Monthly Archives: March 2012

Best for Last

“Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”  John 2:10


Jesus sometimes saves the best for last. He delights in delivering the unexpected to the unsuspecting. He waits until there is opportunity to show up, where the needs are rampant but the solutions are few. Then He meets the need unconventionally and boldly. Often this is His method because Christ is counter-intuitive. He wants others to ask “Why?”  Why did Jesus save the best for last? One reason the Lord saves the best for last is to honor the recipients. Those who persevere deserve the best.

For example, in relationships, the fruit of long-term commitment produces the best experiences. Trust, contentment, and fulfillment all earn their right in relationships that resolve to remain true. God blesses those who wait: “Wait for the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land.” (Psalm 37:34a).

You experience the best God has to offer when you save yourself for marriage. Sex within the bonds of marriage exceeds exponentially the settlement of premarital capitulation to hormonally driven sex. Otherwise, you risk disease and a lifetime of disrespect and regret. Waiting on the best brings out the best, for trust in God fosters hope that there must be something better to look forward to in the future. It protects you from impatient impulses that can instantly implode.
Waiting for the best is difficult at times because it means depending on others to accomplish the goal. The outcome is out of your direct control. You have to trust that others can execute the project better than you can by yourself. Your sphere of influence will remain stunted if you try to do everything yourself. You will be limited by your time, energy, and intellect.

Your capacity is a drop in the bucket, compared to the resources of an aligned team; you need each other’s gifts and skills (Romans 12:4-5). It is your best that brings out the best in others. Therefore, be the best at what you do, and expect others to do their very best. Excellence attracts excellence, as mediocrity attracts mediocrity. Be the best that you can be and see to it that others do the same. Best breeds best. 
Lastly, trust Jesus to take people and circumstances under your influence and bring out His best. Let go, and let the Lord run with the opportunity. He may surprise you with joy. The best is yet to come if you look to the Lord for His best outcomes. Your humble request of God will result in much more than you thought you were capable of, for Christ has no capacity issues. He is looking for those in whom He can trust with His best.

He wants those whose faithfulness to Him far exceeds their earthly ambitions. Do whatever He says, and watch Him carry out His very best because obedience leads to His best. Believe the best is yet to come, and don’t settle for less. Believe the best in others. Trust Him for the very best. Expect the best, and be your best. Pray and ask God for His best. Be patient, wait on Him, and remind yourself often: He saves the best for last.

Taken from March 29th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”…

Post/Tweet this today: Waiting on the best brings out the best. #wait #best

Emotional Emptiness

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23


Emotional emptiness is a set up for frustrated and insecure living. If I ignore my emotional bank account with bad behavior, I can easily become overdrawn and withdraw into my silent shell. There are ‘late fees’ that result in broken promises, missed appointments, and angry outbursts. Emotional emptiness easily leads to chronic exhaustion.

Unhealthy emotions, like unresolved anger, overcome those running on emotional empty. In addition, good things like serving others can suck the joy and gratitude from your life if you are not emotionally whole. Resentment runs rampant when your emotions are on the edge of emptiness, so guard your heart with the Holy Spirit’s help and wisdom.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

So how do you know if you are approaching emotional emptiness? If you are emotionally spent, how do you replenish your emotional bank account? One sign of emotional fatigue is when your feelings are easily hurt. You take too much personally without appropriating forgiveness and trust in the Lord’s ability to handle the situation. So invite God to grow your character during challenging times.

One way to involve Jesus in your emotional barrenness is to write out your fears, and talk it through with the one whom you totally trust. He will give you courage to encounter those you fear with humility and courage. Lastly, make regular appointments with encouragers who lift you to the Lord with their affirmation and prayers.

Look for those who remind you to place your hope in heaven. Emotional fullness is created in a prayerful pace of living. Protect your emotions as they give understanding and insight into yourself, people, and the Lord. Above all else, trust in the peace of God to make whole your emotions, and to guard your heart.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

When can I block out weekly time on my calendar to guard my heart and replenish my emotional emptiness?

