Posted in My Journey

My New Book

Over the summer, while many had taken to vacationing in exotic locales, spending time with family and friends, I had the opportunity to donate a large portion of my time to the worship band at our local church. In between the practices and the lugging of guitar equipment back and forth, I set aside some time to write my new book Pleasures Forevermore: 36 Daily Devotions for Enjoying God.

Here is the description:

In every miracle God is there showing His love for those who believe. His powerful presence is in all things He created, for by His spirit He holds all things together for good. Whatever may become of us when we perish will not hold fast, for as true as the sun rises, so will we one day rise to stand before the throne of God and marvel at His heavenly countenance.

Each moment we breathe is a moment closer to being with God. His plan is for us to be like Him: gracious, kind, considerate, gentle, patient, loving and joyful; His spirit in our hearts is all it takes for Him to live through us.

Pleasures Forevermore looks at how Christians can grow in God’s nature and find ultimate joy by seeking Him continually. By asking God for His spirit, our prayers will be as sweet incense that fills the heavens with heartfelt praise, and by it that we may reap gladness with every word we pray, for God is good and His goodness makes our soul glad.

Available here: eBook, Paperback


All royalties go toward supporting Looking to God Ministries.
Posted in My Journey

A Prayer for Forgiveness

Lord God my Father and King, I come before you now to ask that you may not turn away from me. Please, Father, do not reject me, for my sins are many. I have not kept your commandments, I have defiled my oath to you, and I have taken pleasure in the evil that you so hate.

Why, Father, can I not do good when your spirit encourages me to do good? Why is it that my heart longs for evil, when I know that it will push me away from you? Please do not take your spirit away from me. Please look upon me and see my mind’s intent. I struggle every day with knowing that my sins separate me from you. My burden is too great for me to bear. I soak my pillow every night knowing I am nothing but a wretch.

Help me God. Forgive me of my iniquities. Give me the strength to overcome. Provide me with the will to purge that which is evil in my life, for your word is pure, right and just. Your commandments are perfect. You are perfect. Lead me to want you always. Strengthen me to want to love you always.

I am a sinner. I am sorry for all the wrongs I have committed. Forgive me, my God. You and only you are my salvation. Lead me out of temptation. Remove bitterness from my heart and from my mind. Pour more of your spirit into me, Father, so that I may live a life dedicated to your glory. Help me in all that I do, and give me strength. I am lost without you, God.

Please hear my prayer for forgiveness.

Posted in My Journey

His Blood Covers All

The closer I draw to God, the sadder I feel from knowing just how much sin remains in me. When I was young in the faith, I could not see it. I could not understand it. Only after sharing intimate moments with God did he show me how fleshly-minded I still am. And I had to admit of the iniquity that has not left me. But I have hope:

“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (Romans 8:13)

We cannot continue to allow sin to rule over our bodies. Once we receive the Holy Spirit, God will lead us to further repentance, which will encourage us to put away the transgression that so easily ensnares us. Our lives become his and our nature becomes his. For his spirit transforms us into new beings with the discernment to see right from wrong. Is it a surprise when we ache inside because we see how sin so masterfully enslaves us? Yet, our hope lies in our Savior Jesus. As wretched as I am, his blood covers all.

I may feel broken and ashamed for having sinned;
His blood covers all.
I may feel the sting of defeat for not having overcome;
His blood covers all.
My lips may preach his word, but my actions may say otherwise;
His blood covers all.
My feet may carry me away from him who saved me;
His blood covers all.
My hands may become tools of iniquity;
His blood covers all.
My eyes may drift to the lust of the flesh;
His blood covers all.
I may feel my sins are greater than he could ever forgive;
His blood covers all.

Posted in My Journey

My New Book Is Here!

I am pleased to announce God Is Love: Comfort Through Trials is now available for download. All royalties go toward supporting Looking to God Ministries, an organization dedicated to spreading the Word of God through outreach programs, literature and preaching. Below is the Preface to the book:

I grew up Catholic. That means I was baptized into the Catholic Church. It also means I received my First Communion and my Confirmation in the Catholic Church. In all that time, I knew God existed, but I had a different idea of who he was than what I know of him today. I thought he was old. I thought he was distant. And I thought for a good portion of the bible that he was very angry with people.

It was only after I hit my twenties that I began to question God’s nature. I did not question his existence because I knew he was alive, well, and looking after us. I did not need a degree to understand that. All I had to do was look around at nature and I could see God there. For me, it never made sense to think God was dead when all I saw were the seasons changing like clockwork and the animals following a pattern of behavior. No, what I questioned were things like, “How could God, who supposedly loved so much, care so little for people that he would allow them to suffer?” And I wondered, “What kind of God was he if he would cause that suffering?” Because allowing something to happen was one thing, but to actually cause it?

So for a long time I searched for those answers. I was part of a cult for a number of years and learned about a god who was more interested in the letter of the law, than of the spirit of the law. Throughout that entire time, God was still an angry god who would punish Christians who sinned and would reward Christians who obeyed. Jesus was a passing notion, an emissary, delivering a message of the coming of the kingdom of God.

