Good Year

Habakkuk 2:2

Then the Lord answered me and said, “Write down the vision and inscribe it clearly on tablets, so that one who reads it may run.”

I cannot resist writing just one more New Year’s message. This passage always resonates with me at this time of the year. Now, I know something about you guys. Quite a few of you have already made your goals and plans for this new year. A few of you have written them down. Those who have written down their goals are the most likely to achieve them. Why is that? God told us above, write it down so you can run with it. You can’t run towards a goal you cannot see.

There are many of us who don’t have goals yet for the year. We often have the best intentions, but don’t get them written. Let’s make that the first thing we do this year, our first accomplishment, if you will. Let’s set out some goals and write them down. Okay, so here is the deal, just write it down. The goal you are thinking of right now might seem too big. Write it down anyway. Another goal you inscribe may change over the year. Actually, writing it down helps you to revise your goals. When we don’t have a written record of our desires, everything gets muddled. Write down what you are thinking now and if in a week, if it needs revision, so be it. Revise it.

The passage says to write it clearly or plainly. Besides legibility I think this means to give the goal specificity. Let’s take this example. Let’s say my goal is to read more this year. Okay, what does “more” mean? Is that more than last year? Well, how many books did I read last year. Maybe my goal would be better stated as, “Read 5 books this year.” Good. Now, let’s say it’s May and I have already read five books. No worries, I get out my little journal and revise it to 8. It is also okay to revise a goal down. Maybe some opportunity arises that makes reading 5 books hard. Review your goal and make a reasoned decision about what adds the most value to your life. Is the opportunity stealing from you or adding value? Is the book reading goal more important to you than what the opportunity brings? If it’s really a great opportunity, then revise your reading goal down. That’s okay, but also record in your journal what you are hoping to gain from the opportunity.

Second, what am I going to have to do in order to reach my goal. If I work until 5:00 each day; cook dinner, eat and clean-up until 6:30 and plan to go to bed at 10:00 that leaves me 3 ½ hours to get some reading in. So, what needs to happen so that I can read for 30 minutes? Well, perhaps I decide to go to bed at 9:30 and read before I go to sleep. Or, maybe after the kitchen is clean, I need to take my 30 minutes right then before they get lost in a whirlwind of other activities. You get the point. Goals are not achieved without intentionality and a plan. Writing down a clear concise recitation of the goal is key but then develop a plan around that and write it down.

When I say that I want you to have a fabulous 2022, I mean it. I do not write these things lightly. All of the words I send to you come from within me. So, saying, Happy New Year means something. As wonderful as the sentiment is, I also feel a responsibility to help you have that good year. That’s why we do a Word of the Day. When I read today’s verse, I know that Yahweh is teaching us something important. Every word which proceeds from His lips has life in it. Therefore, I hope you will take this seriously and begin, today, to write down what you would like to achieve or see come to fruition in this year. Attach some dates too.

Write it down and review it regularly, at least weekly if not daily. If daily is too much, sit down Sunday night and remind yourself what you are believing for. Then start your week with determined purpose. You will find God leading you in amazing ways if you do this.

I pray you have a great year, full of new beginnings, accomplishments, and blessings!


Ephesians 3: 6      NLT

And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus.

The third chapter of Ephesians is one of the hardest chapters in the Bible to read. Why? Because it is so rich that first, you can’t read a full sentence before you are stopped by the awe of what you just read so you keep re-reading the same sentence. Second, because there is so much to highlight or scribble notes about, you cannot read it easily from the comfort of a chair or couch. Truthfully, you need to go back and read it again in a new Bible or a different translation because your everyday Bible probably has so many notations and highlights that it is almost difficult to read it with fresh eyes. That is what I am doing. I am reading from a Bible a friend of mine loaned me and I am very much enjoying the new and fresh revelation I am receiving. Today’s verse is taken from that Bible, the New Living Translation. Reading Ephesians 3 today from a version other than my normal New American Standard jogged a few cobwebs loose. I am only going to pick up on one little idea from the passage. It is almost an afterthought rather than the main topic of the verse, but intriguing none the less.

I was taken by the words “the promise of blessings.” This passage was written by Paul who was a Jew among Jews. He had the very best rabbinical teaching available and was steeped in the law. For him to write that God revealed to him His hidden plan is not so much a surprise, but that the plan was to incorporate Gentiles into the family of God was a radical idea. So, it is funny to me that God’s secret plan was the inclusion of non-Jews and that a well-trained Jew was given this revelation. Still, that is not what grabbed my attention today. What struck me is the Jewishness with which Paul wrote this verse.

