Picture of eagle's head with text, "Bible studies"

Part 1

(Newest ones are last)
God's thoughts
God's Thoughts
All things are possible
All Things Are Possible
God sees
God Sees
What is needful?
What is Needful?
Faith is the key
Faith is the Key
Using the armor of God
Using the Armor of God
You have choices
You Have Choices
God is not human
God is NOT Human
Waiting, waiting, waiting on God
Waiting, Waiting, Waiting on God
Faith is Knowing
Faith is Knowing
The Trial of Your Faith
The Trial of Your Faith
How Much Faith is Enough?
How Much Faith is Enough?
Hold Fast
Hold Fast
Believe It Or Not!
Believe It Or Not!

Christians Reflecting Jesus

Christians Reflecting Jesus
Sifting HURTS!
Sifting HURTS!
The Shield of Faith
The Shield of Faith
Who Holds You Up?
Who Holds You Up?
Part 2
Part 2:  Faith


3/17/98 God's Thoughts
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
 Isaiah 55:8-9
Don't try to put God into a box you have designed. Don't give God human characteristics. Don't analyze what God would think or do. God does not seek our advice or opinions on things. He knows what He is doing. He created everything by just speaking it into existence, remember? Don't ever assume you have God figured out. Your portion is to, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6
Link to 3/17/98 welcome message


6/30/98 Faith
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Hebrews 11:1
Faith is a difficult thing. It is difficult to understand as well as difficult to maintain once you have it. I've heard a simple way to explain what faith is.
F Fantastic
A Adventure
I In
T Trusting
H Him
"Him" would be God, by the way.
It takes a lot of faith to believe in something you've never seen, heard, or felt. God provides us with the evidence we need to help us believe in Him. Of course, we have to be interested in believing. He isn't going to force us to believe in Him.

It takes work to keep faith alive. You can't have faith in someone you never think about and don't know anything about. If you ever have difficulty in maintaining your faith in God, you can always get more faith by asking God for it.
One of the really great things about having faith in God is that you NEVER have to worry about anything. God is in control and can take care of things. You just have to put your faith in Him and allow Him to do what He does best
. . . .love us.
Link to 6/30/98 welcome message


8/17/98 All Things Are Possible
"And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible."
Mark 10:27
I keep putting God in a box. "He won't do that. He doesn't care about that. I need to take care of these things myself." I'll give you an example.
We have two old copy machines at church. Two weeks before Vacation Bible School started neither machine was working. I began taking things to a store and paying for copies. We couldn't get the copy machine repair people to come out, and when they did they messed things up so the machines still weren't working.

I was driving in to the church thinking I would stop and make copies on the way. Then a light came on in my head. "DUH!" I said to myself. I gave the Vacation Bible School to God a long time before. He had been providing me with the lessons, the scriptures, the crafts, and all other ideas. (This was no "Vacation Bible School-in-a-box." It was purely from the Lord.) It was His VBS.

Did He want us to have the necessary copies for the classes? --YES!-- Did He want us to have to run out to make copies for that two weeks? --NO!-- Did He want us to be able to have the use of our own copy machine? --YES!-- Did I have enough faith to go straight to church and make copies on a broken copy machine? --NO!--

God pointed out to me that He created the entire world. Is a copy machine too large of a task for Him? As the scriptures point out, with faith the size of a mustard seed we can move mountains. I began to ask for more faith. As it says in James 1:6 I had to ". . .ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." I had to BELIEVE that the copy machine was in working condition. I couldn't make any contingency plans just in case it didn't work. I prayed and prayed all the way to church.

It was not easy. I really really wanted to "waver." My human brain wanted to cry out, "But, the machine is BROKEN! You can't make copies on it! For the past two weeks every paper passing through it has jammed up!" I couldn't allow that thought to enter my mind. After praying for more faith I began thanking God for fixing the machine. You see, as I said, I knew He wanted us to have the machine working. Since all things are possible with God I was finally able to rest in His provision before I arrived at the church. (I don't live real close to our church, so it did take a while to get to that point.)

One of the teachers needed to make copies for her VBS class. I stopped by her house on my way to the church and after I told her God was going to make the machine work, she had said, "Call me if it works, otherwise I'll go have copies made." I told her to not mess with my faith and the machine WOULD work! She laughed.

I unlocked the door, turned on the copy machine, put away my stuff while it warmed up, and made all the copies I needed. I called the teacher who needed to make copies and told her to come in. When she got there the machine began jamming up on her. She called me in to the room as she didn't know how to get it unjammed. She tried a few more times and ended up handing me the page she needed copied and asked me to make 10 copies when I got the machine working again.

 I was getting a little confused since I knew God had caused the machine to work for me. I figured He also wanted the teachers to have access to it. I knew I had to "keep the faith" so when she handed me the page I immediately placed it on the machine and pressed "10" and the machine proceeded to make her the 10 copies. Her unbelief was not allowing her to make the copies!

All the years I have been reading about being able to "move mountains" with just a small amount of faith I have nodded my head and agreed that would be possible. In my mind, however, I decided it was impossible. As the scripture says, with MEN it is impossible. We have to let God out of the box we have created for Him and let Him handle things. If we know it is something He wants then it is up to us to stand firmly in faith and expect it to happen. (Remember . . . NOTHING WAVERING!)
Link to 8/17/98 welcome message


10/19/98 God Sees
"The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good."
Proverbs 15:3
Our church was broken into about two months ago. The sound equipment was taken along with some other things. The police came out to take a report. They don't even bother to take fingerprints any more. There are too many thefts and very few recoveries it seems.

