SEED

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Genesis 41:17-42:17 ESV, Matthew 13:24-46 ESV, Psalm 18:1-15 ESV, Proverbs 4:1-6 ESV

Daily Verse: “And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?'” (Matthew 13:27 ESV

SPERMA (4690): “Something sown. Agricultural and botanical, metaphorical and by metonymy for ‘offspring, posterity,’ of spiritual offspring.”[I]

Weeds are sneaky.

Jesus uses parables to help us understand life. In the short story about weeds, Jesus illustrates how bad seeds become entangled with good ones. The moment the man sowing good seeds sleeps, his enemy sneaks and plants weeds. Separating the two while growing risks losing part of the harvest. Instead, the sorting happens when the plants are grown, making them easier to separate.

All plants begin with a seed. A tiny nugget, placed in the right conditions, grows and flourishes, becoming fully mature. Different seeds produce contrasting harvests. God’s word, kernels of truth planted in our soul, take root, flourishing into Christ-like actions. We produce weeds when we believe lies, feeding them instead of God’s word.      

Water the right plant.

Seeds grow because they receive proper amounts of water. Some plants require more H2O than others. Weeds take very little nurturing to flourish. Lies go around the world three times before the truth catches up with them. We are as susceptible to believing the lies of this world as anyone. Becoming intentional about what we are nourishing helps us produce a Godly harvest.

Reading God’s word daily waters, the right plant. Scripture helps you identify the weeds. God’s truth reveals the lies you’re believing. The more time you spend planting God’s word within you, the fewer falsities you’ll believe. 

Produce a bountiful harvest. Plant God’s Word in your heart. Water daily by spending time with your Creator. Weeds won’t survive the harvest. God’s truth stands the test of time, consistently producing the best fruit.


[i] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. (p. 231) Thomas Nelson

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FATHER

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Genesis 39:1-41:16 ESV, Matthew 12:46-13:23 ESV, Psalm 17:1-15 ESV, Proverbs 3:33-35 ESV

Daily Verse: “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:50 ESV)

PATER (3962): “From a root signifying, “a nourisher, protector, upholder.’ Of God in relation to those who have been born anew so are believers and imitators of their ‘Father.’[I]

Nourish, protect, uphold.

Father comes from the root word pater and describes a person who cares for others. For many children, including me, my earthly father was my hero. Dad always seemed in control; he provided a safe and secure home for us, one in which I felt entirely at ease. I wasn’t scared when I was with my dad; I did not doubt his ability to protect me. Whatever problem arose, dad had an answer. Sitting in my father’s lap was the most secure place in the world.

When dad told me to do something, I did it. Respecting who he was in my life and trusting that he wouldn’t steer me wrong caused me to obey his instruction. I knew Dad wouldn’t tell me to do something that hurt me. When I didn’t obey, inevitably, I would regret not listening to dads’ words.

God trumps dad.

As much as my dad loved and cared for me, his affection doesn’t compare to God’s. My earthly father nurtured me out of his imperfection; God loves us perfectly.

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11 ESV)

Grasping God’s love for us becomes complicated when we encounter the pressures of life. Instead of doing what God says, we follow our path because we don’t believe God really has our back at our core. Doubt in God’s involvement in our lives causes us not to obey. Believing in the unseen challenges us, but faith believes without seeing.

Put faith into action by becoming obedient to God’s word. Like a child, trust God won’t steer you wrong. Whatever God commands will help you, not hurt you. Taking steps of faith by applying God’s word to your life will lead you into a deeper relationship with your Creator. 

Let God nourish, protect, and uphold you today. Obey His commands, discover God’s will for your life. Enjoy life in the family of God as you follow Jesus. 


[i] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. (p. 195) Thomas Nelson

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JUDGMENT

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Genesis 37:1-38:30 ESV, Matthew 12:22-45 ESV, Psalm 16:1-11 ESV, Proverbs 3:27-32 ESV

Daily Verse: I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” (Matthew 12:36 ESV)

KRISIS (2920): “Decision, for or against. Denotes ‘the process of investigation, the act of distinguishing and separating. A judging, a passing of judgment upon a person or thing.”[I]

Trust Jesus.

