will become too heavy to bear. There are those who are sitting in nursing homes waiting for a family member or friend to come by and spend just a few minutes of their day with them. The loss of a loved one has been difficult recently for several people that I know. And we prayed last night at church for those who are battling significant health issues and their struggle with the effects of the disease on their body.  

Unfortunately, many people turn to things other than God when dealing with these difficult and challenging moments of life. Some seek to find temporary relief in alcohol or drugs. Others are tempted by being unfaithful to their spouse, and some seek to drift away into the world of pornography or other sexual sins. Those that look to escape their worries and troubles in this way will only further intensify their struggles in life. I have seen many good people make many terrible and life altering decisions when responding to life’s difficulties in this way. Families are torn apart, careers are permanently damaged, and relationships are forever ruined.  

As believers, we have the ultimate “high priest” that understands and “sympathizes” with our struggles and our weaknesses. If we will only approach the “throne of grace” and call upon the name of Jesus, we can find “mercy” and “grace” to help us through our struggles. Look to Jesus, and to heaven, for relief from the worries and the pain of this world, and you will find peace and rest for your weary body and soul. Approach the throne of grace with confidence and find healing for your body and your soul. 


The Prodigal Son: Coming Back Home

Jesus tells the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke chapter 15. This parable is filled with many deep and important theological truths. The one I will focus on today is the loving, welcoming father who not only accepts the wayward son back into his home, but ends up throwing a feast in his honor. This is not what we would have expected the father in that time and culture to do, but he does, and his joy overflows because of his son “who was lost and has been found” Luke 15:24.  

To put this parable into context, we must look at the two preceding parables in Luke chapter 15; The Lost Sheep and The Lost Coin. In the parable of The Lost Sheep, Jesus tells the “tax collectors” and the “sinners” that “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” And in the parable of The Lost Coin, Jesus says: “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” Luke 15:7, 10.  It is clear from these parables of Jesus, that God always stands ready to welcome home those who have strayed away from Him. And that’s good news for all of us!

In the parable of The Prodigal Son, the son asks his father for his inheritance, before the death of the father, so that he could go out into the world and live the kind of life he wanted. This request in essence meant that the son considered the father dead to him, since he requested this before his father’s death. The father does as the son asks and the son takes off to find himself and to live a life of self-indulgence. After the son squanders his wealth and has nothing left, he hired himself out to a citizen of that country and was given a job feeding the swine. This of course was not a good job fit for a Jewish man, and he became so hungry that he longed for whatever leftovers the swine would not eat, which I can imagine would not be much. So coming to his senses, he decided to go back home and beg his father to allow him to return as a “hired” man.

“So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him” Luke 15:20. 

Now in that culture, the father would have never ran to meet his wayward son. And the father would certainly not have been looking for him after the son had shown a complete lack of respect for the father and the family. But in this parable, Jesus says the father “ran” to meet the lost son and to welcome him back into the family. The father even gives the son his best robe and puts a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And then the father throws a feast to celebrate his son’s return.

If you have strayed away from God, there is great news for you in this parable: God is not only willing and delighted to accept you back; He will never give up on you! He will continue searching for you, and he will meet you as you repent, to leave behind your life of sin and come home to Him. Although we may at times give up on ourselves, the great news from this story is that God never gives up on us! Our heavenly Father is forgiving, loving and always searching for those who have strayed away from Him. And Jesus tells us that the angels in heaven rejoice when that one sinner decides to repent and come home to the Father.

If you have wandered away from God for a while, it’s time to come home running to God. And you won’t have to run far, because God will come running to you, and will meet you, and accept you back into his gracious and loving presence. Leave behind your life of sin, and come home to the Father who loves you, and who at this very moment is watching over you.  






Does God Still Speak Through Dreams? Part 2

Revelation 4:1-3 (NASB): After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.” 2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne. 3 And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance.

