7.22.17 – The Weekly Walk. Desire.

7.22.17 – The Weekly Walk.  Desire.

Good Saturday to you. I’m reading through a bible plan in my Bible reading app and wanted to share just a few thoughts from it.  I’m into day 5 of this 30 day plan.  It’s very easy and simple to digest, quick to start the day with which is good but there are some days, I have to admit, that I’m yearning for more.  Here are a few highlights:

– We must let go of the good to grab hold of the better.  From Psalm 84:  “Better is one day with God than thousands elsewhere.”  Spend time with God.

– How do you have a day with God?  You live with an ongoing, unending awareness of His presence. From Colossians 3:  “Since You have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not earthly things.”  Earthly things.  These things will pass.  They are good for a minute. We need to store our treasures in heaven.

– How do you begin to live with an ongoing, unending awareness of God’s presence?  You begin developing the habit of constant communication with God through prayer.  From Luke 18: “Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Jesus told his crew that prayer is important, that prayer is essential in his ministry. How many times does it say in the New Testament…then Jesus went off to pray.

– In order to live with an ongoing, unending awareness of God’s presence, you must develop the habit of instant obedience to God.  Tough one.  Instant obedience, undying obedience. We are human.  We have this nature that says it’s all about us, all about me.  We have needs, wants, desires and to be honest, they usually revolve around us.  In John 14, Jesus says this, “If you love me, keep my commands, and I will ask the Father and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever, the Spirit of truth.”  Long for obedience.

– In order to live with an ongoing, unending awareness of God’s presence, you must develop a daily desperation for God.  A daily desperation. I love that word. Desperation.  When you are desperate for something, you will do anything to get it. You will move mountains to get it. That’s what God has done for us, He has moved mountains to get to us.  Let’s return the sentiment.  Desperation for God. David says in Psalm 63, “You God, are my God, earnestly I seek you, I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you in a dry and parched land where there is no water….I will praise you as long as I live.”   How dry and parched are you for God? How desperate do you need his living water?

That’s only the first 5 days.  I need to develop a habit of constantly striving for God.  Relying on God.  Trusting in God.  Hoping in God.  I need to be desperate for Him and His goodness in my life.  I encourage you to do the same.  Long for Him, in the midst of the tragedy and the joy, Father I pray that you are the center of it all.  Amen.

 

4.3.17 – The Weekly Walk. Peter.

4.3.17 – The Weekly Walk. Peter.

I was reading this morning in Matthew, Mark, Luke & John about Peter.  Jesus, took Peter, James & John up to the Mount of Olives to keep watch while He prayer.  He leaves them for a bit to go off and pray and comes back and finds them sleeping.  He wakes them up, goes off and prays again and comes back to find them sleeping….again!

Isn’t this so true of our human nature.  Sometimes problems, situations and crossroads in our lives make us just want to step aside, fall asleep and not deal with them. Jesus’ response to them was “Watch and pray so that you may not fall into temptation.  The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”  Our everyday walk with Jesus reminds us to wake up, keep watch & continuously be in prayer.  Not so that things can work out our way but so that we don’t fall into temptation.  Into other minefields and other situations that lead us away from Him and the walk that we should have with Him daily.

We know the story, a small army of men come to take Jesus away, he heals one of the men after their ear is cut off, which for me would be reason enough to fall to my knees and worship right there on the spot.  They accuse Jesus and find Him guilty of his statement that He is the Son of God.

Meanwhile, the backstory on Peter is this.  The night before Jesus had said that He will deny Him three times.  While Jesus is in this trial, Peter is hanging out outside warming himself by the fire.  A servant girl says to him, aren’t you the one who was with the Nazarene.  Peter denies it.  Someone else states the same thing and he denies it again.  Finally a third time he is accused of being a friend of Jesus to which he denies it a third time.  The rooster crows and Peters weeps bitterly for his denial.

