Posted in My Thoughts

Why do we obey what God says?

Why do we obey what God says?

Because we want the potential blessings that he may choose to give us when we do? Because we don’t want to deal with the possible consequences that come from not? Because we grew up being told we are supposed to? Because we think it will put us in good standing with certain people…or even with God himself? Because we know that to see God’s promises fulfilled, we must first obey?


Do we want to obey him because he is the creator of this universe, and has offered us salvation from our sins? Do we want to obey God because he’s worthy of living for and obeying? Do we want to obey him because we are convinced there is no better way to spend our days on this earth? Do we want to obey God simply because he loved us first and thus we want to love him?

Moment of truth…

More often than I care to admit, I choose to obey God because I want the blessings that he may choose to give. At times, I will pray something like “God, I’ve been seeking to obey you and trust you and live for you, so when will you provide for what I need or fulfill your promise and bless me the way I need you to?”.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. There is nothing wrong about praying for specific blessings from the Lord. NOT AT ALL. Scripture tells us to pray and ask God for what we want, that there are promised blessings when we do obey God, and even that God likes to bless us.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11)

Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. (Malachi 3:10)

Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lordand he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord: trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. (Psalm 37:3-6)

So pray boldly! Don’t be surprised when he does bless you as you seek to obey live faithfully. Make the Lord what you delight in and are committed to, knowing he will give you the desires of your heart when you do. These are promises in scripture, we can have confidence in them. So yes, pray boldly and live in obedience and have expectations that God will reward and bless you.


We should not pray boldly only because we want what he may give us. We should not obey him and be faithful because we think it’s some magical formula to get blessings. We should not delight in him and commit our ways to him so that he will give us the desires of our heart. Those are selfish motives and desires. And honestly, if the only reason we obey and live for him is because we want what he will give us, then we aren’t really obeying him or living for him. We are doing it for selfish gain, and that’s not true love, nor is it really living for him…it’s loving what he gives us and living for ourselves.

God knows our hearts…and he cares more about the condition of our heart than some action we do.

You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. (James 4:3)

…For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)

Truth is…

Sometimes God chooses to not bless us when we are faithful and obedient to him…at least not fully. Sometimes, God’s promised blessings can come to fulfillment farther in the future than we may think or want. Sometimes, God may decide that his promises will be fully realized in those around us whom he has used our life to influence.

Look at Moses. God used him to rescue Israel from slavery, and lead them through the wilderness to the Promised Land. But, Moses himself did not get to experience the blessing of the Promised Land. He led Israel to it, but wasn’t permitted to enter it. God still fulfilled his promise, Moses just didn’t get to fully experience it. God blessed Moses plenty in his life, there’s no doubt about that…but Moses did not experience this particular blessing.

Consider Abraham. God told him he’d make him into a great nation. When God gave that promise, he didn’t even have a child. And he was old. And so was his wife. God did bless Abraham with a son Isaac. But Abraham did not see God’s promise come to fulfillment. Abraham did not get to experience the full blessing of the nation that came from him. God blessed Abraham plenty in his life, there’s not doubt about that…but Abraham did not experience this particular blessing.

What if some of God’s promises to me are not fulfilled in my lifetime? What if God uses me, as he did Moses, to lead others to follow him…what if God uses me to lead my children through this wilderness time of life, and the blessings of faithfulness and obedience are realized in their life later but I don’t get to fully experience the blessings? What if God gives me huge dreams, but I don’t get to see the fulfillment of those dreams in my own lifetime? What if?

Will I still choose to obey him and be faithful? Am I choosing to obey him because I want the blessings for myself, or am I choosing to obey him simply because he loved me first and thus I want to I love him?

We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. (1 John 5:3)

May we obey God, not because of what we may get out of it, but simply because we love him. May we live for him, be faithful to him, and seek his kingdom and righteousness in our life at all times. May the fact that he loves us so much compel us to love him with all that we are. And may we praise him and give him all the glory he is due, regardless of how he chooses to bless us.