Modern Christians think of the inclusion of Gentiles in terms of salvation. Yea salvation! That’s great news. It is, however, only part of the good news and Paul knew it. If you notice, he did not write that both Jews and Gentiles enjoy salvation together. He said we all join in the blessings of the Christ. See, Paul understood Deuteronomy. Many Christians don’t even read it, but it is a GREAT book full of the promise and the blessing. That is exactly what Paul was thinking about when he wrote this passage. He didn’t think of the “Great Plan” as merely a golden ticket for the heaven train. He understood that we now stand in the same blessing as the Jews. That means day in and day out here on earth we can, and should, see the blessing of God working for our benefit. We should be living in the blessing every day and in everything we do. We are inheritors of the promise of blessings. Let that one sink in. While Christians mostly think about being the beneficiaries of salvation, Jews know that God is a here and now advocate and friend. They understand that the blessing is supposed to touch all of life.

Some people are going to wait until their physical bodies die to begin to live in the grace and blessing of God because they don’t know any better. I’ve got news, you are now Jewish, and you have inherited all of the promises of the Old Testament. You are entitled to that land flowing with milk and honey and that was not a after-life dream. The Israelites crossed the river and walked in the land and now you can too.

What do you want? Maybe you want salvation for a wayward child. Maybe you want a new goal and new mission for your life. Dig deep and ask yourself what you truly want. Maybe you want to know Jesus better and better each day so that he becomes as real to you as any living person. You can have all this and more. You have the promise of God’s blessings. Now, what will you do with that promise?

Happy Thanksgiving

Ephesians 5: 20

 Always thank God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

My prayer this year is that you have much to be thankful for.  According to Paul, we are to learn to be thankful in all things. Thankfulness is a healing balm.  Do you know that your digestion is actually better when a meal is consumed with a heaping serving of gratitude.

Our forefathers halted their labors to thank the Father of the Harvest for provision.  Although these last two years have been remarkably challenging, I find there is still much for which to be grateful.  I pray you have that same sense in your spirit.

May you be blessed with joy, merriment and every good thing.  God bless you!

Happy Thanksgiving!!


Blessed Beyond Measure

Proverb 22: 9              NIV

The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.

For some, generosity seems to come naturally. Others of us struggle. I do not believe that this lack of generosity always stems from greed. Sure, some people are tight fisted because they want everything for themselves. They are, in fact, selfish. I think, though, that some of us are generous of heart but fearful. The truth is we are not as generous as we might be because we lack faith in our God and Father. We don’t truly believe He will take care of us. That is why we hold on so tightly.

I have seen much in the scriptures lately about giving and though I consider myself a pretty good giver, I have found myself challenged. I need to do more. One of the things Father has shown me is that sometimes I hold on so tightly to what I have that He can’t get more to me. The expression, tight-fisted, is apropos. My fist is clenched and that is what I present to the Father rather than a hand outstretched and open. He cannot give into a clenched fist.

I am convinced that anyone who really loves God and does a study of the scriptures cannot continue to horde their wealth. These believers give beyond the tithe. They constantly find ways to bless others. I love these folks because they continue to show me ways I can give and I am often overwhelmed by their goodness, which is one of God’s qualities. I am still living in the glow of the outpouring of gifts for the Multiple Sclerosis charity bike ride. Many of you showed the most tender part of your hearts in your giving.

If I may, I would also like to be so honest as to say, some gave nothing. I do not believe it is because they lack kindness. Some may have chosen other charities for the year. That’s fair. Others though, may suffer this depression era mentality that causes us to hold on too tightly to what we have. If that is you, I sympathize because I stumble over that line too. However, there is hope for us and I want us all to be blessed in the full measure that God desires.

Father, bless those people who so demonstrate your kindness in their own giving. Pour out upon them a blessing so large they cannot contain it. And Father, for those who have not become great givers yet, teach us by your gentle Holy Spirit that it is your way and part of our calling. Relieve us of fear and boost our faith in you and your provision. Give us stalwart hearts and bless our giving as you do those who have already learned this important lesson. Father, make us, everyone, givers beyond the ten percent tithe and Father, for those who have not yet learned to tithe, encourage them that this is your way of meeting their need. Give them extra faith in your Word. Challenge them to take this first step. Give us all hearts of the giver, Father that we might be like you, and I thank you for this and bless you in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Green Pastures

Luke 6: 38

Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.

If you read yesterday’s Word of the Day, you know that Jesus gives us commands and expects them to be obeyed. You will also remember, though, that he gives them in order to guide us on good paths for our own wellbeing. Today’s verse is an excellent example that very thing.

The first word of today’s verse is the command. Give. Jesus could have stopped right there. He instructs us to give. There is a promise attached to this command, but we should understand first that it is a mandate. It is not a suggestion; it is the Word of the Lord. Jesus said, “Why do you call me Lord and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6: 46), so let us not delude ourselves into thinking this is a mere inspiration. James said we should prove ourselves doers of the Word (James 1: 22). This is the doing. Give!