It was then that I had stopped attending church. My disillusion with organized religion was just the beginning. I simply felt no one had a clue who God was and why suffering existed in the world. For twenty years, I laughed at people who would put their faith in a god who did not care for their well-being.

Soon, one January morning, I began to read the bible. I had made a resolution that I would read the bible in its entirety strictly for its literary value. Little did I know what would happen to me. I began seeing a god who ruled all creation. I began to see a god who looked after his creation. I saw God love human beings so much that he would give his only son as a sacrifice so that he could save them from the penalty of sin, which is death. Then I saw my life unfold before my eyes.

I returned to a church, and as quickly as I had returned, a year later, my oldest son took ill. He spent a month in the hospital having suffered an autistic shutdown. That month was when God revealed himself to me. He showed me why people suffered. He taught me trials were good. And he took care of my family throughout the ordeal.

If you are looking for answers, read God Is Love: Comfort Through Trials knowing I was looking for answers, too.

Posted in My Journey

All Glory to God

All glory to the Highest, King of Heaven and Earth. Let all the angels praise His name, for He is good. There is no one greater than God. He reigns supreme above all things. There is nothing He has not made, for He made all things. He is the beginning and the end, the creator of all, and we are in his image, wonderfully made, perfectly crafted.

“And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’” (Revelation 4:8)

Give thanks to God, worship Him with arms outstretched; praise Him in the fields, praise Him in the woods, praise Him in the quiet places. Give glory to the Father of all, for His gift to us is eternal life through Christ Jesus His son.

The Lord is our rampart, He is our protector, He is our guard. His mercy is forever and His life lives in us through his Spirit. Worship God in the mountains, worship Him in the valleys, worship Him from sea to sea.

“And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!’” (Isaiah 6:3)

God is good. All glory belongs to Him. Let us give Him thanks, praise Him and worship Him in all that we do. All glory to God.

Audio transcript:

Posted in My Journey

The Reward of Our Trials

When I think about of all that has happened in my life, of all those times when I could have failed miserably, and of all those moments when one decision could have altered my future permanently, I am thankful. God could have allowed one of those fleeting instances to change my life irrevocably. But he did not. Instead, he looked after me. He watched over me. And he protected me as I went on my way. Why?

That question, why? is a big question to me. Why would God spare me the pain I would have otherwise experienced had I endured certain trials?

The Apostle James talks about trials this way:

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

James is saying, trials offer opportunities to grow in faith, in that no matter what happens to us, God will give us the patience to endure whatever trial comes our way. Saying it another way, God will provide the help we need when we suffer.

I may have avoided certain trials, but I cannot tell you how many times I have felt alone, broken and upset, only to find God there, waiting to help me. He never leaves us. He is there always, hoping that we would come and give of our hearts to him in prayer. All God wants is a relationship with us. He offered his son, Jesus, as a sacrifice for our sins. Everyone who believes Jesus is the son of God will have salvation. So how difficult is it to understand that God loves us more than he loves anything in this universe?

When I think about trials this way, it is then easy to accept the truth that God allows suffering, because no one suffered more than Christ did on the cross. And although Christ’s suffering was not a trial for him, his whole purpose for coming was so that we who suffer would have hope—hope for a future—hope for eternal life. James confirms this when he says, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).

Friends, continue to love God as he loves us, unconditionally and without end, for as we love him this way, our trials will then be as steppingstones toward our reward, which is the crown of life.

Audio transcript:

Posted in My Journey

Be as Little Children

The kingdom of heaven belongs to the little children. That is something Jesus said. Jesus made it a point to encourage his disciples to receive the kingdom like a child. What does that mean? Here is the text as written in Luke 18:15-17:

“Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’”

A friend of mine recently said to me, “I used to be so passionate and driven. What happened?” I took a moment and thought about it, and then I realized God was trying to tell me something; not only tell me something but also tell my friend something. People do not say these things without a reason. There is always a reason for their statements.

I explained it this way: I think, and this is purely out of my own experience, that as we get older we tend to lose more and more of our childlike qualities because the stresses of reality tend to choke them out of us. We are looking so much at what is happening now, with the bills to pay, the meals we have to prepare, the clothes we have to wash, the friends we think others want us to be, that we do not look at what God has given us and what he wants us to be. Jesus said, “Let the children come to me.” I thought about this a lot, and I believe kids are the happiest when they know someone loves them. Now I know Christ loves us, otherwise he would not have given his life for us like he did. But I also think that somehow, as we grow older and as we try to become more like Christ, we should remember what it was like to be as a child. That means, not worrying about what comes next, but living for God every day in the best possible way we can. How am I making a difference by simplifying my life so that the cares of this world do not choke God’s gift from me.

That was my quick explanation. As I give it more thought, however, I am more inclined to go deeper. Matthew 18:3-4 is Jesus’ answer to his disciples when they were arguing about who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. He said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

In other words, we have to turn, or have a change in heart, in order to become great in the kingdom of heaven. That change in heart requires having the humility of a child. Of course, we cannot do this on our own. When we come to Jesus and ask for forgiveness for all our sins, he will give us the Holy Spirit to help us have that change in heart.

Let us strive to become more like children, for great will be our reward in the kingdom of heaven.

Audio transcript: