Friday, December 30, 2011


"I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them
also. They too will listen to My voice, and there shall be one flock and
one shepherd." - John 10:16

A friend of mine told me a story about an experience he had in Israel.
They were in the country visiting some of the famous biblical sites when
they saw a group of sheepherders. A shepherd brought his flock of sheep
into a round pen for the night. Then, a few minutes later, another
shepherd brought his flock into the pen. Then, a few minutes later, yet
another shepherd brought his sheep into the pen. There were three groups
of sheep in the pen with no identifying marks among any of them. My
friend wondered how in the world they would separate their sheep the
next day.
The next morning, a shepherd came over to the pen and made a comment to
his sheep. One by one, the sheep filed out to follow him. Only his sheep
followed his voice. My friend said it was an amazing scene to see only
that shepherd's sheep follow him and the others remain in the pen. What
a picture of Jesus' words spoken centuries earlier.
Hearing and responding to Jesus' voice is the key to having a two-way
relationship with God. It is the difference between having religion and
a relationship. Can you recognize God's voice in your life? Are you
listening to the Shepherd's voice? Do you respond when He calls? Ask
Jesus to help you increase your ability to hear. Give more time to
spending quiet moments in His presence to hear His voice. He wants to be
your Good Shepherd.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


"Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I
was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus." - Galatians 1:17

The apostle Paul tells us in the first chapter of Galatians some of the
facts surrounding his own conversion. He tells us that he clearly
understood the call Jesus placed on his life. He did not have to consult
other men about this calling. But before he was released to begin his
own mission, He went to Arabia for three years. Why did Paul have to go
to Arabia for three years before he ever met another disciple of Jesus
The Scripture does not tell us plainly why Paul spent three years in
Arabia. However, based upon many examples of God placing special calls
on people's lives, we know it often requires a time of separation
between the old life and the new life. No doubt, Paul had plenty of time
to consider what had taken place in his life and time to develop an
intimate knowledge and relationship with the newfound Savior. His life
was about to change dramatically.
So often, when God places a call on one of His children, it requires a
separation between the old life and the new life. There is a time of
being away from the old in order to prepare the heart for what is
coming. It can be a painful and difficult separation. Joseph was
separated from his family. Jacob was sent to live with his uncle Laban.
Moses was sent to the desert.
When God began a deeper work in my own life, it required a separation
from all I had known before. He removed all that I had placed confidence
in up to that point. It was very painful and very scary since I was in
my mid-40's. In my mind, it was not the time to start life over. I had
been making plans for early retirement. God had a different idea. He
removed all my comforts and security in order to accomplish a much
greater work than what I could see at the time. The picture is clear
now. I understand why it was necessary, but I didn't at the time.
Perhaps God has placed you in your own desert period. Perhaps you cannot
make sense of the situation in which you find yourself. If you press
into God during this time, He will reveal the purposes He has for you.
The key is pressing into Him. Seek Him with a whole heart and He will be
found. God may have a special calling and message He is building in your
life right now. Trust in His love for you that He will fully complete
the work He has started in you.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


"But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger,
rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips." -Colossians 3:8

"The root issue you are dealing with is fear. The physical symptom is
control, and when you cannot control, you get angry because of unmet
expectations." These were the words I spoke during a conversation in a
restaurant to my friend who was separated from his wife. He described
his anger and how he never saw some of these characteristics in his life
until he entered this marriage.
A friend once said to me, "Anger is like the lights on a dashboard. They
tell you something is going on under the hood. You must find out the
source of the problem." Whenever we have expectations of another person
and those expectations do not materialize, our tendency is to get angry.
The source of the anger is often the fear that the unmet expectation
will negatively impact us. We fear that our finances, our well-being,
our image, or any number of things may be impacted by the unmet
expectation. My friend's wife had not met his expectations in many areas
of his life, so then, many times it resulted in harsh words that damaged
his wife's self-esteem. Now, it was leading to a marriage crisis.
Jesus often spoke of living as though we were dead. How can you live as
though you are dead? "In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but
alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 6:11). It is a choice each of us
must make. Once you become dead to that which stirs an emotion in you,
God is free to change that situation. Until then, you can expect God to
allow that situation to remain until you reckon yourself dead to the
effects of the issue that causes you to struggle.
Is there something that causes anger within you? Ask God what the source
of that anger is. You might be surprised at what you find. Then ask God
to give you the grace to reckon yourself dead to that issue. You will
find new freedom in your relationships and your own peace of mind.

Monday, December 19, 2011


"When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came upon him in power,
and he burned with anger." - 1 Samuel 11:6

There are occasions in which God justifies righteous anger. It is a type
of anger that does not lead to sin, but fulfills God's purposes.
Saul had just been crowned as the new king of Israel. His first battle
was upon him, and he had to bring a new nation together to fight the
Ammonites. The Spirit of God fell on Saul and resulted in righteous
anger against God's enemies. God led him to send an unusual
"direct-mail" package to all the regions where the people lived. He cut
up pieces of oxen and sent the pieces throughout Israel with a
warning-"Join the army or your oxen will be as these!"
Sometimes God uses strong measures to accomplish His purposes. In this
case, fear and intimidation were used to motivate the army of God to be
as one. God must have felt this is what was needed to drive this army to
become a unified force.
God knows the only way to achieve success is if the army is one. A house
divided cannot stand. What will it take to unify your company, your
church, and your family to be one? Unless you are one, you cannot win
the battles you will face. Ask God to make you and those you walk with
to be one in mission and one in spirit.