The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. (Psalm 9:9-10)

In biblical times, a person’s name had meaning. It told you something about their character. To know God’s name means to know his character. You may know a lot about God. However, you will not trust God or experience the peace of his presence till you know his character. An important characteristic to know about God is that he will never forsake anyone who seeks him. There is a difference between knowledge and experience. I can read a biography on a person and know a great deal about that person, but I will not trust them until I have a relational experience with them. Many have beliefs about God based on knowledge rather than experience. We will not experience God until we seek him. Until we seek not to know about him, but to know him. When we get to a place where we are desperate enough to surrender all to him, he meets us where we are. James 4:8 tells us, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you“. To enter the presence of the King of Glory we must come on his terms. We must come to him humbly recognizing his sovereignty. Humility is the absence of pride. Pride trusts in and depends on me to solve my own problems. “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). When we are having trouble experiencing God’s presence, the culprit may very well be our pride. Am I looking to my way, or am I surrendering to his way? Everything, everywhere, everyone needs is found only in Jesus. A spouse cannot meet my needs. A fulfilling job cannot meet my needs. A prescription will not meet my needs. These things may ease the symptoms of our needs. But Jesus is the only one who can meet my needs and fill me up. He alone is the shelter for the oppressed. All I have to do is stop trying to meet my own needs and bring them to him. He will never abandon anyone who seeks him.



Did your whole world come crashing down today?
Was your security suddenly ripped away?
Are you falling quickly to your demise?
Would it be easier just to die?
Where do you run when there’s no more home?
Suddenly your left completely alone?
You try to do everything right
Just to lose all your all your might
Why is life so damn hard?
How and when can it restart?
Your no longer who you thought you were
The future is now a but a hopeless blur

Commitment vs Surrender

“The word commitment is in essence not a biblical concept. It is more or less since the 1960’s that  Christian writers and preachers began to use the word. Today people are asked to make a commitment to follow Christ, to commit to go to the mission field, to give financially, to pray for a certain issue.

The word commit means: promised devotion, to pledge devotion or dedication to somebody or something; to be committed to, to entrust something or somebody to somebody else for protection.
The loophole with commitment though, is that we can still decide what and how much we want to commit. The decision still lies with us. We are still in control. It is more of a humanistic concept than a Christian concept.

Scripture speaks of surrender, not commitment. The definition of surrender is: to give up possession of something: to relinquish possession or control of something, unconditional submission, abandonment of legal rights, an act of willing submission to authority, capitulation, renunciation, to hand over, to give up a fight, an act of declaring defeat at the hands of an opponent.

Let us surrender to God. Let us give up our rights. When we surrender to God, it is not for us to decide what we want to do with our lives, possessions and future. It is only in surrender that God can do with us what He wants to do. Surrender is unconditional commitment. It goes against the grain of the era of humanism. It is in total surrender that we can really pray: “Your will be done.” It is through total surrender that we get out of the way so that God can work in and through us or even set us aside to work through someone else to do what needs to be done.

Surrender is an absolute act of faith, saying: “Lord I trust you.” Praying from a position of surrender, not commitment, allows God to work far above and beyond what we can think or imagine. One of the biggest differences between commitment and surrender is the fact that in commitment things depend on me. In surrender I give all to God. I will fail, but He will never fail. Commitment without surrender is often trying to do what only God can do through me when I surrender to Him.

Commitment comes after surrender. After our unconditional commitment (surrender), we follow through on our commitment, whatever the cost. Sooner or later the Christian life comes to a place where there is a price to be paid. It is here where commitment carries us through, irrespective of our circumstances, lack of faith and strength or unwillingness. We can commit ourselves for instance to do a certain piece of work. As soon as other pressures commitment, irrespective of the circumstances. (”

What a difference it would make in our spiritual growth if we saw maturing as surrendering more of ourselves to God rather than trying harder to be like him. Is there an area of your life that causes you pain or where there is repeated failure? To what degree have you surrendered that area to God? How submitted are you to God’s will in that area of your life?