The thieves must feel rather clever. They got away with lots of stuff without being seen. NOT!!! The things they stole belong to God. Every move they made, every word they spoke, every thought they had was noted by God. This type of crime should be represented on the TV show, "The World's Dumbest Criminals." Sadly, not many people would understand. Too many people say there is no God. Too many others don't think about God being omnipresent.

We discussed God's omnipresence in my Sunday School class. One of my students wanted to know if God had a crystal ball or one big eye. In our human minds we cannot comprehend being able to see and hear all things. There are lots of things about God that we cannot understand. That's where faith comes in. We need to just believe that God can do the things the Bible says He can do. It is not our job to understand how He does it.

Isaiah 55:8-9 says, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." God does not do things the same way we do. We just need to have faith in Him. We need to have faith that what the Bible says is true. We need to keep asking for God to increase our faith. We can never have too much.

Link to 10/19/98 welcome message


6/21/99 What is Needful?
"But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
Luke 10:42
In order to study this verse we need to back up a few. Lets look at verses 38 through 42. "Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."

I imagine this is something we all struggle with a lot. There are things that need to be done, but Jesus said that Mary chose the good part, the needful thing. What was that needful thing that Mary did? She sat at Jesus' feet and heard his word. How can we fit the needful part in among all the other things that we have to do?

That, I believe is where we make our mistake, at least according to these verses. We try to fit getting the Word in with everything else. What we are supposed to do is fit everything else around getting the Word.

Matthew 6:31-33 tells us, "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

It's probably not the way we've been brought up. It is definitely NOT the way of the world. There is something that hinders us from being able to prioritize things in the way the Lord desires. It is faith. We have to have enough faith that God will take care of us and our families. Too many people have a nagging doubt that God even exists and that would totally hinder them from having the necessary faith.

Faith is a very difficult thing. In order to have faith we need to relinquish all claims on our existence. We cannot worry. We must give up the thought that we have any control whatsoever. We have to fall at the feet of our Heavenly Father and let Him have our lives. Oh, dear, it is sooooooooo hard!

How do you get that kind of faith that is necessary? You have to find out more about God and what He is doing today. You need to get into the Bible and learn more about Him. You need to believe that God cannot lie and everything in the Bible is truth. You need to develop your relationship with Him. Let Him show you that He does exist. Let Him show you that He can take care of you. Ask Him for proof. Ask Him for more faith. Seek His Kingdom and His Righteousness and, like it says, all these things shall be added unto you!
Link to 6/21/99 welcome message


9/7/99 Faith is the Key
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed."
James 1:5-6
This scripture speaks about wanting wisdom, but it can also be applied to anything. The important part is the part about asking in faith, nothing wavering. When we are needing something that God has promised we know that He will provide it because God cannot lie! There is one thing that will hinder us from receiving what God will give us, however. That one thing is our faith.

If you really do not believe that God will heal you, protect you, feed you, or whatever else it is that you are asking God to provide then you probably will not receive what God wants to give you! Before we go any further I want you to read a little story about what I mean. It is a good example of how faith and lack of faith can affect things. It is an article I wrote entitled
"Nothing Wavering."

Let's look at the definition of faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Faith is the evidence. That makes faith a noun! A noun, according to my grade school teachers, is a person, place, or thing. Faith becomes the evidence, the proof, that what we are seeking does exist! Does that make sense? It is already in existence! Your faith WILL move that mountain that God wants moved!! It is your faith that allows God to do His thing!!

How do you get more, stronger faith? In Chapter 9 of Mark the disciples couldn't cast out a spirit in a boy. The boy's father asked Jesus to help and Jesus told him in verses 23-24, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." Notice, the father must have heard that Jesus had the power to deliver his son, but was struggling with his faith. In other words, the father might have said, "I want to believe because you say that is what it will take, but I am having difficulty because it is believing something I have not yet seen. Help me to have unwavering faith." So, the answer to the question of how do we get more, stronger faith is to ask for it.

God wants us to have strong faith. If He wants it then we will get it if we ask for it. Read Matthew 7:7-8, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." Remember, God cannot lie. Ask and it SHALL be given you. Seek and ye SHALL find. Knock and it SHALL be opened unto you. GLORY HALLELUJAH!!

Faith: a hard concept.
Faith: necessary in our walk with the Lord.
Faith: something God wants us to have.
Faith: something we could all use more of.
Faith: ask for more and expect to receive it.
Link to 9/7/99 welcome message


3/28/00 Using the Armor of God
"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints."

Ephesians 6:11-18
Yes, it's a long one and it is also one we've done before. It is important to have on the whole armor of God and it is important to continually refresh that armor. Perhaps we might even need to put it back on as we may have taken it off! Let's look at these verses and see where we might have chinks in our armor.

What would be our first line of defense in this armor? It would be your shield. If you have your shield positioned correctly then it will protect you. The shield is faith. We need to find out where we stand with God, what protection He wants to give us, and have an understanding of the weapons He has given us.