This is Peter.  This is the one who walked on water to reach Jesus only a few days prior.  The one who had complete faith in Him as he stepped out of the boat and walked on the water to reach him.  I can’t define what happened here and why the denial.  I have to chalk it up to human nature and Peter’s humanness.  It’s hard to fathom and something that I’m wrestling with this morning as I type this.  How,  if just a few days ago he was walking on water, could he now deny knowing Jesus, not once but three times.  I think of my own walk with Jesus.  Do I deny Him after I’ve seen Him work so mightily in someone’s life?  In my own life?  Sadly, the answer is yes.  Denial happens all the time.  Small compromises, small statements, small sins that compound and tear us away from Him and the goodness that He has for us.  We as human beings are lost without His grace.  Lost without His mercy.  I struggle daily with trying to be a better man, husband, father, leader, christian, the list goes on.  Peter, in this act of denial, teaches us all an incredible lesson in humanness.  We are all subject to it and all in need of a Savior.  Someone who, even though we deny Him, sometimes on a daily basis, will still walk up to the cross and let the nails be driven in, let the cross be lifted up, and let his body be broken, because He loves us that much.  Jesus tells us, “Peace, I leave with you, my peace I give to you.  I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

“I do not give as the world gives.”  

For that statement alone I am thankful.

2.15.17 – The Weekly Walk – Psalm 46

2.15.17 – The Weekly Walk – Psalm 46.

Hey everyone, hope you’re well and the week is going great.  We had a great time on Monday night at Monday Night Worship.  We had over 50 people tune in to our Facebook live stream.  If you missed it, you can watch it by CLICKING HERE.

There were a lot of prayer requests & there was just a lot going on so, please take a minute and pray for each other as we do each week.  Appreciate you guys.

We spoke briefly about one of my favorite Psalms, Psalm 46.  It starts out like this….

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in times of trouble.  
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea
though the waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.”

then towards the end it says this…

“He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire
He says, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

I really do love this passage of scripture. It was particularly relevant on Monday night as we were reading the prayer requests and praying for people.  There are a lot of folks, myself included, who are dealing with some wars in their lives.  We need God to step in and break the bow and shatter the spear. We need Him to step in and hold us, even in the midst of the mountains falling in our lives and the earth giving way, every day for some of us.

I take refuge in this passage.  It reminds me that God is not giving up on us. It reminds me that He is here in the midst of it all.  I know it’s hard to see Him sometimes in the midst of the struggles, in the midst of the waters foaming and roaring.  I’ve felt very distant from God on more than one occasion but in the end, through the battles, we find that He’s been with us all along.  This is faith.  This is the true definition of faith in the unseen.  We walk through wars every day, we see battles being fought every day. Walk down the street, you’ll see battles.  I’m in Chicago this week and have seen so many people fighting as I walk down the street.  Fighting for life.  Fighting for freedom. Fighting for something more.  Some don’t even realize what they are fighting for.  I know that even in my own life and family, we are fighting for things.  We are fighting for healing. We are fighting for strength.  Salvation.  The list goes on.

The only response to this is to take refuge in the One who stands with us.  Jesus.  He loves us with a love that we can’t even begin to describe.  The battles we fight each day are not fought alone. He stands with us.  He walks with us.  He is victorious in it all.  He fought and defeated the grave.  He can fight and defeat what we are going through.  Have faith.  Trust.  Hope.  Seek Him.  He will show up.  He will draw near to you as you draw near to Him.

Praying for each and every one of you as you fight your battles today.

Join us on Monday nights at http://www.daveonfacebook.com

2.4.17 – The Weekly Walk – Who is God….really.

2.4.17 – The Weekly Walk – Who is God…really.

Hey everyone, hope the week is going great.  We had a great night of worship on Monday night on our Facebook Live Stream.  Join us if you haven’t already done so at http://www.daveonfacebook.com at around 8:30pm and be sure to sign up for the email list at http://www.davesemaillist.com to get the updates.

So this week were were talking about how we are in God’s heart and how we’ve always been there and always will be there.  We don’t always have that feeling though because we have a distorted image of God.  An image that has to be smashed like the idols had to be smashed in the Exodus story.

Again, I have my friend Dave Edwards to thank for these insights into the heart of God.

A lot of us have this vision of God as being this uncaring, judgmental, score-keeping, constantly angry God who makes up rules that we can’t possibly keep.  An image of a God that is ticked off about a certain sin that we constantly are struggling with and that he holds that against us. Bottom line is….He doesn’t.  That’s why He sent Jesus here.

This image of God is what a lot of the folks in the Old Testament were struggling with. They were constantly trying to reduce God to their own image and attempting to control Him.

