Working on second book. Note:

This isn’t the finished product, much editing needs done!






            I am not producing this book to judge anyone in any way-that is not my job. Soon the Lord will be doing a final judging because that is His job to do. Let His word judge and convict our lives daily.  Rather, I want to bring light to some of the issues that we as a society of individuals and corporately as a country are dealing with and how we in the United States can rise above them with God’s help and guidance. 

I have touched on several subjects including Christian living, our nation’s spiritual condition, witnessing and a few more subjects that deal with some of my personal experiences and convictions of faith, including my personal testimony.  I hope what has been written will be relevant in your personal walk and, of which I pray, will be received with an open heart and mind (Spirit and Soul). 

            Who am I?  I am a sinner saved by God’s grace and washed by the blood of the Lamb, my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  I am like any other Christian in that I battle daily, fighting off the desires of the carnal man.  My mission statement is to seek God and His righteousness for my life; to try my very best to honor and glorify God in all things.  Hopefully, one day I want to become an inspiration of godliness to my family, friends and all that know me. 

            My desire is to draw closer to God each and every day; to humbly demonstrate strong obedient faith while staying true to His word; to witness for Jesus by spreading the saving knowledge that has been given to us and maybe, just maybe, work together and in step with the Holy Spirit to help stir the hearts of men. 

            Do you have a mission statement?






            I am so blessed to be an American, to live in this free nation where I can serve Jesus without fear of retribution.  I never want to forget or take for granted all the blessings that I have received from my loving Lord.  Why, then, write a book and why now?  Most importantly, I believe the Lord has led me to this point in my life.  I would like for my daughter, Campbell, to be able to read this many years down the road and understand what kind of Christian her father was and what I believed in.  So, this writing is first and foremost dedicated to her.  As she reads this later in life, I hope she will come to understand that becoming a Christian is the most important decision she will ever make.

            This book is also dedicated to the following:  my wife, Deidre; my parents; my brother Scott and my parents-in-law.  Who else am I dedicating this writing to?  This book is also dedicated to the Lost and the Saved alike, but with emphasis directed to those who are professing Believers. 

            Most importantly, I surrender these writings to the Lord Jesus Christ.  I pray that the Lord will bless this book and use it to serve His purpose and to spread His will to those who seek it.

            PRAYER- Almighty God speak to me through thy Holy Spirit.  Show me your ways and wisdom as I complete these writings.  Lord let your light shine through me so my path will be clear.  Give me boldness about you Lord that demonstrates obedient faith.  I praise and glorify thy name Jesus Christ Amen. 








It all started for me on ??? when I was born into a sinful world.  Thank the Lord that I was raised in a Christian home by two wonderful parents, Don and Donnetta Bradley.  My childhood, I guess, was like any other child’s.  I remember some tough times.  My parents were constantly sacrificing to make sure their children were taken care of.  Early in my childhood Dad was laid off from working several times.  I remember we blocked off certain rooms in the house because we couldn’t afford to heat them.  We ate a lot of potato and vegetable soup (always without any meat).  My father has told me that at one time he had to sell his shotgun just so I could have some formula when I was a baby. 

Most importantly, however, I remember that my parents always took me to Sunday school and church.  The Bible tells us in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go:  and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  (KJV)  I believe my parents got the job done.

            As a young teenager I found myself involved in a lot of church youth activities.  When I was about thirteen years old, my youth group attended a youth revival at the Wurtland Nazarene Church in Wurtland, Kentucky.  Rev. Sparks was holding the services.  At the end of his message he had an altar call for the Lost.  I found myself gripping the back of the pew as tight as I could.  I was under conviction.  Some of the kids in our group saw what was happening and offered to go to the altar with me and pray.  Finally, I let go of the pew and the sin that had been gripping me.  I was saved that day!

            As an older teenager I was veering off the straight and narrow path, even though I always saw myself as a “good kid.”  However, I was not serving the Lord as he deserved.  I graduated from High School and began attending Technical College.  I was working at Wendy’s at night.  I remember always being tired and not having or giving the time to serve the Lord as I should have.  I remember praying a very specific prayer one night.  It was just one of the many prayers that the Lord has answered in my lifetime.  But this one special prayer was for the Lord to send me a young woman that I could fall in love with and who would love me for myself.  Sometime later, a young lady was hired to work at Wendy’s for the summer.  In addition to her good looks and charming personality, she had a maturity about her that intimidated me a bit.  I thought she had to be older than I was but, as it turned out, she was just seventeen and the daughter of a preacher.

            Finally, I got up enough nerve to ask her on a date and she accepted!  Four years later she became my lovely bride.  During the four years we dated, I saw her as an example for the Christian life I should have been living.  Every day since we met, her strong love for the Lord and dedication to God has been a blessing to me.  While we were dating I rededicated my life to the Lord and became active in His purposes by serving in the church we attended.  Throughout those early years of our marriage, I kept taking on more responsibilities in the church by teaching Sunday school and directing the song service each week.

            In 2001 we moved to Russell, Kentucky and became involved in a local church closer to our new home and joined that fellowship.  For the next few years we attended church regularly and I got involved to a degree in the church activities.  Unfortunately, at that time my attitude was that I needed a break from so much responsibility that I had at our other church. 

            The summer of that same year, Deidre and I were scheduled to go on a whitewater rafting adventure at Cumberland Falls, Kentucky.  Deidre, who has a more daring side than I do, was excitedly waiting to plunge down the big rapids.  After arriving at the site, we were thoroughly trained about what to do in case of an emergency in the water.  We were given our helmets and life jackets and down the river we went.

            As we came upon the last bit of rapids, we hit a rock and I was knocked out of the raft.  As I hit the water I didn’t have much concern since I knew I had all the safety equipment on.  However, all the prior training didn’t help me because I was being pulled to the bottom of the river.  Rather than floating I was caught in the undertow and it wouldn’t release me.

            Frantically, I reached out for help but my hand didn’t get above the water and the river was too murky to see anything.  I couldn’t determine where I was from the surface.  In what seemed to be forever but in all actuality was just a few seconds, I began to realize that I was drowning.  My life started to flash through my mind in scenes.  I saw my wife and parents and thought about how they would manage without me.  I thought about how devastated they would be.

            I couldn’t hold my breath any longer and was starting to take in water.  I thought, “Who would have thought that today would be the day I was going to die?”  In one more desperate attempt, I reached up and someone grabbed my hand.  It was a boy scout from the next raft’s group.  Who better to save me than a boy scout, since I had been one too?  The Lord spared me that day and has blessed me in so many ways since that incident.

            When I look back on my life, there have been so many times that I should not have escaped death.  God continually kept sparing my life.  He must have plans for me and is preparing me for life’s struggles ahead.

            In January of ’09 I found myself witnessing to my mother at the hospital.  I was bold enough to talk to her about death, knowing that she is slowly dying of congestive heart failure.  The cancer she was healed of a few months ago has never re-appeared.  What mom is now dealing with is strictly heart related at this time.  I reminded her that I knew a little bit about death from having so many close calls in my life.

            I especially talked with her about the whitewater trip and how it is just our human nature to worry about the people we leave behind.  I told her that if I were ever in a life threatening situation again, all I would think about was entering the arms of Jesus and that she needed to focus on that herself. 

            I told mom not to worry about me and my family because we are in the hands of the Lord.  And too, I reminded her that the only thing she needed to do was to think about Jesus Christ, standing in Heaven with open arms to receive her, whenever it is time to go and meet Him regardless of when that time is.  This was my second time in as many years that I was faced with the situation of mom dying.  However, when I was talking with her, I found that my attitude was different.  I wasn’t afraid to speak to her about what lay ahead for her and those she loves.

            The Lord has strengthened me beyond belief.  I feel my faith burning through my veins like fire.  We serve such a mighty God.  It is only through Him that I could have been so bold to talk to my mom about these issues!

            Thinking back to the fall of 2008, I remember being so emotional and distraught, I would have never been able to talk to mom about her dying without breaking down.  However, not long ago God instilled in me boldness, love, compassion and peace of mind so I would be able to withstand such situations. 

Christian living is an on-going process and I thank the Lord for helping me get to the point of totally trusting Him.  The state that He has brought me to is the most secure place I have ever been in up to this point.  This is what surrendering fully to the will of God by the power of the Holy Spirit has done for me and that is what He can and will do for you.  You just have to turn to Him with your whole heart and ask Him for help.

            In late 2004, my grandmother was in the hospital for what would be one of the last times before dying in January of 2005.  During one particular visit she asked me to pray with her and I thought she wanted me to pray.  Before I could even open my mouth, she started praying specifically for me.  She was such a good Christian woman.  In her time of despair she was only concerned about my well being and not that of her own.  What selflessness! 

            During this special prayer, my grandmother mentioned something that made my heart melt.  She asked God to let Deidre and me have a child.  Although she passed away, her prayer was answered in December 2006 when my wife delivered a beautiful baby girl, Campbell Riley.

            After Campbell’s arrival, God began a progressive work in me about my new position as a father, which has continued to this very day.  I have come to realize the great responsibility the Lord places on people when they become parents.  With this insight from God, I want to be a good example for a Christian father for my child more than ever.

            The year 2008 was one of the most difficult years of my life.  My mother was told that her cancer had returned after fourteen years.  Three weeks after that news hit our family; my brother Donnie was involved in a fall at work.  After spending two months in a critical care unit in Cincinnati, Ohio, Donnie died at the age of forty-five. 

During the first week of Donnie’s hospital stay, his wife Cheryle drove from Columbus to sit with him every day.  My parents and I drove to visit Donnie every weekend.  We also made the trip during the week when possible.  During those visits I prayed with him several times.