Once we know that information then we need to stand in faith and not waver nor back down. If God says it, we need to believe it! If we waver then the enemy will see it and will plan his attack accordingly.

Our head is the main part of our body. It is the control center. Our head is protected by the helmet of salvation. Jesus provided us with that helmet. We did not design nor make the helmet. We just have to accept that it is there, just like we accepted the fact that Jesus gave us salvation. Once we believe then we have the helmet of salvation. The enemy would want you to believe that you can lose that helmet. Once you have doubts then he attacks your mind, which is no longer protected by the helmet.

Your shield of faith needs to be used to keep your helmet of salvation intact. Once the faith wavers then you are in trouble! How do you get more faith? Ask like the man did in Mark 9:24, "And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." In Luke 17:5 the apostles said to Jesus, "Increase our faith." He will help you!

Your heart is protected by the breastplate of righteousness. Again, this is not something that you can create yourself. You already have it. Jesus is our righteousness according to Romans 5:18-19, "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." As it was with your helmet of salvation, you must be using the shield of faith to activate your breastplate of righteousness.

You have one weapon. It is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. The enemy cannot stand in the presence of the Word. There is power in the Word of God. It was by His Word that the earth and everything in it was created. God spoke it into existence! Luke 4:32, Luke 4:36, and Hebrews 1:3 are just a few examples of what the New Testament says about the power in the Word.

You are absorbing the power from the Word of God by reading your Bible. Find scripture that suits your situation and speak it out loud! Find promises God has given you in the Bible and claim them! Use your sword!! Cut your problems to bits and send the enemy running with his tail tucked between his legs! You have the power!
Link to 3/28/00 welcome message


1/29/02 You Have Choices
"And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed."
1Samuel 15:15
God told King Saul to destroy all the Amalekites and to destroy all their animals and belongings as well. Saul killed all the people except for the king. Plus he kept the best of the animals and things.

When Samuel, the prophet, approached him, King Saul acted like he had done well. He even said, "I have performed the commandment of the Lord." He justified bringing back the animals by saying he would sacrifice them to God. In his own mind he decided that his idea was the right idea. It does sound good. After all, what was the point of destroying perfectly good stuff?

Saul, being the king and all, made his own choices. He chose to do what he wanted. Then he chose to justify his actions to himself. He just may have convinced himself that he had done exactly as God wanted since what he had done made so much good sense.

Samuel told Saul, "To obey [God] is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams." God wants us to find out what He wants us to do and then wants us to do it. We aren't to question His reasoning. We aren't to second-guess Him, either.

Actually, doing what God wants goes against what the world has taught us. The world teaches us to reason for ourselves and to not do anything until we have thought about it and have a reasonable idea what the results will be. Basically, we must blindly follow God. We must put our faith in God and just do and say what he wants.

Unfortunately, most people only do what they think God wants rather than finding out exactly what God wants. That is their choice. It is much easier and more comfortable that way. However, that is stubbornness as Samuel says in verse 23. Stubbornness is iniquity and is idolatry. What we are idolizing is ourselves. We value our own opinions over God's.

Choices choices choices. What choices will you make?

Link to 1/29/02 welcome message


4/3/02 God is NOT Human
"And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things."
Romans 1:23
Humans are the most intelligent life form on the earth. They have the ability to reason. They make decisions based on prior experiences as well as on things they have been taught by others.

As humans, we can't prove all things for ourselves, so have a tendency to accept information gathered by other people. We read information written by "experts" and accept it as factual. We also often mix our own gathered information in with other information and come up with our opinions on how things should be or on what is right and what is wrong. It is more comfortable if we feel we know what is going to happen each day. We feel more comfortable in being able to know what things won't happen and what things will happen. We like to feel like we have some control over our lives.

Unfortunately, for the most part, humans have applied human attributes to God in their own minds. These worldly teachings about God and what He will and won't do, can and can't do, have been passed down from generation to generation. As humans, we have tried to humanize God. That places God within our comfort zone. It is easier on our finite minds to think of God in human terms. We are like the people described in verse 25 and worship and serve the creature more than the Creator!

As I stated in the welcome message, He is the same God as the God in the Bible who stopped time, stopped a river from flowing, made iron float, parted a sea of water, caused a person to walk on water, and made a universe out of nothing. He can still do all those things and more.

We must de-humanize all thoughts and opinions we have about God. In order for us to be effectively used by God in a spiritual fashion we must be open minded to the spiritual things. We must not try to humanize the spiritual realm. We must never say, "God won't." Unless the Bible specifically says God won't, then we have to remember that He just might.

There is a very real spiritual realm that lies beyond our understanding and beyond our comprehension. We must allow God to fill our minds with what He chooses. We must be ready to look and act foolish in the worldly sense as we must be ready to do and say anything that God wants.

If God tells us to do something that seems impossible in the natural sense we must be ready to step out in faith and let Him handle the details of how it is going to happen. It wouldn't be good for us to be in charge of the "how's" of the spiritual.

We must remember that Abraham knew that his son Isaac was going to father many nations when he was unquestioningly following God's directions to sacrifice Isaac's life. He left the details up to God of how his dead son would become a father. For whatever reason God had decided Isaac was to be sacrificed, Abraham's portion was to obey.

