Need some help today?

Prayer…It is vital to our growth in Christ.  

It is a necessary ingredient for us to become all that God intends for us to be. But what is prayer? Prayer is simply communication with God. It is partnering with God to align our desires and plans with His desires and purposes for us.  

We do not pray to earn God’s favor. We have the privilege of praying because God favors us! Whatever is going on in our lives, God wants us to share those things in prayer with Him. Yes, God knows all about it before we pray. However, we do not pray to inform God of our problems as much as we pray to inform ourselves that God is bigger than those problems. 

When we focus our attention on the struggles of life, they tend to grow from our perspective. Yet, when we focus our attention and gaze upon God in prayer, we realize just how big a God we serve!!

Psalm 46:1 declares, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Do you need some help today? Call on the Lord. He is a present help…here right now. Let Him be your refuge and strength. He is as close as a simple prayer for help.

Sharing some hope today,
Pastor Dave

“Hosanna!”

During these unprecedented times, I am drawn back to the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The worship of the people as he rode on the back of a donkey, speaks to our situations today.

“Hosanna! Hosanna!”  This is what the people cried out as Jesus came into Jerusalem on what we know as Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter.  The word Hosanna means, “Save us, Now!”  The people were expecting Jesus to enter Jerusalem and overthrow the government and establish an earthly kingdom.  We know that is not what He intended. He was entering Jerusalem to lay down His life for our salvation and freedom from the bondage of sin. He did not respond as the people thought He would, but had a different plan instead. 

There are times that we ask for something from the Lord and we do not receive an answer that we expected.  God may answer in a way that surprises us or even goes counter to what we thought that He should do.  In those times, it is wise to remember that God is faithful and trustworthy.  No matter what is going on in our lives, let us remember…we can trust the Lord! 

God will never fail us! In fact, that is one thing that God cannot do.  God cannot fail! It is against His very nature and person to fail.  He knows what we need and will come through for His children! 

If you are facing a difficult time today, cry out to the Lord, “Hosanna!” “Save us, Now!” He will answer you!  His answer may not be what you expected, but it will always be what you need. 

Dealing out some hope today,
Pastor Dave

One of “those” days

(* NOTE: I had written this some time ago…our hope is in Jesus.)

Have you ever had one of those days? You know…one of those days when you wish you could just crawl back into bed and start all over?  You know…one of THOSE days…I’m talking about the kind of day where it seems that if anything can go wrong, it will.

It’s always one of those days when someone will ask you “How’s it going? How are you doing?” 

You are faced with a decision…thoughts flash through your mind faster than a race car on a superspeedway…“Do I really tell them?” “Do they really want to know?”…nah, “I will just take the easy route.” And then seemingly without much thought, you hear the words coming from your own mouth… “Today is a good day. I am doing fine.”  

All the while, you want to scream that this is a tough day and you just HOPE it gets better. 

Hope is not a synonym for “wishful thinking” though. No, the biblical meaning of the word hope is a confident expectation of something good based on the solid certainty of the character and nature of God. 

I love the phrase in Hebrews 6:19, “This hope we have as an anchor for the soul.” An anchor is only as strong as that to which it is tied. This hope is in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The love and forgiveness He gives brings a confidence that no matter what we experience, the end result of His purposes in our lives is one that is for our ultimate good!

The hope, confident expectation of God’s goodness, that I have in Jesus means:

  • A promise delayed, is not a promise denied!
    Just because I haven’t received what God has promised me yet, that does not mean that He is going to deny me that promise. He will fulfill His Word!
  • A detour is not your destination!
    If the place you are in does not look like what you thought it was, don’t give up. God is still working in your life even if it looks like nothing you thought it would!
  • A diagnosis is not your destiny!
    It doesn’t matter what label someone else has tried to put on you. God has the final say over your life! He loves you and has a destiny that only you can fulfill!

Be encouraged today! Even if it is one of THOSE days…We have hope in Jesus!

Dealing hope today,
Pastor Dave

When You Don’t Know Which Way to Go…

Crazy times, huh?

Times like these remind me of something I don’t like to be reminded about…I often don’t know which way to go or what to do. Now, during this season, it is even hard to remember what day it is.