            Donnie had been in the hospital going on two weeks.  The following Saturday our family was called to the hospital.  We were told that his condition was so grave we should consider terminating his life support.  Time was running out.  I fell on my face and cried out to the Lord asking Him to give us more time to make sure Donnie was ready to go.  I asked the Lord Jesus Christ to spare him from going to Hell.

            By the time we all made it to the hospital, we were heavy hearted and expected the worst.  However, Donnie had taken a turn for the better!  My prayer had been answered so I was given the opportunity to visit him a few more times.

            Unbeknownst to me, my associate pastor and his wife were en route to the hospital at the same time.  We all showed up together and Pastor Smitty went with me to talk to Donnie.  He asked Donnie in no uncertain terms if he could state that he had accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior at some point in his life.  Donnie hesitated for a moment.  A tear rolled down his cheek.  He could not speak due to the nature of his injuries.  He nodded yes! 

            To think that so many people don’t believe in the miracle working power of God!  Nevertheless, it was apparent that I only had very little time left to spend with my brother, but at least I knew Donnie was saved.

            A few weeks later, my Dad called me to tell me that the hospital was calling the family in.  He was in bad shape.  We immediately headed to the hospital that Thursday night.  As early morning rolled around, we realized Donnie was going to meet his Savior.  The family was called to a conference room where many options about what to do were discussed with his physicians.  It was decided to remove the life support that had been keeping him alive and to administer morphine in order to make him comfortable and pain free.

            The nurse asked if any of us would like to spend some time with Donnie before they began the morphine drip.  He was already in a non-responsive state and just staring at the ceiling.  We weren’t sure if he could hear us.  I told everyone that I wanted to spend some time with my brother.

            As I took the longest walk of my life to his bed in the unit, tears filled my eyes and guilt overcame me.  What would I say to him?  This would be the last time on earth that I would ever speak to him or spend time with him alone.  As I entered his room and closed the curtain behind me, I bawled like a baby.  I hugged him and kissed his forehead.  I told him to think about nothing but Jesus.  I also told him how much Deidre, Campbell and I loved him.  I asked for his forgiveness for not being the brother that I should have been.  I then told Donnie that I’d see him later. 

About one hour later we gathered around his bed side for the last time.  As I looked into my brothers eyes I saw a lost and dying world, even though he was saved. God asked me, what I was going to do about it.  As my brother squeezed my hand while taking his last breath, I felt as if there would never be any tomorrows.  God told me that He must rebuild me and make me the spiritual man that He requires.  He promised that He would pull me out of the darkness and restore the joy of my salvation.

After he died, I kept asking myself this question, “How could I have put myself in the situation of not knowing if my very own brother was really saved?”  I had witnessed to him several times in the past but did I really do the best I could have?  My answer was no!  Could I have been a better and more loving brother?  Yes!  I was convicted for having been a mediocre Christian.  I could have done so much more with my life up to that point.

During the time of my mother’s cancer news, I was at my wit’s end.  I kept asking God why she had suffered so much.  Mom had lost her mother just a few years earlier and it was hard on her.  They were very close, best friends.  Then, my mother had to bury her own son which was a tremendous heartache.  Now, she was faced with the fact of losing her own life and not seeing the grandchild she dearly loves grow up.

My mother always told me before my daughter was born that the love a parent has for their child is unbelievable.  She was right!  I can’t imagine the loss that she felt losing her first born.

One month after Donnie died, mom returned to the doctor for a follow up to see how far the cancer had progressed.  Mom had already started radiation on her legs prior to Donnie’s accident.  As the doctor compared her original test to her current ones, he was amazed at what he saw.  He said it must be some kind of miracle!  That’s right-the cancer was gone:  another prayer had been answered!

            During those dark days things just didn’t seem fair to me.  I was losing my brother and had been given the bad news that my Mom was dying.  Indeed, during that time the circumstances I was dealing with were overwhelming.  However, I began pondering my situation in light of how my family had suffered the same as I had.  I came to a point where I had to ask, “Who am I?” 

            My father had lost a child and his wife was terminal, which made my situation seem small in comparison.  I had my mom fighting for her life while suffering the loss of her first born child.  I thought of all the situations going on in other peoples’ lives and again asked, “Who am I?”

            I now remember how so many times I prayed presumptuously before asking for the Lord’s will to be done and not mine.  For the first time, when faced with the facts about Donnie and mom, I didn’t want to surrender to His will if it meant losing them.  Literally, I battled for weeks, breaking down, crying, and trying to surrender to God’s will.  Actually, I now believe that it was only after surrendering many weeks later, that God finally healed my mother and got me to the place where I could survive the death of my brother without losing faith. 

            Sometimes when I look back at those dark days I realize that God allowed me to fall into a pit filled with depressions, despair and gloom only to pull me out so He could rebuild me and make me the spiritual man that He requires.  He knows the final outcome of any difficult circumstance.  There are times we Christians forget about the providence of God (the hidden hand of God).  We spend too much time trying to figure out why things happen when we should start living our lives day by day.  God has not promised us tomorrow.  We may never know the full extent of God’s will all the time, but we must continue to serve Him unconditionally with honor, glory and praise.

            When all was said and done I once again fell on my face and cried, “God forgive me.”  Finally, I had surrendered to the fact that I had been self-consumed and not God-consumed.  I vowed to do everything in my power to represent my Lord in both word and deed, so I could honor Him by the way I live my life before Him, my family, other Christians and a world of lost onlookers.  I promised God that I would never look at any person again in the same way.  I would now look at people as souls that needed to be saved or recommitted to the Lord.  Now, I would only serve Him wholeheartedly.  

            Nevertheless, at that point, I knew it would only be through God’s grace, wisdom and will that I would ever be able to complete the fulfillment of my faith, my vow to serve Him and His purposes rather than my own.




            FEALESS FAITH





            Do you remember being a child or maybe just being younger, when you thought certain people where heroes?  But, often as adults, we loose our childlike faith to believe in heroes because most heroes end up with feet of clay.  Most everyone has someone that has been an inspiration to them and what made that inspiration either a good or bad thing depends on what their basic beliefs are rooted in.  Christians, as a rule, find inspiration in a belief system that is rooted and grounded in God’s love and grace.  The people of the world are rooted in self-satisfaction where they do not deny themselves anything their heart desires and will get it by whatever means is available to them.

            Actually, for me there have been several people who helped make me into who I am today.  Those special people were godly and inspired me in a permanent way.  However, before going any further I want you to understand that first and foremost the Christian’s primary inspirations should be God’s Holy Word and the blessed Trinity, the Godhead of all humanity consisting of:  God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  If the Bible and Trinity are not your number one inspirations, there may be a problem in your spiritual walk. 

            I am one that is constantly inspired by all three parts of the Godhead.  Take a look at some specific scriptures on inspiration:  “But there is a spirit in man:  and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.”  Job 32:8 KJV  “All inspiration is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”  II Timothy 3:16 KJV 

            Throughout the scriptures righteous men were inspired by God in their daily lives.  Should we not be inspired by God each and every day as we try to travel down the path of righteousness?  I have been blessed by many earthly inspirational people.  Some have passed and some are still living, but both groups continue to inspire and influence me to this very day.  As I am writing this, their names keep coming to me in no particular order of importance.  Nevertheless, each one of them holds a special place in my heart.

            My wife Deidre and my darling daughter Campbell are daily inspirations to me.  I, as well as others, have used the terminology that “I am a very lucky man” to have two such precious girls in my life.  Of course I know that luck had nothing to do with it.  The truth is I am not lucky but blessed and highly favored by God to have such blessings in my life. 

            I am also aware that to have a wife who is not only my soul mate, best friend and confidant is only a reality because of the Lord’s hand upon our having met and then marrying.  After being married to Deidre I have come to understand how important it is for a wife to be godly as she has proven to be.  When troubles come, and they will, a godly spouse will cherish the bond made with you before God and becomes an inspiration that you will always want to cling to.  A friend of God is a good companion to have on your side while making your way through this world of chaos.

            What can I say about my daughter?  To be a part of creating such a wonderful child is totally awesome to me.  I will always pray that I can hold up my part of the promise made to God about being the Christian father that He would have me be.  This little blessing is definitely an inspiration to me every day and I am sure she will continue to be until I draw my last breath.  May God keep His hand of protection upon her while she makes her journey through this life.  With God’s help I pray that she will grow and become an inspiration to all that she meets, just as she has been to me simply by her presence in my life.

            My wife’s parents, Ron and Jennifer Riley, have inspired me by their ability to raise such a wonderful daughter.  I appreciate Ron’s surrendering to God’s will and purpose in preaching and leading a church for over twenty years.  Jennifer has been an exemplary pastor’s wife.  The inspiration I received from their efforts and guidance is what I believe added much to my being the Christian I am today.  Since both of my in-laws have been such inspirations, they will never be considered “outlaws” by me!

            Because of their undying love for their family, my parents, Don and Donnetta Bradley, have been inspirations to me throughout my life.  The blessing of being raised in their Christian home is one thing I will never take for granted.  Dad and Mom struggled to put food on the table while raising three boys but they instilled moral values and a strong work ethic in me for which I will always be grateful. 

            In particular, my Mother’s constant battle with her own physical problems while keeping the faith and always surrendering to God’s will each time has inspired me. 

            Since Campbell was born, all four of her grandparents have played a vital role in her young life.  Their love, devotion and nurturing of her has been such a blessing and I know they will all be an inspiration to her just as they have been to Deidre and me.

            Growing up in a Nazarene Church as a child and teenager, I found one special person that I considered my best friend.  Terry Miles and I were the same age and graduated from high school the same year.  We worked together at church camp for four years washing dishes.  I spent a lot of time with Terry and found him to be the Christian teen that I should have been.  Terry was musically talented.  He played the guitar, banjo and could also sing. 