When God told Moses to throw ashes up in the air in front of Pharoah and the ashes would become boils on people and animals, Moses wasn't in charge of how it was to take place, God was. Moses didn't have to wonder in the slightest about how to turn a handful of ashes into millions of skin eruptions. His portion was just to do it.

When God formulates a plan, He takes care of all the tiniest details. Our only job is to be spiritually open-minded enough that we don't question Him or insert our own efforts and opinions into what He has already planned. He doesn't look at things as humans look at things. His ways are much higher than our ways.

After all, He can already see the results of what He wants us to do. Let's ask for enough faith that we can instantly obey His commands without hesitation! Let's choose God's way!!
Link to 4/3/02 welcome message


2/4/03  Waiting, Waiting, Waiting on God
"I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope."
Psalm 130:5
When God says, "Wait," He means WAIT! There are a few different areas in my life where God told me to wait. So, I began to wait, and wait, and wait, and.... in some cases, I am still waiting.

As I wait I wonder how long I will have to wait. As the time stretches on I wonder if I missed something. Did He tell me to do something and I missed it? Am I being foolish to keep waiting?  I keep asking God to show me if I missed something. I keep asking Him if it is time to stop waiting. I keep wondering why He hasn't said anything else since the first, "Wait." I keep wondering why I have to continue to wait.

However, I have found over and over that while I am waiting He is working. I find that, had I not waited and tried to do something myself, I would have messed things up. When my waiting comes to an end I find that He has handled things perfectly.

So, I must wait and continue to hope. I must have faith that He knows what He is doing and that He doesn't need my help. I must remind myself how long Abraham waited for the promise of Isaac. I must remind myself of how long the Israelites waited for the coming of the Messiah. I must remind myself that time doesn't mean as much to God as it does to me. I must not be concerned about the comments and looks I get from people who think I am just giving a lame excuse for not doing something.

What are some of the things the Bible says about waiting on God?

Ps 27:14, "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD."

Ps 33:20, "Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield."

Ps 37:7, "Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass."

Ps 37:9, "For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth."

Prov 20:22, "Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee."

Is 25:9, "And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation."

Is 30:18, "And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him."

Is 40:31, "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

Jer 14:22, "Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art not thou he, O LORD our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things."

Lam 3:25, "The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him."

Waiting for God to fix, heal, mend, build, restore, renew, or whatever it is that He is going to do while we are waiting is what we need to do. We must wait as long as it takes, looking forward to the end result. He doesn't say, "Wait," for no reason.
Link to 2/4/03 welcome message


7/9/03  Faith is Knowing
"Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done."
Matthew 21:21
 The word "verily" means truly or truthfully. Now, why would Jesus keep using that word when everything He said was the truth? It was for emphasis. It makes me think that every time He used that word then what He used it with just might be a very important thing for us to know or was an important thing for the disciples to know. 

This isn't the only reference to faith being the reason miraculous things happen. Jesus also made reference to moving a mountain with faith in 17:20. It sure seems that this is something that He wanted us to know! Faith is KNOWING. It's not just trusting or believing; it is KNOWING!

How can we get to the point of knowing? Relationship. We have to have a close relationship with God. We have to be able to trust Him implicitly. We have to grow into the place where we know what He wants and know that He wants us to cause it to happen.

We have to get to the point where we are out of this world, too. We have to be able to know that God will cause something to happen no matter what we think, see, feel, hear, or have learned. We cannot trust our own "instincts," "opinions," or our "knowledge."

What would things be like if all people who learned of Jesus, beginning with the disciples, diligently developed closer and closer relationships with God? Parents would have been teaching children what they had learned and encouraging the children to be continually open to what else God wanted to teach them.... God's will would be being implemented on the earth if we, as humans, had been drawing closer to God over the centuries instead of pushing Him away. That's what it would be like. 

How about we start a revolution? Let's begin with ourselves and lay ourselves before God and allow Him to teach us. Let's draw closer to Him and allow Him to draw closer to us. Let's empty our heads of the things we think we know and allow Him to fill us with Himself and His "knowings!"

Link to 7/9/03 welcome message


10/13/03  The Trial of Your Faith
"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ."
1Peter 1:7
COMMENTS:    There is no getting around it... our faith will be tried.  There are times when we will question God.   We will not be sure that He is beside us, even when the Bible tells us that He is.  We will have times when we jump into a situation in our own power because we don't trust God to handle it. 

There will be times when we may even begin to wonder (just a passing thought) that maybe there is no God. There are times when God says wait and we want so desperately to take action.  Over and over we question God and His methods instead of just saying, "Yes, Lord."

God sees our struggles.  He knows it is hard.  He knows that we live in a world that ignores Him.  He knows that we've been taught to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps.  He knows that we have been brought up in a world that thinks you are a failure if you don't have a title or a college degree.

Our faith is more precious than gold.  The similarity between our faith and gold is that the impurities must be burned away with high heat.  Our faith has to go through these trials to make it stronger. 

 If we didn't have trials our faith would wither away because we wouldn't need it.  It is during the trials that we must have faith.  It is during the rough times that we must lean on God.  We must have faith (believing without seeing) that God is carrying us through the trials.  When we come out the other side we will see proof that He was right by our side!  It is during the trial that we can't feel Him, hear Him, or see Him.  