Related Readings: Proverbs 15:30; 22:11; 1 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:22

Guard Your Heart

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23


Guard your heart for it is where the Lord gives life. It is truly life, because it bubbles up with tremendous trust in Him. A heart on guard for God deeply desires love for Him, and obedience to His ways. There is a compelling call to follow Christ through the best and worst of circumstances. Therefore, guard your heart from disbelief, so doubt doesn’t become despair.

Guard your heart from un-forgiveness, so anger doesn’t become bitterness. Guard your heart from pornography, so lust doesn’t become lasciviousness. Guard your heart from worry, so fear doesn’t become frantic. Lastly, guard your heart from pride, so your attitude doesn’t become arrogant. A guarded heart increases the probability of good things from God. A guarded inward man makes for a good outward man.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

So, how do you guard your heart from being defiled by sin and disturbed by trouble? One simple safeguard is using wisdom in what you watch, as your eyes encamp around your affections. Secondly, be watchful about what words enter your ears. If you listen to lies over and over again, they can easily become truth in your thinking.

Thirdly, ask God to be the guardian of where you go. Environments greatly influence the outcomes of your heart. Indeed, a guarded heart is a candidate for greatness with God. Ask the Holy Spirit to hunker down in your heart, and bring bold leadership to your life, and swift conviction to your soul. Be on guard, and a wellspring of life will gush forth for God’s glory. 

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

Who will I ask to hold me accountable in what I watch, so my heart is clean and pure?

Related Readings: Deuteronomy 4:9; Psalm 139:23-24; Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:21-23

Lack of Understanding

“I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.” Psalm 119:125


Discernment is not always easily understood. Where to live? Where to go to school? Who to marry? Where to work? Who to mentor or who to be mentored by? What to purchase? Where to join a church? What doctor to visit or medicine to take? How to parent? How to grow a healthy marriage? However, the Lord wants His children to understand His ways. Answers from the Almighty are the best, because they align us with His productive plan.

Thus, we take time to first understand the wisest course of action, so we don’t have to redo a wrong result. Listening to the Lord’s voice and understanding His choice brings calm and confidence to our prayerful posture. It’s when we run ahead of Jesus that we run an unnecessary risk of reacting in the flesh. Indeed, we learn to wait on understanding, when we remember the past pain of pushing ahead in ignorance. Lack of discernment causes us to scratch our head, but it also guides our heart in humble dependence on Jesus.

“Israel’s watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge; they are all mute dogs, they cannot bark; they lie around and dream, they love to sleep. They are dogs with mighty appetites; they never have enough. They are shepherds who lack understanding; they all turn to their own way, they seek their own gain.” Isaiah 56:10

Furthermore, understanding from above requires intentional learning below. You grow in discernment with disciplined study of Holy Scripture and observing the wise choices of holy people. Understanding Christ’s ways is a work of grace in your heart over a lifetime. It is not like a light switch that one day is turned on—it is more like running a race for the first time and observing your unique surroundings at each mile marker. Your discernment grows as you determine to listen to the Lord and to those He is blessing.

You are wise to learn from your spouse who sees a situation with unnecessary risks. They have a sense that it is wise to wait before you go into debt, or spend money that maybe you can afford, but which they do not have a peace about the expense. Wisdom asks the Lord what He thinks, and then listens for understanding and discernment. Comprehension comes as much from preparing your heart with humility, as educating your mind with truth.

Lastly, obey what you sense the Spirit is leading you to do, even when you don’t completely understand. Your heavenly Father wants you to trust Him through an unsure process and He may later reward your obedience with understanding in retrospect. Jesus understands that your faith grows stronger when you feel weak. So, seek the Lord first and discernment second. Walk with Christ, and comprehension will come in His timing.

“He has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills.” Exodus 35:31

Prayer: Lord, I need a full heart of faith, as my head needs clarity in where you are taking me.

Related Readings: 1 Chronicles 22:12; Job 12:13; Ecclesiastes 11:5; 1 Corinthians 2:12

Post/Tweet today: When we run ahead of Jesus we run unnecessary risks. #patience #risk

Gods Word

“For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.” 1 Peter 1:24-25


What does it mean to get a word from the Lord? It means that God in His infinite wisdom personalizes His principles for each of His children. The Bible is an individualized love letter delivered to each disciple of Jesus for his or her unique situation. A word from the Lord gives hope in the face of discouragement, wisdom for understanding, and courage to confront injustice. Scriptures planted in the human heart are seeds of faith for the soul.