You needn’t fear judgment day. Jesus cleanses us of our sins the moment we place our faith in Him, making us pure as snow. Instead of fretting, we can introduce others to Jesus by admitting our faults. Confessing our sins to one another paves the way for progress. None of us will ever arrive at perfection, but we can make progress.

“Every day is a blank page.” Garth Brooks said on a recent radio spot. The country singer talked about how he springs from bed every morning, ready to serve God and man. He reminded listeners, we have a new opportunity every morning to try again.

Each new day, we can do better. God’s Spirit working within us means following His promptings. We can make better choices with our language, using uplifting and encouraging words. Forgiving yesterday’s sins, we strive to move forward, learning and growing, becoming new.

Everyone judges.

The average adult makes 35,000 decisions a day.[i] We judge people, places, and things. One day, we will stand before God and give an account for our judgments. All our words, God knows. Hiding from our actions, impossible. Gratefully, because of Jesus, we don’t have to worry. When God’s Son endured the Cross, He did so for us. Knowing we need rescuing from ourselves, God provided a solution, Jesus.

Above all else, God loves us. When we look at others, remember that their heavenly Father loves them. Make judgments based on love. God’s grace and mercy flow into us; we’re to share it with others. When we judge with love, we make better judgments.


[i] https://www.inc.com/heidi-zak/adults-make-more-than-35000-decisions-per-day-here-are-4-ways-to-prevent-mental-burnout.html#:~:text=It’s%20estimated%20that%20the%20average,than%2035%2C000%20decisions%20per%20day.


[i] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. (p. 145) Thomas Nelson

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SABBATH

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Genesis 35:1-36:43 ESV, Matthew 12:1-21 ESV, Psalm 15:1-5 ESV, Proverbs 3:21-26 ESV

Daily Verse: “At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat.” (Matthew 12:1 ESV)

SABBATON (4521): “Day of weekly repose from secular avocations. The root means “to cease, desist.” The double “b” has an intensive force, implying a complete cessation or a making to cease, probably the former. The idea is not that of relaxation or refreshment, but cessation from activity.”[i]

Stop the routine.

Sabbath means “to cease, desist.” One day a week, God wants us to stop our regular routine and rest. Long ago, Blue Laws existed in the United States “prohibiting certain activities, such as shopping on Sunday.”[ii]  Even though the Supreme Court ruled Blue Laws as Constitutional, state courts struck down the laws, making them unenforceable. Interesting how companies who choose to close on Sunday profit.

Chick-Fil-A continues to thrive in tough economic times, even though the company closes on Sundays. In 2020, the company reported an increase of 13% over 2019 revenue.[iii] Meanwhile, McDonald’s revenue declined 1.3% in the same period.[iv]  Never do I see the lines at McDonald’s like I do Chick-Fil-A. In 2020, during COVID, a friend and I waited over a half-hour in the drive-thru at Chick-Fil-A to get lunch.

Enjoy a day of rest.

Stop your normal activities one day a week, experience how it changes your life. Because Chick-Fil-A enforces the Sabbath, their entire working community enjoys a day off together. No one worries about what’s going on at work when everyone has the day off. They save money with reduced overhead and have a healthier work environment because of their commitment to God’s word.

Taking a Sabbath made the top ten. Third in the list of commandments, “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day” (Exodus 20:8 ESV). God knows we need a break from the routine. A day set aside to reconnect with our Maker, a date night with God. Like couples with healthy relationships set aside time for each other, we need to do the same with God. Developing more beneficial relationships requires intentionality. 

Become intentional in your relationship with God. Set aside one day a week to cease and desist your everyday routine. Make a date with God and keep it. Begin to experience life change as you learn to rest.