Then Jesus came and everything changed.  Everything.  He came to show us the true image of God.  A loving, caring, merciful, wonderful, generous, forgiving God who cares deeply about us.  Everyday. A God who listens to prayers and answers them.  A God who cancels our debts and longs after our hearts.

Breaking up with our false images of God may be painful but it has to be done.  We have to smash the false image that we have of God and realize that we are His children, who He loves dearly and He is our Daddy, our intimate Father who cares deeply for us.

Today, rest in that thought.  Rest in knowing that Jesus is here and He loves you with a love that we really can’t fathom and it’s hard sometimes to feel it but He’s here.  He’s here with you right now. Rest in His arms and let him hold you.

To join us on Monday nights, tune in to http://www.daveonfacebook.com at 8:30pm.  We’d love to have you worship with us.

1.27.17- The Weekly Walk – Hungry

1.27.17 – The Weekly Walk – Hungry.

Good morning.  Hope your week was great.  This is a follow up to our Monday Night Worship event LIVE on Facebook this past Monday.  If you haven’t tuned in, you should. We meet on Monday nights at 8:30pm on Facebook.  You can head over to http://www.daveonfacebook.com to join us.  We get together as  community on Facebook to worship, pray & get to know each other a little better.  It’s pretty cool.

This past Monday I was taking a cue from a good friend of mine, Dave Edwards, a traveling preacher that I met a few years back.  He cites this passage in a devotional that I was reading:

Psalm 63:1 – “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You; in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water”

I’m in the middle of a 22 day fast.  It’s called the Daniel Fast and you basically cut out all sugar, meat, fish & breads.  Only drink water for the whole time.  It’s hard, but it’s been fantastic.  Due to the cleanse of all of the sugar basically, my body feels better and I seem to have more energy which is pretty great.  I encourage any of you reading to give this a try.  You can find some great resources at http://www.daniel-fast.com.

The devotion that Dave had put together starts off like this, “Developing a hungry heart after God is an intentional pursuit.  The journey is tough.  The competition for our heart is fierce;  phone, Internet, television, classes, projects, friends, money, things, work and fun.  When we crave everything, we end up with nothing.  The noise and the confusion of a crowded heart can block our access to Him”.

I love this entire paragraph.  It’s so convicting in it’s simplicity.  The message and the question is this.  What do you need to take out of your life to develop a more intimate and passionate relationship with our Father?  For me it’s just finding the time.  I’ve been told that when you want to do something you find the time to do it.  So to be completely honest, I need to get rid of some things in my life to find the time to spend with God more every day.  As I’ve been going through this fast I’ve been able to find more time to be with God because I need it. I’ve been hungering for Him more because I haven’t had the food that usually comforts me.  I’ve noticed that I’ve cut out certain things that give me more time to be with Him.  Internet surfing and social media have been the two big time takers for me.  Without as much of that, I’ve been able to find time to do devotions and reading four times a day which for me is a HUGE improvement over where I was before.  My prayer life is more involved as well.  I’ve focused on 4 things that I’m praying for and have stuck to them but as the weeks have gone on, God is bringing other things into focus and I find myself lifting more prayer to Him as I go through my days.

Bottom line.  If I can do it, so can you.  Start small.  Isolate one thing in your life, or your day, that you can give up to spend more time with our Father.  I guarantee that the more you give up, the more you get.  He sees your sacrifice and honors it.  He sees your desire to know Him more and gives right back. As it tells us in James 4:8 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you”.

I encourage you today. Draw near to Him.  See what changes in your life.  How hungry are you for the changes that God wants to make in your life.

Join us on Monday evenings on Facebook at http://www.daveonfacebook.com.  Really appreciate you tuning in.

Have a great week.  Dave

The Weekly Walk – 1.20.17 – Nothing to Prove

1.20.17 – The Weekly Walk – Nothing to Prove

Last Monday night we had a great Facebook Live worship service online.  If you haven’t tuned into these yet, they happen usually every Monday night at 8:30pm at this URL: http://www.daveonfacebook.com . I recommend that you check it out.  We worship together, pray for each other and just hang out for a few hours.  It’s a great time of worship…on your couch!