            After graduation we grew apart a little.  Time has a way of doing that even though we had the best of intentions of staying close.  I started working at a local company as a Machinist and Terry was serving our country as a Marine.

            One morning in 1989 I was awakened by a phone call from a friend of both mine and Terry’s.  She told me there was an accident in France, where Terry was stationed.  The helicopter that Terry was performing maneuvers in had crashed.  All of the Marines on that mission were killed.  I could not believe what I was hearing.  Why?  Terry was married and had a baby girl.  He had just surrendered to the call of becoming a preacher and was already preparing to start his ministry in just a few months when his stint in the military would be over.  Sadly, he was gone.

            Never before, not even to this day, have I seen such an outpouring of grief and sorrow over one person’s death.  It seemed as though there were thousands at his viewing and the funeral.  Even the Marines who came to show their respect bawled like babies.  They knew he was a good man, a Godly man. 

            It’s still hard for me to understand his loss.  I have always felt it should have been me to die and not Terry.  Terry was a better servant of Christ than I was.  He lived a better life than I did.  Sometimes we will never know the full extent of God’s plan.  Maybe Terry’s death affected more people than a thousand sermons he could have preached would have.  Indeed, Terry was an inspiration to many.

            My grandfather, Ward Smith, was a man’s man.  Most definitely he walked the path of righteousness and took his Christianity very serious.  He was a veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam.  I remember spending many hours helping him do the lawn work when I was younger.  He would always pay me with a Dr. Pepper and a five dollar bill.  (Yes, he was a bit frugal).  If I was lucky, sometimes he would take me on a trip to Wendy’s for a meal.  How ironic that I ended up working at Wendy’s for a while.  That is where I met the woman that would one day become my wonderful wife.

            Papaw had had heart trouble for many years.  I remember he went to the doctor and was told not to raise his arms over his head as that might induce a heart attack.  The following week, which was Grandparents’ Day, he went to church.  It was a Sunday evening and he proudly stood up to testify about all the Lord had done for him.  In his testimony he mentioned what the doctor told him about not raising his arms over his head.

            He told the congregation that he was not going to stop praising the Lord and raising his hands up.  He stated that if the Lord wanted to take him, he was ready to go.  After testifying, Papaw sat down in the pew and died in church.  I was a teenager then and the year was 1983.  Papaw was not only an inspiration to me but to the whole church that he attended.  What a way to go!

            Virgie Smith, my grandmother, was a wonderful woman and one of the strongest Christian women I have ever known.  The relationship she had with the Lord flowed out of her daily.  Mammaw was the spiritual matriarch of my family.  She went home to be with the Lord in 2005.  I was with her, as were some other family members, when she died.  What we witnessed was amazing.

            We gathered around her bedside and held hands singing, “Blessed Assurance.”  As we sang the last verse she went into the presence of God Almighty.  We sang her into glory!

            What I regret the most is that I should have spent more time with her when I had the chance.  I miss the intercessory prayer that she sent up to the Lord on my behalf the most.  There are so many days that I think about her and wish she could have held my daughter in her arms.  She prayed diligently that we would have a baby.  I wish she could know that her prayers were answered.

            I wrote a letter that was read at my grandmother’s funeral.  It sums up how much she meant to me and my family.


Over the last couple of weeks I have had many sleepless nights thinking about my grandmother.  I thought if there was one sentence that could sum up Virgie Smith it would be this:  A matriarch and warrior of love, selflessness, family and prayer.  Over the last few years I have watched her health decline, yet every time I spent time with her, never did I hear her complain about her problems.  She was always steadfast in expressing her concerns about mine.  She was always there to pray for me.  Never have I seen such selflessness in one individual.

There are so many things that I will miss about her, but the one thing I will miss the most is her daily prayers for my family and me.  I firmly believe in the power of prayer.  Mammaw’s prayers have sustained me and God has blessed me and taken care of me because of her intercession on my behalf.  It is our human nature to be selfish and wanting to keep her with us as long as we can.  But it is the will of God that she is with Him now.  My Grandmother has finally received the prize that she has longed for-spending eternity with her Lord Jesus Christ.

She has always expressed to my family and me that she has had a wonderful life and that all she has ever wanted is to see all of her family and friends to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as she did.

It has been my privilege to be her grandson.


            I have a younger brother, Scott.  He is my only sibling now and I want him to know that the desires of my heart are to be closer to him and to have the Lord work in his life.  Brothers are special gifts from God. 

            My brother and I dealt with many difficulties in the latter part of 2008.  Our Mother’s cancer returning and the death of our older brother were hard on us.  However, 2009 brought even greater struggles to Scott’s life.  He lost his job and then he found out that his best friend was dying. 

            This would be a tough time for anyone to keep the faith.  Scott continued to struggle on.  He showed great strength during this time so he could be strong for his friend while at his bedside sharing Jesus.  Scott knew time was running out and he wanted to make sure that his friend knew where he was going to spend eternity.  This is true friendship.

            During this time, three great things happened.  My brother rededicated his life to Christ.  He realized that he could not live through this world any longer without serving the Lord totally.  His best friend accepted Christ as his Savior.  Yes, miracles still happen!  Although the doctors gave up on his friend and told him he had but a few days to live, his health turned around.  The doctors stated that God has given this man a second chance.  Do we not serve a great God?  Remember to focus on Christ in all crises, regardless of the circumstances.

            During this time, I felt led by God to send my brother a letter to remind him of the hope we have in Jesus.  A letter to send encouragement to my brother, whom I love.  I want to share this with you, the reader, in case you may be going through a hard time and feel as if there is no hope.  Here is what I wrote to Scott:

The Light at the End of the Tunnel


My dear brother in Christ, Scott:


I cannot possibly demonstrate the amount of love I have for you.  As you are going through these earthly struggles, please know that I share your hurt.  As Christians we must be compassionate and loving during times of heartache.   We must believe always that our Savior never fails and he will continually love and forgive us each and every day of our lives.

He is our StrongTower, our Refuge, our Protector and our Comforter in all things, no matter what trials and tribulations come our way.  Let God’s heavenly rains of mercy, love and grace shower and saturate your mind, body and soul.  Keep the faith and strengthen your faith through God’s word and your obedience to Him.

Let your faith guide your life.  Strong faith will burn like a fire through your veins, burning out any doubts you have in God and his will for your life.  It will consume any fears in man or this worldly abode.  Express your faith boldly and without compromise for the whole world needs to hear it.  God has given you, my brother, true freedom that is only obtained through Christ.  He has not only freed us from sin and damnation but He has also freed us so we can represent a complete life.

There is also hope in Christ.  This hope is only offered through Him and the relationship we have through Him.  We have the hope of a brighter day.  We know our end is with Him in eternity.  No one and no circumstance can remove the hope that we have in our Lord Jesus Christ.  Only Christians can experience this wonderful thing.  We should live our lives with hope.  We can even face death or mourning with hope-the Lost cannot.

The scriptures tell us that life is like a vapor-it is here one minute and gone the next.  Live your life with no regrets and no “what-ifs” so you can serve God’s purpose wholly.  Seek God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.  What are “these things”?  They are blessing from our Heavenly Father.  Become the righteous and spiritual man God wants you to be.  Forget your past and turn to your own convictions that draw you closer to God.

We, as Christians, should be convicted daily about our own lives.  Also, we need to be concerned about the Lost and others who suffer.  God is not done with you.  He has plans for you.  You just need to figure out what they are by seeking the Lord.  There are greater things that have yet to come and greater things still to be done here in the name of Christ.

My brother, remember, there is a light at the end of this tunnel.  Keep holding on.  It is the light of Christ and the light wants to shine through you.



            I could never state every name of every person who has in some way spiritually inspired or influenced me through the years.  However, I firmly believe that we have no “chance” encounters with people.  Each time I meet someone, I hope that I am surrendered enough to the Lord to be an inspiration to them.  Let us not forget the inspiration of Jesus Christ and may His influence inspire you to be all you can be in Him every day.








Hebrews 13:2 (KJV)

“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers:

For thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”


            During the late summer and early fall of 2008, I found myself facing difficult times because of Mom’s recurrence of cancer and because my oldest brother had an accident at work that put him in a Critical Care Unit in a hospital miles away from where his family lived.  For two months my parents and I spent every weekend traveling to Cincinnati, Ohio to be by his side.  Every Saturday and Sunday during non-visiting times, we wound up in the cafeteria to eat or just kill time.  After a few weeks I began to notice one special lady eating lunch.  She always wore the same clothes and sat in the same booth.  I sensed a loneliness about her and wondered what her story was.

            One particular weekend I saw her again.  That day I could feel the Holy Spirit speaking to me.  He told me to witness to her.  I kept refusing the Lord’s will because of being too busy worrying about my family trials as well as my wife and baby at home.  This worry kept me from following through on what He was telling me to do. 

            That same day while standing in line to pay for lunch, the woman I had been seeing was standing right behind me.  At that point in time, I noticed she was going through her change purse trying to find some coins to pay for her meal.  I felt bad for her so I paid for her lunch.  After the woman realized what I had done, she asked me why I did so.  I jokingly gave her the excuse that it was National Pay for Someone Else’s Lunch Day!  She responded that she had never heard of such a day but thanked me just the same.

            A few minutes later while my parents and I were eating, I looked up and saw her sitting in that same booth.  She was looking straight at me and we waved at each other.  After I finished eating, it hit me that there wasn’t any getting past the Holy Spirit.  I felt the Lord telling me to go visit with her.  I gave in and surrendered to His will. 

            When I got to her booth I asked to sit with her.  She invited me to do so and we began to chat.  After a few minutes she began to tell me the story of her loneliness. 