The truth is we are all limited.

And if this season has taught us anything, (and the Lord is using it to teach me a lot!), it has taught us that we are limited in what we know, understand, and control.

It reminds me of the story in the Bible of the children of Israel as they approached the promised land under Joshua’s leadership. You can find the story in Joshua 3:1-9. All of the people were about to cross over the Jordan River and into a land in which they had never been.

This story got me thinking…and I believe that there are some principles here that may help you (because they have helped me during this season).

  1. Possess a spirit of expectation.
    • In Joshua 3:1 it says that Joshua rose early in the morning.
    • Joshua knew what God had promised him. It was like he had an expectation that today could be the day that we receive what God has promised.
    • Are you expecting God to show up today in your life?
  2. Go after the presence of God.
    • In Joshua 3:3 the people were instructed “…when you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it.”
    • The ark of the covenant represented God’s presence.
    • What do you GO AFTER? What do you follow?
  3. He knows the way, because He is the Way.
    • In verse 4 the Israelites were commanded to follow the ark (God’s presence) because they had not been this way before. (Sounds like this season, huh?)
    • Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
    • I don’t know which way to go, or what I should do, but Jesus does.
    • We need to know WHO more than we need to know WHAT!
  4. Come near to hear His voice.
    • In Joshua 3:9, we hear these words: “Come here, and hear the words of the LORD your God.”
    • Lean in close to the presence of the Lord. Scripture tells us to draw near to God and He will draw near to us. (see James 4:8)

These are crazy times, for sure. Let’s not waste this season though by missing what God wants to share with us. It is hard to hear with background noise, so let’s take advantage of this time and listen for the guidance that Jesus brings.

Go after Him today! Follow Him…He knows which way to go.

Dealing some hope today,
Pastor Dave

Whatever He Says to you, do it…

I enjoy television commercials. (I know…weird, huh?) The writers and creatives that make those happen are just that; creative. Slogans and jingles from those can really stick in your mind.

Whether it is a certain cow that has an affection for chicken, or a song that gets stuck in your head, or some arches that are yellow…each of us remember those products and commercials.

I also remember a swoosh with the slogan, “____________ do it.” (You filled in the blank, didn’t you?)

Which brings me to a story in the Bible about a wedding. (John, chapter 2.)

Jesus and his disciples had been invited to a wedding in a town called Cana. As the celebration continued the wedding hosts ran out of wine. It was at that moment that Mary, Jesus’ mother, said a powerful statement to those who were serving at the wedding. She looked at the servants, and pointing at Jesus, said:

“Whatever He says to you, do it.” (John 2:5)

Such a powerful directive!

Do you ever find yourself making excuses to not do what Jesus said? I know I do…Here in this story though, all of our excuses are torn down. I learn that we can do what Jesus said…

Whatever He says to you, DO IT…

Even though…

  1. You are not at the right place. (John 2:1-2)
    Jesus was at a wedding, not a church. You may feel you are not in the right place for God to direct you, but you are right where you need to be.
  2. You have a lot of problems. (v. 3)
    They had no wine.
    What you focus on will grow. Don’t let your problems become a bigger focus than God’s power.
  3. You are not encouraged. (v. 4)
    Jesus told Mary, “It is not my time.” Yet instead of being discouraged, she grabbed the possibility of a miracle.
  4. You have not walked with the Lord for very long. (v. 5)
    The servants had just met Jesus. The disciples had just started following Him, yet they were expected to obey.
  5. You have not see Him work miracles in your life. (v. 7-9)
    This was Jesus’ first miracle. He had not performed one miracle yet.
    They obeyed before they saw their breakthrough.
  6. You don’t understand the entire process.
    We can’t see all that God is doing. His ways are far greater than we can comprehend. But He is working!…FOR YOU!

Whatever He says to you, DO IT! Even though…

Today, lean in close to the Lord. Hear Him whisper your name. Listen for His direction…and follow Him. It will be an amazing journey!!

Dealing some hope today,

Pastor Dave

W.A.I.T.-ing…

Do you know the four most dreaded words while traveling? (Do you remember when we did that, you know…travel?)

The four most dreaded words when we used to travel when our children were young…”Are we there yet?”

