Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year

So it's a new year guys and, to most, this is a chance to start anew. I just want to encourage you guys that our God is the God of second chances. He forgives us and has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.

The Bible says that we are a new creation through Christ; that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.

Basically, we have that new start.

I want you guys to take the cliche view of the new year and make it mean something to you. Let it sink in that, rather than just being excited about the fact that 'maybe things will be different this year,' you can KNOW that things will be different. You really do get a new start.

You get this chance to look back on the last year, reflect on it all, and give it up to Him. Let Him take it, forgive you of it, and move on. Live your life with your eyes on Him and I promise you that this new start will be the last one you need.

And take heart! Because He really is the God of second chances. He loves us enough that, no matter how many times we fail, He still forgives.

Love you guys!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Hey guys, I know it's been awhile since I posted a blog - my bad. No, really, it is. I've gotten so caught up in everything else, my responsibility to you guys has just taken a back seat. And, for that, I am so sorry.

Life happens. We get busy and we grow up - get bills to pay, start college, begin careers, so on and so forth. All of these things happen and we start to forget. We forget what God has done for us, what He's saved us from, what it feels like to rest in His peace.

Mostly, people think this only happens when you graduate high school; in fact, some people call it 'graduating from youth group.' But high school doesn't save you from life. People will tell you all the time that, when you graduate, you'll enter the real world. Well, from where I'm standing, the real world isn't really all that different. Situations change but life is life. There's always stress and something that needs to be done NOW.

In the midst of all this, it's only too easy to push God away. Yeah, most of the time we'll still go to church, worship, have a great night, then post something on Facebook. But, after awhile, that starts to be it and our faith is only real to us on Thursday nights. We only care one night a week. Daily we say we're Christians, and we may not curse or gossip or party, but neither do we seek God.

I hold the belief that there are three aspects to our personal walks: prayer, worship, and reading.

It is so important that we keep up with these things! Soooo important. Without it, we start to lose touch with the reality of our faith. We really do. And I'm guilty of it just as much and possibly more than the next person.

You've heard of the 'Ten and Ten' thing, right? Spend ten minutes a night praying and ten reading your Bible? I add worship to this (a) because it's my passion and (b) because He deserves to be praised.

If you think about it, when we worship, it is us pouring out our hearts to Him, telling Him how wonderful He is, thanking Him for what He's done, claiming what we know He is going to do. Reading our Bibles is one of the greatest ways God speaks to us. It instructs, convicts, and directs in ways no friend or loved one ever could. Prayer is a conversation. It is a time for us to speak to Him, to lay our concerns at His feet and beg for His help and forgiveness, but it's also a time for us to wait on Him and listen.

These are the things that usually go first when we get busy. There are things in life that just HAVE to get done, and I know all about that. But I think we look at it with the wrong perspective: we see our devotional time as optional and our responsibilities (homework, work, chores, etc.) as required. Technically, that means we're guilty of prioritizing wrong. We put these other things as more important in our lives than seeking after the God that we claim to serve.

This is something I've been working on and I really just want to encourage you guys too. If you're already good with this, the give the rest of us some pointers ;)

Love you all!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Things happen. A lot. People get sick. We fight with our parents. We lose friends, family members. It happens. And when it does, we feel like our world is crashing down around us.

You have a fight with your best friend and you guys stop talking. It rips you apart and you feel like your heart is broken. Or you and your boyfriend/girlfriend break up and you're crushed.

Most of the time, we look at those situations and it's miserable. Being Christians, we know we're supposed to be okay be assured that God is going to work all things out. But when you're in that situation, it's not so easy to do.

You feel hopeless and lost.

Romans 8:28 says
"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." (NIV)

Most people look at this and say 'yeah, God is going to make something good out of this because I'm a Christian and I love Him.' But people ignore the last part of the verse.

"...who have been called according to His purpose."

Yes, something good will come out of whatever situation you find yourself in. But, more than that, it's all in God's plan. We have a purpose from Him. Specifically designed for each of us individually.

Everything that happens, it grows us. It defines our testimony, and it pushes us closer to the purpose He has for us. When someone walks out of your life, it's because someone else is going to walk in it and that will be a part of the purpose He has for you.

Yes, it'll all work out for your good. But, I think, more importantly, you can take comfort in knowing that, not only is God's hand in your situation, but it's guiding your situation. Drawing you nearer to Him and to the purpose He has for your life.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Reverse Pride

There are countless verses in the Bible about pride; about the dangers of it and how God hates it (Prov. 6:16-17). Now, we are always so quick to recognize pride and point it out in others and occasionally ourselves, but I think we often forget that the essence of pride is simple self-centeredness.

Pride is generally assumed to be thinking too highly of one's self, and there is a fine line that we have to walk between thinking too much of ourselves and thinking too little.

We have to find our identity in Christ and realize that we really aren't worth anything, but at the same time He sees us as invaluable.

But when we focus too much on how we aren't really worth anything, and we believe the lies of the enemy trying to tell us that we will never accomplish anything and God can't use us, we lose any confidence and self-esteem we may have had.

