Seek God First

“The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar.” – 1 Kings 3:4 Now that it’s December 26, I find myself thinking again about the fact that another year is nearly over. Even more importantly, I am beginning to contemplate the one that lies ahead as I seek to prepare my mind and heart for the new challenges and adventures that await.  For inspiration, I find myself looking to the example of King Solomon. At the time he took the throne, this young ruler, who was the son of the legendary King David, had major problems. His brothers were jealous of his reign, the tribal rulers of Israel didn’t like him, he had some big bad enemies at the border, and he had no idea how to lead the people. Knowing that the

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Wish You Were Better

“And yet I will show you the most excellent way.” – 1 Corinthians 12:31b We’ve all heard of the expression, “When it rains, it pours,” and I’m also certain we’ve all lived it. Maybe you went from being a little bored to having a ton of responsibility. Or everything was running smoothly, and then challenges were popping up from left to right, leaving you to wonder if you could handle it all. I remember when this happened to me. Hannah and I were planting a church Tree of Life and invested all of our tithes and offerings into the community without taking a salary; I was in graduate school, and I had some odd and end jobs. We purchased our home, and then our daughter Haven was born. It was a lot to handle, and I had a bizarre emotional collapse. As I worked through the tears, I sought the

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People Respond Well to Humility and Vulnerability

“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’ ” – James 4:6 Great leaders tend to be individuals who are strong and confident, yet vulnerable and humble as well. This is something I had to learn as a leader. When you’re insecure or green in this arena, it’s tempting to give off an aura of strength or overtly-strong confidence. But very often what you think is assurance and tenacity, is often interpreted as arrogance or creates a fearful environment. There’s a difference between the two. In general, if you come off as pompous and self-important, your actions will turn people off. People do not respond well to prideful, arrogant, self-glorifying, or controlling ways in which we try to hold onto things that we really shouldn’t. Leaders, whether they’re pastors of large churches, empty nesters, or founding CEOs,

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Goodness and Love Follow You!

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” – Psalm 23:4-6 Today, we’re going to continue our verse-by-verse breakdown of Psalm 23, as we examine and meditate on the sufficiency we have in Jesus.  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. No matter what you go through, like the King James version says, even if death hovers over you, you have nothing to be afraid of. There is absolutely no place you can go where

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Heavenly Groanings

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” – Romans 8:26,27 There sure is a lot going on these days. When we look at our world, including the recent violence in Afghanistan, some major natural disasters, and the continuing impact of the COVID-19 virus, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. And while our hearts should be heavy for the state of this hurting sphere, my hope is that our grief leads us to a place of prayer. Our Lord has given us the privilege of sharing in the sufferings of others by coming before His throne any time of the day or

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The Abundance of God

“You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.” – Psalm 65:11 Very often, we think about the gift we receive in salvation being strictly in the context of Heaven, and that is important. However, it’s also important to remember that in Jewish culture, being blessed meant more than inheriting eternal life at death. Deuteronomy 28:5 says, “Your kneading baskets will be filled, and your crops will grow.” And Psalm 27:13 declares that we “…will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Clearly then, God’s heart toward people has always been one of abundance. He delights in giving good gifts to His children in the here and now, and He is honored when we expect Him to deliver on His promises. He is not a “survival mode” kind of Savior — He’s the overflowing, never-ending, all-sufficient King of the Universe, and

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The Anointing of David

“Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.” – 1 Samuel 16:13 We’ve been talking a lot about the power of our anointing in Christ, and today, I want to explore the Biblical roots of this authority. It’s interesting to note that when Jesus walked the earth, He was frequently called Son of David. This is because He was recognized as being from the lineage of the Jew’s most highly esteemed and beloved leader. Though centuries had passed since he walked the earth, no good Hebrew could forget or cease to honor the legacy of King David — the man after God’s own heart. He had been anointed before he ever ascended the throne, and from that moment, he was full

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Rest For Your Soul

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 Today, I want to assure you that there is rest for your soul, especially since you may be feeling pressed down by the weight of this time. Before COVID-19 hit, most of us were already leading busy lives and finding it challenging to maintain our emotional and spiritual balance. However, now — with all the crazy news cycles, the intense fear that’s fighting for our minds, the constant barrage of new and conflicting information, and the routines that have been thrown off — we’ve assumed a mental load the likes of which we’ve never known. That

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Feet Like a Deer

“It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights.” – Psalm 18:32,33 Yesterday, we talked about arming ourselves with the promises of Scripture, especially in chaotic and uncertain times. Today, I want to look at the result. Though the world won’t stop trying to distract and discourage us, when we live anchored to His truth, the Lord lifts our burdens and enables us to travel difficult terrain with ease. In fact, Psalm 18 says that He makes our feet like those of a deer, so we can scale and stand on the heights. If you’ve ever seen a deer in motion, you know that they are quite large, yet they move speedily, gracefully, and effortlessly. In fact, since their legs are long, they can climb steep mountains quickly

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