Jesus is not, however, an overbearing task master. He does not stand over us with whip in hand barking out orders. He is the good shepherd leading us to the still waters and green pastures (Psalm 23). We must follow Him, submit to his direction and guidance if we wish to lie down in those green pastures. In today’s verse the green pasture is people giving to you in such volume that you cannot contain it. It is running over. Now, the path to that green pasture, the path Jesus is trying to guide us onto is giving.

How fast do you want you receive your overflow? Jesus said you are the master of the measure. If you give with a teacup, your return will be measured in teacups. If you give by the gallon, your return comes by the gallon. The measure you use will be the measure of the return. Overflow comes faster if you use a gallon jug. The more you give the greater the return.

It’s still a command that we give, and that should stand alone, but Jesus commanded it because he is trying to get blessing to you, and he understands how his Father’s kingdom works. Give and you shall receive, good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. The commandments and the blessing are tied together.  Follow the instructions of your Lord and be blessed.

Lucky Me!

Proverb 10: 22

It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich.

I have a friend who constantly talks about luck. She also remarks about how lucky I am. I am not lucky. I am blessed and there is a big difference. Sometimes it is frustrating hearing her talk about luck. I keep hoping she will get a revelation that this is what it means to be “blessed of the Lord.” Too right great things happen for me! It isn’t because of me, and it isn’t because I am lucky. It is because we have an awesome Father who sent His blessing into the earth to hunt us down and shower us with His goodness.

Some of you have seen posts about my bike team. I have said many times, “We are the most blessed of all bike teams,” and I mean it. If you could live in my shoes and see how our sponsors have blessed us, you would understand. We have the most fabulous sponsors, and they are terrific not because we have done anything to earn their kindness but because they have the love and joy of the Lord in their hearts. They just bless us because of Jesus. Man, it is totally awesome. And now, we just won a drawing from a local business. They are giving us 50 mini-Bundt cakes for our team tent! Wow! Lucky? I don’t think so. That is the blessing again. It is chasing us down in the street piling God’s love on us. There were over 2000 entries. Some teams had over 200 entries. We had only 60, but we won. It isn’t about statistics. It’s about the blessing.

It is the blessing of the Lord which is at work. The blessing of the Lord makes rich! My friends and family raised $3000 for MS. Are you kidding me with this? That is not luck. That is the blessing at work and all of you who donated, you have your part in the blessing. I just love seeing how the pieces fit together and how the Father is at work wrapping us all up in His blessing. You see, that was His financial plan all along. This is how Kingdom finances work. We keep moving in Him and He generates the flow.

I am not lucky, but I must be one of the most blessed people on the planet. I am overwhelmed by the goodness of our team sponsors, all of you who donated and all the kindnesses which keeps flowing to me and towards our team. I pray that our beloved Father continues to show Himself and the effect of the blessing on each and every one of you so that your unenlightened friends call you the luckiest person they know. May the blessing overtake you.

Finding Good

Proverb 16: 20

One who pays attention to the word will find good, and blessed is one who trusts in the LORD.

I wrote last week on how the Word of the Day got its name and its start. Now here is this verse reminding us that the Word brings goodness to our lives. That is why we must develop our relationship with the Word.

God gave us His Word to guide us. Surely, the guidance of the Lord takes us to places of goodness, refreshing and blessing. I often think of the Bible as a How-to manual. We can get direction about everything in life. The problem is that sometimes we treat it too much like a sacred document or a piece of literature. While it is both, it is first and foremost a functional document and those other aspects can take away from its primary function.

Another problem many of us have is that we were raised on the King James Version. Let’s be honest, most of us don’t understand old English that well. I mean, read the Canterbury Tales and tell me what they mean. While I still like the King James for Luke 2 and Psalm 23 I just can’t use it for everyday enlightenment. If I want it to lead me to good, I need to understand it and for me that is best done with the NASB. In truth, while the NASB is my daily go to Bible, I use a lot of translations so that I can reap the most out of a scripture.

As to the second phrase of today’s verse, I find when we get comfortable with the Word and learn how to find God in it, our level of trust grows exponentially. When I need God, I know He is always waiting for me and will reveal Himself in His Word. I cannot recount the number of times I was desperate to hear from God, opened up my Bible and He spoke to me.

My advice is to get a translation of the Bible with which you are comfortable. Maybe a NIV or NLB will work for you. Then begin to read. Don’t start with Genesis though. Begin with Matthew 1: 1. Read the Psalms and read the Proverbs. If you will read the first four chapters of the New Testament, the Psalms and Proverbs, you will have a great foundation poured. Then, read the rest of the New Testament. By the time you finish, you will be ready for the Old Testament, and you will see it with renewed eyes. There is a lot of great stuff back there but don’t let it overwhelm you. Lay a foundation first. Find your Bible and in so doing, find goodness and blessing.