We are blessed when we seek counsel from the wise, but when we receive direction from Almighty God in His word, we can rest secure. The Bible is the baseline for our beliefs and behavior. It is the first and the final say for faith-based living. A day without scriptural intake for our spirit is like missing three meals for our body. God’s word nourishes our soul, is a trailblazer for truth, and leads us into His very best for our life.
“Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.” Isaiah 8:20

You endure, as you learn and apply to your life the enduring word of the Lord. Have you encountered a roadblock in parenting? If so, scripture has insight into how to see exactly how to love your child at their point of need. Are you experiencing an unreasonable individual at work or in your family? The Bible gives instructions in how to unselfishly serve those who are full of themselves. Come to Christ and listen to His voice, as He speaks to you through His word. Stillness before Holy Scripture brings it alive for you.
Hide in your humble heart the life giving word of God and you will be able to give life to others. What does God think? This is the first question for followers of Jesus Christ. And fortunately for His children, His Holy Spirit brings to life the pages of His word in prayer. Study to know the truth, and listen to apply the truth. Scripture gives stamina to your faith.

“He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” Luke 8:21

What area of my life needs instruction and encouragement from God’s word?

Related Readings: Genesis 15:1; 1 Samuel 3:1-7; Luke 7:29; 2 Timothy 2:9

Post/Tweet today: Scripture gives stamina to our faith. #scripture #faith

Celebrate Recovery

“Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” Luke 15:23-24


Grateful Christians take the time to celebrate the recovery of loved ones. It may be a son or daughter who returns from the foreign country of selfish ambition and immoral living. Celebration could be an appropriate occasion to honor a friend who is recovering from abuse or an addiction. Or, a family member after a long battle with cancer or another debilitating disease is on the road to recovery. Recovery calls for celebration!

A call to celebration makes much of the faithfulness of God and the wise choices of the one in recovery. We know in our hearts that heaven deserves the credit for our blessings on earth. Thus, we take the time to give glory to God for His gracious healing of our soul, our emotions and our body.  Ultimately, Christ causes a transformation of trust in our heart and mind. He loves us back to a place of rejoicing.

“Then Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in the LORD; in the LORD my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance.” 1 Samuel 2:1

Perhaps you throw a party for a friend who is now following Christ with their wise choices. Invite those who prayed and supported them on their ongoing road to recovery. Consider presenting to the honoree an album with notes of affirmation from those who love and appreciate them. A toast to the Lord’s great love would give glory to the central figure in redemption’s story. He doesn’t give up on those who give up on Him. Jesus loves the lost.

Furthermore, guard your heart from envying or questioning the return of a friend or colleague. Give them the benefit of the doubt—since, by grace, your heavenly Father has given you the benefit of the doubt. Celebrate their coming back to belief and good behavior. Life without celebrations is like a sporting event without a stadium of fans or bands. It’s a big deal when a body’s healed; it’s an even bigger deal when a soul’s saved!

“Moses answered, “We will go with our young and our old, with our sons and our daughters, and with our flocks and herds, because we are to celebrate a festival to the LORD.” Exodus 10:9

Lord, what celebration can I initiate on behalf of someone who is on the road to recovery?

Related Readings: Deuteronomy 16:15; 2 Samuel 6:21; Psalm 145:7; Romans 12:15

Post/Tweet today: God doesn’t give up on those who give up on Him. #God #grace

God Audit

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalm 139:23-24


Expect God to conduct a regular audit of your life. His Holy Spirit is an expert at probing beneath the surface of our actions and is able to root out unhealthy motives and habits. God’s accountability is thorough and swift. He is honest, steadfast and unbiased. I can talk myself into anything, but God holds my feet to the fire of His expectation. He searches your heart looking for payouts of forgiveness to others.

Your books do not need to be loaded up with accounts receivable that hang over others like a bad dream. God will deal with their shortcomings and the pain they have inflicted. Keep your accounts short. You have the ability in Christ to forgive others of their debt. Write off their offenses and you will build up your heavenly tax credits.