[i] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. (p. 222) Thomas Nelson

[ii]https://www.google.com/search?q=blue+laws+definition&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS918US918&oq=blue+laws&aqs=chrome.2.69i57j0i512l9.5126j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

[iii] https://www.restfinance.com/restaurant-finance-across-america/chick-fil-a-reports-record-revenue-and-profits-in-2020-despite-covid-19-pandemic/article_26ec54da-9b30-11eb-a0b5-dfff0ec78fa7.html#:~:text=Revenue%20was%20%244.3%20billion%20in,versus%20%24897%20million%20in%202019.

[iv] https://www.businessinsider.com/mcdonalds-earnings-revenue-fourth-quarter-annual-2020-income-earning-2021-1

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MESSENGER

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Genesis 32:13-34:31 ESV, Matthew 11:7-30 ESV, Psalm 14:1-7 ESV, Proverbs 3:19-20 ESV

Daily Verse: “This is he of whom it is written, “‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’ (Matthew 11:10 ESV)

ANGELOS (32): “A messenger sent by God or; by man or by Satan. The word most frequently refers to an order of created beings. Angels are spirits, not having material bodies as men are either human in form, or can assume the human form when necessary.: [i]

God sends messengers.

Jesus refers to John as a messenger. The original Greek word means “a messenger sent by God or by man or by Satan.” Most often referring to spirits, in this instance, John fulfills the role of God’s messenger, preparing the way for Jesus. 

Pastors are God’s messengers. People of God who study His word, then teach it to others share the good news of Jesus. In some way or another, we are all a messenger for God. We can talk about what Jesus does for us. Telling others about the life transformation which happens when we follow Jesus shares His message, drawing others to Him.

Tell your story.

I met Jesus in Sunday school. Gert Guthrie was my teacher. Sitting at the table in the basement of Tidal Presbyterian church, I remember the felt figures sticking to the board as she shared stories from the Bible with us. Meeting Jesus at a young age helped me develop a Biblical worldview. As I grew into adulthood and began facing life’s challenges, I viewed everything from the lens of scriptures taught to me long ago.

As years slipped by and I placed more and more faith in Jesus, my relationship with Him grew, continuing to grow today. Now I write devotionals to share my story and how Jesus works in my life. The more time I spend getting to know the Savior, the more I want to share His message with the world.

Become a messenger today. Tell people how Jesus transformed your life. Introduce others to the One who will change their lives in ways they never imagined.


[i] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. (p. 2) Thomas Nelson

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DISCIPLE

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Genesis 31:17-32:12 ESV, Matthew 10:24-11:6 ESV, Psalm 13:1-6 ESV, Proverbs 3:16-18 ESV

 Daily Verse: “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.” (Matthew 10:24 ESV)

MATHETES (3101): “A learner (from manthano, “to learn,” indicating thought accompanied by an endeavor). Of all who manifest that they are His “disciples” by abiding in His Word. A “disciple” was not only a pupil but an adherent; hence, they are spoken of as imitators of their teacher.”[i]

                            Imitate the Teacher.

Becoming a disciple means imitating the teacher. Doing what others do helps us learn and grow.

On vacation in Florida, I watched a father teach his son to fish with a net. Dad carefully spread the small, round meshwork on the boards of the dock. Then, picking the net up quickly, he spun it into the water. The circular web landed on top of the water with grace, sinking beneath the surface. After several demonstrations, the son did his best to imitate his father. The young boy’s first attempts failed, obviously a skill that needs practice.   But the more the lad tried, the better he did.

Keep practicing.

Loving people like Jesus requires practice. For some, forgiving others comes more naturally than it does for others. Letting go of past offenses challenges me, but the more I follow Jesus, the better I become at forgiving. As I grow in Christ, I recognize, unforgiveness hurts me more than anyone else. When we refuse to forgive others, we create negative thoughts in our minds, which keep us from living life to the fullest.

But if we imitate Christ, who forgave us our sins, we must forgive others. One prayer I pray, “Lord, help me see them through Your eyes.” Lifting those words to God helps me get out of my perspective and into God’s. Jesus died for everyone, His gesture of love for a sinful world.

Our relationship with Jesus starts with forgiveness. Laying our sins at His feet, Jesus answers with grace. Imitating Christ means leading with love. 