We will learn from our failures.  Our faith will become a little stronger each time. He knows we will mess up.  Heck, look at Abraham.  Twice he was afraid that he would be killed so a leader could have his wife so he lied and said she was his sister!  (Gen 20:2 and Gen 12)  Yet, Abraham is considered by God to be a great man of faith!  (Rom 4, Gal 3:9, and Heb 11)

So, you see, God knows our faith will be tried.  When we fail that means we have learned something and our faith will become stronger and stronger and stronger.  So, bring on the trials!  (Gently, please, Lord!)

Link to 10/13/03 welcome message


10/28/03  How Much Faith is Enough?
"And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him [Gideon], and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour."
Judges 6:12
COMMENTS:    Prior to the angel saying this the Israelites had taken to hiding in caves to escape the Midianites.  The Midianites came into the land with their livestock and took up residence there.  They took the crops that the Israelites had been growing and ate them.  Because of hiding the Israelites were getting short on food and supplies.

 Gideon had gotten hold of some wheat and was hiding behind a winepress and threshing it.  (A winepress is a large vat in which grapes are crushed to make wine.)  He was probably keeping an eye out for the enemy.  He had to take the chance of being caught because he and his family was probably in danger of starvation. Then, all of a sudden, an angel greeted Gideon and told him he was a man of valor. 

Gideon had to have some interesting thoughts running through his head.  It seems he didn't know for sure that he was actually in the presence of an angel until he got proof in verse 22.  We can imagine some of the other thoughts he was having based on his reply.  He wanted to know why, if God was with them,  He wasn't doing miracles to save the people from their oppression like He did for them when they were wandering in the desert with Moses.

That was a good question.  Don't we often entertain the thought of wondering why God doesn't do more to help us in the world today?  "Why did He let my father die?"  "Why does He let those houses burn?"  Things like that.

The angel then said, "Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?"  I can picture Gideon reacting to this shocking statement.  He probably thought, "Who?  ME???"  He obviously didn't feel qualified.  He protested by saying he came from a poor family and that he was the least in his father's house. 

 It seems that his protests were not the truth.  He didn't seem to come from a poor family.  He had a minimum of ten servants (see verse 27). I wonder, if by saying he was the least in his father's house (what did he mean by least? Youngest, smallest, least qualified to lead, dumbest??) that he was actually speaking the truth or was just speaking out of fear or low self-esteem. 

Normally we have a tendency to think of ourselves as the greatest in most situations.  Gideon might have been reacting as I know I would have and was speaking from his feelings of inadequacy.  After all, how many of us who have never led an entire nation to victory would feel competent? Amazingly enough, Gideon didn't totally reject the thought, but asked for verification that this person actually was an angel from God. 

That is a good way to determine if something is actually of God if we are doubtful.  I would hope that, if God decided to send me to do something huge like that, I would have enough faith to just say, "Yes, Lord."  However, when you have never been called to do something HUGE then probably it would need verification. 

The good news is that God will verify things for us.  If He wants us to know something then He WILL verify it. So, Gideon got his verification that it was God talking with him.  God then told him to tear down the altars to other gods that his father had built.  Here's something else that indicates that Gideon didn't come from a poor family.  The Bible says that God told him to tear down the altars that his father had.  Gideon feared his father's household and the men of the city that worshipped there.  It sounds like Gideon's father was a very influential and wealthy man.

So, at this point, Gideon believed that it was God communicating with Him.  Yet, he tore down the altars and built one to God at night because he feared getting caught.  Gideon had been told that he would save Israel from the Midianites.  That was foretelling the future past the point of tearing down the altars yet Gideon still feared what man could do to him.  Shouldn't he have said to himself, "Since God is going to use me to defeat the enemy then I know for a fact that He will protect me no matter what I do prior to that time?"

That reminds me of Abraham saying Sarah was his sister so the rulers of the territory they were passing through wouldn't kill him.  When he was lying to protect himself he had already received a promise from God that hadn't been fulfilled yet.  It seems he would have known that his life would be spared under all circumstances since he had such great faith.  Even though he wavered in his faith, he is referred to as a man of great faith in Hebrews!

Let's pause here and apply this concept to our lives.  As humans it is way easier to walk by sight and not by faith.  Our logic is our faith's worst enemy.  Our eyes see danger and our brains try to figure out how to survive it.

Once we receive a promise from God we need to push it to the front of our mind and keep it there.  We have to cause it to block out everything our senses are experiencing that go against that promise. 

I had a similar experience once.  It was about a miracle relating to a copy machine, "Nothing Wavering."  Gideon could have tried telling himself over and over, "The Lord is with me, the Lord is with me, the Lord is with me."  He would have had to replace his fear with God's promise.  However, he gave in to the fear and did the job at night. 

 Abraham could have reminded himself, "I'm going to become the father of many nations."  However, he gave in to the fear of being killed and lied about Sarah. The problem is that we have become conditioned through our life's experiences.  When we see certain things we react in a way to protect ourselves.  The good news is that God knows this.  He still used Gideon to free the Israelites.  He also considered Abraham a man of great faith. 

So, you see, God is not surprised by our reactions.  He knows how hard it is for us. What we can do is practice our faith.  Faith takes action.  We have to learn how to use it.  We have to work at having enough faith to believe that God will do something.  Once we get the feeling or a promise that God will do something then we need to begin practicing the faith. We must force out all feelings of doubt and fear and replace them with faith. 