Several weeks ago, I wrote the first part about how God can communicate with us through dreams. Here is the link to that first blog in case you want to read it:

“Just as God controls the physical world, so too he controls and influences the spiritual world. One of the most important things we need to learn is to be open to this spiritual world because here we can recognize God’s hand even more clearly than in the physical world that surrounds us.” Morton Kelsey, Dreams: A Way to Listen to God, p. 100.

I have been struggling for over a month now to write this follow up on dreams. Although the Bible speaks often about God communicating with human beings through dreams, we don’t really talk or teach much about dreams in the church. We must be careful when trying to interpret dreams that we believe to actually be from God. As I wrote previously, I have only had two dreams in my 52 years that I believe to be from God. So we must be cautious when we state that God spoke to us in a dream, and we must pray over these dreams in order to allow God to further reveal the dream’s meaning to us. It’s also a good idea to seek out qualified Christian ministers, who can help you unpack the meaning of your dream, and give counsel as to whether or not your dream is from God.

About two months ago, I had what I believe was a second dream from God. It was early in December and I don’t remember there being anything in particular that was weighing on me at that time. God often comes to us unexpectedly, as he did throughout the Bible, to people that he spoke to through dreams. In my dream, I had a compelling sense that I was in heaven, in the presence of God. This is where my dream began; it was not clear to me how I arrived at that place. I remember being surrounded by what appeared to be smoke. After a short time, the smoke began to clear and I was aware of a spiritual being that I can’t describe. What overwhelmed me was the appearance of a powerful emerald color around the spiritual being. It seemed that the emerald color completely surrounded and engulfed me. The emerald color was almost overwhelming, and yet it felt warm and it gave me the feeling of healing and reassurance. I stayed in the presence of this emerald color for several minutes and it gave me the sensation that its power was going through my entire body. And then I woke up feeling at peace but not quite sure of what had just happened.  

So I prayed and contemplated over this dream and its meaning for the next two months. I also prayed for God to give me another dream to help explain this dream but that didn’t happen. As I prayed for God to give me further insight into this dream, God led me to two passages in the Bible that helped me to come to some understanding of this particular dream. And both of these passages spoke of two things in my dream that I couldn’t reconcile: the smoke and the emerald color.  

The prophet Isaiah is given a vision of God in heaven, and in Isaiah 6:4, he gives this description of what he was seeing: “And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.” This is reminiscent of the smoke on Mt. Sinai, when God’s presence came down from heaven and covered the mountain with smoke. After two months of praying over this and reading the Bible, I believe the presence of smoke gave me the indication that this dream was from God.

And then in Revelation 4:3: “And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance.” The emerald is often used to describe a rebirth or to convey a healing. For me, the emerald light was overwhelming and as the light seemed to go through my body, I felt as if it was healing me and strengthening me. It certainly gave me a feeling of contentment and peace that was undeniably from God.

So what was God trying to communicate to me through this dream? For me, this dream served to give me encouragement and to strengthen me for what was ahead. Over the last two months I have had to deal with both personal and work related issues that were very difficult and burdening. With each day that I faced these struggles, my dream served to remind me that God was in control and I didn’t need to worry or fear any of these temporary struggles in my life. God had promised to go ahead of me and prepare the way, and he also gave me the assurance that everything was going to work out, according to God’s perfect plan for my life. 

Has life been easy and my struggles few for the last two months? No! However, in each struggle and through every challenging moment in life, God has given me the reassurance that if I will only trust him and obey him, everything will eventually work out according to God’s plan. Because of my faith and trust in God, my dream served to remind me on a daily basis that God is actively at work in my life, carrying my burdens and bringing healing each and every day.  

This brings me back to one of my favorite verses of scripture that I recite to myself almost every day: “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those who hearts are fully committed to him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9 (NIV)

“God has created the physical world and the spiritual one. God gives us the dream as one way of discovering the nature of that world and our kinship with it.” Morton Kelsey, Dreams: A Way to Listen to God, p. 101.