That seems a bit obvious, but what we don't always see is that low self-esteem and insecurity is the same thing as pride. It's still a form of self-centeredness. You still are thinking only about yourself, even if it is in thinking that you are worthless and God will never be able to use you, or the things you have done are to terrible for Him to save you.

Honestly, the only reason I even mention this is it's been a lesson that God has been teaching me. I am usually one that suffers from pride but God opened my eyes to it years ago while I was performing one Sunday morning. After that, I quit singing and tried to focus solely on God. Since then, I have not performed on a stage. That was over three years ago.

The whole situation caused me to be very cautious when it comes to pride, but I never realized that it opened me up to 'reverse pride'. In trying so hard to stay humble and awed at the thought and presence of the Lord, I lost my sense of worth in Him and started to believe the lies of the enemy, who pointed out my flaws and mistakes I made, telling me God could never forgive me.

But that is a lie. Pure and simple.

The Bible tells us that He sees us as priceless treasures. At the same time, it also says that there is none righteous, no not one.

If we look entirely to Him, keep our focus on Him alone and realize that there is nothing else in this world or beyond it that matters at all, then we won't have to worry about walking the fine line between thinking too much of ourselves or too little. It will all just fall in line.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Focus Where It Should Be

Psalm 1:1-6 (GW)

(1)Blessed is the person who does not follow the advice of wicked people, take the path of sinners, or join the company of mockers. (2) Rather, he delights in the teachings of the LORD and reflects on his teachings day and night. (3) He is like a tree planted beside streams- a tree that produces fruit in season and whose leaves do not wither. He succeeds in everything he does. (4) Wicked people are not like that. Instead, they are like husks that the wind blows away. (5) That is why wicked people will not be able to stand in the judgment and sinners will not be able to stand where righteous people gather. (6) The LORD knows the way of righteous people, but the way of wicked people will end.

I noticed a little while ago that a few kids are saying that there is no way that God asks us to only think about Him and pray to Him and read our Bibles.

It's true that it's unrealistic for leaders/pastors/etc. to expect that of anyone, but ideally, that IS what God asks from us. He wants our total devotion. The Psalmist describes a man who "delights in the teaching of the LORD and reflects on his teachings day and night."

This is who we're supposed to desire to be. We are called to seek to be Christ-like in all that we do. Our thoughts, words, and actions need to be glorifying to God. Our focus should be on Him at all times.

The funny thing is, if we can manage to do this (which is a hard thing and is only accomplished when we fight past our flesh, and even then it's easy to slip up), you start to notice that the temptations that come into your life are suddenly easier to walk away from.

Being in a car or room with your girlfriend/boyfriend alone becomes a little uncomfortable. That music on the radio starts to seem a little obscene and dirty and, rather than just turning it down when curse words come on, you feel like turning it off.

God wants to be first in our lives. Yes, we fail and we make mistakes and we get distracted. But, more often than that, we deliberately put Him on the sidelines. We think 'oh I went to youth tonight, I don't have to read, worship, and pray tonight. I got my fill.' And the next night it's a little easier to just skip out on it, and soon it's a fight to get into the Word and to pray and worship on our own.

But that's not how it has to be. We can think only on Him, pray to Him without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17), and reflect on His Word day and night.

It's hard but it's not impossible, so be encouraged!!


Saturday, October 30, 2010

What You See is Not All There Is... Battling Darkness

So, here we are in the middle of an unseen battle between the kingdoms of light (Jesus) and darkness (Satan). There are three things we need to know in this battle.

First, we can't treat our enemy lightly. Don't get caught up in the deception that Satan is some harmless little goofball in a red suit with horns and a pitchfork. His power and authority, while limited, is to be recognized. Jude 9-10 says even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, would not bring a direct accusation against Satan, but said, "The Lord rebuke you". Read the story in Mark 5:2-8 about the incredible physical power the demoniac who lived among the tombs exhibited.

1 Peter 5:8 says, "Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour." Does that sound like an enemy we should just brush off and take lightly?

Secondly, we must not flirt with darkness. I believe there are many Christians, young and old, who think it's ok to dabble with some questionable things. The word occult means "hidden", and the enemy uses many things that might seem harmless at first glance. Let's look at what the Bible says about how God views a Christian’s involvement with the occult. "And do not let your people practice fortune-telling or sorcery, or allow them to interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is an object of horror and disgust to the LORD." Deuteronomy 18:10-12. Pretty clear, eh?

While we can use "personal conviction" as an excuse to watch, listen or read something, I believe the question we need to ask is, "What is the source?". If we have to analyze and dig to find a biblical, godly meaning in something to justify our desire to associate with it... is it really good?

