Resources from 2016


And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.”
—Genesis 9:12-15

Some days God seems so close to us that we practically feel Him right next to us. On other days, we don’t have that sense that He’s right next to us, and we ask, “Where are you, God?”

In reality, we know the answer even when we ask it. The answer is that God is always right there next to you, even when you don’t sense His presence. I’m sure that Noah had this same feeling after about two weeks on that ark with all those animals—but he knew God was ever-present. And God came and revealed Himself to him.

One of my favorite songs is entitled God of Wonders. The title to this song is absolutely true and should be the anthem of our lives. Our God is a God of wonders and of miracles, large and small. Just when you think that perhaps He has left you, He is there with exactly what you need!

If it is raining or even pouring in your life today, ask God to make His love and presence real...

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The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.  

—Genesis 6:5-8


God has such a gracious memory when it comes to His people. God determined to destroy the earth because of its evil, but He remembered His servant named Noah. And God’s gracious memory led Noah into the ark of safety!


God even remembers His people when they are unfaithful. I think of Sampson in Judges 13–16.  In this passage we are told how Sampson had disobeyed God and been led astray by evil, but he called out to God in a last gasp. God heard him, and gave him one last great feat of strength to win a victory for the Lord.


There are countless other stories in the Bible of God sparing people because He remembers that there are those who still serve Him. Even as He destroyed the evil cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, God remembered to spare Lot.


And who can forget the thief on the cross next to Jesus? This was a lawless and convicted sinner, but he repented and the Lord remembered him…and he was brought into the kingdom of heaven...

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Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation.

 —Genesis 7:1


Sometimes it’s tough to be a man or woman who walks with God. But imagine how hard it must have been for Noah. The Bible tells us that except for Noah and his family, the hearts and minds of everyone in his generation were so evil that sin is all they could think about.


Noah was a man who stood against the prevailing tide of society. He stood alone—and he stood out like a sore thumb as the evil people around him laughed and taunted him as he lived righteously and built the ark in his front yard.


Since our generation is much like Noah’s, the question of the day is, are you going to stand against the tide of society? I realize the powerful presence of evil in our society; I know that it’s very difficult some days to live godly in the midst of such a perverse generation. But we must wade into the water and stand strong against the heavy tide of society.


Noah proclaimed to the people around him that it would rain soon. Since rain had never touched the earth before this time, people thought this was ridiculous and laughed all the more. And just like Noah, we’re doing the same thing today:  proclaiming the wrath of God that is to come…and the hope that is found in Jesus Christ.


People may laugh or ignore us, but we know something that Noah also knew: God...

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Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.

 —Matthew 24:42


Sodom and Gomorrah were terribly sinful places that were so full of sin and evil that the Lord chose to remove them from the earth. Most people know the story of how God destroyed those two cities…a story which I believe has an important lesson to teach us today on our nation’s birthday.


Many people today believe that America is basically no different than these two famously sinful cities. If you believe that’s true, then that begs the question, “Why would God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, but let a place of equal sin continue unpunished?” That’s a very good question, and one we need to consider carefully.


One conclusion could be that God is trying to get the attention of America! Between all of the natural and manmade disasters that have occurred in recent years, I believe God is trying to get through to us.  Unfortunately, too many times we don’t listen until our very foundation gets rocked to the core, which has happened to us over the last several years.


So what can we do? I strongly believe the only hope for America is a true revival among the Christians in this nation. And that revival can start with one person! 


On this special day, why not ask God to start a personal revival in your heart and let it spread to everyone around you. Celebrate your Independence Day by starting a spiritual fire around you that will burn brightly and draw others to its light and warmth.



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Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  

—Philippians 4:4-6


God is peace. That is an old and simple statement that never loses its truth or power.


Peace is a soothing word that makes me think of the ability to remain calm even in the middle of a storm.


In fact, you may have seen the famous picture of a storm raging on the sea with the winds blowing and the waves crashing on a big rock that stands alone in the middle of the ocean. And when you look closer, you see a little bird nestled safely in that rock.


Now that’s a picture of true peace! The kind of peace Paul writes about in today’s verse.


This kind of peace is not an absence of problems or storms, but it is God’s preserving presence in the midst of the storm! That’s why Paul said this peace passes all human understanding.


I don’t believe you can fully describe God’s peace. You can sense it, you can own it, but it’s almost impossible to articulate it. But it is that God gives us just when we need it most. Just when you need a verse, He brings it to mind. Just when you need a friend; He brings...

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Freedom From Addiction
By | July 1, 2016

If you or a loved one suffers from an addiction of any kind, you understand the stranglehold it has over your life. Even the apostle Paul, to my mind the greatest Christian who ever lived, struggled with addictive sin.

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Do you feel like you’re living in hope and victory – or like you’re being held hostage by fear, worry, and other self-destructive thoughts and habits? The great news is Jesus is your bondage breaker. In His name, you can break free from any chains that bind you – whether they’re chains of anxiety and fear… or alcohol and drugs.