We must not give in to our flesh and must not allow our previous experiences influence us to think negatively.  We must push past all temptations to take over the situation ourselves.  If we do take over then God just might let us handle it.  I'd rather that God handle it.  The outcome would be much better!

Back to Gideon.  In verse 34 Gideon got a dose of the Holy Spirit.  "...the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon...."  The Hebrew for "came upon" is "clothed with."  The Holy Spirit clothed himself with Gideon.  What a beautiful spiritual picture that is!  Then Gideon blew a trumpet.  The Israelites then began gathering and coming to Gideon.

Gideon still wasn't comfortable with the position in which God had placed him.  He still wasn't convinced that God would defeat the enemy under Gideon's leadership.  So, Gideon asked for proof and got it (36-38).  The first proof he got was good, but Gideon still wasn't convinced.  Perhaps he thought someone might have poured water on the fleece to trick him.  I don't know. Gideon asked for more proof.  The second time was enough to shore up Gideon's faith in God.  God then did something that would prove that the conquest of the enemy was all Him and had nothing to do with the strength or intelligence of man.  Keep in mind, he had already called someone to lead them who had a bit of a leadership problem.  He wanted to make sure that the Israelites wouldn't look back and say that it was their own skill and strength that had completed the job.

He had Gideon take only 300 men out to meet the enemy.  God knew that Gideon's faith would waver again.  He gave Gideon a way to see that the enemy was already running scared.  Gideon took God up on the offer to hear that the enemy was scared (7:9-15).   Finally, Gideon had come to the conclusion that he could do as God was directing as God WOULD fulfill His promise.

The story that followed is that of 300 men going out with nothing but trumpets, empty pitchers, and lamps and scaring the socks off the enemy.  They enemy began fighting among themselves out of fear and took off running with the rest of the Israelites chasing after them.  It's a great story (7:16-25)!

Let's apply another concept to our lives.  God used Gideon in a big way.  Gideon was a liar (said his family was poor).  He witnessed three miracles and still was doubtful.  Yet, once he grasped hold of the concept of trusting in God he became a brave leader.  God used him in a big way, in spite of his shortcomings.

God can use us as we are.  We don't have to be perfect.  We don't have to have arrived at any particular spiritual milestone.  We don't have to be particularly spiritual.  We don't have to be recognized by other people as being someone God can use.  We don't have to be healthy.  We don't have to be strong.  We don't have to be talented.  The only thing we need to be is willing. However, don't think that it isn't necessary to grow spiritually just because God can use us where we are now.  If we increase our faith, increase our knowledge about God, increase our understanding, and continue our spiritual growth then God can use us in bigger and bigger ways.

The main thing to do is to not label ourselves as unfit or unusable in the Kingdom of God.  In the Bible there are examples of God using liars, prostitutes, thieves, rich men, poor men, popular men, unpopular men, old people, and young people to serve Him and to accomplish his will.  We aren't qualified to judge whether we are usable or not.  That is something that only God can do.

Link to 10/28/03 welcome message


1/5/04  Hold Fast
"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:"
Hebrews 10:23-24
COMMENTS:  Why would someone warn us to "hold fast?"  Because it isn't easy to stay focused on God all the time.  When our lives get hectic, when we don't feel well, or when an emergency arises we have a tendency to focus on the situation we are in rather than stay focused on God. 

It takes deep concentration and effort to hold fast the profession of our faith WITHOUT WAVERING.  It is just too easy to be distracted by the things of the world.  After all, we can hear, see, taste, touch, and smell the things of the world.  Spiritual things are in another realm.  Since we don't hear, see, taste, touch, or smell the spiritual things all the time it takes work to stay focused on them.

 That's where teamwork helps.  When we are in contact with other Christians who are as serious about their walk with the Lord as we are then we can work together to remind each other to stay focused on the spiritual things.

God has brought some friends to me that are perfect for me.  We have enough of the same experiences that we can help each other through them.  We are able to share our excitement about something we read in the Bible or something that God tells us.  We are even able to communicate about very deep spiritual things because we understand each other and don't need to keep searching for words to describe the spiritual things. 

For example, I had received a revelation about something that was so deep spiritually that there were no words that would adequately describe it.  When I tried to describe it to my Thursday morning prayer partner I tried as best I could and had to stop in the middle because I was just not able to find adequate words to describe it.  Then I realized that my prayer partner was nodding her head excitedly because God had helped her understanding of what I was trying to share!

God has brought certain people to me because He knew I'd need their support and prayers.  He has brought others to me because He knew that, together, we'd be able to complete things that were too difficult for one person to do alone.

The next verse after verses 23 and 24 is, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."  It is very important that we get together with others of like mind.  We must be open to any encouragement God wants us to give someone because, as humans, we have a tendency to feel discouraged now and then.  We must be ready to share what He gives us with each other.

I am grateful for the friends that God has given me.... friends I get to visit face to face as well as Internet friends.  He does a very good job of matching us up with each other.  I guess that's why He is God.  He's very good at what He does, isn't He?

Link to 1/5/04 welcome message


1/20/04  Believe It Or Not!
"And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out."
Luke 19:40
COMMENTS:  Jesus said this about the people that were following Him.  Verses 37-38 said, "And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest." 