Posted in Broken Thoughts


When, O God, will you choose to act?
When, O God, will you choose to move?
When, O Jesus, can I move beyond this moment?
When, O Jesus, can these present sufferings cease?
When, O Lord, do I enter into my future?
When, O Lord, do I find my new groove?
When, O Savior, will you reveal your will for tomorrow?
When, O Savior, will you what’s next for me release?

You, O God, are MY God
You, O Jesus, are MY Jesus
You, O Lord, are MY Lord
You, O Savior, are MY Savior
May I follow you as though you are MY God
May I trust you as though you are MY Jesus
May I serve you as though you are MY Lord
May I live for you as though you are MY Savior

When, O My God, you do choose to act,
When, O My God, you do choose to move;
May my desire to follow you still be intact,
And may I choose to go wherever you lead.

When, O My Jesus, I do move beyond this moment,
When, O My Jesus, these present sufferings do cease;
May I trust that you allowed me to go through struggles,
So that my faith would strengthen and increase.

When, O My Lord, I do enter into my future,
When, O My Lord, I do find my new groove;
May my love for you continually grow more mature,
And may I desire to serve you each day that I’m given.

When, O My Savior, you reveal your will for my tomorrow,
When, O My Savior, you release what is next for me;
May I walk into that future stronger than ever,
Surrendering to and living for you completely.

But, O My God, until you choose to act,
Until, O My God, you choose to move;
Until, O My Jesus, I can move beyond this moment,
Until, O My Jesus, these present sufferings cease;
Until, O My Lord, I enter into my future,
Until, O My Lord, I find my new groove;
Until, O My Savior, you reveal your will for my tomorrow,
Until, O My Savior, you what’s next for me release;

May you alone be what I hope in,
May I continually after you seek,
And may my faith in you remain,
Even when my present looks bleak.
May you be what I desire most,
May I remember all you’ve done before,
And may to you my praises be lifted,
Even when my situation seems poor.



Posted in My Thoughts

A fear of failure becomes its own prophecy

Last week I shared a post on social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) that said…

Yes, I have been living in recovery and survival mode for the past 2 1/2 years. Yes, things are beginning to change and I’m ready to start moving forward into the future rather than still just trying to recover from the past and survive the moment. Yes, I have hopes and dreams again, and it’s exciting!

And yes, it is also very scary.

It’s scary because what if….WHAT IF…I have to deal with a major hurt again, or I fail miserably with regards to what my new hopes and dreams are. I’ve experienced my life falling apart, things not working out like I had thought, and being hurt beyond what I could have imagined, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid of that happening again.

What if I put myself out there and I am rejected again?

What if I step out in faith and it feels like the bottom falls out from underneath me?

What if I want something and go for it, and I don’t get it?

What if I have a dream or hope or desire, and I can’t obtain it like I want to?

What if I get hurt?

What if I fail?


Fear is a very powerful force. It will cause us to freeze in moments where we know we need to move. It will keep us from trying something new, from dreaming again after experiencing a failed dream, from loving again after being rejected, or from imagining a better life than present circumstances because we can’t see what it might look like.

We don’t want to fail. We don’t like to fail. So we easily become afraid of failure. And we begin to develop a fear of failure.

The ironic thing about the fear of failure is that it becomes its own prophecy.

When we allow our self to be afraid of failure, we often end up not trying at all. And thus we end up failing…failing to accomplish something new, of gaining something better, seeing something greater, and moving into a future that is different from the present.

We end up avoiding any kind of success or blessing in our life, and we remain stuck in the moment. We actually end up failing to succeed or move into something better. We fail to get what we want or even need because we were too afraid to try.

God uses moments that hurt us and times that we fail to grow us and prepare us for what is coming next. He uses what seems bad to bring about something good. Yes, pain and failure are not fun, but it’s not something to fear.

If God uses moments that hurt us and times that we fail to grow us and prepare us for what is coming next, then we can begin to replace our fears with faith and trust. We can trust that God has a plan that is bigger than our current pain and failure, and we can have faith that as we continue to move forward, God will guide and direct us.