Waiting…please tell me that we are almost there…I remember one trip in particular when my family and I were going to travel about 16 hours total to visit relatives. We had been on the road for one hour…and it started…the piercing wail of two small children… “Are we there yet?”

Have you wondered that recently?  How long?  Are we there yet?  How long before life gets back to normal? What is normal anymore?

What do we do while waiting?  I’ve been reading in the Gospels during this time, even as we are approaching Easter…and I have been drawn to stories around Jesus’ birth.

In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 1, Mary, the mother of Jesus was presented with a promise from God that she would have a baby, and that baby would be the Son of God…but then she had to wait.  It didn’t happen for her right away. She had to wait for the birth of that Child.

At some point all of this will be over…but for now, we wait.  So what do we doing while waiting?

Let’s look at Mary’s response to her season of waiting…

1.  W  –  WORSHIP

Worship is the position of the faithful.
It is the position of those who wait on the Lord.

Mary’s response is to magnify the Lord. She sings when she visits her relative Elizabeth, “My soul magnifies the Lord!”

Between the time of the promise and its fulfillment —- Mary worships!!!
Let God use this time to develop you deeper, stronger in faith through Worship!

2.  A  — ACT ON WHAT YOU KNOW

Remain faithful and true to God’s Word. Mary continued to live out her faith in the Lord. I remember a motto from my time in the military:
“OLD ORDERS STAND UNTIL NEW ORDERS ARE ISSUED” 

Do those things to stay safe that you know to do. Act on what you know to do, and trust God with what you don’t know.

Make a decision during this season to choose to remain faithful to the Word of God, following the desires of the Lord during this time.  Don’t let circumstances sway us into disobedience… not in our actions, words, or even our attitudes!
(That gets tougher the longer we are quarantined with our families too, LOL)

3. I  –  INQUIRE OF THE LORD 

Take your tough questions to the LORD!!!  He is not put off by your questions… I know we all have questions during this time, and we don’t understand everything. Inquire of the Lord.

Inquire also means “to listen” for His response…
However great the questions, give them to the Lord, yet let’s remain humble enough to hear and listen for His response.

4.  T  — TRUST GOD

Mary believed!!! This is the ultimate “line drawn in the sand.” She made a commitment to believe that nothing was impossible with God. Although she couldn’t explain everything, and didn’t understand all that was happening, she trusted God.

Psalm 27:13-14
13  I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
14  Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!

Dealing some hope today while we W.A.I.T.,
Dave

Simple Help for Husbands (and others as well…)

As we continue to spend more time at home, our time together can be both wonderful, and stressful at the same time. So I wanted to share some help for husbands during our “stay at home” season.

I’ve been married for almost 30 years. (amazing woman, she is…)  During those years I have learned a few things, and most of them because of mistakes that I have made.  Example?…who needs a GPS when you know where you are going?  I would rather get lost when we are driving somewhere than to stop and ask for directions.

Out of the many lessons, I have one that is a simple yet life-changing thought for husbands.

Ready for it?…here it comes…

“I’m sorry, you’re right. Please forgive me.”

Life-changing, huh?  Well, at least it was for me.  When it comes down to where the shoe leather meets the road, I don’t like this statement. There are two reasons (actually, several…but two I will mention) that I don’t like this:

1.  I must admit that I am wrong.

I don’t like to admit that I am wrong or that I have made a mistake.  In fact, most of us don’t.  I think it must be something in a man’s DNA or something, but we have a difficult time admitting we were wrong.

2.  I must ask for forgiveness.

If I must ask someone, especially my wife, to forgive me, then by definition I have said or done something that is either hurtful or stupid.  (In my case, usually both…told you she was an amazing woman)  It is difficult for us to ask someone for forgiveness.  To do so we are admitting our failure and also that we have damaged the relationship, even if it is in just a small way.