Here are four steps to help you fight the lies and break free:

Remember who you are in Jesus. If you’re a Christian, you’re a new person in Christ. You’re not a slave – you’ve been set free! (See Galatians 5:1.) You just need to learn to live in the victory that Christ has given you.

Rely on God’s strength, not your own. We’re all helpless in our own strength, but we’re not hopeless! You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you, as Philippians 4:13 promises. In His name, you can defeat any enemy and shake off any shackles.

Fight the lies by focusing on God’s life-changing truth. As Jesus said in John 8:32, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Stop believing the lies you tell yourself or the enemy tells you. There’s no adversary or addiction that can’t go down in the name of Jesus. You just have to know God’s truth so you can fight the lies.

Be willing to be set free, healed, and made whole. Remember what Jesus said to the lame man at the Pool of Bethseda. He had been lying there for 38 years – nearly 4 decades! One day, Jesus came by, looked him in the eye, and said, “Do you want to be healed?” That’s the question Jesus is...

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Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 3:12-14

Over the last few days we have been talking about a life of significance…and how it is marked by a direction and a dynamic.  But that kind of life is also marked by a dedication.

What I mean by this is that success in the Christian life isn’t a point…it’s a process. Just think about Joseph for a moment. No matter what he endured, we never find him harping or complaining or saying he’s having a lousy day.

But rather, he was faithful to God as he disciplined himself in body, mind, and soul to fulfill God’s call for his life. There wasn’t any bitterness in him, even though his brothers betrayed him and his friends forgot him. God was with him and he knew it. And throughout his journey of life, Joseph fulfilled James 4:10: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”

Like Joseph, we are on a life journey.  And this journey you and I have with Christ is a process through which He is growing us day by day. None of us ever get to the point in our lives where we can say, “Okay, I’ve got it now, I have it all together, I have it made, all the accomplishments are done, I’ve achieved...

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But the Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.

—Isaiah 50:7

What does a life of success God’s way produce? It produces a life of significance. A life of godly success is a life of true significance.

At the young age of 17, Joseph knew where he was going. God had given him a purpose in life…a purpose he pursued with all his heart. And so it is with the man or woman who lives a significant life.  They have a purpose and a reason to get up every day. They are enthusiastic about life!

As children of God, we have such a life as we’re on mission for Him! This is what a life of significance is all about.  And this sense of calling, this sense of compelling, this sense of purpose makes our life worth living. 

Is your life driven by a sense of direction every day? Is your life one that is filled with a reason to get up in the morning?

It’s my prayer today that you will attack the opportunities that God has put before you this day. Squeeze every moment out of the life that God has promised you! If you do, you will live a life that is truly successful…and significant.

A life of success is a life of significance!

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Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

—Philippians 4:11-12

God is committed to your success as a Christian. And one of the ways He prepares you for godly success is…believe it or not…through tests of prosperity.

Now, usually you hear preachers talk a lot about tests of adversity…which we’ve spent a lot of time over the past several days.  But I’d argue that perhaps the most difficult test in life is not the test of adversity but rather the test of prosperity.

Most of us are able to handle adversity in Christ. But many of us have more difficulty in handling our prosperity when we have been so blessed in Christ.

Paul was able to handle both adversity and prosperity…as we note in today’s passage. But what about you? How do you respond when God blesses you? Do you find yourself depending less of God when times are good? Do you ever find yourself spending less time in God’s Word and in prayer when your needs aren’t so pressing?

As you grow in your relationship with Christ, it’s my hope that you’ll fall so much in love with Jesus that your desire to spend time with Him won’t hinge on how stressed out you are. That you will learn as Paul did, to be content in both adversity and prosperity.

Godly success comes through the tests of prosperity.

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When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were troubled. So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in custody in his master’s house, “Why are your faces downcast today?”

—Genesis 40:6-7

Don’t you just love the buoyant optimism and biblical hope of Joseph?

In today’s passage, we see him showing concern about the cupbearer and the baker who shared a prison cell with him. They must have been thinking, “Joseph, have you forgotten, we’re in prison?!”

Rather than wallowing in self-pity and whining about his circumstances, Joseph looked out for others. He asked questions. He cared for others. Why? Because his trials had taught Joseph to look beyond himself to others…and to use his thorns and his tests as a ministry to others.

After all, how can we help broken people if we’ve never been broken? How can we help dry wet eyes if we’ve never shed a tear? How can we comfort those who are grieving if we’ve never experienced great grief?

That’s why God rarely if ever uses people until they have been broken…until they’ve come to a place in their lives where their own struggles and trials have made it possible for them to minister effectively.

In 2 Corinthians 1:3-5, Paul says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”


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On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

—Psalm 62:7

Through the years, I’ve read a number of wonderful books on personal development, motivation, and success.

