Genesis 16-17

Vacations are the best. But sometimes the journey there…isn’t the best. Especially traveling with young kids. Packed in like sardines. And with all your luggage. And the waiting. And waiting.


“Are we there yet?” The kids ask from the backseat and toss a Cheeto at their sibling. Screaming ensues.


“How much longer?” Another child asks. A second Cheeto launches, misses its sibling-target and hits you, the driver—the parent. The cool, calm, collected parent loving every moment of the journey. Well, maybe not every moment. 


But we travel on. Why? Because it’s worth it. We know that if we are patient, it will pay off. However, patience is a virtue most children don’t have—and most children of God lack too.


When God tells Abraham and Sara that they will have a child and descendants too numerous to count, they believe God. They wait. And wait. And wait some more. We can almost hear their cries, “How much longer?” 


Eventually, they try to make God’s promise come about. Sara offers her servant, Hagar, to Abraham as a wife, and he has a child with Hagar. But this wasn’t what God had in mind. Sara eventually has a son, Isaac, and they do become the parents of a great nation. Their legacy lives on, and we, as children of God, a part of their family.


It’s hard to hear this in a microwave, ‘I want it now’ kind of society, but God will accomplish His plan and purpose on His own time and in His own way. It’s wise to wait on God and trust His timing, no matter how long the wait. 


“Are we there yet?”


No. But when we get there, it will be worth it.


Job 1-2

Matt Redman’s 2002 worship hit “Blessed be Your Name” is a song that many of us know. If you’re not familiar with it, the chorus simply says this: “Blessed be the name of the Lord, blessed be your name. Blessed be the name of the Lord, blessed be your glorious name.” Sounds simple, right? 

If you take a few minutes to listen through the lyrics, you’ll quickly see that the song is much more than a simple chorus. It’s a declaration that we will bless the name of the Lord whether the sun is shining down on us, or if we have found ourselves in a desert place, or even on a road that’s marked with suffering. 

To me, this song is a representation of Job chapters 1 and 2. Job was “blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil” (v.1). Job was blessed by God with many things, like many of us are. We see in verses 7-12 the conversation that God has with Satan regarding Job, and God points out that there is no one else on earth like him. God knew that no matter what Job endured, he would bless the name of the Lord. 

So God allows Satan to take everything from Job, except his life. And sure enough, Job praises the name of the Lord. Similar to the Matt Redman song, Job cries out “the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away”. 

I would be willing to bet that we have all endured our share of suffering, or may even be going through it right now. Can you say “Blessed be the name of the Lord” through it? You see, suffering is a result of the fall and we will all have to endure it.

But we are never alone. 

We can endure with the one who will never leave us and who is making all things right. We have hope in and through our suffering with Jesus. 


Psalm 141

“I call to you, Lord, come quickly to me; hear me when I call to you!” I can hear the desperation in David’s words at the beginning of Psalm 141. 

David goes on to say,“Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies” (v.3-4). 

In other words, David is asking for Lord to keep his mouth, his heart, and his mind in check. He’s wanting God to keep him from sinning.

David’s transparency is key in this chapter. He goes on looking further inside himself by asking God to make him aware of his faults. 

“Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness; let him rebuke me—that is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it, for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers,” (v. 5). 

David is seeking accountability from the “righteous,” knowing that his shortcomings will be brought to light, but he’s willing to walk through it to ensure he’s kept from evil. In verse 8, David says, “But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign Lord; in you I take refuge—do not give me over to death.” 

This prayer gives us a map we can use in our lives today, not only in moments of distress, but in every moment of each day. 

First, we need to call out to God. Second, we should ask the Lord to protect us by guarding our mouth, heart, and mind. Third, we should ask God to reveal areas of our life that need to be given to Him. And lastly, we need to keep our eyes on Him. 


Psalm 37

I often tell people that one of my greatest successes on this earth was my ability to trick my wife into marrying me, and a close second to that was when I became a father. My wife and I have four children now, and each of them, being uniquely created, are beautiful gifts from our great God.

I love being a daddy. I have four opportunities to sharpen arrows with straight shafts so that when they are released, they hit their targets. The task is not easy, and many times I feel like I failed because there are not enough hours in the day to be a husband, a father, a coach, a pastor, and the many other things that our world calls on us to be for others. 

Being up for the challenge to grow and to guide my children, I decided to stop trying to force more into our hectic schedule and shift my focus to speaking into the teachable moments. Those moments seem to be often given our current climate. 

I often tell my children, “Cheaters never prosper,” or “It’s always better to be honest,” but in today’s world those statements could be perceived as false for the young minds, and even for the believers who struggle to wait on the Lord.

Psalm 37 is a hymn written by David that addresses a common problem caused when godless people prosper, and I believe it offers guidance for us in this modern world that seems to be spinning out of control.