This is what we do as Christians. We forgive. We forgive because of the great mercy we have received from our heavenly Father. Another common discovery from God’s audit is fear. Our minds swirl with scenarios out of our control. Fear of failure, fear of confrontation, fear of rejection, and fear of what might happen can immobilize you. These fears birth anxious thoughts that refuse to go away. They race back and forth through your head uncontrollably.

God’s probing will put a finger on your worries, and He will remind you to trust Him.
He gently and lovingly says not to let anxiety drive you but to trust instead. He can handle whatever He uncovers in your life, and He can handle whatever you encounter in life. This is what He does as God. He is the calmer during uncertainty and the stabilizer when you face difficult circumstances. This is where you trust your heavenly auditor.
You trust God that whatever He asks you to change will be for your good and the good of others. His audit is for your benefit since He already knows His conclusions before He starts.

However this divine accounting of your life is based on an invitation. Yes, God does have His Holy Spirit performing an internal audit at all times. As a follower of Jesus Christ you can never get away from His prompting, His convicting, and His comfort. He is ever at work even when you are unaware. But, busyness can barricade you from the Holy Spirit’s influence. You can run so hard that you run right by His warning signs. Your wife says to slow down, you are missing the children growing up, but you keep running—before you know it they are moving out, bound for college.

Your body screams to slow down, but you keep running—until your first heart attack. Your schedule says to slow down but you keep running while, in the process, you are breaking promises and letting people down. A “God audit” means that you may need to go away and open up the books of your life to the life-giver Himself. This is a good place to begin trusting that things will go just fine as you take the time to listen to your heavenly auditor. His laws are not complicated, though we have a tendency to complicate them. Listen intently and obey.

Once your God audit is complete, painful as it may be, He is ready to lead you forward with His game plan. This pause in your schedule is meant to propel you forward. Your introspection, confession, and repentance free you to move forward in the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the genius of a divine audit. Your freedom and opportunities explode now that you are God compliant. Clean books and a clear conscience expand your capacity. Now you are energized for God’s next assignment. Schedule your God audit today!

Taken from Dose 90 in the 90-day devotional book, “Infusion”…

Post/Tweet this today: A pause in your schedule to pray will propel you forward in faith. #wait #pray #wisdomhunters

Overcome By Fear

“Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So He got into the boat and left.” Luke 8:37


Fear drives out faith, and overwhelming fear withdraws faith’s invitation to Jesus. Indeed, Jesus is a gentleman, so He does not tarry where He is not trusted. He will not remain where He is not wanted and He does not negotiate to be needed. Faith is exhausted in the face of overwhelming fear. This is especially true when your chronic fear relates to money. Money, more than anything, can make you myopic to faith in God. You get so consumed by the crises of current affairs that you forget your anchor in Almighty God. Money, or the lack of it, may be what’s killing you. However, money is a symptom of something else beneath the surface of your fear. Money is not the answer; Jesus is the dependable security you desire.
Do not dismiss prayer and patience just because you feel out of control. This is when you are tempted to behave like an atheist. You say you believe in God, He is in control and you trust Him, but your behavior betrays your beliefs. You act like an unbeliever when your actions marginalize your Master. Indeed, it is when the bottom falls out that faith in the Lord needs to be your mainstay. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). This is when you need Him the most, so be wise and ask Jesus, the gentleman, to remain with you when all hell breaks loose.

Satan loves to see you alone. He wants you to battle Him in your own strength. He wins when Jesus is run off and fear drives you into irrational action. Fear keeps you looking over your shoulder in doubt. And all the while, your Savior is right beside you, waiting to be your calming force. Take the time to tarry in trust with the One who is totally trustworthy. Do not drive Him away in denial. Rise up from under the load of your languishing condition and come to Christ. Look to Christ for perspective and patience. Don’t panic. Exorcise your overwhelming fear by faith. Place it on the shelf of self-denial, and surrender to your Savior.  
Now is your opportunity to stand firmly and courageously in Christ. Do not run Him off, for He will only stay where He is wanted. Talk is easy, but your walk with Him is what matters most. He desires an authentic and teachable heart. He can do this for you by faith.  So let these uncertain times embolden you and strengthen your beliefs. Go deeper with Jesus during desperate days. He is a gentleman waiting for your invitation to stay and not go away.