And of course, there are many definitions about what success really is. My friend, Christian author and speaker John Maxwell, gives one of the best definitions I have ever read. He says, “Success is knowing your purpose in life, growing to reach your maximum potential, and sowing seeds that benefit others.”

So according to Maxwell, success is knowing and growing and sowing.

Bible teacher and author Charles Stanley writes, “Success is the continuing achievement of becoming the person God wants you to be and accomplishing the goals God has helped you to set.”  Stanley says that success is becoming the person God made you to be…the person God designed you to become in Him.

In our success-crazed culture, it’s important to remember that real success isn’t found in the label of your clothes, the brand of the car you drive, or even your title at work. True success is found in your character and in your commitment to what really matters.

It’s not fame or fortune, but the fulfillment of God’s purpose and God’s plan for your life that really counts!

True success is becoming the person that God has made you to be.

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For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

—Romans 6:23

When we share our faith with others, we love telling the Good News part, don’t we?

We love to talk about the love, the grace, the power of God to save, and the forgiveness of God. That’s the wonderful good news of the Good News. We love to talk about heaven and we should!

But then there’s that troubling other side, the difficult side that Jesus talked about: hell. In fact, Jesus talked about hell more than He talked about heaven. He talked about judgment. And the Bible talks about how people without Christ are spiritually dead.  And we are told that the wages of sin is death.

While most people don’t like to talk about that too much, integrity demands that we tell the Good News and the bad news. Because it’s the bad news that makes the Good News the Good News!

Now, let me ask you a simple question today: Do you want someone to tell you the truth or do you just want them to tell you something to make you feel better?

If we’re going to have integrity with our message and our mission in our witness for Christ, all of us must be willing to tell people the truth!

If God is going to use you, you must be a person with integrity…which means telling people the Good News and the bad news! Which will make the Good News truly…GOOD NEWS!

It’s the bad news that makes the good news the good news!

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For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

—Hebrews 12:11

When you face adversity, you have two choices. You can choose bitterness or you can choose happiness. But you can’t choose both.

You can choose to allow the trails in your live by God’s grace to make you better…or to make you bitter.

In Psalm 105:18, the Darby Translation says of Joseph, “They afflicted his feet with fetters; his soul came into irons.” I love that! Joseph was being developed as God was putting iron in his soul.

God knew difficult days would lie ahead for Egypt, and that it would require Joseph to have a durable and doable faith. There in prison, God taught Joseph wisdom and courage and character and perseverance and endurance as his fetters produced faith and his chains produced character!

God steeled Joseph’s soul without Joseph hardening his heart. And as a result, he became a veritable velvet covered brick—soft on the outside, but strong on the inside.

And you know, God is looking for some strong and steely saints today…believers with iron in their souls! I know there are some who teach that life is a dream if you’re a Christian. That all you need to do is name it and claim it and you’ll be healthy, happy, and all the rest.

But that kind of teaching isn’t biblical teaching. And it produces wimps instead of warriors for God.

And in these uncertain days, we need Christians who have steel and iron in their souls! But be prepared, as God uses adversity to bring...

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Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

—1 Peter 4:12-13

Why does God allow Christians to experience adversity and endure suffering in life? This is a question we’ve all asked at different times in our lives.

And while I can’t definitively explain why you may be going through a particularly difficult season in life right now, I do know that the Scripture gives us several reasons why God allows us to have adversity in life.

One reason we suffer and have adversity is simply because we’re Christians.

Jesus Himself said, “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven….”

Now, I know that it’s not a natural reaction to “leap for joy” when you’re mistreated because of your faith in Christ! But I want to encourage you to know that God sees and hears what others say and do to you because of your faith. And He will reward you because of it!

So stand strong today…and remember the promise in James 1:12, which says, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”

God will reward you for any adversity you endure on...

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A Father’s Blessing
By | June 20, 2016

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

—Proverbs 22:6

Every child needs the blessing of their father. So I want to show you today, dads, how you can BLESS your children.

Build your children’s self-esteem. Inside every child, God has created an incredible potential for life. Yet many kids aren’t acting like winners because they’ve never been built up in who they really are in Christ. As a father, you get the joy of building your children up in who they are!

Love your children unconditionally. This is a kind of love that must not be withheld! Unconditional love can be expressed in all kinds of ways. So dad, don’t be afraid to hug and kiss your kids! Be expressive! Don’t be standoffish, but rather be open and transparent with your love for your children.

Encourage your children’s best. So many children today grow up surrounded by constant criticism and negativity. Perhaps you even grew up in a family where there was constant criticism. But as a dad, you can break the cycle of criticism by praising and encouraging your kids in every way possible.

Shape your children’s values. You do this by praying for them, protecting them, and by teaching them to love God’s Word and to live in obedience to Him.

Share your faith with your kids. They say that in a relay race, the most critical moment is the passing of the baton from one runner to the next. So it is in the Christian life! You have the opportunity and the responsibility to pass the baton of faith to your children and ultimately to their...

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