He was talking to the Pharisees who wanted Him to quiet them down. The people were praising Him.  If the praises were stopped Jesus said the stones would begin to cry out.  Do you think He meant it?  Think about it before you answer. Stones are stones.  Have you ever heard a stone sing?  talk?  praise?  Are stones alive?  Do they have a mouth?  My brain says stones will never cry out.  What about yours?

On the other hand, Jesus said they would.  Water turned to wine, the blind gained their sight, lepers' rotting flesh was made whole, and the dead were brought back to life in Jesus' presence.  Is it harder to believe that stones will cry out?

We either believe it or we don't.  If we don't then we say Jesus was a liar.  If Jesus was a liar then we are doomed.  There was no perfect sacrifice for our sins.

I'm going to choose to believe that Jesus was not a liar.  I'm choosing to believe that the rocks would and still will cry out if praise and worship is stopped.  I choose to believe that Jesus also told the truth when He said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."  (Jo 14:12) 

Now you are going to do your own study.  Ponder the above scripture.  Do you believe in Jesus?  Then you are the "He that believeth."  You are the one who shall do greater works than what Jesus did.  You have it in you because Jesus said so.  What do you think might be holding it back?  Examine for yourself why we, the members of the Body of Christ, are so feeble in the miracles department.  I think we all are probably parking in the Disabled parking spaces.

Has God lost the ability to do miraculous things through us?  Has He forgotten how?  Or is the problem on our end? OK, time for you to finish this study on your own.  Each of us needs to examine our faith and our beliefs.

Link to 1/20/04 welcome message


3/6/06  Christians Reflecting Jesus
"Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield."
Psalm 33:20
What is it that causes people to see Jesus in some Christians and not in others?

Is it the words that come out of their mouths?  Is it the expressions on their face?  What is it?

Last week someone made the comment that I looked like I didn't have a care in the world.  That made me wonder what it was that made them say that.  I have plenty of cares.  There are a lot of things happening in my life that are frustrating, annoying, irritating, and even heartbreaking.  At least every week something new happens that is not a good thing. Why am I not reflecting that on my face?

 Let's back up seven verses before our verse we show above:
"The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men.
From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth.
He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works.
There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength.
An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength.
Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;
To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine."

When something comes along I know that I don't have the answers.  I don't usually even have the strength, mental or physical, to handle it.  I am not expected to handle everything by myself.  God is by my side.  He is my help. He is my shield.  Nothing will happen to me that He doesn't allow. He can keep me alive in a famine.  He can deliver my soul from death.  He can do anything! 

The only time I start feeling frustrated and hopeless is when I allow myself to think that I have to solve my problems all by myself.  The only time I allow any anger to show on my face is when I am only thinking of my own self and how I've been taken advantage of, insulted, or hurt in some way.

If I am focused on God then I am only concerned with what He wants me to be doing or saying.  I am able to dump my problems in His lap.  I can focus on what He wants to happen instead of what is actually happening.

There are things in my life that I am not accepting.  I see bad things happening with my eyes.  I hear things happening that I don't like to hear.  I am not focusing on those things.  I am not planning ahead for those bad things, either.  I am finding out God's will in those matters and I am focusing on that.  I am not going to let what I see in the natural affect what I know God wants to change.

I am living each day one at a time.  I am behind the shield that is God.  I am keeping a smile on my face even though another person in my position would be crying.  I am full of hope when another person in my position would be in despair. Am I in denial?  Am I only hiding from the inevitable?  Am I in for a big fall? NO!  My God is bigger than any circumstances that surround me. 

Verses 21 and 22 finish out that chapter in Psalms with,
"For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.
Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee."

 I trust in God.  He is the maker of the heavens and the Earth.  Is He not able to do what He has said He would do? As Christians we need to understand who we are in God.  We need to find out what He expects from us and what He has empowered us to do. 

We need to quit acting like we are whipped puppies.  We need to get our heads out of the sand and stand up tall.  We need to wipe the tears off our faces. Who are we?  We are children of the most High God!  We are children of the King of the Universe!  We are not defeated! 


We ARE in denial!  We deny the things of the world!  We deny that we are powerless!  We deny that the things we see cannot change!


Link to 3/6/06 welcome message


6/4/06  Sifting HURTS!

"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat."
Luke 22:31

I've read this scripture before and I've heard it used in sermons.  I didn't really examine it for myself but allowed myself to believe the things I heard about it.  What I heard was that Jesus protects us from satan like He did for Peter (Simon).

Sounds wonderful and comforting, doesn't it?  Hang on to your hat because verse two does NOT say Jesus prevents satan from sifting him:
  "But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."

In other words, satan was being allowed to sift Peter.  The word "desired" means "to ask or beg for one's self, to ask that one be given up to one from the power of another".  Jesus was praying that Peter stay strong WHILE BEING SIFTED BY SATAN!

What is sifting?  It is the process of putting something through a separating device to sort out the good from the bad.  In people it is an uncomfortable process because the good and bad things are usually mixed tightly in together.  Sometimes we have bad things in us that we don't even know are bad things.  Sometimes a good thing is good but not 100% good so it turns bad.  (For example, when you say something that you knew you should say although you didn't want to, that's good.  If you say it with the wrong facial expression, it is no longer good.)