[i] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. (p. 155) Thomas Nelson

HEAL

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Genesis 30:1-31:16 ESV, Matthew 10:1-23 ESV, Psalm 12:1-8 ESV, Proverbs 3:13-15 ESV

Daily Verse:Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.” (Matthew 10:8 ESV)

THERAPEUO (2323): “To wait upon menially, i.e. (fig.) to adore (God), or (spec.) to relieve (of disease):-cure (5x), heal (38x), worship (1x). To care for the sick, to treat, cure, heal.”[i]

Become a healer.

No medical bill comes with Jesus’ healing. When He hung on the Cross, Jesus paid it in full. Matthew records the mission statement for the disciples. Jesus sends them out into the world to share the good news through action and deed. God gave them the power to accomplish their task freely; they shared it with others the same way.

Part of healing means to “wait upon menially.” Serving others heals them. Sharing our stories with family and friends helps them learn and grow. As followers of Christ, part of our task when loving others, helping them to heal. Healing happens when we open our lives up to each other.

Share the struggle.

Loving hurting people means walking with them on the journey. Helping them when we can, listening to their heartache, sometimes, just sitting silently with them, letting them know they aren’t alone. Look for ways to connect with those in pain. Meet them in the pit. Ask God for ways you can minister to them. 

When my sister was dying from cancer, she had a small appetite. Canned peaches were the only thing she found tasty. Her husband bought a case of them; it was one thing he could do for her. Finding ways to connect with people means tuning into their actions and word. Pay attention to them; do it when you discover a way to serve them. Acts of love heal in ways nothing else can.

Become a healer today. Tap into the power of Jesus. Follow God’s leading to minister to those around you. When the Holy Spirit prompts you into action, do it.


[i] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. (p. 115) Thomas Nelson

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WELL

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Genesis 28:1-29:35 ESV, Matthew 9:18-38 ESV, Psalm 11:1-7 ESV, Proverbs 3:11-12 ESV

Daily Verse: “…for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” (Matthew 9:21 ESV)

SOZO (4982): “To save,” i.e., deliver or protect of material and temporal deliverance, from danger, suffering, etc., from sickness. Of the spiritual and eternal salvation granted immediately by Go to those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”[i]

Wellness comes from Jesus.

Most and foremost, Jesus offers salvation from our sins. The moment we confess our mess, Jesus forgives. Instantaneously, we are new creatures in Christ. Cleansed white as snow from our past, granted a future full of hope for better things. Instead of staying stuck in poor decisions from the past, we can let them go. Learning from them as we follow Jesus on the path, He has for us.

“Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” (Matthew 9:22 ESV)

Faith heals. The bleeding women’s trust in Jesus healed her suffering of the physical ailment. Sometimes, it doesn’t happen when we’re praying for miraculous healing. Faith gives us hope; even though we didn’t get the answer we wanted; God has our best interest at heart. 

Faith, not Fear.

No matter our physical circumstances, we must have faith, God’s at work. God doesn’t tell us the whole story; we can only see in part. When anxiety and fear begin to overtake us, pray ‘Faith, not Fear.” Reach out for Jesus, touch His robe, trust, He will heal you. Believe in the Healer for ultimate healing.

When my nephew died at 20 years old from Type 1 diabetes, I questioned God. Why didn’t God heal him here on earth? Friends asked me how I reconciled his death with my faith. God’s answer to my prayer wasn’t what I wanted, but I realized, He did heal Cody. Wholly and completely, Cody received a new body when he entered heaven. No longer would he have to worry about blood sugar levels and insulin shots. Healing came with a move to the heavenly realm. One day, God will reunite us in what will only seem like the blink of an eye.

Faith does heal, one way or the other. God doesn’t always answer the way we want, but He does answer. In Him, we can find peace; without Him, we can’t.