            The door was being opened for me to be obedient to the call of God and be a witness for him.  So, I told her she would always have a friend in Jesus.  I told her she was never alone because He said He would never leave or forsake us.  During our conversation I reached into my pocket and gave her some money so she could buy her lunch for the rest of the week.  She refused but I was persistent.  Tears began rolling down her face as she asked me, “How did you know?”  I replied, “Know what?”

            She then explained that she had lost some money that week and was not sure about being able to eat the following week.  I told her I had no idea about what had happened to her but God knew and had sent me to her.  Then, I asked if she was a Christian.  She said she was.  The next question I asked her was, “Why do you think God put us on this earth?”

Sensing a hesitation on her part, I began to explain my thoughts on the matter,

saying how we were put here to glorify, worship and praise Father God in Spirit and in Truth, while continuing the work of Christ.  “…true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth, for the Father seeks such to worship Him.” John 4:23 KJV                                        I told her many can debate forever about why God put us on this earth.  There’s no debate      about what we are to be doing while we’re here.  Praising, worshiping and glorifying God, sharing the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ, be found seeking God and His righteousness.  I shared with her that I felt all Believers should tell others about the good news of Jesus and how He demonstrated forgiveness, love and long-suffering so mankind might be saved through His Grace.  After telling her my thoughts, she finally gave me her answer.  She said, “It’s also a test.”

            We talked for a few minutes more and I thanked her for the conversation.  I told her I would be praying for her.  I didn’t really like her answer and just shrugged it off.  With everything going on at the time, I wasn’t able to digest what her answer meant.  It wasn’t until later that day that I started to think about what my new friend said about “the test.”  I realized God put us on the earth with freewill, so men could choose to accept or reject Him.  God could have made us serve Him but it wouldn’t have meant anything.  Would you want someone to make another person love you if it hadn’t been their personal choice? 

            God isn’t any different than us, in that he desires love only from those that want to love and respect Him for who He is.  Does the test end there?  God truly expressed love and trust in human beings by giving us freewill:  the ability to choose their own destiny.  For the most part, that lady in the cafeteria at the hospital was right when saying life is a test.  But, for Christians, the test doesn’t stop at salvation.

            If people refuse to accept the most important portion of God’s forgiveness and do not receive salvation from the Lord, they are failing the test.  Salvation fulfills their purpose for being put here in the first place.   Once saved, a Christian has an obligation to freely surrender their will to the Lord’s and serve His purpose.  Believers must remember that we, too, will be judged.  In II Corinthians 5:10 we find, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he had done, whether it be good or bad.”  (KJV)

            Should the Lord return right now, could you as a Christian be able to stand before a righteous and Holy God and hear him say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant”?  Would you have served Him not only in works but most importantly with a faithful, obedient heart while surrendering to His will and purpose each and every day?  What will your rewards be after judgment day?

            I must ask this question, “What kind of life are we really living as Christians?”  Are you failing the test in your witness and lifestyle?  Will He be well pleased with your actions and how you have presented His fruit while on earth?   Will you have represented the title “Christian” fully?

            If someone is a Christian, how then should they be living?  If the Lord would come down from His throne and give you a scorecard on your personal walk with Him, would you make the grade?

            Live your life faithfully for God and do everything for His sake.  Your life shouldn’t have any regrets or “what ifs.”  Don’t be caught wondering what if I would have given everything to Jesus.  Salvation is the first and most important step in your life.  After surrendering to the Holy Spirit, you must make a choice of having Christ become the Lord of your life.  The definition of Lord is, “a person having great power and authority; ruler and master.  Jesus must be the one master you serve with all your heart.











I have been asked several times in the last few years why my wife and I waited so long to have a child.  We thought about having children through most of our marriage but always decided to think about it “tomorrow.”  For me, I was weary about bringing a child into this immoral world.  Several years ago, I was talking with my brother-in-law, Matt, who was our pastor at the time.  I discussed this issue with him and he told me that maybe my child could make a difference and turn the tide by doing great things in the name of the Lord.

            It was just a fact that our entire family, especially my mother and grandmother, wanted Deidre and me to have children.  You see, my mother had wanted to be a grandmother from the time her boys were grown and married.  Also, my grandmother wanted to hold a child of mine before she died.  I had finally come to the realization that I didn’t want to leave this world without a child, which meant I would have to overcome my fears of parenthood!

            Our dreams started on April 14, 2006-Good Friday.  Deidre was off that day.  She and her mother were having a garage sale that morning.  I had worked mid-night shift and did a few things before taking a nap.  Later that day, I was awakened by Deidre whispering in my ear.  She told me that she thought she was pregnant. 

            I remember my heart began racing and tears of joy streamed down my face.  We kissed and hugged each other as the reality of the news began to sink in.  I tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t.  I was too excited as my mind kept thinking about the sound of little feet running through our home.

            At this time, my mother was hospitalized due to a heart condition she acquired as a result of the chemotherapy treatments she had to withstand years before.  We had considered waiting to tell everyone on Mother’s Day but that was too far off.  We wanted to tell all of our parents at the same time and with Mom in the hospital, we couldn’t do that.  So, we decided to go ahead and spill the beans.  We drove to Deidre’s parents’ house first.  I don’t think they believed us then.  In fact, I don’t know that they believed us until Deidre started showing several months down the road. 

            Jennifer, Deidre’s mother asked if we were going to the hospital to tell my mom.  I said we’d wait until she and Dad were together.  Jennifer said we needed to tell her so she could get well and get ready for the baby.  That was pretty good advice so we left there and went to the hospital.

            Ever since Deidre and I have been married, I have always teased my mom about us having a baby.  When we got to the hospital, we chatted for a few minutes about what the doctor had told her and when she could go home, etc.  Mom really didn’t bat an eye when I said something about her being a grandmother.  She just smiled and continued updating us. 

            I asked Mom is she wanted to be a grandmother.  She smiled again and said “yes.”  Then she looked over at Deidre and knew I was telling the truth.  Mom began praising the Lord and was so excited that I thought she was going to go into cardiac arrest!  Jennifer was right, because this news gave Mom the energy to get out of that hospital.  In fact, after she finally calmed down, she made us leave so she could call everyone to tell them of the news!

            The next few months were very exciting.  I believe Deidre enjoyed her pregnancy immensely.  She really liked her obstetrician and going to her visits.  Dr. McKenna scheduled her for an ultrasound in August.  We had to go to a specialist because Deidre was considered high-risk due to being over 35.  Otherwise, Deidre was very healthy and had a great pregnancy.  Nonetheless, we were scheduled for August 8.

This would be the first time we could see the baby and it was awesome!  We got to see the baby in 3D and 4D imaging but we weren’t 100% sure if it was a boy or girl.  Deidre loves surprises and didn’t really want to know anyway.  The technician performing the test was 80% that the baby was a girl but warned that it could still be a boy.  Then it was time to meet with the specialist.

I went to the waiting area while the doctor met with Deidre.  Another test had to be performed; otherwise I would have been with Deidre while she met with the doctor.  The doctor told Deidre that she needed to have an amniocentesis and referred to this test as a “search and prepare mission.” 

Knowing all about the test, Deidre told the doctor that she didn’t want the it and that we would take what the Lord gave us.  The doctor made a quick note and had Deidre sign a paper stating her refusal for the test. 

Deidre came out to the waiting room where I was and told me what had happened.  I told her that nothing was going to be wrong with the baby and reassured her that she had said exactly what she needed to.  We knew God had his hand over us and our baby so we left the office.

On the way home Deidre told me all the facts about the amniocentesis and what the doctor had said to her.  This physician explained that the test is usually 100% accurate and that many people choose to have it.  She told Deidre that she should have it too.  Further, this medical provider explained that we should be prepared to make the choice about terminating the pregnancy if the child showed any abnormalities because, “in many instances children with developmental issues end up in institutions” when the care is no longer there.  The bottom line was this:  the test is used to give the mother an option of abortion in the event that everything is not perfect with her child.  Deidre knew the option would be to terminate and was very upset about how the doctor spoke so coldly about “those children.” 

Deidre and I know of several parents who had this very test and were told their babies would be impaired.  Each of them decided against abortion and their children have no signs of any type of impairment.  This was not the route we were going to take.  We left everything in the Lord’s hands.

I felt that the Devil was trying to disrupt this wonderful event in our lives.  I felt, too, that we were being tested about abortion.  After we got home and watched the video of the ultrasound, there was one section that touched us deeply.  It was as if the baby knew we were watching her and was saying, “Hi.”  I’m sure that this is a common occurrence, but for us it was the most precious sight we had ever seen.  I’ll never forget that first time of seeing her because she was waving! 

Deidre’s due date was originally December 20, 2006.  It was moved to December 16 and Dr. McKenna told her that if she didn’t go into labor by that date, then he would induce her on the 19th.  We couldn’t sleep a wink the night before and got up pretty early the next day.  Deidre was admitted around 5:30am on the 19th and spent nearly 12 hours in labor. 

About 5:20pm the doctor said that the baby was in distress and an emergency C-section was needed.  Through all of this, I never doubted that things would be okay.  I knew that God had them both in the palm of his loving hands. 

I was present in the delivery room and was able to see Campbell before her mother did.  As my daughter lay under the heat lamp, all I could do was watch her.  Tears came to my eyes as I took in how beautiful and wonderful she was.  I couldn’t think of anything else, other than how blessed I was to now have this little one in my life. 

People have asked me what I thought then-the moment I first saw Campbell.  Some of them have asked if I counted all of her fingers and toes.  Those things weren’t relevant at that specific time and even if she hadn’t been “perfect” I wouldn’t have known because all I did was look in her beautiful face.