Satan is interested in pushing us to the limit to try to stop us from doing things for God.  The things we do for God are destroying what satan wants to do in the world.

When we know that God wants us to be doing something then we must stand firmly on what we know to be true.  The things that God wants from us are not always easy.  We live in the world in bodies of flesh.  The things of God are supernatural and spiritual.  The Word of God creates.  We can't fully comprehend that. 

Right now I am going through the hardest thing I've ever had to do.  What I am doing flies in the face of everything I've learned all my life.  It goes against what I tried to do for many many years in not looking like a fool in front of other people.  It defies the "rock-sold" logic I have.  It goes against what I have had to do financially to make ends meet which is "don't spend money without knowing you are making a wise purchase".  I've always been taught to believe only facts that I have seen with my eyes.

I am having to stretch my faith in God farther than I have ever stretched it before.  I am having to stand on a rock that I cannot see.  That rock is God telling me to speak life into my cat.  I am standing on an invisible rock while an actual storm tries to wash me off that rock.  My own brain tries to tell me that there is no rock because I cannot see it with my eyes.  Other people look at me like I should not be allowed out of a padded room because I am telling them I'm standing on a rock and they can't see the rock, either! 

As I continue to plunk down large sums of money on a sick cat my brain keeps telling me that I wouldn't spend that amount of money on a healthy cat.  "Reality" keeps hammering at my head trying to get me to acknowledge what my eyes see and my ears hear and to quit being foolish.

Those things are the things that need to be sifted out and blown away.  The only things that will remain are the things of God.  I may look around me after I've been completely sifted and think that there is nothing left in the sifter because my eyes don't see anything.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Heb 11:1

"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
2Cor 4:18

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
1Cor 2:9

After we are sifted then the worldly ideas and things will be separated from the spiritual things that God has placed in us.  It isn't easy.  Many people will give up before the process is finished.  Let's pray for each other, for the Body of Christ.  Let's pray that God have His way in each of us and that we learn how to stand strong in Him IN SPITE OF WHAT THE WORLD SAYS!

NOTE:  I will be putting together a synopsis of what happened regarding speaking life into my cat(s).  It's a long story for those of you that haven't heard it and there is a moral to the whole story that needs to be shared.

Link to 6/4/06 welcome message


10/15/09  The Shield of Faith

"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
Eph 6:11

I would never think of going out to the front yard to prune my roses without wearing leather gloves.  My roses have thorns that not only poke holes in my skin, they seem to have some kind of irritant in them that makes the wounds very tender and sore for a while.

When I use a table saw or other power saw I would be stupid to not wear safety glasses.  Sawdust and little bits of wood get carried into the air and could end up damaging my eyes.

When I have been working at my computer for hours on end I need to use a wrist pad because my wrist begins to hurt.  I know some people who ignored the pain and they got carpal tunnel syndrome.  Some even had to have surgery to correct it because it had become a chronic problem.

We are not made of titanium.  We are not from the planet Krypton like Superman.  We are humans and our bodies are vulnerable to injury.  That is why we have protective things at our disposal.  The choice is up to us whether to use them or not.

We can choose to use the armor of God, too.  God offers them to us to make our lives better and to give us protection from the things in this world.  Verses 14-17:
"Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

The most important part of that armor is the shield of faith.  Stand behind it to protect yourself.

What happens if you don't?  Here are some examples:
Making your son call you when he reaches his destination so you don't have to WORRY about him getting there safely.
Being in FEAR that you or your house will be robbed, your health will fail, or the airplane you are in will crash.

When you are using the shield of faith then, even when you can't feel God's presence, you know He is with you.

If you don't utilize the other parts of the armor then you won't be experiencing the full protection you need.  If you don't read your Bible then you are missing your sword.  It will be hard to hold your shield of faith if you don't have an understanding of how powerful your sword is.

If you don't have a helmet of salvation then you don't have a clear understanding of what the shield is or what the sword is.  You can't just pick and choose your armor parts.  You need them all.

I have a friend who, before she even gets out of bed in the morning, pictures herself putting on the parts of the armor of God.  She knows that she is dependent on those things to protect her from all the things that happen during the day.

The world is getting crazier, meaner, scarier, more complicated, and evil things are taking place.  Wouldn't you rather be steady as a rock, cool as a cucumber, and be able to sleep like a baby?  You can.  Put on the armor!
Link to 10/15/09 welcome message


11/26/09  Who Holds You Up?

"The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down."
Psalm 145:14

This is a good reason to be thankful, a very good reason.  Even though we can't feel Him holding us up or raising us up He is doing it.  It might be much later that we look back and see where He was right there all along.  I can say this from personal experience.  I went over two years not feeling God.  Yet, looking back, I can see where He was there by my side all along.

That reminds me of the poem, "Footprints in the Sand".  I know you've heard it over and over but it bears repeating, because it is true.  Notice that the person telling it had no clue that he was being lifted up.

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints.
Other times there was one set of footprints.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life
when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow, or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints,
so I said to the Lord,
"You promised me, Lord, that if I followed You, You would walk with me always.
But I noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there have only been one set of prints in the sand.
Why, When I have needed You most, You have not been there for me?"

The Lord replied,
"The times when you have seen only one set of footprints is when I carried you."
Link to 11/26/09 welcome message

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