[i] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. (p. 245) Thomas Nelson

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FOLLOW

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Genesis 26:17-27:46 ESV, Matthew 9:1-17 ESV, Psalm 10:16-18 ESV, Proverbs 3:9-10 ESV

Daily Verse: “As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.” (Matthew 9:9 ESV)

AKOLOUTHEO (190): “To be in the same way with, i.e., to accompany. Frequently in the literal sense (Mt. 4:25), metaphorically, of “discipleship” (Mk. 8:34, 9:38, 10:21). It is used 77 times in the Gospels, of “following” Christ and only once otherwise (Mk 14:13). [i]

Rise and follow.

Walking with Jesus means accompanying Him in the direction He’s going. The Gospels authors use the word seventy-seven times, telling us to “follow Jesus.” Since Jesus walked everywhere, we can’t use the excuse He’s going too fast. The problem we all have, we don’t want to travel in the same direction as our Savior.

Jesus leads with grace. First and foremost, God loves and forgives, no matter the sin. I don’t always want to lead with grace; I’m sure you don’t either. Forgiving doesn’t seem possible when we suffer because of someone else’s actions.   The only way we can forgive, follow Jesus. 

Walk this way.

Accompanying God’s Son means doing what He did. When faced with betrayal, Jesus forgave. Hanging on the Cross, barely breathing, His words tell the story:

“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34 ESV)

When I quit my job as District Manager, it wasn’t in my plans. Facing company changes that compromised my principles, I had a choice to make. With respect, I gave my two weeks’ notice. Walking down the headquarters’ sidewalk, overcome with hurt, I remembered Jesus’s words, “Forgive them; they know not what they do.” Peace began to settle over me as I walked Jesus’ way.

Follow Jesus daily by connecting with Him through the Gospels. Get to know God in the flesh as you read about His travels. Journeying with Jesus will take you to unexpected places. Experiencing God’s presence in your life as you actively pursue Him will change you. The closer you follow, the more you will experience.

Get close to Jesus today. Follow Him wherever He wants to take you. One step at a time, live life to the fullest following Jesus.


[i] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. (p. 12) Thomas Nelson

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FAITH

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Genesis 24:52-26:16 ESV, Matthew 8:18-34 ESV, Psalm 10:1-15 ESV, Proverbs 3:7-8 ESV

Daily Verse: “And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.” (Matthew 8:26 ESV

OLIGOPISTOS (3640): “Literally, this word means little of faith and is used only by the Lord as a tender rebuke for anxiety (Mt, 6:30, Lk 12:28; or for fear (Mt. 8:26, 14:31, 16:8).”[I]

Jesus rebukes tenderly.

Storm raging, waves slapping, wind howling, the familiar scene of Jesus napping amid chaos, a well-known Bible story, preached often. When the disciples waken the Lord, He rebuked them gently. Why were they fearful when Jesus was with them? In the flesh, on the boat, Jesus was present, yet they feared.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 ESV)

God asks us to believe what we can’t see, assured of Jesus’ presence always. The disciples believed in Jesus because they witnessed the miracles He performed. When turbulence happened, they panicked.   Even with Jesus physically present, their faith wavered. The next time you doubt, give yourself grace, even the disciples questioned.

Give Jesus your anxiety.

When panicked, the disciples knew what to do, wake Jesus. “Pray, not Panic,” a prayer in my book, “Three Word Prayers for Everyday Living,” are the words I use to wake Jesus up in my life. 

Teaching the last class of kid’s tennis of the year, we combined the beginner and intermediate classes for games. In the beginning, chaos ensued. Having just published the book, my assistant asked me what we should pray. My mind went blank; I couldn’t think of a single prayer, then “Pray, not Panic” came to mind, followed quickly by, “Lord, help us.” Within minutes, the class quieted down; all had fun.

Faith means knowing where to turn when life nosedives. Jesus’ presence always remains close:

“For he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5 ESV)

Jesus travels with you, whatever the mode of transportation. Just like He was in the boat with the disciples, Jesus journeys with you. If the storm’s raging around you, wake up Jesus. Remember, He has the power to calm the storm or else give you strength to survive it. But if you don’t tap into God’s strength, you won’t access His power.

Choose faith. Pray, not panic. Find God’s calm.


[i] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. (p. 177) Thomas Nelson

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