I don't think God has a gray area, that is on both sides of the fence, where His children can play because their personal convictions allow it. “Obey God because you are His children. Don't slip back into your old ways of doing evil; you didn't know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God-- who chose you to be his children-- is holy. For he himself has said, ‘You must be Holy because I am holy.’" 1 Peter 1:14-16

Isaiah 5:20 says, “Destruction is certain for those that say evil is good and good is evil; that light is dark and dark is light; that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter." 1 Thessalonians 5:22 says, “Keep away from every kind of evil." We simply have no excuse to flirt with anything that has occult or demonic ties.

Lastly, we need to know that we don’t fight with our power, but with God’s authority. So many people live what I call, Roller Coaster Christianity because they are trying to fight the battle against darkness in their own power. They move one step forward and two steps back, all the while becoming more frustrated, angry or depressed because they never seem to have victory over the enemy.

Matthew 10:1 say, “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness.” He gave them AUTHORITY, not power. It is with the authority in Jesus’ name that we come against the kingdom of darkness.

There is a story in Acts 19, that tells of seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish priest, who went around casting out evil spirits. One day they came upon a demon possessed man and they tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus. The evil spirit answered, "I know Jesus, and I know Paul. But who are you?" and proceeded to beat all seven of the men so badly, they ran out of the house naked and badly injured. Because they didn't have a personal relationship with Jesus, they could not operate in His authority, but only in their own power.

We also must use the shield of faith and the Sword of the Spirit (God’s Word) in this battle. When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness (Matthew 4), he consistently responded with Scripture. The enemy cannot overcome the Word of God, and this is why we must read it, study it, and get it into our hearts.

I’ll close with this. “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.” James 4:7-8. If we will surrender every part of our lives to Christ, holding nothing back, and resist any temptation to compromise, the enemy WILL flee.

Remember, we are not fighting FOR victory, we are fighting FROM victory!

-P Dave

Friday, October 29, 2010

What You See is Not All There Is... Satan and his demons

Last night we closed the Supernatural series discussing Satan and his demons. There was so much I wanted to cover, but there was not enough time in the service to adequately do so, hence my appearance on the Ref Devo this week. So I would like to recap the message from last night and include a few additional things in a two part devotional this week. Here's part one...

First, we need to know that Satan is a real, created being. He was one of the most beautiful and highest ranking angels in Heaven and his name was Lucifer, or morning star. You can read about his creation and attributes in Ezekiel 28:12-17. Verses 16 and 17 describe his sin: pride, and the resulting punishment: losing his authority and being expelled from Heaven. In Isaiah 14:12-14, he made five "I will" statements, the last being, 'I will make myself like the Most High'. God's answer to that was essentially, 'No, you will not. I am God, and there is NONE like Me'. The lie that we can be like God or gods, is prevalent in many religions today and Satan used it in Genesis 3:5 when he tempted Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden.

The Bible says a third of the angels followed Satan in rebellion against their Creator, and were also cast out of Heaven (Revelation 12:4). Many believe these fallen angels are the demons who serve Satan now. One thing we should understand is that not every bad thing is caused by demons. If you have a bad hair day, don't blame it on the 'demon of bad hair'. Another key point is that born again Christians CANNOT be demon possessed. The instant you commit your life to Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in your spirit, and Satan no longer has any claim on your life. We CAN, however, be influenced and oppressed by demonic spirits, especially if we give them permission to operate in our lives. Last night we discussed four things that demons do.

First, demons influence leaders of nations. All you need to do is watch the news or read the paper to see the evil in many nations. How could Hitler and Stalin be evil enough to order the murder of millions of their own innocent people? What could possibly influence a nation's highest court to enact laws that allow the murder of millions of unborn babies? Daniel 10:13 speaks of the spirit prince of Persia, a demonic entity apparently appointed to influence the human ruler of Persia.

Second, demons desire to inflict suffering on you. Matthew 17:15-18 tells the story of a young boy who attempted to kill himself several times, had seizures, and suffered terribly. He was immediately made completely well, however, after Jesus cast a demon out of him. My youngest brother's step-son, suffering from severe depression, hung and killed himself at 9 years old. Nine years old! Demons inflict suffering, often through depression, with the ultimate goal being suicide. The thief's (Satan's) purpose is to steal, kill and destroy.

Thirdly, demons scheme to lure you away from God. They watch and study us, constantly looking for ways to bring deception. "Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from what we believe; they will follow lying spirits and teachings that come from demons." 1 Timothy 4:1 NLT. There are many people who have been swayed to follow false teaching and this verse tells us the origin of that false teaching is demonic. It is vital that we study and know the Word of God, so we can discern the truth from the lies. Be aware, there are things we can read, watch and listen to, that in initial appearance, may seem good, but everything is not always as it seems. "But I am not surprised! Even Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder his servants can also do it by pretending to be godly ministers." 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 NLT

Lastly, demons want to paralyze you with fear. Evil, in it's purest form, brings with it an innate sense of fear, but perfect love (God) casts out all fear. Having a fear of failure, being afraid of losing a loved one, or being worried sick about school are all forms of fear that the enemy uses to paralyze us. Remember, "God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline" 2 Timothy 1:7.

In the second part of this post, we'll discuss three ways we battle the kingdom of darkness.

-P Dave