“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) (click here for a very good/challenging brief message about this verse)


Instead of asking “What if” questions about how we could get hurt again or fail again, we should ask ourselves what we may be missing out on if we allow our fear to dictate our actions.

What if I miss out on some amazing blessing the Lord has for me?

What if I miss out on an incredible experience?

What if God leads me into something so much better than I even expected?

What if joy and peace and comfort could be mine, but I don’t obtain them because I was afraid to take the necessary steps?

What if God wants to teach me something and I miss the lesson?

What if I succeed?


May we learn to be brave when facing the possibility of pain and failure…and may we not allow fear to keep us from still trusting God and living by faith. May we understand that being brave doesn’t mean there will always be an absence of fear, but rather it means being willing to still move forward even in the presence of fear. May we realize that God is using our pain and failure for our good, so we don’t need to fear. And may we choose to not allow fear to cause us to miss out on the successes and blessings we can experience.

Posted in Media

All things happen to God’s people

Today I was watching a message by Pastor Toby Slough, who is at Cross Timbers Church in Texas. In his message, which was from Exodus 1 and 2 when Israel was enslaved, he shared the very popular verse Romans 8:28.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

He then proceeded to share a very powerful truth about that verse. If God works all things for good, then that means all things happen to God’s people. Watch the segment of his message about Romans 8:28 below. (the full message can be found at

This was a truth I needed to hear. I know God works in all things, and I know that God allows difficult things to happen. But often I still wonder why God allowed all that he did to happen in my life…or why after 2 1/2 years am I still struggling to recover financially from all that was done to me…or why I was made to suffer this way when it wasn’t my choice to begin with. I must admit that I’ve asked God why, when I was serving him, did he let so many bad things happen to me.

This explanation of Romans 8:28, and the truth that my circumstances are not an indication of God’s love and involvement in my life, was just what I needed to hear.

Posted in My Thoughts

God’s dreams for my future VS my dreams from my past

A few days ago I wrote a blog called “Approaching the New Year (and life) with Intentionality“. In that blog I talked about the idea of picking a word for the year, a word to claim that would give you guidance and focus for the coming year.

I have actually chosen 2 words for myself for this year: Change and Bold.

My life has gone through many very difficult and unwanted changes the past couple of years, and up to this point I’ve been focusing more on surviving the changes than I have on trying to be in a place I can begin to move forward. Things have started to move forward, and it’s been exciting, but I’ve still been very much focused on surviving all the fall-out and damage from the past difficult changes as well. However, I’ve been sensing that this year God is preparing some new and exciting things for my future…he is preparing me for more changes that are coming.

That’s where my second word comes into play. It is a good reminder for me to approach whatever new and exciting things may come with boldness…after the kind of changes I was forced to go through, it is easy to become timid and scared of change, so I need to remember to be bold.


Today, in a conversation I was having concerning my future, I admitted that I have not yet been able to let go of some of the dreams from my past. When my life was turned upside down and I went through a lot of very difficult changes, many dreams of mine died. Some of those things I have been able to work through and begin to heal from, but others I’m still trying to figure out how to work through.

Last week I was talking with a missions organization, and I was posed the question “what would your dream job look like?” I knew the answer right away…it would look like my job at my last church. I absolutely loved my job when I worked at Calvary Bible Church; the Student Ministry there was amazing, I loved all the opportunities I was given to preach and speak, and getting to organize and go on mission trips each year was amazing. I loved that job. And to be really honest, I’ve struggled to let it go. It is very hard for me to still wish I had what I did in that job.

In my conversation today, as I admitted and shared that fact, I was challenged with a truth that I needed to hear…

God’s dreams for your future are different than your dreams from your past. His dreams are better than your dreams. It is time to let go of the dreams from your past so that God can do a new thing in your future. 

While I needed to hear that, it was hard to hear; it still hurts to think of letting my past dreams die, and I know I won’t  happen overnight either. My job at CBC was my dream job, and it still hurts a lot to have lost it. So I definitely needed to hear that truth!

God has a plan for my future. And if he allowed my past dreams to be taken from me, it’s because he has dreams for my future that are better than my past dreams. So while it’s painful, and even though I don’t see exactly what those future dreams are yet, I need to work to let my past go and trust him for my future.