As many mothers to be do, Deidre kept a journal of all the events that occurred since the day we discussed trying to have a baby.  It chronicles our complete journey-every doctor’s visit, sleepless night, the first kick.  It now includes birthdays, holidays, family events and all of Campbell’s antics.  Men usually aren’t the journaling kind but when Campbell turned one year old, I wanted to put something in writing so she would know that I have the same feelings for her.  In fact, this book is my journal for her.  But, I wrote a letter to her and have it for her when she is old enough to understand and appreciate it.  I will share it with you.







A Father’s First Year





             I’ve been a father for over a year.  The time has passed so quickly, my baby girl is turning into a little toddler.  It’s sad to say I may never experience what I have this passed year ever again, because there can only be a first time once.  My mother was right when she said, “The love you have for your own child is unbelievable.”   Only God can help me honor the promises I have already made to Him about Campbell, even before she was born.  I want to always be forgiving, loving, compassionate and the father only Jesus would have me to be.  Sometimes my thoughts tell me I should have been a father many years ago.  I feel like I’ve shortened the time that I would have had with you, but I also must realize the wonderful Campbell we all know and love is only here because we had you when we did.  To hold you and to look into your eyes makes my heart melt. Hearing your laughter and watching you play every day made and still makes me so proud to be your daddy.  I know God gives children as a reward given to parents and only through His love could such a reward such as you be given to an undeserving soul like me.  This has been one great year; I’m truly blessed like no other to have a wonderful wife and mother to you as Mom.  I thank the Lord for giving me the opportunity to be apart of your and Mom’s life.











            Several weeks after my brother Donnie passed away I would wake up crying following nightmares about him.  Some nights I would avoid sleep because I didn’t want to have another bad dream.  Now I understand it was the Lord driving home the point that I had to do a better job in my relationships with others.  Even to this day I wonder why we sometimes wait until it is too late to express our love and true feelings for others.

            Remembering back to the night when my brother died, my heart was filled with so much grief and guilt I could hardly bear it.  I should have take more time to witness to Donnie and been more open in expressing my love and appreciation for him.  I knew exactly what I had and had not done as a brother, as a Christian.  When that realization hit me, did it every hurt!  I knew I had failed terribly in both cases.

            Many times we end up in hospitals and funeral homes trying to express our true feelings and at that point it is eternally too late.  The honest truth is that each of us needs to improve on our relationships with others.  Deep in our hearts we let sin dwell, like envy, resentment and animosity.  These are but a few of the things that separate people and keeps them from having genuine loving relationships.  Job 5:2 states, “For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.”  (KJV)

            Christians are strongly instructed in Proverbs 22:24-25 about anger-“Make no friendship with an angry man: and with a furious man thou shalt not go:  lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.”  (KJV)

            Jesus instructed Christians to have a forgiving spirit even when they are wronged.  Let’s look at Luke 17:4 says, “And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.”  (KJV)

            Matthew 6:14-15 speaks about forgiveness too and says, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:  but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  (KJV)

            Making the grade as a Christian can only be achieved when the element of showing God’s love to others is one of the most important elements in a person’s Christian living.  “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”  John 13:34  (KJV)  This was Jesus speaking!  Furthermore, in Romans 13:8 the Apostle Paul instructs us to, “Owe no man anything, but to love one another:  for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”  (KJV)

            Believers have an obligation to love God, each other and the Lost.  All who follow Christ have received His forgiveness and love.  Therefore, they in turn should freely give love and forgiveness without reservation as a service to unbelievers as well as to fellow Christians.

            We as Christians must strive to maintain harmony with each other.  Ephesians 4:32 says, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (KJV)  The Bible teaches us to be loving and kind to each other and to forgive as we have been forgiven.  In fact, Jesus said that love covers a multitude of sin.  If you don’t forgive another person, how do you expect God to forgive you?  Always keep in mind God will not violate His own word on anything.     When Believers hold onto an unforgiving spirit they jeopardize the plans God has for their lives.  He can’t use us to our full potential when we blatantly refuse to forgive another.

            Harmonious relationships don’t come naturally even to the Christian.  So, we must continually fight that battle and choose to love and forgive even in the most difficult of situations.  Each member of the body of Christ must continually battle selfish desires spawned by their sinful human nature.

            Believers must recognize their own inability to relate to each other in a godly way.  As we make Jesus Lord of such situations, harmony is not only possible but becomes the standard by which the Church is known.  It is obvious that many professing Christians never mature spiritually, to where they know that Jesus must be their Lord as well as their Savior.  This is a choice Believers must make everyday if we want to take a giant step toward being able to love and forgive as Jesus was able to do. 

Always remember that there is a continual battle going on in a Believer.  Unless we yield to the born-again spirit there will never be true harmony in any situation.  We must continue the battle to rid ourselves of the carnal man (woman) to become the spiritual man (woman) that God requires. 

Nobody likes to have disagreements with others but it is inevitable.  Disagreements occur even within the body of Christ.  Worse still is when Believers do not even consider reconciliation.  Some Christians have been known to go for years without speaking to each other because they didn’t see eye to eye on something.  The Child of God needs to remember that we, as brothers and sisters in Christ, have been called to live at peace with each other.  Otherwise sin abounds. 

Romans 12:10 says, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;…”  (KJV)  If you will repent before Father God for holding onto old hurts, He can then begin the restoration process of repairing broken relationships.  If disharmony continues between the brethren then someone is in sin.  They need to hit their knees and stay there until they have been delivered from such feelings. 

The Christian’s attitude and actions towards others can affect the viewpoint that outsiders have of the church.  There is nothing more damaging to the witness of the church than the conflict of its members condemned by unbelievers.  Let all things be done for edification.  1 Corinthians 14:33 states, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” (KJV)  Though conflict may arise between Believers, we should always promote love, peace and harmony as Jesus demonstrated.  In our relationship to God we cooperate with His will.  In turn, He guides and blesses our lives.  Building on our relationship with Him, we can create harmony in the home.  Husbands, wives and children can live together in love as they follow guidelines for their relationships established in God’s Words.  Wonderful harmony is also possible as Christians love and minister to each other within the body of Christ.

            To totally surrender to God’s will and to serve His purpose we must forgive and love each other unconditionally.  In our personal relationships we must repent of the sin that separates us from each other.  If we cannot forgive and build our relationships the way God would want us to then what example are we setting? 

            God is willing to forgive us of our sins if we just ask Him to.  I am challenging you to forgive, love and reconcile before you lose that opportunity.  Please do so before your life is filled with grief and guilt.  Do this now with the Lord’s help.

            As was stated at the beginning of this chapter, people often wait too long to express their true feeling for others.  However, when my grandmother passed away a few years ago, I wrote a letter that was read by her pastor at the funeral.  The letter expressed my feelings about her life and the impact she had on mine.  Not too long after the funeral, my mother was kidding around and said she wished that I could write something about her and Dad that nice before they died.  So, a few weeks before I began this book, I wrote them a letter.  I wanted my parents to know my true feelings about them while there was still time to do so.  This is what I wrote:

My Parents

            It’s amazing how time and circumstances can change you and the way you think.  As I have gotten older and become a father, I see life with a different perspective.  With the passing of time you definitely learn to appreciate things in life so much more.  In the short time I have been a father, Deidre and I have invested so much time, love and energy into our daughter.  It’s unbelievable!  I cannot imagine the effort and sacrifice you have obviously invested into me over the course of my life.  Dad’s hard work, putting food on the table and always being strong.  Mom’s nurturing care, both of you loving and praying for me.

            I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home and taught such strong morals and ethical values.  Sometimes I wish I had been a better son to both of you.  Please forgive me for all the times I failed you.  I promise you both that your investment in me was not in vain.  I love you both so much.

            Thank you for the patience you had for me as a child and have for me now.  It has been a blessing to have your first grandbaby.  Watching you play with, teach and take care of Campbell has made me realize that the both of you love her as if she was your very own daughter.  Sometimes I wish we would have had more children earlier, so together we could have enjoyed even more parenthood and grandparenthood.

            It has been hard to accept God’s will for all of our lives.  Whether the time God gives me with you is short or long, we must as a family always remember to try to make the best of things and to surrender to His will. 

            I hope and pray we have many more days together as a family.  It is nice to know that Heaven has always been our personal goal and permanent home.  Being together as a family in Heaven is much more important than earthly abode.

            Because of my upbringing, I want you both to know that I understand, other than salvation, the two most important things God has given us on this earth are time and family.  Neither one of you will ever be forgotten.  This world will definitely be a sadder place without your presence.

Deidre, Campbell and I love and appreciate you both so very much.



            What issues are causing you problems where forgiveness is concerned?  Read I Corinthians 13 with the eyes of Christ and then determine if you are being obedient to that specific scripture.  Is there a simple phone call, letter or gesture you can make that would make things right.  Let me tell you when you begin such a process God is right there to help you and it will be much easier than what Satan has caused you to believe.  It isn’t an impossible task!  From experience I can tell you that doing right in the eyes of the Lord will stop disharmony and leave no room for having any nightmares!












        Professing Believers, do you ever listen to any good contemporary Christian music?  Recently, I have been listening to one very inspirational CD by the group Casting Crowns.  Although to me every song on the CD is awesome, there are two songs that leave me thinking about the spiritual condition of our country and some of my fellow Christians.  The songs are titled, “Slow Fade” and “The Altar and the Door.” 

“Slow Fade” describes how our lives are not destroyed by sin in one day but rather through a slow and subtle process.  It starts out when black and white turn to gray.  Why do things become gray when choices are black and white as on the pages of God’s Word? 

“The Altar and the Door” explains a lack of commitment to the Lord, our struggles and how we deal with them.  Its message is about how we should continue to be true to God.

When we become Christians we enter into the everlasting covenant that God made on our behalf, long before the foundation of the world was established.  When we, by our own choice, disconnect ourselves from that covenant, all it takes is repentance.  We do this by going to God in prayer with a broken heart and asking the Lord for his guidance and wisdom.  Don’t think you have to be in a church house for this to occur.  You can be at home, in the care, even at your desk!