I challenge you to read through the entire chapter, but I would like to make three observations to provide a snapshot of David’s writing:

1. Do not be envious of wrongdoers. 

– “Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will  soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.” (v. 1-2)

– “ Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked.” (Pr. 24:19)

2. Commit your way to the Lord.

– “Commit your way; trust in Him and He will act.” (v. 5)

3. The wicked will perish.

– “But the wicked will perish; the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures; the vanish – like smoke they vanish away.” (v.20)

What we learn through David’s hymn is the importance of our waiting on the Lord’s timing. Of course we can look around us and point to examples where it would appear that evil has won a battle, but the endgame is in fact that the cheaters never really do prosper.


Jude 1:24-25

Jude 1: 24-25 is a doxology written about Jesus Christ our Lord. A doxology is an expression of praise and Jude wrote this praise after giving warnings alongside of encouragement throughout the entire book. Although the focus is on verses 24 and 25, we need to look at everything going on before so we are able to see the need for Jude’s doxology at the close of his letter. 

Jude is writing to those who are loved by God and kept by Jesus Christ. He explains in verse 3 that his intention was to write to them about the salvation they share being in Christ, but felt he needed to urge them to contend for their faith. 

Jude proceeds to write about “godless men who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality” and others who reject authority and speak abusively against things they do not understand. The word “contend” in Jude’s letter is written as a call to fight for our faith. Jude knew we would encounter false teachers and godless people who would not be like the ones who are kept in Jesus Christ. 

In verse 17, Jude begins a call to persevere and in verse 20, Jude gives direction to us saying we should “build ourselves up in our most Holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.” This instruction is how we persevere during a time where false teaching becomes more and more prevalent. 

So, why did Jude write this Doxology? The answer is simple. He alludes to it in verse 1 by referencing those who are “kept” by Jesus Christ and then again in verse 24 saying, “him who is able to “keep” you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy.” 

Jesus guards us, protects us, or in other words, has set us apart and through the Holy Spirit He helps us maneuver life. 

Our being “kept” by Jesus Christ should be enough for any of us to write a Doxology.


Nehemiah 1

Nehemiah was a cupbearer to the king and a Jew living in the region we would call Persia. He wasn’t there by choice. Nehemiah and his family and ancestors were exiled there because the Israelites had disobeyed God. 

Yet, God is still with His people even in exile. He has Nehemiah in a position of influence. As a cupbearer, Nehemiah made sure the King’s food was not poisonous. Likely, Nehemiah had a comfortable life, and was a man who was to be trusted. 

When Nehemiah gets word about the condition of his people in Judah and the desolation of Jerusalem, he is utterly heartbroken. In fact, Nehemiah 1: 4 says he, “sat down and wept and mourned for days.” He fasted and prayed to God on behalf of his people. 

Nehemiah confessed not only the sins of the people of Jerusalem, but also his own sins, and the sins of his father’s family. 

Remember,  Nehemiah had never set foot in Jerusalem. He didn’t know any of these people. Nehemiah was miles and miles away from the situation, but his heart was burdened for these people that he had a connection with. 

When was the last time our hearts were so burdened for our brothers and sisters in different parts of the world that we wept, mourned, fasted and prayed? 

Nehemiah is deeply moved, goes to God, and intercedes on their behalf. He’s so moved that he’s determined to go, leave his life of comfort and help his brothers and sisters in need. 

Not that God is calling us to leave our life of comfort and go somewhere around the world–but He might be. God is calling us to be moved by the needs of others and go to Him on their behalf. God might be calling you to cross the street, open your home, donate your time, talents and resources–God is calling us to something.

I pray we have a heart like Nehemiah–a heart that will break for others in a way that moves us to be the hands and feet of Jesus.


2 Chronicles 20:1-30

The year 2020 was difficult one for all of us, but for my family, it wasn’t only due to a global pandemic or waves of social distancing and lockdowns, but of loss. 


In April 2020, my grandma passed away. And then in July we lost an uncle. In November, another uncle passed and on Christmas Day, my sweet mother-in-law passed away. 


2021 began calm. But in May, we went to Florida on a family vacation and my wife went into labor and delivered our son ten weeks early. We spent almost six weeks in the NICU with him—in Florida—not the kind of extended vacation anyone would plan. 


The past year or so has thrown our family into crisis mode. Recently I realized I have been trying to control all the uncontrollable events in my life—the crisis things. 


What does your crisis look like? 


We all have things in our life we try to handle on our own. It’s the American way, right? We can’t let anyone know that we’re struggling. Our pride often keeps us from turning to the Lord until there are no other options. 


The story of Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, in 2 Chronicles 20 is a great example of how we should handle any crisis that may come our way. 


The Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites had built an army to wage a war against Jehoshaphat. So, Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast for all of Judah. The Bible says he, “resolved to inquire of the Lord.” 


So, we have the person, we have the crisis, and now we see how he was handling the crisis. He sought the Lord. In fact, verses 4 and 5 tell us that all the people from every town in Judah came together and, in the assembly, Jehoshaphat stood up and prayed. 


Jehoshaphat spoke of what God had done, and made his request known. Here is what I want to point out. At the end of Jehoshaphat’s prayer, he says in verse 12, “O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” 


All pride is set aside, and his faith is put in the Lord. 


Then the spirit of the Lord came upon them and he says halfway through verse 15,“Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” Then in verse 17 again we hear, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”


It goes on to say in 17, “Go out and face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” If you read through the rest of chapter 20 you will see how the Lord worked to defeat the army that was formed against Jehoshaphat and how God moved to deliver the kingdom of Jehoshaphat to a time of peace and rest. 


It is our nature to want to be in control. In my life, I can tell you that that desire to be in the driver’s seat only leads to severe anxiety and often to a place where there seems to be no hope. It’s only when we can say, “God, I do not know what to do, but my eyes are upon you,” are we able to begin the process of giving the Lord full control, knowing that we can face tomorrow because He is with us.


1 Peter 3:8-22

1 Peter 3:8-22

Suffering is not something most of us would prefer to do if given the choice. But sometimes, it’s necessary. Our suffering can be physical, but all mental. And in the process of suffering, we are called to pursue peace at all cost.

1 Peter 3:8-22 instructs us not to trade evil for evil, or insult for insult, and guides us to pursue peace. Pursing peace, especially in times of suffering, goes against our nature. We want to defend ourselves. We want to hold on to our right to be right.

If we are verbally attacked by someone, we want to verbally fight back. But I would like to issue a challenge. Read 1 Peter 3: 8-22 and apply its teaching to your life. 

Understand what it means to pursue peace, even if it means your pride has to take a back seat for the sake of resolution. 

Jesus calls us to love our neighbors and a great place to start is to love radically, even when someone has hurt you. Please understand me—what I’m asking isn’t easy. I know this firsthand. But we are to pursue peace. In fact, the very word “Pursue” implies that it will take effort on our part to work toward the end goal. Still, I challenge you to start. And when you do, go with the understanding that Jesus suffered for us. We can do all things, even pursue peace in hard times, because Jesus lives in us.


Revelation 22

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “Revelation” 3 ways:

  1. An act of revealing or communicating divine truth
  2. Something that is communication from God to humans, and
  3. An act of revealing to view or making known.

It’s important for us to understand what the word means so we don’t lose sight of the meaning we read through it, but what is being revealed or unveiled in this book?

It’s easy to see Revelation as a terrifying apocalyptic novel. On the surface we are shown wars, beasts, and economic crashes that many believe reflect current events. But, what if we have spent so much time trying to interpret the book and have missed the most important part?

Revelation reveals Jesus Christ. Though we can read about the antichrist, wars, etc,our main takeaway should be that Jesus is exactly who He says He is and does what He said He will do.

Revelation 22 begins with John finishing his description of the New Jerusalem the angel of the Lord shows him. In verse 7, Jesus exclaims, “Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.” Jesus says again in verse 12,, “Behold, I am coming soon” adding “My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. (13) I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

Jesus is making it known that He is coming and that when He comes back, it’s game over. He returns as conquering King. However, because of who He is, there is hope.

He says in verse 17, “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” The word “Come” can be described as to draw near or to move from a far position to a position nearby. In other words, it’s an invitation.

Still, here in the last book of the Bible we are offered an invitation to accept Him and to receive that free gift of living water and eternal life.


Luke 24

Life is often compared to a journey. It’s full of ups, downs, joys, pains, surprises and no doubt has its share of twists and turns. The faith life is no different–it’s a journey. The ultimate journey. 

In Luke 24 we read where Jesus has risen. Those following Jesus believed he was indeed God, the Messiah, who would save them from Rome, save them and set them free. They weren’t expecting their savior to die, and they definitely weren’t expecting him to rise again. But he did. And the world would never be the same.

Luke describes people at a point on their faith journey who are confused, bewildered, and dismayed. From the women who find an empty tomb, to the disciples who can’t believe the tomb could be empty, and to followers on a road unsure of what to make of this possible resurrection. And then we see Jesus joining them on this journey. 

Jesus literally walks with two followers and explains the scriptures to them. Not long after, he appears to the disciples as proof of his resurrection and calming their doubts and fears. 

Jesus will join us on our journey too. Wherever we find ourselves–excited about good news, confused, doubting, scared–he will meet us there, and walk with us. He will help us understand the scriptures, and show us who he is. 

Who better else to journey through this wild life with than Jesus? It’s truly the ultimate adventure.