Category: Bible study


We have heard a lot about change over the last few years. Sometimes when people promise change it is not what we want to hear and other times it is. Currently we have been seeing many changes and very quickly, but if God is orchestrating the change we know it is for good.

We have been praying for a while that God would reveal His plan for us hear after moving to the capital. We began to even question ourselves and ask “did we really hear from God?” We know we can learn from all things, our failures and successes, but when you believe you hear something from God and things don’t seem to be working the way you expect, it can make you wonder.

I know from the scriptures that many “great” men of God have had their times of “wondering.” You can read in the Psalms where David cries out to God wondering why things are going so bad, why his enemies seem to be conquering and why the enemy is getting away with mocking God. So I know I am not alone in my struggles of faith and understanding. God seems to let us make the step into the unknown to help us trust Him. I believe He lets us struggle in an area so that our eyes can be opened to another area of our lives that needs to be changed. I know for me, the last year plus has brought me to a realization to how I have taken for granted my wonderful wife and how I have missed so much of my children’s lives. I have a lot of work to do and I am asking God to help me make the changes in my thinking and my doing.

I love God and I am so thankful that He allows us to make mistakes and has the patience to put up with me.

Praising God

Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,
and to you shall vows be performed.
O you who hear prayer,
to you shall all flesh come.
When iniquities prevail against me,
you atone for our transgressions.
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
the holiness of your temple!
By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,
O God of our salvation,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas;
the one who by his strength established the mountains,
being girded with might;
who stills the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples,
so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.
You visit the earth and water it;
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide their grain,
for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.
(Psalm 65 ESV)

I find that the more I praise God, the more I find peace through all things.  We have all heard pastors talk about praising God in all circumstances and we find it easier said than done. However, if we start by praising God everyday in the good or the bad, we will find our strength in Him.

Can you give me a reason not to praise God? Is there something that He didn’t know that would happen in your life? We have no excuse, Jesus suffered so that we might have life!

Praise Him!

Having only done our duty

Reading in Luke 17, I found myself pondering this verse:

“So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’ ” (Luke 17:10)

This may have been spoken towards the pharisees, but for me it made me think about my heart in servant-hood towards our Lord. Do I think to only go so far in my actions as to complete the “duty” set before me or do I work to go beyond what is asked of me? Do I go for it, in a wholehearted manner, as I would for myself? This definitely can be a challenge and I would have to answer “no”.

The Lord owes me nothing. He has already paid far beyond my worth. I was His enemy, I was dead. Without Him I was nothing. Why would I not give my all to Him who saved me? Is there anything I can do that could even come close to paying Him back? I can only do all He asks and do it with all that I am, anything less would be lacking of my worship of Him.

Lord forgive me for ever placing myself in a place higher than you. Forgive me for taking your place on the throne of my life. Help me to serve you better, to know you more and to love you greater than ever before.


Knowing the Depth of Your Forgiveness

Sometimes those who give their lives to Christ at a young age feel they have no testimony. They hear the stories of those who went from drugs, prostitution, murder or other extremes to a life in Christ and compare their “goody-two-shoe” lives and feel they have no story. We see the great love that those saved from the extremes have for their Lord and Savior- Jesus Christ. We desire that love.

You probably can recall where Jesus says “Why I say to you, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” (Luke 7:47) and we see Jesus explain how the one who is forgiven much loves much. Most of us would say that there is a difference in the forgiveness for the murderer and the one who came to Christ in his youth. I beg to differ…

I believe that if you read Luke 7 and realize that we are all the ones who owed the larger amount, you will then love like that “sinful woman” in the story. When you search the scriptures and read how we ALL are sinners, lost and without hope apart from Christ Jesus and see that there is “no one good, no even one” (Romans 3:12, Psalm 53:3), we can began to see how we are all equally sinful! We can see this throughout the word of God. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)

Once we come to the understanding of our complete inability to please God on our own, to find God without His calling, to find forgiveness without the blood of Jesus, we can then LOVE MUCH. If you struggle with feeling like others love the Lord greater than you, it may only be that they understand the depth and width of their forgiveness, not so much that they were forgiven more than you, they just “get it!”

May God reveal to you the depth of His love and forgiveness.

Remember September 11

I am sure you already know that this last week was the 10 year anniversary that so many will remember.  There are images of terror that will stay in your memory for many years to come. We will have different emotions that will rise when we revisit those memories, such emotions as anger, fear, confusion, and thoughts of revenge.


I would like to turn your attention to another event that took place that has stayed in the memories of even those who were not there. World War II does not even compare to the memories, nor does Vietnam. The Civil War may be in many books, but that doesn’t even hold a bar close to this memory.