So how do I do it?  How do I say, “I’m sorry, you’re right. Please forgive me.”? (For one thing, get plenty of practice…I know I have. Just kidding. Well, I wish I was kidding)

Here are three quick things to help you as a husband the next time (and there will be a next time) you must apologize:

1.  Be quick to say I am sorry and I was wrong.

Profound, huh?  Delaying the truth, or not stating it at all, does not make it go away.  We messed up. The quicker we admit that, the better. She knows it anyway…

2.  Be sincere and ask her to forgive you.

Don’t apologize in order to earn some points with your wife.  It doesn’t work. Trust me on that one. Apologize without expecting anything in return. Just admit the obvious.  You have hurt her, and even though you may not deserve it, you are in need of forgiveness.

3.  Ask her to help you change in the future.

If you are serious about #3, it will open up communication between you both like you have never experienced. She will help you in a good way.

When I think about it, these three things work well with our relationship with God too!  Try them out and see hope rise in your situation.

Well fellas, there they are…Some simple, yet sometimes difficult, ideas to help us in our relationship with our wives.  Oh, and by the way…ladies, these ideas are for you also. (I think they can actually help any relationship)

Dealing hope today,

Pastor Dave

The Most Difficult Place to Live (for most of us…)

Some thoughts for this hard season that we are in…

I was watching TV the other night, and came across one of those survival type shows.  This guy was dropped from a helicopter, and was going to spend two weeks living off of the land as he taught the viewer (me) how to survive in this particular region of the world.

It was in the middle of a desert, and his goal was to find water, shelter, and food to sustain him over the next few days.  I couldn’t help but wonder what his camera crew were going to eat…anyway, that’s another story.

He made the comment that this was one of the most difficult places to live in the world. So, that got me to thinking. “What is the most difficult place to live in the world?”

I think I may have an idea.

The most difficult place to live in the world to me is…NOW.

I have a hard time living there myself, but on my best days I do succeed a little bit.  I really want to stay there, but it is an extremely daunting task.

I think there are two (I know, there are a lot more) reasons that we can’t seem to live NOW:

1.  We are chained to the regrets of the past.  (“if only…”)

2.  We are paralyzed by fear of the future.   (“what if…”)

Many of us, yes I said us, get stuck in the past.  We either continually celebrate and look to the glories of our successes, or we are bound to the despair of our regrets.  Either way, we cannot seem to move past…the past. Our common phrase becomes “if only.”

Others of us, are paralyzed by fear of the future to such an extent, that we live our lives constantly wondering ‘what if.”  What if I cannot make it, what if I fail, what if.

Jesus said, “Do not worry.” (Matthew 6:25)

The reason I have a hard time living in NOW, is that I worry. I worry about the past…did I do a good enough job, will he/she be upset with what I said, if only I had ________________.”

Just as quickly as those thoughts come, I move to the future…what if I can’t, what if I don’t, what if _____________.

Jesus used a word for worry that means “to have a divided mind.”  I have discovered that whenever I am worried about something, then wherever I am, I am not there. (Confusing, huh?)

What I mean is, I may be with my wife at dinner, but really my mind is in the future worried about finances, job requirements, or whatever.  Only, when I hear her say, “Dave, for the fourth time…” am I brought back to the moment.

I really want to live in the moment, in the NOW.  It is difficult, but not hopeless.  When I simply trust and hand over my worries to Christ, He is able to handle my past and my future.  Which frees me to be present, right here, right NOW.

My family says that I am easier to tolerate when I am truly present with them.

I am hopeful that I am learning to trust Christ so I can live in the most difficult place on earth. Yet, I am worried I may not…oh, dear…

Dealing some hope today,

Dave

Here Goes!…

Have you ever wanted to do something, but for whatever reason never have? And just like a garage that needs cleaning, it keeps staring at you every time the door is opened…
Well, that is the way I have felt about this blog. For some time I have wanted to write about a few things that I have learned and continue to learn that may help you.
Things like: leadership, family issues, marriage lessons, and more of the “stuff of life.” You know…the things we all (well, at least I do) struggle with as we are on this journey.

This will be a great place to stay connected. Hopefully, I can bring something that is worth a connection. 🙂
And there is no better time to get started than now.

What I want to bring to the table is some “hope and healing” for the hurting. I think we could all use some of that. I know I could.

So, for now, at least every week (or less if I am like a lot of bloggers), look for more posts. Why should you come back and read? I don’t know…but I sure “hope” you do.

From a hope dealer,
Dave