This past Monday I spoke about a book that I had read a while ago called “More Jesus, Less Religion” by two guys named Stephen Arterburn & Jack Felton.  The chapter that we were discussing was called “Nothing to Prove”.  I wanted to just speak a little more on this topic and what was discussed.  The chapter starts with this quote, “The more we experience the work of the Spirit within us, the lower will will bow before God’s throne, admitting our utter dependence on Him.”  I love this. As we experience more of Jesus in our lives, the more we realize that He’s in the midst of so many things.  Our day to day lives, sometimes mundane, sometimes repetitive.  How can we possible see Jesus in the repetition of our days?  Step back, think for a minute about where you’re at.  Your house, your clothes, your job, all that you do each day, the ability to move, as in, walk.  These are God given gifts.  These are great reminders of Jesus moving in our daily lives.

The authors go on to talk about how we as people, as a society, focus on our worth.  The way the world thinks of us versus the way that God thinks of us.  From the book, “the more we focus on the world’s standards and values, the more negative we feel about ourselves.  God has a different system, and if our faith is in Him, we can feel tremendous relief.  Christ talked about the worth of an individual…..”. He goes on to discuss the story from Mark 10:31 where Jesus talks about the worth of a sparrow.  At the time, sparrows were sold for about a half a cent each.  Almost worth nothing, yet, God in all His infinite power and love, cares for them and knows when one of them fall to the ground, before they hit the ground.  Amazing.  If God cares that much for a sparrow, how much more does He care for you and me.  The final quote from this chapter that really drives this point home is this, “The fact that God sent His Son to die for us should be an overwhelming affirmation of the worth each individual.”

So good.  Jesus didn’t just come here to tell a few great stories & heal a few people.  He came here to save the world.  No small task.  God in His wisdom, sent Him as the Savior of the world.  I can’t help but thank Him, often, for this gift.  So.  What does this mean for us?  For me, it means that I can’t find my worth in what the world says, how many likes we get on Facebook or Instagram, how many friends I have, how many people like me in general.  It’s about finding my worth in Jesus, in what He did for me on the cross.  To lay down your life for someone, that’s the greatest act of love.  That’s what He did for all of us.  That’s love.  That’s someone I want to know.

To join us on Monday nights, feel free to click this link:  http://www.daveonfacebook.com and scroll down about halfway on that page and click the live stream.  We’ll see you on Monday night at 8:30pm where we can talk more about this and more about a daily walk with God.  Thanks for reading.

 

12.24.16 – Christmas.


12.24.16 – As you head to whatever Christmas Eve service your going to today or Christmas Day service tomorrow. There will be lights and festive music. There will probably be a great band. A preacher will speak on the Christmas story and how it applies to your life and what it means. You’ll see friends and family. The church will give gifts to the visitors.  

In the midst of all of it. Don’t get lost. Don’t let the drama of the “show” that you attend take away from the true fact of the day. Over 2000 years ago, this baby was born. He was born so that we may have life. So that we may be free. There were only two lights that night. One was a star that led people to the true light, the light of the world, who takes away the sins of the world.  

So yes, please go to church. Celebrate in any way that you see fit, but please don’t get wrapped up in the show. Be honest with yourself and with God. Be thankful that what happened so long ago is still happening today. Lives are being changed by a baby, now a man, who came here to die and defeat death for you and me. Let the fanfare and the glory point to that. Point to Him.  
To God be the glory. Let the angels in heaven declare His glory and sing of His wonders. Let those who know Him sing of His wonders and grace and declare His life giving hope to those who don’t know Him. He alone is worthy. He alone. Merry Christmas to all.

Daily dose of worship – Drains – 6.14.16

6.14.16 – Daily dose of worship – Drains – Drains. Good sometimes. Bad other times. Good when it rains. Good for overflow and to keep things in order. Bad when our hopes go down them. Our dreams go down them. So many times we give up because we know we have this option. To let things get away from us. We don’t think we have the potential and don’t take the effort to push forward. I was reading in Exodus last night. Moses was chosen by God to be the one to go to Egypt. Moses was not having it. He said, God, I can’t speak, I’m not eloquent, I’m the wrong choice. God said, you are the man and you’re going. God equipped him, gave him the confidence and the strength to do it. What are you afraid of today? What are you letting go down the drain? What life can God speak into you today? Fear immobilizes us. Anxiety grips us. God equips us and gives us strength. He gives us hope. Determination. Strength. Love. Wisdom. Live in that today. Rest in that today. Ask for the strength today. Pray today. 