Let’s go back even further to an event that has changed all of the world forever. This one event was planned for so long, was written about even before it happened, is discussed daily and will never, ever be forgotten. The event happened seemed to be at first, only affecting a few. But you have probably figured it out by now, I am talking about the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Now that I have your thoughts on Jesus, let’s put those thoughts back with the event of 9-11. Those who we see as responsible for the event, those who want to see death and destruction. Those who are willing to kill or even die for their beliefs. How can you fight this enemy and win? I will tell you this, the war has already been won. Jesus is the victor, justice will be served. BUT, while we are you on the earth, what do we do to fight? I will tell you this, that no amount of bullets or bombs will actually defeat the true enemy. This battle is not of the human flesh, this battle is in the spiritual realm. It can only be truly fought and won in the spirit. The physical part of the army can only be conquered in the hearts, the spiritual enemy does not what us to see that, he wants us to fight in the physical where he can win.

We should view this battle correctly and fight the way our Lord intends us to. We should be praying for those who are against us, we should be supporting our fellow believers in those territories and even send others there to spread the Gospel of Christ and to disciple the new believers. By this we will truly conquer the enemy and grow the army of God throughout the world.

So remember…..

… Why Jesus died.

To Learn as Job

Job went through so much to learn this:

2 “I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
4 ‘Hear, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.’
5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
6 therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.”

I hope my heart will always acknowledge God in this way.

If you have not yet read the book of Job, I would suggest you set some time aside to do so. Reading Job will open your eyes up to the Lord in a greater way. The lesson Job learned is a lesson we all need to learn. To see ourselves for who we are and the Lord God for who He is.

Praise God!


Inside out Church

Throughout the New Testament we read how the church was formed under that covenant and we are able to see what Jesus taught. He started with twelve. These 12 men were the beginning of a fire that is still spreading today, however, that fire seems to be diminished. What began through 12 became thousands in a few short years. What was the distance between Jesus and 12 men, became thousands of miles instead of just inches. The Gospel spread and was contagious.

What has happened between the time of the 12 to today? What has changed? Has God changed? Has the Word changed? Or has the message been changed?

Many of us desire to see the power of the book of Acts in our lives. We want to see miracles both of the physical and of the spiritual. We want to see the ‘many’ come to Christ. Where have we fallen short of this great story?

Let’s go back to some of the final words of Jesus himself and what He told us to do. He had a commission, a command if you will, of what the believer is to do. We are to reach the whole world with the Gospel. But how does one person do this? Do we go to church regularly, tithe regularly, go to bible studies and fellowship regularly? (None of those things are wrong.) How do those things spread the Gospel of Christ? What then, do we invite people to church so they can hear the pastor talk about who Jesus is? Do we tell the pastor or deacons who is sick in a hospital or who is in prison who needs to be visited?

I believe the whole church is backwards or inside out in its current structure.

Before you think I am going to condemn churches as a whole, or say pastors are at fault, please hear me out.

What is the pastor’s role according to the Bible?

Ephesians 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers (NAS)

Pastors are to be shepherds of the flock, teachers of the Word. They should be building up and teaching the flock, equipping them to go. The equipped flock will go out and tell others about Jesus, but not to stop there, what was the command Jesus gave His followers? To “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28-19a) – make disciples! How do you make a disciple? Well, what did Jesus do? He said to follow Him. We may not necessarily say it the same way, but if we are following Christ and we can then point to Him and say “follow Him” by my example.

Our discipling should not stop there, it should be on going. We need to teach the new believer how to do the same thing, equip them with the Word, walk with them in the life and stand by them in battle. This may be a weekly time set aside, it could be talking on the phone, it can be showing up when they want to tell someone about Jesus and helping them speak the truth of the Word.

So, if we were to take the church and reverse the flow of thought, instead of people going to church to see the pastor and hear a message that could change you – how about go to church to be equipped to take the Word out to the world? Can we see how 12 men (11 who remained) touched thousands of lives by discipling others? Can we see the multiplication that took place? How about the reverse – can we see the duplication of the pastor being the “go to guy” who may touch and transform a few a year? Which way will actually even keep up with the population growth?

Can we change?

Who needs to change?

Let me suggest that it isn’t necessarily your pastor. (Even though his view of the church may need to be adjusted.) How about I suggest it is me? It is I. The one who needs to go and make disciples of all the nations is me. I need to widen my world view!! I need to think how Christ wanted me to think, bigger than I ever could be! Why? Because then He will do what I can not! Through making disciples I can touch the world!

How big is your vision?

Can You Impress God?

This morning at the church service here in Sosua, the visiting pastor asked this question: How can you impress God? I thought it was a very interesting question, not only by the direction he took the answer but to really think about it, can you impress God?

Sure God, look what I am doing. Look at who I am. Did you see what I did?

Somehow God would be impressed?

The question almost instantly brought to mind – there is no way to impress God, but there is a way to please God.

Being the dad of 6 great kids I think I can understand some of what it is to be a father. I also know what “pleases” me as a father. When my kids trust me, when they listen and when they obey. But to please God, there is one thing that leads to those and more: faith. In the bible it says in Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

When we have faith, we respond to Him. When we have faith, we obey Him. When we have faith, we can do what everyone says not to, but God said to do. It is only by faith that we can know God.