Christians can and often do cry out to the Lord for His help.  Yet, before the tears are even dried from their face, many are willing to walk out the church door and compromise their witness to the world.  As I get older and am maturing as a Believer, I cannot help but see a tremendous similarity between the Saved and the Lost.  We are called to be a peculiar people and even though we are in the world we are not to be a part of the sin that is here.  II Corinthians 6:17-18 says, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean things; and I will receive you.  And will be unto you a father and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”  (KJV)

There should be something in our daily lives that shows the Light of Jesus to those who are in our path.  Christians can separate themselves from the world and still share the saving knowledge of Christ!  Our witness, actions, talk and attitude should show the world the Good Fruit of Jesus’ Spirit as found in Galatians 5:22-23 and they are: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance or self-control. 

When Christians walk in the Spirit, like Jesus did, they will then be displaying the love of God for the world to see.  Let’s take a look at what some professing Christians are practicing today:

1.      There are Christian based churches ordaining homosexuals into ministry positions.  I would suppose that those “ministers” do not preach from the first chapter of Romans.  Matthew 7:15-16 warns Christians by saying, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.  Ye shall know them by their fruits.  Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”  (KJV)

2.      Many professing Believers do not believe in the virgin birth of Jesus.  To discount this means the whole Bible is a farce.

3.      There professing Believers who are in favor of abortion.  Surely they do not know the love God has for every life He places into a womb.

4.      Some professing Believers are for gay marriage.  Do they not understand the family unit that was set forth and ordained by the Lord, God Almighty?

5.      Numerous Christians will compromise their spiritual walk with God because they’d rather not be labeled a Christian.  This makes their witness null and void in the sight of the world.  Being spiritual is not necessarily a bad thing as long as it is used in the right context of being a spirit filled Believer.  I am a spiritual man and not ashamed to be called a born-again Christian, a Jesus Freak.  I want to proclaim who I am in Christ.  I don’t understand those who say they have the Spirit in them but want to disguise who they are.

6.      Many Christians proclaim they have received salvation through Christ and are now telling others that there are different ways to God apart from Jesus.  The Bible says that no man can come unto the Father except through Christ.

7.      Many professing believers are now participating in this new age emergent church for which they are trying to remove Jesus from everything.  They operate under the umbrella of Universalism and Pluralism while idolizing Moralism.  (Universalism:  We are all God’s children and are all going to Heaven.  Pluralism:  Jesus is not the only way to get to God and Heaven.  This way of thinking subscribes to the belief that there are other ways to God.  Moralism:  Man creating and setting forth a new moral code to justify their own sins to the God they once served with a whole heart)  Obviously, each of these are complete lies and are directly against the truths of God’s word. 

The fruit that is demonstrated through Christian living will make the distinction between the double-minded believers, and false prophets that lead people straight to Hell.  Have we, as followers of Christ, through our ignorance saturated our “Christian” nation with bogus leaders, preachers and teachers?  Romans 16:17-18 says, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.  For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”  (KJV)  The “simple” ones referred to here are the unlearned who by idleness have not grown from eating and ingesting the whole of God’s Word.

People are held accountable for their actions once they become a follower of Christ, and more so for those that are in leadership positions such as: pastors, evangelists and teachers.  They bear greater responsibility just as a parent is accountable for how they raise their children.  People in leadership who are not of God can only deliver half-truths, because without the Spirit of God on their words, what is being said won’t have any eternal value.  If parents do not raise their children in a Christian home teaching them godly values, then God will judge them accordingly.  Still, Believers will be held accountable for searching out spiritual realities for themselves even without proper leadership in operation.

Spiritual maturity is similar to physical maturity in that it too requires accepting responsibility.  The mature, faithful and spirit-filled Christian demonstrates responsibility toward God and others.  Genuine Christian living means being faithful in service, disciplined in behavior and considerate of others.  These actions bring glory to God.  When I talk about being faithful in service, I don’t necessarily mean that this is reserved for those who preach or teach.  Being faithful in service could simply be rocking a baby in nursery or sweeping the floors in the church. 

Disciplined behavior means to give every human being the benefit of the doubt with a right attitude because God was and still is merciful to you.  All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  Thank God for His on-going grace!

Sometimes it is good to think about someone else and their needs rather than focusing on meeting your first.  God’s Word is not served cafeteria style, where you can pick and choose what you want to eat.  It isn’t about having it your way.  Believers must have knowledge of the whole word before we can obtain a clear understanding of what we will be accountable for on judgment day.  The truth of God’s Word cannot be sugar coated or watered down to please the masses.  It takes the undiluted Word of God to recognize the bitter realities of sin in our lives.  This same Word sets the captive free!

Unfortunately, the church is actually becoming so politically correct that Believers are afraid of offending people by telling the truth.  We must tell others the whole truth in love by speaking to them as friends and brothers.  Christ commands us to love one another.  This includes the Lost and the unlovable!  How can we love someone and not tell them the truth?  The Bible tells us that Jesus and His word is the truth.  We must share Jesus and His word in its entirety without compromise in order to demonstrate real love.

            Christians must tell about Jesus’ love, compassion and righteous judgments.  We must express the saving knowledge that is held in Jesus Christ and Him in alone.  There are times we must tell the Lost about where their choices are taking them which is eternal separation from God.  Hell is a place where there is no light, peace or hope but torment.

            People’s eternal welfare is at stake.  The Body of Christ must speak up on issues that we may not want to deal with such as homosexuality, abortion and the ultra-liberalism that has been dominating the headlines for several years now.  How terrible it is that many churches are afraid that some of their members will be offended and leave the fellowship if the truth is actually preached about such issues!  Sometimes toes must be stepped on so the feet can walk down the paths of righteousness.

            Are you, my friend, failing the test?









        Presently, our nation is facing tough times.  We have a poor economy with high unemployment.  It is a desperate time for many.  Is this a time that Christians should cower and conform to the sinful standards of the world?  Financially speaking, as Believers, should we compromise our Christian faith, moral standards and ethical values hoping to make things better for everyone?  Absolutely not!

            These are the days when God expects every Child of God to attack the world with their faith.  You see, the lost are looking for something to cling onto now more than ever.  As the end of time draws nigh and the ways of the world no longer work, it will only be the born-again Christians with the answers that the fearful and unbelieving will be looking for.  The only thing that will cure the problems created by a world system that is falling apart will be a personal relationship with the Lord, Jesus Christ.

            Recently, I heard a taped message by the late Adrian Rogers.  He told the story of a fisherman and I want to share with you the abbreviated version.  It has a great message to it.

            Fisherman would go out on a boat for weeks at a time.  Upon returning to their small fishing town on one particular trip, the docks were filled with family members and friends who were anxious to see their loved ones.  As the men got off the boat, their wives or girlfriends would rush to their side, hugging and kissing them. 

            There was one fisherman who got off the boat only to find there was no one at the dock awaiting his arrival, not even his wife.  He worked his way through the crowd and down the street to his home.  As he opened the door, he saw his wife sitting comfortably in her chair.  His wife said to him, “I’ve been waiting for you.”  The fisherman replied, “Yes, but you weren’t watching for me.”

            Should the church be like the fisherman’s wife by sitting secure in the places of comfort while waiting to go to Heaven?  Should the church be watching for the imminent return of Jesus Christ?  The Bible says that the return of Christ will come as a thief in the night.  How should Christians be living right now? 

            With the time of the Lord’s return being closer than ever before, I don’t want to be caught off guard and unprepared.  Sometimes just waiting isn’t good enough.  Today, the Body of Christ individually and corporately needs to pray for God’s will to be revealed.  Once He shows us then we need to get up from our comfortable chairs/pews and do the Lord’s work.  When we get to Heaven we can rest from our labors.  Christians don’t have the luxury of taking a day off from our faith.  We are to work for the Lord 24-7 until His return.

            There are signs indicating that the rapture and second coming of Christ will happen soon.  But, do we spend too much time looking for the signs when we should be listening for the trumpet of God to sound? 

            For a while I have been amazed by the viewpoints employed by my brothers and sisters in Christ.  Sadly, I often wonder if we are serving the same Lord.  God’s word is specific.  If anyone chooses to become a Christian, they should be ready to leave this world for Heaven by understanding that the Lord is returning for His Bride.  The Bride must make herself ready.  Jesus provided salvation but Christians must personally make themselves ready to enter Heaven as a born-again child. 

            Will God be well pleased with your efforts in the fulfillment of your faith as you stand in front of Him on judgment day?

            Sometimes we get too concerned about our denomination.  I belong to the Southern Baptist denomination because the Lord led me there.  I love and respect it’s teaching dearly.  I don’t like the word “religion” at all.  That’s what put Jesus on a cross of suffering and physical death.  It’s because of our sin He sacrificed himself for all humanity.  He had to pay our sin debt. 

            In my opinion, Christianity is not founded on man made doctrines but rather is based on the love God showed toward people in that He sent Jesus to be the sacrifice for man’s sinful nature.  Christianity is a personal relationship we have with the Lord, Jesus.  I don’t think that Almighty God really needs anyone’s denomination or religion to accomplish His purposes.  I believe God’s desire is for His people to be ready to move when His voice speaks through the Holy Spirit.

            A Christian’s life should never really be a failure.  Unfortunately, we are not perfect just yet.  The Lord doesn’t expect us to be.  More, now than ever, the World needs to see the fulfillment of our faith.  It’s all about having complete trust in God and faith in the Lord Jesus.  Scripture defines faith in Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (KJV)  Christians must apply our faith in the real world. Demonstrating our faith by our actions in something we strongly believe in, the Lord Jesus Christ!   We need to be obedient to our Lord and always answer His call in our lives. 