Imagine the impact on the divorce rate if spouses saw marriage as surrendering to each other rather than committing their devotion based on their own will and ability to follow through. Of course I do not advocate surrendering to domestic abuse, an adulterous spouse or an addict. But it seems like more often than not people stay in these circumstances while the high divorce rate is driven by other issues. A simple thing such as pride can take down a marriage. Unforgiveness can obliterate a family. Boredom is now a valid excuse to break the marriage covenant.

Commitment is sustained by my will, my emotions and my efforts. Surrender releases my will, emotions and efforts to God, and His strength is made perfect in my weakness. Following Christ requires us to go beyond commitment to Jesus. It means to surrender all to him.

Lord Jesus I thank you that you surrendered your very life to redeem us, and conquered death to resurrect us to new life. I pray that each woman in this Bible study will surrender every area of our lives completely to you. Reveal to each of us the areas we are not walking in agreement with you, and give us repentant hearts. Let your spirit consume us like fire so we will live lives worthy of your calling. In your mighty name, Amen.

The Love of the Game

Another home town hero signed away
From the largest offer he couldn’t sway
What happened to the love of the game?
Does everyone now just play for fame?
America, what happened to your heart
Exactly what point did your dreams start
To be about business and a money deal
When did your childhood fantasies it steal
The boy with hopes of making the big leagues
Was it money that fueled all his fantasies
Or was it for the love of the game?
To be the hero on the field and save the day
To lay it on the line for each out and run
His passion burned in him like the sun
Did money put that fire out?
Did each paycheck make his dreams a cloud?
Or was it the celebrity and mass media attention
That inflated his ego and made him a sensation
What happened to the love of the game?
Did it crash and burn in a furnace of fame?

Women Today

Last night I watched the X Factor. I usually enjoy seeing new talent. However, one man’s performance included several female dancers scantily dressed pawing all over the guy. I can’t even watch a prime time television without seeing women dressed like prostitutes and acting like prostitutes. This is what we get from hollywood, and it’s shaping the girls coming up in our nation. America is one of the few places in the world these girls could be born where the possibilities are endless. Yet they are taught the most important thing is to be an object of lust for men to fantasize about.

Throughout history women have been oppressed and considered second class citizens. They were deemed nothing more than sex objects. Early American women fought to gain equal rights and status. The women of old were classy, dignified, accomplished and professional. Now days all I see are young girls (and old as well) striving to be sex objects. They spend thousands of dollars and go under the knife just to have a figures that are sure to turn the heads of many men. Is there nothing better we can do with our bodies and the lives we’ve been given! Women please, let’s make our ancestors proud. Don’t throw away the possibility for greatness to be nothing more than part of a harem in a chauvinist pigs world. Quit degrading yourselves and basing your value on what men consider desirable.

Forbidden Fruit

From your own experience what are some differences between a break up with someone you have slept with as opposed to one you haven’t?

How do you think your life would have been different if you saved yourself for marriage and married a godly person after developing a strong friendship?

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. (Genisis 3:1-7)

Look at how satan tempted eve “Did God really say you can’t eat from any trees in th garden? God knows you will be like him and know both good and evil.”

It was God’s will that Eve would only experience good, but because Satan got her to doubt God’s heart toward her she chose to experience sin and death.

The world is waving a shiny red apple in front of us in every romantic movie and novel and the enemy says, “Did God really say you can never have sex with someone your in love with? Look what he wants you to miss out on.” As we eat that apple the taste of passion is sweet for a moment, but it poisons our soul. We weren’t meant to give our bodies to someone so we can worry the next day if they’re going to call us, or to see them buying flowers for someone else. God didn’t create us a sexual beings for rejection that feels like dying. God created us as sexual beings so when we find the one we want to spend the rest of our lives with we commit to each other publicly in front of God and people. We give each other a ring that represents a never ending commitment. Then we give ourselves completely and exclusively to each other as a gift, and experience what God meant when he said it is better to give then receive. God doesn’t want something from us…he wants something for us. Some fruits are forbidden because he wants for us to experience only good, not evil.