Be Still

Exodus 14:13-14(NIV): Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Exodus 14:13-14 (NASB): But Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.”

I constantly struggle with this text on being still or quiet and allowing God to work in my life. Being raised to believe that hard work and effort is important, it is often difficult to just do nothing.

We often pray for God to accomplish something specific in our lives and it’s only natural to feel that you have failed to “do something” when that prayer goes unanswered. We believe that we must help God in some way in order for our prayer to be answered. God’s timing is far different from our idea and concept of time, so we must be “still” or “silent” quite often and allow God to do his work through us and in us.  

It’s difficult to be “still” or “silent” in a world filled with so much noise and distractions. Even when I intentionally try to tune out the world, I often get distracted or off track. The evil one tries to take advantage of every opportunity to prevent us from hearing God. He wants us to believe that because we can’t hear God that He is either not there or just doesn’t care about us. So we must pray the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples when he prayed, “deliver us from evil.” We must resist the whisperings and temptations of the enemy through the remarkable power of our risen Christ. God wants us to hear him through his word and through prayer.  

In reading God’s word we can most certainly “hear” God. When you open up and focus on God’s word, the Holy Spirit can and will speak to you through what you are reading. I am often led to a specific scripture that is meaningful for that very day, and that doesn’t happen time and time again by accident.

And when we pray, we must resist the temptation to use a lot of words, or even any words at all. Remember that God already knows what we are going to ask for, so we must trust God and listen for him to speak to us in prayer through the Holy Spirit. For me, this is difficult. I often want to help God and speed up the process. This is when God has to remind me that unless whatever I am praying for is from God, it will not succeed anyway. So I must be “still” and “silent” and allow God to lead me where he would have me to go.  Be “still” and be “silent” and trust completely in God!





The Holy Spirit Lives in You!

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NASB): Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

We live amidst a culture that is all about “me”. We want others to know our most random thoughts and we often feel compelled to share the most insignificant and random details of our lives. We value “me” time and we don’t want to be bothered by anything that disrupts our day, especially when our carefully planned day is altered in any way. We don’t stop to notice others around us that are hurting or that carry heavy burdens that desperately need lifting. We don’t take the time to notice because we are so inwardly focused only on self.

If we could only focus on the ultimate sacrifice that Christ made on the cross on our behalf, I believe that we would think less of ourselves and more about others. Are you praying for God to make your day comfortable and easy, or do you pray for God to place someone in your life that needs to be encouraged or just simply listened to? We rush through each day without thinking about others around us because we are too focused on our own needs and concerns. What would happen if we used our “body” to allow the Holy Spirit to completely transform us and lead us to places that we would not otherwise choose to go? What better way to glorify God than to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us each day.  

Our time that we are given to live on this earth is not our own, it is a gift from God. We must therefore use the time wisely that God has given us in service to his kingdom. And what better way can we serve God but to lead people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, our savior and redeemer. In a world full of uncertainty, why would anyone not want to secure their eternal future and accept Christ as their Lord and Savior? Live out your life as a believer in such a way that others begin to wonder and question why you believe in the risen Christ. Allow the indescribable power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in you to lead others to Christ. Every moment of our time here on earth is simply a gift from God. Pray for the incredible power of the Holy Spirit, living in you, to empower you in glorifying God in all that you do.





Loving God not the world

1 John 2:15-17(NIV): Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

This world that we live in is increasingly tuning out and turning away from God. In the United States, there is less attention focused on God and more attention on self.  So many people today are attracted to the things of this world instead of God. It seems to me that many who profess and proclaim “good” and “moral” behavior are certainly not qualified to lecture us on that subject. I for one am sick and tired of “celebrities” lecturing us on how we should behave morally. If you are taking your cues from these types of people, you are on a path that leads away from God, deeper into this fallen world. I’m not sure what their definition of good is, but threatening to blow up buildings is not my definition of good, and it certainly does not fit with how Jesus commands us to love one another.