            Lets look at 1Samuel 15:22 “To obey is better than sacrifice” and 1Peter 4:17 “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?  A high price will be paid at judgment for disobedience to God and His Holy Word.  The last days of this world as we know it are upon us.  The question is:  How do we want to be found when He returns?  Serving Him wholeheartedly or just barely going through the motions?  If we are truly seeking God and His righteousness, His perfect will and strong faith, my friends it will take obedience to God and His Holy Word to achieve it.  Amen! 










            Our changing culture has brought many pressures to bear on today’s church.  For some Believers the line that was once a clear demarcation between godly and ungodly behavior has become blurred.  The Christian’s lifestyle must be based on the principles of righteous living found in God’s word. 

Friends, do not be fooled into liberal societies that are on the verge of destruction like Sodom and Gomorrah.  Our society was based on Christian ethics and godly values.  As time goes by we see a great moving away from the very principles that were established by our founding fathers. 

Parents have allowed schools to take God out of everything possible.  We tend to blame school administrators but Moms and Dads need to take a look at what they are allowing to be taught in our tax supported educational system.  Without God in our daily lives at school, the workplace, the home, we have produced a generation of people who believe that they are a god themselves.  They let their conscience guide them.  Pick up any newspaper and see what taking God out of our schools has cost us. 

How can we expect that ethics or morals will be taught without God at the very root of such teachings?  We must live the pattern that Jesus left us so others can see who God really is and what Heaven is about.  The saying, “You may be the only Bible anyone will ever read” grows truer every day.

Do not fall into this “new age” teaching that is sweeping across our nation.  Do not let well-known personalities sway you with new philosophies that don’t align with the Word of God.  Believers must know what God’s truth says.  We can’t be blown by every wind of doctrine that comes our way.  We need to be strong in our faith and what we believe and why we believe it.  This will help us as we encounter those who are deceived by Satan.  Satan will also speak through well established people, who he has deceived into believing lies that will damn them to hell.  They must heed the call of God to repentance and turn to the Lord  for forgiveness and mercy.  The church must stay true to sound biblical doctrine. 

Romans 16:17 says, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.  (KJV)

If we, as Christians, have a strong relationship with the Lord, have asked for and received understanding of scripture, then we should not be swayed by any false teaching.  Too, the Bible says the sheep know the voice of the shepherd and none other will they follow.  Are you able to hear and recognize the voice of the true Shepherd, Jesus?  Be discerning and stay alert!  How do we continue improving so that our ears will be open to God’s voice and our vision clear to what is going on around us?  How do we become more responsible in living out our faith?  What can we do in our walk with the Lord to fill our own cup so that it overflows?

Imagine when you were born that God created and molded you like a clay cup.  When you are saved, God fills your cup with the everlasting living water of Christ.  If you do not continue adding more of Jesus to your cup until it overflows, the contents will begin to dry up.  Have you ever been near a body of water that doesn’t have fresh water running into it or a pond that hasn’t been moved by the wind?  It turns green and stinks.  Any Christian that doesn’t continually drink in the word of God will be like a dried up cup that isn’t fit to be drunk from. 

If you choose to be diligent in pursing a good Christian witness, then the wind (Holy Spirit) will begin to blow over that “pond” and start moving.  The water will clear up in no time and then it can be used to fill your dried up cup to overflowing.

The key is to keep the water flowing by praying, studying the Bible, fellowshipping with other Believers.  What should really be flowing out of your cup is the precious fruit of Jesus’ spirit; serving God’s will and purpose with a willing heart; sharing the Good News of the Gospel while glorifying His holy name and demonstrating our Christian values through responsible Christian living.  Do not let your cup become dried up and stagnant.  If you are a born again Christian then your cup should be running over!  Be led to the living waters.  Revelation 7:17 states, “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”  (KJV)

If you need help to get the waters flowing again, don’t despair!  We all go through valleys while trying to get to the mountain top.  The 23rd Psalm says, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.  He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and they staff they comfort me.  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  (KJV)











            I’m sure you’ve heard the old tale of a farmer who was stranded on top of his barn due to a flood.  He was a Christian man and as the waters rose higher and higher, he prayed that the Lord would save him.  Several hours passed and finally a boat came by to help him.  The farmer said he was waiting for God to rescue him and declined the offer to get in the boat.

            A few more hours passed by.  A helicopter flew overhead but he waved them off.  He yelled to the pilot that he was waiting for God to save him.  Finally, the flood waters rose and the farmer drowned.  He entered through the gates of Heaven and stood before the Lord.  The farmer asked God why He didn’t save him.  The Lord replied, “I sent you a boat and a helicopter.  What more did you want?” 

            This is a cute story but it illustrates a good message.  Do you think the farmer maybe had a spiritual disconnection?  Absolutely!

            As Christians we should always have an open line of communication with God. When Jesus died on Calvary this opened a direct line to God, the Father.  However, we do not use this line as we should.  We are often too busy keeping our spiritual phones off the hook or we are not in a good spot spiritually and the calls get dropped.  Believers often sever the line-not God.  Or, we let sin become a wedge between us and God, which blocks our line of communication.  Communication is defined as a process by which we assign and convey meaning in an attempt to create shared understanding.  This process requires a set of skill in intrapersonal processing, listening, observing, speaking, questioning, analyzing and evaluating.  Use of these processes is developmental and transfers to all areas of life.  Cooperation occurs through communication.

            I have always believed that communication is the key to success in everything, especially when it comes to being close to God.  If you cannot communicate with your spouse, children, family, friends, co-workers, etc., I promise that you will become disconnected.  There will be problems. 

            Christians must remain connected to the Lord in order to walk in faith, be obedient, love everyone and be committed to God, serving Him with our whole heart.  If we keep our spiritual phone bill paid up and live a godly life daily, then we are in a position to receive calls from the Holy Spirit.  We need to be ready to listen when God wants to speak to us.

            If we fail to stay in close communication with God through prayer, how will we really know that plans He has for us?  Drawing close to God is the only answer.  Only God can clear the way for us to see the path before us.  We must keep the spiritual phone line, if you will, open so we can hear directly from the Father.  This is especially important because of the gifts and callings within the Body of Christ.  If we take the phone off the hook then we won’t know what our place is on Earth.  As a Christian, could we ever really know what our spiritual gifts are if we do not communicate with the Lord?  Jesus bestowed spiritual gifts to His Church.  Have you unwrapped your gift to see what it is yet?

            A special gift from God is that His children can walk in His wisdom.  Wise decisions are crucial as we travel through life.  Have you applied God’s word only to see that it was the wisest thing to do?  And if you have done that did you find that God’s wisdom supersedes the wisdom of all men?  Ignorance is simply not knowing about a particular matter or thing.  Stupidity is when we do know better but do it anyway.  Maturing Christians should know what is right and wrong and should not be classified as either.  The Bible says to know right and to not do it is sin and that the heathen in his heart knows right from wrong.  So, Christians will be sinning either way if they remain immature about God and His ways.  If you know the Word and exemplify righteousness through Christian living, these wise decisions should come as second nature.

            God talks to us daily and we will hear Him if we are tuned in to what the Spirit is saying.  Still, there are times when we just cannot feel or hear Him at all.  That can be because our life choices have disconnected us from Him.  Have you ever really heard God talk to you?  Will you ever understand if He is answering your prayers? 

            A friend told me once that you know God is speaking to you because three things will be relevant:  He speaks through the Holy Spirit; What you are hearing is found in the scriptures and through other Christians.  Sometimes it isn’t that God doesn’t speak to us or showing us what He wants for us.  It is that we aren’t listening or looking. 

            I have had more than my fair share of prayers answered in my life.  The Lord amazes me by the way He speaks to me in so many different ways.  For example, I was mentally, physically and spiritually drained after Donnie died.  I was home alone and pondering what I should write for his eulogy.  I prayed over this because I really wanted to share something that would be healing for the family.  However, at that particular time I couldn’t come up with anything.

            I had gone upstairs to check on something and noticed that one of Deidre’s inspirational daily calendars and not been turned to the current date.  It was still on the date that my brother passed away, October 3.  The verse was Psalm 147:3 and it said, “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.”  (KJV)  Within just a few short moments, God had answered my prayer because I was connected to Him.  I was looking and expecting to hear from Him.  I am still awed when I think back on how I was led by God to the calendar that had the scripture I needed to base my thoughts on before writing a tribute to my brother.  This testimony is just one small sample of what I have been trying to convey to you about being closely connected to God.

            Now, I want to be very clear here.  Just because we expect an answer to come does not always mean God will answer the way we want Him to.  Christians should surrender to God’s will and purpose for their lives.  We need to willingly accept those decisions without resistance.  Once a Believer does this, then they will appreciate how He answered their prayers even if the answer is not what was initially wanted or expected.

            I have found that most Christians quench the Holy Spirit from working in their lives.  1 Thessalonians 5:19, “Quench not the Spirit.”  (KJV)  We do not only quench the Spirit in our own lives but others as well.  When we do this, how can we say we are being obedient to God and His word?  We can’t.  How can we really be living within God’s will?  We can’t. 

            Quenching the Spirit is sin and hurts our relationship and communication with God, the Father.  As Christians, we must let God’s holy Spirit live and work through us each and every day.  We should always be praying that God will send us answers and revelations to help lead us in our daily walk.  The Apostle Paul emphasized that we have a continuing battle inside of us between the flesh and the Spirit.  We must feed the Spirit and starve the flesh each and every day to stay in the Spirit. We must not quench the Holy Spirit working in our lives.  If we do, we lose growth in Christ and miss many of God’s blessings.  We believers should be found walking in the Spirit, not in the flesh.

            Throughout this chapter, I have put emphasis on many things in our relationships with God and others that can be improved upon.  If we are keeping an open line in order to have direct communication with our heavenly Father then we can do nothing less than grow as Christians.  If a Christian isn’t growing in Christ, they should check to make sure their “phone line” is not corrupted so they can receive calls from God.

            Has your telephone been ringing lately or are you disconnected from the main line?










            Let’s dig deep into some of the spiritual keys that lend to obedient Christian living.

            Gifts of the Spirit are given to the church to edify the Body of Christ.  We need to understand about spiritual gifts so as to recognize when God wants to do a work in Christians individually and corporately.  As gifts are used within the church according to biblical guidelines, the local body is drawn to greater unity and maturity.  When time allows read chapters 12 and 13 of 1 Corinthians where Paul is speaking about the gifts to the church of Corinth.

            The Fruit of the Spirit also edifies the Body of Christ, because they are an exact expression of the personality and nature of God, as was shown to the world by the life of Jesus when He walked on the earth as the Son of Man.  Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance give Christians a complete picture of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  Believers should live out the fruit daily so we can impact our world for Jesus.  Look at Galatians 5:22-26 regarding this subject.

            Notice how important charity (love) is to the Lord and it is a must.  It is talked about in the gifts and fruit of the Spirit.  In chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians, Paul speaks about exercising your gifts with love.  In chapter 5 verse 22, Paul states that love is a fruit of the Spirit. Without demonstrating love in are Christian walk, we fail to represent Christ wholeheartedly. 

            Using your gifts and showing good fruit of the Spirit are important keys that enable Christians to be pleasing unto God and also displays what Christ like or righteous living really means.  It simply shows that we are strong in our faith and obedient to the word of God. 

            To obey God is better than sacrifice because obedience is an important spiritual key in being able to fulfill God’s perfect will.  Christians must understand and should appreciate that necessity for obedience because God also has a permissive will that is the result of disobedience.  Many Christians are not even aware of they are out of God’s will.  When professing believers are going through the motions, playing church and serving religion instead of God, then it will be impossible for them to know what His perfect will is.  Being religious is far removed from a personal relationship with God.  Every day I brush my teeth religiously.  The term only means to do something out of habit or obligation.  If a Believer is to have a close one-on-one relationship with God, they will choose to do His will because of the love and respect for who He is to them.

            Consider God’s message to Israel regarding obedience.   Israel had many blessings because of their obedience.  On the other hand, they faced God’s judgment because of their disobedience to the covenant they entered into with Him.  The covenant was made as Israel agreed to live for God by keeping His commandments.

            If Christians are to be pleasing to God they should stay committed in the covenant they made with Him at salvation and to continue to seek His righteousness through Christ.  1 Samuel 15:22 tells about how important obedience is to the Lord:  “And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”  (KJV)

            With a spirit-filled life, church attendance, Bible reading and prayer are all necessary but faith grows as it is put into action.  The principles of Christianity must be taken out of the church and practiced “on-the-job” in everyday situations.  Christians today must be active in their faith.  We must learn to acknowledge the obligations of Christian freedom and choose to live a spirit-filled life.  Galatians 5:16 tells us, “This is say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”  (KJV)  Let your obedient faith burn through your veins like fire, consuming any doubts you have in God and His will for you; burning out any fears you have in man and this sinful world.

            Through Christ, the Believer enjoys the benefits of adoption into the family of God.  Before building a house, you must begin by making plans.  God did not begin building the Church without prior planning.  As we understand His plan and purpose for our lives, we in turn can receive His power to fulfill those plans.  We must acknowledge the perfection of God’s wisdom and submit to it.  Some would probably equate wisdom with knowledge; however, others would understand that wisdom includes the ability to make the right decisions or to have insight into a situation that others may not have.

            You may be going through a difficult circumstance in your life right now.  Ask God to give you wisdom and understanding to help you in your time of need.  Christians need God’s wisdom to achieve true joy.  All who follow His precepts have good understanding.  To Him belongs eternal praise. The Psalmist tells us in Psalms 111:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom….”  (KJV)

            Ephesians 1:4 confirms that we have been adopted by God, which states, “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:”  (KJV)  The words “should be” leaves a choice to Christians.  Therefore, it is important what is actually being said regardless of how a scripture is worded.  Unless the scriptures are being read through the eyes of Jesus, all someone will get from them is simple data.  In the Psalms 111:10 scripture the word “fear” means reverential awe.  It does not mean the fear that someone may experience when they think they are going to be hit by a car!

            More often than not words have multiple meanings so another spiritual key is to gain understanding of what the scriptures are really saying beyond the obvious.  Words are often misleading but a Christian has the choice of going from having simple data to that of gaining spiritual understanding by having chosen to go beyond the door of understanding to that of attaining God’s wisdom.  Keys of the Kingdom are made available to all Christians.  Is your spiritual key-ring full and opening all the right doors in your life?








            Today we live in the age of GPS (Global Positioning System).  What a great tool we have!  With the right system it is virtually impossible to get lost.  We use many tools to get to a particular destination.  It may be a map to a favorite vacation spot or a book we use to get us through that final exam. 

Spiritually speaking, if you are not part of the family of God, you will always be lost no matter what “tools” are out there to help you on your way.  The system to find your way has been around for thousands of years and it is the true GPS-God’s plan of salvation.  Without salvation people remain lost.  Matthew 18:11 states, “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.”  (KJV)  Also, the Bible says that Jesus came to earth that men “might” be saved indicating a choice has to be made.

I believe you could ask just about anyone where they would like to spend eternity and the answer would be Heaven.  Actually, it seems that the ultimate goal for both the Saved and Lost is to get into the kingdom of God’s Heaven.  So, what stops people from surrendering their soul to the Savior?  Choice!  God’s exquisite gift of freewill allows everyone to choose whether they will accept salvation or reject it.  Man’s will is the only thing that God does not interject His will on.  Choice or “freewill” is actually the attribute that God endowed man with that makes them most in the image and likeness of the Godhead.  God gave man a free will so they could choose their own eternal destiny.

In John 3:3, Jesus said, “….Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  (KJV)  The term “born again” is used in many Christian settings but I want to take a minute to explain it to the non-believer or any Christian that truly may not understand this terminology. 

Being born again means to be changed. We are born in the Spirit of God and now the Holy Spirit lives within us. We have removed the old self and put on the new self and became a new creature in Christ Jesus.  We no longer think or act the same once we experience the unconditional love and eternal Spirit of the Lord.  Even Satan and his devils believe in the Lord.  They have no faith and do not accept the Lord for who He is, so believing does not necessarily mean someone is saved!  People experience a physical birth when leaving their mother’s womb.  However, when someone feels conviction for their sin and turns to Jesus Christ with faith in Him being their only hope of forgiveness for their sins, they have another birth but this time it is a spiritual birth.  Therefore, being born again means someone has turned from their sin and in faith is truly pursuing God and His ways.

From the time Jesus began preaching, He told people they needed their carnal hearts to be changed as the Kingdom of Heaven was near.  To paraphrase Matthew 6, the world seeks to satisfy their human nature but the most important thing to seek should be godly realities.  Actually, this scripture also says that when someone is seeking for godly realities, then whatsoever they have need of will be added unto them.  A need is far removed from a carnal want.  If we seek God and His righteousness then all these things will be added unto us.  These things will be true blessings from the Lord.

Imagine a great wall is separating you from entering Heaven.  What does that wall represent?  Sin!  Sin represents the free will acts that both a Believer and a non-believer commit when they choose to do their own thing apart from God’s eternal plan for mankind.  Keep in mind that there saved person’s sins are washed in the blood of the Lamb (Jesus).  They have forgiveness.  In Hebrews we are told that without the shed blood of Christ we have no remission of sins.  For the Lost there is no forgiveness of sins.  Their faith is not in Jesus Christ.  This great wall of sin separates them from Heaven.

Some try to go around the wall by ignoring their sin.  Thus, they will be seen going around and around the same mountain of sin because their sin remains.  Some try to go under the wall by being self-sufficient, thinking they can rely on their ability to dig under the wall to find God and get into Heaven.  Finally, some people try to climb over the wall by doing good things (good works).  But, the Bible says that anyone trying to get to God and into Heaven by any other way than through Jesus, the Door unto salvation, is a thief and robber.  You alone are the only one that can open the Door and enter through that wall.  That only happens once someone has surrendered to the will of God and accepts Jesus Christ as their personal savior.  You must seek forgiveness through Christ, the Lord. 

Ephesians 2:1 states, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins:”  (KJV) In the past you were spiritually dead because of your sins and the things you committed against God.  That being a spiritual reality means that dead people don’t walk, dig, climb or jump by their own power, because sin made them dead.  Every path someone takes in trying to get to God and into Heaven is futile unless they are saved.  For the unbelieving it takes repentance of sin and the receiving of salvation through the blood that Jesus sacrificed for man’s sin.  For the Believer it takes confession unto God the sin they have chosen to hang onto and turning from it.  Once forgiveness has been received, the newly saved creature will then be able to surmount the wall that was keeping them from entering into the fullness of God’s salvation.

Both the Lost and Saved alike are required to personally choose to break through any wall that separates them from God.  Sinner, pray for conviction from the Holy Spirit about your spiritual condition.  Seek forgiveness of your sin and accept Christ.  Christians, pray asking God for the spiritual power to overcome any vice that may be separating you from a full life in Christ Jesus.  Your sin drives a wedge between you and God.  It hinders the relationship you should have with the Lord.  However, it is always good to remember the difference in conviction and condemnation.  Conviction comes directly from God via the Holy Spirit, condemnation comes directly from Satan via his hosts of demons from Hell.  Because the Lost belong to Satan and there is no condemnation to that are in Christ Jesus.  Every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God will be accomplished.  Satan is the master of deception.  Do not be deceived!