Contentment vs. Worry

  • How would you define contentment?

Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am. Philippians 4:11 (AMP) According to this verse contentment is being satisfied to the point that I am not disturbed or disquieted. It doesn’t mean to be satisfied to the point I never want anything else. We should want to improve and grow in various areas of our life, but we should not let that desire rob us of having peace on the journey. Nothing honors God more than contentment.  When we are content we are trusting God. In difficult circumstances we believe he is doing what is best for us. Contentment is trusting his timing even though we prefer it to be NOW. It is believing he has a reason for everything when we don’t understand. Contentment is knowing he will work all things together for our good. Contentment is being happy where I am on the way to where I want to go.

God is not a Jeanie in a lamp where our wish is his command. He does not exist to serve us. We exist to serve him and bring him glory. His goal is not to make us happy by giving us stuff all the time; it is to make us happy with his presence NOT presents. He does give us presents as well, but we are to seek his face not his hand. As for me, I will continue beholding Your face in righteousness (rightness, justice, and right standing with You); I shall be fully satisfied, when I awake to [to find myself] beholding Your form [and having sweet communion with You]. Psalm 17:15 (AMP) Contentment comes from our relationship with Christ. Happiness is a choice. We have to choose it. If we say, “I’ll be happy when…”. Whatever comes after “when” is exalted above God in our lives. God is to be our source and our strength, a sure foundation for our times. He may be testing our attitudes to see if we are spiritually mature enough to handle what we are asking for. Can we be happy without it? If not, then we are not ready for it.

Worry is the opposite of contentment. Contentment is trusting God. Worry is not trusting God. Worrying is a negative pattern of thinking. It is a habit. Habits don’t just go away. We have to be intentional about breaking them. Here is some information that may motivate you to break the habit.

The result of toxic thinking translates into stress in your body, and this type of stress is far more than just a fleeting emotion. Stress is a global term for the extreme strain on your body’s systems as a result of toxic thinking. It harms the body and the mind in a multitude of ways from patchy memory to severe mental health, immune system problems, heart problems and digestive problems. No system of the body is spared when stress is running rampant. A massive body of research collectively shows that up to 80% of physical, emotional and mental health issues today could be a direct result of our toxic thought lives. (Leaf, Carolyn. 2009. Who Switched Off My Brain. Inprov, Ltd.)

  • Are you surprised that toxic thoughts, worrying, can impact your physical and mental health?
  • Have you every been affected by –
    1. Mental health problems – Depression/Anxiety
    2. Immune system problems
    3. Heart problems
    4. Digestive problems

If you have, it may have been caused by “toxic thinking”. Worry definitely qualifies under that category. So how do we defeat worry? By viewing circumstances from a spiritual perspective. Imagine you had a pebble in your hand. If you held it right in front of your eye would it seem large or small? Now imagine putting the pebble on the ground. Now would it seem large or small? When we worry, we pick up our problems and hold them right in front of our eye. This magnifies their size making a pebble seem as large as a mountain. In reality a pebble is a very small bump on the road of life. We may not even notice it if we aren’t looking down. The first thing we lose when we worry is perspective.

2 Kings 6:8-22 tells us about a time when the Arameans and Israel were at war. Each time the king of Aram made plans to set up camp somewhere. The Lord revealed to the prophet Elisha where the king of Aram was going to camp, and in turn Elisha informed the king of Israel. Thus the king of Aram became very enraged and asked how Israel was always prepared for their attacks. He was told that the prophet Elisha was the informant. The following verses tell us the rest of the story.

“Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city. When the servant of the man of God. When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked ans saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

From a spiritual perspective, You + God = Majority in every situation. The catch to this is God is not on our side, we have to get on God’s side. We have to walk in agreement with him and follow his plan for our lives. In all things we are more than conquerors because he is able to do immeasurable more than we can ask or image. With God nothing is impossible!

Lord I pray you will move on our hearts so we give you your rightful place in our lives. You are to be exalted. Forgive us for all the things we chase after to find happiness and make us godly servants who are content and fulfilled by our relationship with you. Reveal to us the things that have taken your place in our lives. Help us to be quick to repent and trust you to change us. In Jesus name, Amen.

The List


I had a homework assignment last week, for a study on forgiveness, that required me to make a list of everything God had forgiven me for. I was writing my extensive list of every sin I could think of, and I asked God if there was anything else. His response, “I don’t know. I forget.” While we may have a long list of failures and sins readily available in our minds, God doesn’t have a list at all. He removes our sins as far as the east is from the west. In his eyes we beautiful, holy and blameless. We need to let go of our list of offenses we’ve commited. We are not our failures. We need to forgive ourselves and others the way God does and forget the offense. Then we can begin to see ourselves through our fathers eyes.

Think about how much you love your child. When you look at them do you think of all the bad things they’ve done? Do they have to do anything to earn your love? No. We see our children as wonderful and beautiful, and fall in love with them at first sight. We are only human and still fight a sinful nature yet we love our children deeply. How much more does your heavenly father love you then you love your own children. God is love, and he loves you perfectly. Dwell on how much God loves you until it goes from knowledge to experience. His perfect love will set you free from shame and unforgiveness.

What’s Next

Too often in our fast paced society I find my focus on what’s next. I’m constantly looking to the future trying to plan things and figure them out. God revealed to me the real question I should be asking is, “What’s now?” What is going in my life right now? Because if I am not completely poured out at the feet of Jesus today, encountering him in a deep and heartfelt way- if I don’t pursue him in this moment as air for my soul, the very essence of everything meaningful and sustaining in life, then tomorrow will be just as meaningless as today.

Going Through

My family went to Church for communion service on Good Friday. After they handed out the elements the power went out, and everyone had to get on the floor under our pews. A police officer told the pastor the storm was already upon us and there was no time to exit to the underground tunnel. I was not aware of the severity of the storm until we left. Right across the street there were several emergency vehicles, and down the road was a building with all the windows blown out. At no time was there any fear as thousands of people sat in the dark. Instead people kept singing, and on our knees the worship service went on. It was beautiful reminder that in the presence of a holy and awesome God there is perfect peace in the midst of the storm! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze (Isaiah 43:2).  As we left the realization of God’s protection set in.

We are living in crazy times, and the weather alone testifies to that. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time (Romans 8:19-22). Today we see natural disasters with increased frequency and intensity just as birth pains progress. As a part of creation we long for Christ’s return and his glorious reign on earth. Chances are in the days in which we live we will eventually have to walk through some things. But praise God we will NEVER walk through anything alone, because God is with us and will not leave us. For the angel of the LORD is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him (Psalm 34:7).

God shut Noah and his family in the ark, sealing them from the destruction poured out on the earth. God himself led the Hebrews out of Egypt. He passed with them through the Red Sea on dry ground. They didn’t even have to get muddy. On the other side was freedom, and the complete destruction of the enemy that wished to enslave them. Jesus met Joshua prior to the battle against Jericho when the Hebrews stepped into the promised land and rid it entirely of their enemies. Shadrach, Meshach and Abendigo were bound and thrown into the fiery furnace, but when the king looked-  He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” (Daniel 3:25) Jesus went through the flames with them. Furthermore they came through not even smelling like smoke. The only thing burned were the ropes that bound them. God not only went through with these people, but he led them to victory and set them free in the process. What an awesome God we serve! That is our peace, not the absence of storms but his presence in the midst. God makes a way where there seems to be no way!