Faith is also action, if you have faith you will act. When someone says they have faith, but never act on it, do they really have faith? If you say you can run, but never move faster than a walk, how does one know what you say is true? You must run, move, act out – your faith. If you feel your faith is lacking, ask God for more. Ask Him knowing He desires you to have faith and as a loving Father he wants you to have abundance of faith.

I believe so many of us a missing out on what God really has for us and it all starts with faith.

Do you believe God says who He says He is? Is He the Great I Am, the Alpha and the Omega, the King of kings and Lord of lords? Do you believe that Jesus really did live a perfect life on this earth, died for our sins, paid the price of that sin, rose again to glory and is coming back again?

So can we impress God or should we just think about how we can please Him?

I love my God and hope that my faith (with actions to back it up) pleases Him and someday I will here Him say “well done, good and faithful servant.”

Planning an escape route

Driving in the Dominican Republic really brings to mind “defensive driving.” At times in the USA I would be on a busy highway at I would keep in mind an escape route in case the traffic came to a quick stop or the guy who was driving sporadically in front of me decides to do something even dumber than before.  Here the roads are narrow. People drive ready to pass with their car 3 feet over the line at all times and leaves you little room to avoid motorcycles who are riding 3 feet in.

The winding road we take up to Niños de la Luz is narrow and has corners with little visibility. The large dump trucks will come down about 45 mph down the center and don’t move over for oncoming traffic. The road have no shoulders like what we have in the US. Trees, fences, cows, people or horses are also in spots. Sometimes even a “parked” car will be on the side (2 wheels on the dirt, but most of car in road.)

The other day as I drove down that road and realized how much time I was spending thinking of where I can drive off the side of the road. This was my way of planning an escape of an oncoming vehicle. I also realized that we should do this in our daily walk especially when we know we might be in an area of temptation. If you struggle with alcohol, for example, and you are visiting a friend’s house who drinks – you may want to have another friend come with you to keep you accountable. If we make our exit plans beforehand, or not necessarily make plans but be aware of the “exits” we have available to us.

But like it says in I Corinthians 10:13 – “There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it.”  So, there is always at least one way of escape, we just need to be looking and aware of our escape routes.

Even the keyboard I am typing on has an escape key…


Breaking the Law

We all know and have heard that our freedom is found in Christ. What seems to have happened is the enemy has infiltrated and confused where that freedom is found. We do not want to be living in ignorance as many who do not know the truth are, but we want to understand what Jesus Christ has really done for us.

The enemy will use the word of God to confuse, just as he did in the Garden of Eden were he took what God said and twisted it just a little to bring confusion and doubt. This is the same enemy we face today. He still uses the same tricks and techniques he has used for many years. One of goals the enemy has is to take those who are free and bind them. Whether it be sins or by taking what was by faith and making it to be by the law.

Oh, brothers and sisters, what have we done to earn our salvation? What is it we do that can add to the cross? Let us not continue to be bound! Jesus paid our debts and set us free! Let go of the chains that bind you! As a believer in Christ, as one saved and set free by grace, those chains are no longer clasped on, but it is by our own doing that we hold on to them.

In the letter Paul writes to the churches in Galatians, he confronts even Peter who, being a disciple of Christ, one who walked WITH Jesus. Peter had allowed others to put the law back on him. He had separated from the uncircumcised and was practicing the law of Moses and not the law of love. As Paul explains that by putting oneself under one part of the law you will need to obey all aspects of the law. I love what Paul asks the people in Galatians 3:5 – “Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law or because you believe what you heard?” He asks if they received the Spirit because they obeyed the law or because of their faith in Jesus. We know the answer is “by faith.”

There are still to this day those who are trying to bind those who are set free. They want to bind us to the law from which Paul says “All who rely on observing the law are under a curse” (Gal 3:10). The example used was circumcision, but is not limited to only that part of the law. He also talks about observing certain days, months, seasons and years from which we are also set free from (Gal 4:10). If we are feeling obligated to observe one part of the law then we are breaking the law if we do not follow the whole law. The law is not a “pick and choose” deal for by which we obey only what we want, it is a complete package. Paul, one who studied the law in its entirety and one whom claimed to have observed the law, knew that he failed and was not able to complete all the law had.  Is not the law of love greater? Did we forget what Jesus commanded?

Let us walk in freedom. Love is our freedom. By love we can fulfill the law, by love we do not harm each other and by love we worship God our Father.  Don’t let others burden you with that which you were set free from. It seems that those who are saved by grace find freedom from sin and then are bound by the law later by those who don’t understand the completeness of what Jesus did on the cross.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, be careful of the enemy. He works in ways to bind us. Prayerfully consider things you are taught or when you feel obligated to observe an aspect of the law. Don’t ever be persuaded that you will have to do something to earn your salvation!  There is nothing we can do to add to what Jesus Christ has already done. How can we think that we can add to His work? How can we believe that what Jesus did was not good enough, that somehow He couldn’t save us 100 percent? I know I have fought this battle a number of times, believing that somehow a sin has undone what Christ already paid for. No longer will the enemy enjoy a triumph in the area! May Christ have full reign in our lives and may we not be ignorant to the skills of the enemy.