The Apostle John gives us three things to consider and to be on guard against in relation to this world. In our daily walk with God, we must always be alert for these three pitfalls:

·         Lust of the flesh

·         Lust of the eyes

·         Pride of life

As followers of Christ we must not allow this world to influence us in any way that is in opposition to God’s laws. If we would only take the time to read our Bible and listen for God to speak to us through His Holy Spirit, we could overcome the many pitfalls of this world and live a life that glorifies God and all that is good. We must live in this world but we must remember that as Christians, we are “not of this world.” We must not take moral lessons from the evil one and his followers, but only from the word of God.

Jesus prayed this prayer for his disciples in John 17:13-17: “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

If you are a follower of Christ – you are not of this world. You are called to live a life that glorifies and always points to God. As followers of Christ, we are to love everyone but we cannot allow ourselves to become cozy with the world and it’s false beliefs. We must continue to speak out in opposition to this world when we observe things that are inconsistent with God’s word. If you are hated by the world, you are in good company with other believers, who are on the right path in their daily walk with God.

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14



Living as Beloved Children of God

Jude 17-25 (NASB): But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, 18 that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” 19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on some, who are doubting; 23 save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.

24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. 

How often have you read something from the Letter of Jude? I found some notes this morning that I had made on these verses over two years ago. And as I was reading the Letter of Jude this morning, God spoke to me and so this is my devotional for today. Hopefully it will also speak in some way to you this day through the Holy Spirit.

Jude was a very common name used by the Jews. The Greek name would have been “Judas.” Some believe the letter was written by Judas the apostle. This would have been the Judas identified in Luke 6:16 as “Judas son of James” and not Judas Iscariot. However, most scholars believe the author to be Judas the brother of James and of the Lord. We find this Judas mentioned in two verses of scripture in the New Testament: Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? (Matthew 13:55). And also in Mark 6:3: Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” 

The issue or error that Jude seems to be addressing in his letter is the heretical teaching of the second century Gnostics. Jude wants the readers of his letter to know about salvation and he also warns them of immoral and sinful men that were moving among them, trying to misrepresent the grace of God. Being saved by grace does not mean that you can continue a life of sin because of God’s grace. There is a price to be paid for continued sinfulness in our lives and we must be aware of anyone who would teach in opposition to this.

The Apostle Paul addresses this same subject in Romans 6:1-6: What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin. 

This reading from Jude spoke to me for several reasons. First of all, we will all stumble at some point in our daily walk with God. What’s important for us to remember is that we must stand firm, with the help of our Lord, against all the ungodly and immoral things of this world that seek to pull us away from God. The letter of Jude reminds us today the best way to do this. As “beloved” children of God, we are to continue “building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.”  

Secondly, we are to show “mercy” to those who doubt and we are to do our best to “save” those who do not believe in our Lord Jesus Christ. We are called to hate the sin but not the sinner. And while doing so, we are to realize that it is Christ and Christ alone who can keep us from stumbling and will enable us to “stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy.”  

I love to be around people who are full of the Holy Spirit and who are more spiritual and less worldly-minded. So many Christians, and even many churches today, do not emphasize enough – the incredible life changing power of the Holy Spirit. I am so thankful that my church does and it is a truly wonderful experience to feel the power of the Holy Spirit present during each service at our church. It is the Holy Spirit that guides me through each day of my life and the power of the Spirit is something I cling to at all times. And it is because of that I can agree with Jude in saying: “to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.




Faith, Trust, and Obedience

Exodus 19:1-8(NASB): In the third month after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. When they set out from Rephidim, they came to the wilderness of Sinai and camped in the wilderness; and there Israel camped in front of the mountain. Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.” So Moses came and called the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the Lord had commanded him. All the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do!” And Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord. 