When fear attacks, be comforted by Christ’s confidence and warm embrace. Say with David, “The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27: 1). Furthermore, be real with those around you. Some of them have gone before you; learn from them. Trust them as a resource, for fear is flattened by the faith of friends. Trust them and Him. Fear flees in the face of faithfulness, so escort the fear of failure out the door. Above all else, be strengthened by faith’s reassurance, not weakened by the fear of financial loss.

Taken from March 25th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”…

Post/Tweet this today: Fear flees in the face of God’s faithfulness. #fear #faithfulness

Prayerful Perseverance

“The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” Proverbs 4:18


Prayerful perseverance is the path of the righteous. It is the route the righteous take during recessionary times. An economic downturn can be a detour in our walk with Christ, or it can shed light on where God wants us to go. You persevere in prayer, because it is here that the voices of worry go mute, and your Master guides you onto a productive path. Indeed, recessions force us to be resourceful in our relationships and creativity.

Perhaps you reach out to those who have helped you in the past, but are unable to help now, because they are too needy. Take the time to connect those out of work with opportunities that may match their calling. Most importantly, ask others how you can specifically pray for them. The Lord leads by the light of His love during dark days; so stay connected to Christ and people in prayer. This righteous resolve takes focus and hard work.

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:36

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. This is why it is imperative you feed the spirit in persistent prayer. Stay engaged with God, and the gleaming dawn of hope will rise on your shadowed circumstances. As you prayerfully walk with the Lord in the light there is a holy security and serene spirit that shines forth from your countenance for all to see. Your humble and good works on earth bring glory to your Father in heaven.

Prayerful perseverance increases the brightness of your light like the rising of the all-consuming orange sun. So use recessionary days to heal the hurting, rescue the repentant, and comfort the broken. Dark days were created for the care of Christians to come forth in faith and generosity. Therefore, prayerfully persevere for your soul’s sake, for God’s glory, and in service to others.

“Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard” (Isaiah 58:8, NASB).

Where do I need to persevere in prayer, and who can I specifically pray for in their dark night of the soul?

Related Readings: Job 22:28; Matthew 5:16; Matthew 26:41 (KJV); Philippians 2:15

Post/Tweet today: Persevere in prayer, and the voices of worry go mute. #prayer #worry

Oneness with God

“But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.” 1 Corinthians 6:17


Oneness with God opens the door for intimacy and understanding. It is a place of peace and contentment. At a Christian’s conversion there is a recalibration to Christ—alignment with the Almighty is instituted. But the world, the flesh, and the devil tries to pull back believers from belief. Thus, wise Jesus followers seek unity around the Lord’s agenda.

God expects our behavior to bend toward His standards and expectations. Devout saints seek oneness in spirit with the Spirit of God. There is a prayerful and passionate pursuit of living out their holy position in Christ. Any affection in competition with Christ threatens to seduce a soul into insignificant pursuits. It can be an acute obsession with sports or a chronic sexual exploitation. But, eternal affections become one with God in spirit. We romance a relationship with Jesus, so we are not deceived to trust lost lovers. 

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” John 17:20-21a

Your oneness with your heavenly Father is a positive indicator to the negative noise of unbelief. When God seekers see you seek the Lord in your pain and prosperity, they take notice. Unity around Christ causes others to come to Christ. However, you cannot be one with Jesus without being one with the others who bow in humble belief in Him.

Who are you out of fellowship with because of a lack of forgiveness in your relationship? When the Body of Christ is split in fractious debate, a lost world looks on in dismay. However, when Christians unify around the death and resurrection of Jesus—a unified spirit draws unbelievers by the Holy Spirit. So, pray for unity amongst diversity in your church to be a source of strength in your community. Indeed, prayer powers oneness with the Lord and others. What God joins together in unity of spirit draws a lost world to Jesus.

“May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:21b-23

How can I better bend toward eternal expectations and align with the Lord’s agenda?

Related Readings: Romans 6:19; Ephesians 4:5; Philippians 3:21; Hebrews 2:5, 18

Post/Tweet today: Unity around Christ causes others to come to Christ. #unity #evangelism