Daily Dose of Worship – Running in Circles – 6.5.16

6.5.16 – Daily Dose of Worship – Running in Circles

Shot from my very humid and sweaty 5k this morning. A fenced in track, 1/4 mile. Reminder of so many situations that we get into. We run in circles. We fence ourselves in. We get trapped. We don’t ask for help. God tells us that he wants to be involved, he wants to walk us through these situations. I was just reading in Job where he says “who are we that you would be mindful of us, that you would even care about us.” Amazing. The God of the universe wants us to run forward, not in circles. He wants to be there with us. He doesn’t want us to build fences but tear them down. Build bridges of love, of compassion, of mercy and of grace. These are all traits of our Father which in turn should be traits of His followers. Today, stop running in circles, find the gate that opens the fence that allows you to walk through to the next level. Pray. Forgive. Love. Share. Give. We are here to do this. Prayers up for a change in all of us.

ddw6516

2.15.16 – The Weekly Walk – Verses to think about.

wecanbethelove2.15.16 – The Weekly Walk

I was out running this morning in Fort Lauderdale, FL which was a really nice break from running in the 10 degree weather that we’re having in New Jersey.  As i came to the end of my run I came across a lake and just stood there for a minute praying and thanking God for all that’s going on these days.  We’ve seen so many answers to prayer in the last few weeks & have felt God’s presence in so many things.  It’s truly been amazing to watch God work.  We’ve seen answers to prayer, kids drawn closer to God, connections made and so much more.  This morning i wanted to focus on a few verses that really made me think:

1. Jeremiah 17:10 – I, the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.

Such a kick in the gut as I thought about what this really means.  I pray that my actions and my deeds would be worthy of the name of God.  That what I do is always a reflection of Him and that as we continue to reach people, hearts would be moved closer to Him.  My constant prayer is that all that we do is done only to lift up the name of Jesus.  We fall, we mess up, we get sidetracked, but the bottom line is that all I want is for my deeds and actions to be pleasing to God.

2. John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

I wrote about this verse in an entry on Instagram yesterday.  Jesus in dying on the cross, in giving his life for us on the cross is the greatest example of love this world has ever known.  So thankful for Jesus.  For the work on the cross.  For forgiving us.  For loving us.  For wanting us.  For showing us mercy.  For showing us grace.  For not giving up on us even though we give up on Him.  For caring.  For holding us as we fall.  For picking us up when we fall.  For being.  For giving.  For just being.  I’ve been reading a book by Craig Groeshel called “#struggles” and it has been pretty life changing.  I’m about half way through the book and this quote comes up.  “True compassion demands action.”  Ugh.  absolutely incredible.  We can’t just say that we want change, we need to be the change.  I’m going to write more about this as i continue to process this book but….Jesus gave his life for us, his love of us is never ending, never changing.  Our job is to show the love of Jesus to others.  If we have compassion for others that means we take actions, physical actions.  We give time, money, help to others.  We don’t just say we’ll do it, we actually do it.  I think when john was talking about this love, he wasn’t talking about taking a bullet for someone although that might be the case in some instances, i think he’s talking more about literally laying down your life…what is life?  time.  money.  strength.  What’s does the word “life” mean to you?

3. Galations 6:9 – Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

This is a tough one.  As an indie artist, it’s all about perseverance, not giving up and continuing to push into places where no one wants you.  As we continue to spread the message of Jesus to people that need it, we continue to get people that say no to us, that don’t want us involved.  Doors continue to close.  Finances are messy and we never have enough to get stuff done.  It’s a business but also a ministry.  I could go on and on with this conversation but i won’t.  the bottom line is that this verse in Galations is extremely encouraging.  We can’t get tired of doing what we do.  We can’t give up just because doors close.  we have to believe in it.  we have to look for other doors.  we have to keep pushing because the message that we’re preaching is too important.  we’re giving people life by giving them the message & hope of Jesus Christ.  So, if you’re up against closed doors, pray about what you’re doing, pray that the message is true & honest & that the right motivation is there.  God, as we continue to push further and further, i pray that we don’t become weary in doing good.  that we continue to push further and further into places and people that need you.  As we continue to do what we do, pray that God continues to guide us.  Support us as we spread His message.

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