My Top 5 Blog Posts Of 2014

Here are the 5 most popular blog posts on my blog for 2014. I pray that I was able to encourage you in some way this year. I look forward to posting much more in the year 2015! May you have a happy and very blessed New Year!

Will You Withstand The Coming Flood?

Our culture is replete with opportunities to know God's Word. How many Bibles do you have in your home? Our country is full of Christian and secular book stores, both that sell Bibles. If that were not enough, you can go on line and order Bibles. You can download Bible software and have any version of the Bible on your computer or mobile device. Most churches provide Bibles during their services. In America, there is no shortage of God's Word. It's a tremendous blessing to have God's Word available to us in abundance. (More)

The Power Of Gratefulness

Here we are on the verge of another Thanksgiving in America. Thanksgiving is a great national holiday on which family and friends are brought together. But Thanksgiving didn't start as a national holiday back when the first settlers started the concept. Actually after that first brutal winter and growing season, it was a celebration of life and harvest. The first settlers (the ones who were still breathing) gathered to commemorate God's protection and sustenance. The gratefulness was genuine. I mean think about it. Many of your family and friends died throughout that first year. Through the difficulty, death, and destitution...a group had survived and now wanted to give God all the thanks. Making it through hard times and difficulty produces a truly grateful heart. That's what it's all about - gratefulness. (More)

He Waits For You

Recently I got up early, as I do every day, to spend time with the Lord. It was a typical morning as I prepared to be with Him. I'm not sure about you but usually, early on a work morning, my mind and body are not raring to go....even to the Lord. I don't mean I don't want to hang out with Him. I do mean though, that the fleshly, soulish part of me sometimes does not.

If I offered my flesh the choice of getting up to spend time with Him or staying in bed, my flesh would choose to stay in bed every time! But....I don't give my flesh a choice. I subject my flesh to my spirit, by subjecting my entire being to the Spirit of God! My spirit which is recreated in the image of Christ wants to be in the presence of Jesus every day...all the time! (More)

We Need Revival

What is revival? Revival is the restoration of the church itself to a vital and fervent relationship with God after a period of decline. Revival has also been called "awakening" as the church awakens to her true call to live for Jesus Christ in the earth.

In essence, revival reestablishes God's standard of righteousness, and has been known to change the atmosphere of entire regions, or even nations. Listen to the wisdom of Proverbs 14:34. "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people." This is pure wisdom from the mouth of God. Righteousness lifts up nations. On the other hand, sin disgraces nations. (More)

The last time I was in India I had an experience I will never forget. It was one of those God moments in which He spoke something directly to me. It was our last day in India. It was already about 10 PM and we were on our way to the airport to return to the States.

As we were driving through the very busy streets of Hyderabad I saw people everywhere. There were thousands of people walking, which is quite typical for India. We stopped briefly due to the congested traffic and I caught a glimpse of a little "untouchable" woman sitting on the curb. Just so you will know an "untouchable" is a person from below India's lowest caste level. They are usually street sweepers or latrine cleaners or just jobless. Untouchables. (More)

003646: God"s Not Dead, DVD God's Not Dead, DVD

A Christian college freshman and his atheist philosophy professor debate the existence of God. To pass the course, Josh Wheaton must prove to the class that God is alive. Putting his relationships and his future on the line, will Josh be able to support his beliefs? Court is now in session! Starring Kevin Sorbo (Hercules), Shane Harper (High School Musical 2), Dean Cain (Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) and David A. R. White (Jerusalem Countdown). Dove approved (12+). Rated PG. Approx. 120 minutes.

Make 2015 A Year To Fulfill Your Dreams

Here were are nearing the end of another year. Wow! Seems like we just got this one started. 2014 has been a very good year. There were a few challenges that made us stronger and better! And there were numerous opportunities God presented to us. Overall...a very good year. It amazes me how quickly the year goes by!

The end of a year brings the beginning of a new one. That is what really excites me. As we near the end of 2014, we embark on a new year...2015! The reason I get excited is probably the same reason I wake up every morning excited; it's a new beginning. Each day starts afresh with new challenges and new opportunities. "The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23) Just as God's lovingkindnesses (mercies) are fresh and new every single morning, so they are every new year.

Just as each new day presents you and me with opportunities, so does the upcoming year. I don't think it's tradition to want to establish new goals at the beginning of the new year. For believers I am convinced it is the mercy and lovingkindness of God! As followers of Jesus Christ we sense by the Spirit the freshness presented by the new year; and the opportunities God will present to us in it.

Our God is extremely awesome and intelligent! He knows we need a fresh new start each day. He also knows we need a fresh new start each year. We can establish goals any time of the year. But in my opinion there is no time better than at the beginning of each new year. Why? Because God's mercies are new, His compassion never ceases, and He is faithful.

Let me encourage you the last days of 2014 to pray and ponder your dreams. Do you have personal dreams? Dreams can become goals you know. What is it you would really like to do or accomplish in the year ahead? Or perhaps to begin in the year ahead? Think about it. Pray about it. As we embark on a new year, pray and seek God as to how you can begin to take steps toward your dream or dreams.

There is so much God wants to do in and through you in 2015. Making it happen may be beyond your capabilities...but not God's. However, He needs you to make your dream a goal. Instead of dreaming about it, begin to step in faith toward it. Trust God in 2015 to make it a reality. With God...all things are possible!

Remember, God is the one who put the dream in your heart. It is there! Our part is to trust Him to bring it to reality. Trusting God not only means praying, it also means doing what we can to take steps of faith toward the dream.

I encourage you to write down your dreams. Write down your visions. Pray over them. Read them daily. Speak them out loud! Then pray, read, and speak over them again...and again! 

"Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets, that the one who reads it may run. For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay." (Habakkuk 2:2-3) 

Be Careful How You Walk!

I remember some really good times when I would fish the jetties of Fernandina Beach with my 2 brothers-in-law, Jeff and Mark Hogan. On a good day we would rack up in just a couple of hours. What you caught depended on the time of the year, and at what stage the tide was. If the conditions were right you would fill up your croker sacks (burlap bags)!

It cost you something back then to fish those jetties: Not money, but energy and possibly some scratches, cuts, and bruises. You see, the jetties were large rocks that stretched far out into the ocean. They lined each side of the channel leading into the Amelia River, which led to Fernandina's marina and harbor. You had to do some climbing and some sliding! Waves frequently crashed against and over the rocks. These rocks were wet and very slippery; and they were covered with sharp barnacles. You certainly had to walk, climb, and slide with extreme care!

I remember one particular day we were heading back off the jetties. Jeff was crossing a low place in the rocks when a large wave came and washed him off the rocks! Fortunately at that point we were close enough to the beach that he could stand on the ocean floor and walk in. We were pretty good at timing the waves as they crashed over that particular area. However, if you slipped or slowed down you would be caught by a wave! Fortunately no one was hurt (or drowned) that day. If we were very careful how we walked on the jetties, we would come home with only a few cuts and scratches...and no bruises!

Likewise as followers of Jesus, we must be careful how we walk. "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil." (Ephesians 5:15-16) Why would Paul urge us to be careful how we walk? Because we live in evil times. If we don't walk carefully we can slip in our walk with Jesus. To walk carelessly is to walk powerlessly. It takes care and focus to walk with Jesus in these last days. To walk and to live as Jesus did means walking in His power. This is what changes people and situations.

Many who claim to be Christians are not followers of Jesus.They may say they are a Christian, but they look like the world. Why? Because they walk in the same manner as the world. There is no distinction from those who follow after the world. A true Christian however, is one who lives for Him 24 x 7. This person is obsessed with following the teachings and principles of Jesus. The life of a true follower of Jesus Christ sticks out like a sore thumb in today's world. Jesus was the same way. He didn't blend in. He stuck out, and He stirred things up: Not on purpose, but simply by the way He lived for His Father. He was intent on doing the will of the Father, which should be our passion as well.

In the verse above Paul says that to "be careful how we walk" includes "making the most of our time". In other words, the days are evil (more than ever), and we still have the same amount of time. We must make the most of every moment following after, and serving Jesus. In light of His soon return, and the condition of today's world, there's a lot to be done in a short length of time. 

According to Paul, to live a laid-back, passive life as a Christian (in this evil age) is to be very unwise. But to be careful or intent on how we walk, making the most of our time (in this evil age) is to be very wise. Let me encourage you to be very careful how you walk in this world. The way you walk determines how others walk. Time is short. You are here to make a difference. I'll go so far as to are here for such a time as this!

5 Truths About "Alone Time" With God

"But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray." (Luke 5:16)

Jesus' ministry was powerful. Multitudes were being healed. Crowds were gathering to hear Him speak. News about Him was spreading rapidly. Things were going well for Jesus. With all this going on, Jesus would slip away often to the wilderness and pray. Jesus wanted "alone time" with His Father and made it the priority. These "alone times" in the presence of God are what fueled the ministry of Jesus. There is no better example for you and me than Jesus Himself.

I see 5 powerful truths in this little verse that will revolutionize your "alone time" with Jesus, and thus your walk with Him.

#1.)  We must meet "often" with God. Jesus met "often" with God. Spending time with Him should be the highest priority for the follower of Christ. The fruit of priority is Consistency. If meeting with God is a priority, then one will meet with God on a consistent basis or "often". Consistency is not necessarily repetition. Repetition puts the emphasis on frequency. Consistency is the result of Jesus being the emphasis. I will say that we need time alone with Him daily. As God's mercies are new each day, taking the time to acknowledge such can be quite encouraging.

Remember, if you struggle with consistency in your quiet time, perhaps you need to move the principle of "alone time" with God to the highest priority. Consistency will be born out of priority. It was obvious Jesus held "alone time" with the Father the highest priority. This resulted in Him often slipping away to pray. Often is very good!

#2.) We must be "alone" with God. Jesus had to be "alone" with His Father. The word wilderness in the above Scripture is also translated as "a lonely place". This means Jesus would seek out a place where no one else would be, except His Father. Since God's Spirit is everywhere all Jesus needed was a place in which no other human being was. With literally thousands following Him this was a challenge. But He did it. By Jesus' example, it is very crucial that we be "alone" in our quiet times. It's impossible to have a completely effective alone time in God's presence among the clattering distractions of other people. Since it was a priority for Jesus, it must be for you and me. Quite often Jesus got alone with God. There were even times when He sent His disciples away, along with the crowds, so He could be alone with God. (See Matthew 14: 22-23)

#3.)  There are times in which we must "slip away" just to be with Him. Jesus often had to "slip away" in order to be alone with God. At times Jesus had to sneak away to find a lonely place to pray. The same must be such a priority for you and me. Not everyone will understand, but they will all know it is a priority for you. In our day and in our culture life is extremely cluttered. Our schedules are over-crowded. There are times when we must quietly slip away from the hustle and bustle of life, totally unnoticed by others, including our family. For me, my time is very early in the morning. The house is quiet, no one else is stirring. Not even a mouse! I have paid the price over the years as I have lost quite a bit of sleep, but it has been worth it.

In Mark 14 Jesus took His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. The first thing He did was to invite Peter, James, and John away from the group. But then He separated Himself from those three to be be alone with God and pray. Verse 35, " And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray..." Even the night He was betrayed and arrested He first sought to be alone with His Father.

#4.) Alone time must produce "communion" with God. Jesus communed with the Father during His time with Him. It wasn't just some time set aside. Luke 5:16 says He prayed. Jesus communed with His Father during His alone times. As He poured out His heart, God filled it. As He worshiped the Father, the Holy Spirit comforted, encouraged, and strengthened Him. What an example for you and me. We need the fresh life-giving power of God to live this life following after Jesus. This only happens as we have communion with Jesus and the Father through the Holy Spirit. As we pull ourselves away from the daily drudge and meet with Him we are filled with His life.

#5.)  We will find the victory "alone" in His presence. Jesus won the victory while alone with God. I'm taking nothing away from His physical crucifixion, and the cross itself. But we must realize Jesus won the victory in the Garden of Gethsemane, the night he was arrested. Luke tells us He was alone with God and an angel came from heaven and strengthened Him. He needed it. The spiritual warfare was so intense that His sweat became drops of blood. The blood He shed for you and me started flowing right then and there, during alone time with God.

We cannot begin to understand the spiritual and physical pressure Jesus experienced that night. But we can celebrate the fact that during time alone with God that night, He won victory for you and me. What an example! What a demonstration of the significance of having time alone with our Father through Him.

God is good. To move toward God is good. To drift away from God is not good. You're either doing one or the other. The goal of having time with God is to meet with Him, and interact with Him. Since He is so good, meeting with Him is life-changing. You will not remain the same by being in His presence, especially on a consistent basis. This is God's goal for every genuine believer.

"But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works." (Psalm 73:28)