As it says in Isaiah 43:18-19…

Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.

I can’t continue to focus on the past. I have to learn to let it go. My focus must be on the truth that God is in the process of doing a new thing. What exactly does my future hold or look like? What are the new things that he is doing? I don’t know. But even though I don’t know, I can trust that God has a better dream and plan for my future than I had in my past.

Letting go of past dreams can be hard, especially when they were good dreams and they were taken from you. It can also be hard to let go of bad memories from the past as well, because it is easy to let painful experiences from our past determine our actions and reactions now. But to remain focused on the past will only keep us from moving forward into the future that God has for us, a future where he is doing something new.

So, may we learn to not focus on the past, good or bad. May we learn to let the past go, and may we instead learn to focus on where God is leading us next.

Posted in My Thoughts

Approaching the New Year (and life) with Intentionality

It can be easy to live our lives mostly out of reaction to what happens or comes our way. And while that is not necessarily all bad…there are so many things we can’t control in this life that we do have to learn how to react well to…we also need to learn to approach life with intentionality; to have a plan, set goals, and seek to be purposeful.

Plans and goals don’t always work out the way we want them to, because again there is so much in life that we can’t control. BUT, when we make plans and we set goals and we seek to be purposeful, we are living our lives with intentionality. Doing that gives us focus and purpose, keeps us on track when we might want to get off track, and even helps us better navigate the changes that life brings our way.

Now that we are in a new year, you hear a lot about the idea of “new year’s resolutions”, trying new things, and moving forward into what the future holds. Entering a new year brings this kind of thinking out in our society, and we should take advantage of that in our own lives by seeking to approach this coming year with intentionality.

Here are a few suggestions for how to go about approaching this new year with intentionality…

  • Pick a word for the year. A word that will give you guidance and focus. For example, CHOICE. Picking a word like this provides a constant reminder that what we do in this life involves choice; who we hang out with, where we go, what we do, how we react, etc. It is also a word that can encourage us to seek to make the right choice in all circumstances.
  • After picking a word, choose some key scripture verses/passages to go with your word. This takes the word you chose beyond just being a good word…it gives it a spiritual focus as well. It helps you to be focused on God’s Word in your life. For the word CHOICE, some verse ideas could be: Joshua 24:15, Matthew 4:19-20, and Colossians 3:2. The verse doesn’t have to include the word itself, but it should encompass the idea of the word.
  • Write out a list of goals, dreams, and plans for this coming year. Make sure to write things that you will be able to accomplish or keep track of fairly easily, so that you will have victories to celebrate. BUT, also think big and write some things that will challenge you and require you to trust God in ways you may have not had to before. Also, remember that it’s ok to not accomplish everything, or to allow some of your goals, dreams, and plans to change during the year…life happens, and we must learn to give ourselves grace as well as be flexible to make adjustments.
  • Find a friend who you can share what you wrote down with. That friend should be someone you trust, be someone who continually encourages you throughout the year to stay focused, prays for you, and will even help you as you need.
  • One other idea that some might like and some might not: Pick a “theme song”. A song that really speaks to your heart, causes you to worship the Lord, and is a good reminder of your word and it’s focus. Music speaks to us in a powerful way, which is why picking a song can be a good piece to this.

During the year, keep track of all you wrote down, what was accomplished and happened, and what you’ve learned. At the end of the year, look at what you wrote down celebrate the past year’s accomplishments and lessons learned. Don’t just record or celebrate only the good either…not all life is positive, but we can still learn from difficult times and even celebrate what we made it through and how God gave us the strength in hard times. And then use that to begin looking forward to being intentional for the next coming year.

Let’s learn to live our lives with intentionality. Let’s not just live in reaction to what comes our way (yes, it is good to learn how to react well…I’m not saying neglect that part), but rather let’s dare to dream and plan and create goals for ourselves. Let’s live with purpose…let’s live with intentionality!


I’d love to hear other ideas for being intentional. Feel free to comment with other ideas you have.