Three words have been on my mind this past week: faith, trust, and obedience. As I have been teaching in the book of Exodus, I have spent a lot of time studying and contemplating what these three words really mean for us as believers. For the Israelites, after the Exodus out of Egypt, it was their faith and trust in God to provide for their needs that God was trying to strengthen. God would continually provide and then the people would backslide and they would have to learn all over again that trusting in God to provide was the only way they could survive and move forward. Obedience was something the Israelites constantly struggled with and we are no different today.

God graciously provides for us and then we allow ourselves to give into temptation and we drift away from God for a while. Eventually, we realize that we need God, and often in desperation we turn back to Him. God doesn’t want us to stray, He wants us to stay close to Him so that He can bless us and guide our lives towards obedience and His will for us as believers. Our lives would be truly blessed and so amazing, if we could just maintain our focus on God in total obedience, and not allow ourselves to be derailed by sin and it’s devastating effects.

This world that we live in wants to drag us down into the depths of its sin and its widespread disobedience to God. We are told to be open and accepting of any and every popular worldly idea that is presented. Instead of listening to God and reading His Word daily, we are constantly bombarded with those in our society that demands we listen and adhere to their beliefs and ideas. Just like the Israelites, we are surrounded by a society that is increasingly moving away from God and from Christian principles.

Faith, trust, and obedience to God is the only way that we can live up to God’s high standards for our lives as we live out our days in this fallen world. God desires us to draw close to Him and to listen only to Him. As you tune out the noise and distractions of this world, you will begin to sense God’s presence and that of the Holy Spirit. You will become more aware of God’s love for you and you will have a greater desire to obey God instead of following after the things of this world.

The following are three scripture texts on faith, trust, and obedience, that I hope you will read and contemplate upon in the coming days.  

Faith: Hebrews 11:1-3(NIV): Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

Trust: Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV): Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Obedience: Psalm 128:1 (NIV): Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him.







A Firm Foundation

Matthew 7:24-27 (NASB): “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

As we enter a New Year, I hear many people expressing concern and anxiety over what 2017 will bring. At the same time, I am also encouraged by others who are looking forward to this New Year, connected with their belief in God’s absolute power and authority over the entire earth. God is in control of all creation, and He promises to always be with us, in both good moments and during difficult times. Are you willing to place your complete faith and trust in God instead of the things of this world? Don’t allow the news media or society to shape your beliefs and the way you approach each day. Begin each day by turning to God, through his Word and prayer, and trust that God will direct your steps.

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus tells us to not only “hear” His words but to “act” upon them. As people of faith, we certainly must have Christ as the foundation of our lives. What foundation is your life built upon? Will it withstand the many difficulties and troubles of life that will come your way this year? If the way you live your life is built around your faith and trust in God, then you are on a solid foundation. Your life is built on the rock and not on the sand. When troubles come your way  – and they most assuredly will – you will be able to withstand those momentary difficulties, and your faith and trust in God will be greater. You will emerge from those trials with a stronger and more complete faith. God will not let you fall!

However, if the foundation of your life is shallow, and built upon the sand, you are destined for trouble. When the many storms of daily life come your way, you will not be able to withstand those difficulties and your fall will be great. People like this-  look to the “world” – to satisfy their longings, and their trust is placed in the things of this world instead of the creator of the universe. So when things begin to go wrong for them, they lack the foundation to effectively cope with their problems. They have failed to pay attention to the words of Christ and have instead followed society’s guidance and “wisdom.”

So I urge you to commit to begin, or to continue, building up the foundation of your very life upon the rock of God and Christ. The storms of life will most certainly come your way this year, and you must have a strong foundation, in order to withstand these difficult and trying moments of life. Will you be “wise” and build your foundation upon the rock, or will you be “foolish” and build the foundation of your very life upon the sand? The choice is yours and I urge you to choose the foundation that is built upon the rock.


My Daily Journey With God in Athens Ga.