Sunday, December 21, 2014

A2G: Celebrating Christmas!

Celebrating Christmas is about remembering Christ; his birth, death and resurrection.  It is a time to remember His mission to provide each and everyone of us the opportunity for salvation.  He has given us the ultimate gift and in doing so endured a taste of humanity, as well as the joys and sufferings that accompany it.  We, by being his chosen ones, celebrate him daily and come together during Christmas to share His joy with our loved ones, friends and even those strangers we run into. Gifts in the form of purchased items, time, and behaviors are provided to reflect our love and faith in Christ.  

Let us not lose site of the spirit of Christmas by spending more than we can afford, by worrying about what others may think of our gifts, by failing to act with kindness or by being critical of others’ efforts.  Let us faithfully remain within the Spiritual realm of the meaning of the Christmas season remembering to celebrate Christ by caring for our loved ones, loving those who for some reason or other hurt and battle depression in this season, and by loving the strangers with whom we come in contact each day with a simple act of kindness.  

May your Christmas be a true celebration of Christ, one in which you faithfully practice the love of Christ!  Just a little advice to go! 

Friday, November 21, 2014

A2G: Peace, Discipline, and Teamwork!

I wanted to share Pat Lencioni's Article on Peace Discipline and Teamwork as this week’s devotional because it could not be said better.  It applies to work, home and church!  Pat is a regular presenter at the Global Leadership Summit and an expert on team building.  Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

Peace, Discipline and Teamwork 
All people want the same thing in life: peace. Not happiness, which is an unsustainable and fickle emotion, but rather peace, which is the deep understanding that all is well, even when happiness is not possible. And we all know when we have lost our peace; it’s when we feel fear, anxiety, angst or dread. As much as those feelings are painful, they are actually blessings if we respond to them correctly.
See, fear and anxiety alert us that something is wrong, and force us to make a decision. Will we work with courage to recover our peace by identifying and addressing the causes of our anxiety and fear? Or will we choose to distract ourselves from those feelings through self-indulgence, and allow them to continue? Here’s how this choice manifests itself in my life.
I often lose my peace when I get caught up in following the news and indulging in entertainment, and neglect to pray. It’s like clockwork. I start to feel uneasy, even anxious, and I know I have a choice to make. I can either turn off the TV or shut down my computer, and make real time for prayer, or I can try to distract myself by finding something more stimulating on television or the internet. The first option is a little painful because it requires discipline and sacrifice, but it always works. The second option is certainly easier and more convenient, but ultimately leads me further from my source of peace.
Okay, so what in the world does this have to do with teamwork? Well, I recently came to the realization that teams also want peace. They want to know that all is well in the group, regardless of whether the organization is in the midst of great success or struggle. Essentially, they want to know that everyone trusts one another deeply, and is aligned around a common cause. They need to know that no toxic, painful issues are fermenting beneath the surface, and that teammates say what they mean and mean what they say, without fear.
But peace on a team, not unlike in our hearts, is elusive and precious, and must be maintained through discipline. Otherwise, it can be easily lost in the swirl of daily stress, sometimes abruptly, but more often, gradually over time. We usually know we’ve lost our peace as a team because we see the signs of it; team members hesitate to disagree with one another, they use passive aggressive language, or they engage in back channel conversations after meetings. Whatever the case, everyone knows that something isn’t right, but no one is talking about it openly.
These signs, as unsettling as they are, can be invaluable if we see them as alarm bells alerting us to take the steps to reestablish peace. They can provoke us to address whatever it is that is causing the problem, regardless of the discomfort it will inevitably, though temporarily, entail. It is always worth the effort.
But we leaders are human, and we’re often tempted to look the other way when we see signs that peace is threatened on our teams. Sometimes we just underestimate the cost of the problem. But all too often, we know the magnitude of the issue and simply choose to blunt the pain by indulging in the very behaviors that are causing the problem in the first place.
In my weaker moments, I’ve done this by failing to directly and compassionately confront a difficult or struggling colleague, instead indulging in water cooler discussions about them with others in the organization. I’ve also held back frustrations from my team to avoid potential conflict, choosing instead to vent to my wife or a friend. Of course, those behaviors only took our team further from the precious peace we wanted and needed, requiring unnecessarily painful recovery efforts later on.
The next time you feel that your team is losing its peace—trust me, it will happen and you’ll know it—challenge yourself to be the kind of leader that embraces temporary suffering for the good of everyone else. Enter humbly into the discomfort of that situation, because that is the only real remedy. When you’re tempted to choose the easier but destructive path of distraction and stimulation, opt instead to be the leader your team needs, and that peace demands.
Pat Lencioni

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Value of Family!

The value of family is beyond question critical to who we are and what we most treasure.  A weekend with my two daughters; one who lives in New York and the other who is away at school, made for a very emotional but complete experience.  The only thing that could have made it better would have been to have my son and his family join us.

Family doesn't come without challenges, but in the end all of those challenges are overcome by the love we have for each other.  That love is only enhanced by the common union we have in our faith in Christ.  Now we are not just a physical family but a spiritual family, united in one accord and serving the God we love and abide in.

But it gets better because in Christ our family is expanded to all believers, loving and caring for them as if they were our own children, brothers, sisters, moms and dads.  The scripture tells us in John 13: 34, 35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  Yes, that is a command not an option, we must love one another in Christ as if we were one family, one body in Christ.  We must celebrate the time we spend together, the words we share, the messages we write each other, and so forth.  Imagine all of us united in Christ as one amazing enormous loving family, wouldn't that solve most of this world's problems?  In Christ this can be a reality if we honor the scripture and love one another the way he loves us!  Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Changing Bad Habits!

John 14:23
23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him."

Yes, living God's word is about developing good habits and developing good habits means getting rid of the bad ones.  Changing habits is not always easy but definitely possible.  There is a great deal of research implying it takes 21 days to change a habit.  This means you have to change the behavior and then practice the new behavior for 21 days before it imprints; it becomes a habit.  Some would debate the number of days arguing it takes much longer to really change behavior, but the point is that developing good habits means practicing new behavior until it becomes our new habit.  That is a challenge we as believers must face when we live for Christ.  The Holy Spirit dwells within us as our comforter and helper, helping us to achieve the seemingly impossible.  The word verifies this as it tells us we can do all things through Christ, Holy Spirt, who strengthens us.

My challenge to each of you is to take the time to think about your habits, the good and bad, and then initiate a plan to change your habits so they all align with God's purpose for your life.  Can you do it?  Are you willing?  Will you at least identify one habit you know needs to change and the purposefully plan to change that habit?  If you answered yes, then try pulling out a monthly calendar and writing at the top the habit you plan to change.  Then start each day by looking at your calendar and committing to the change and ensuring the bad habit will not take place and the good one replacing it, will.  At the end of the day, look at the calendar and draw a big red X through the day if you were successful.  Soon you should see a consistent chain of big red X's going through the calendar.  If you revert back to the bad habit, don't mark the calendar and start the next day.  Soon the pattern will let you know how you are doing; remember you are not alone in this journey for He is with you!  Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A2G: More Than Conquerors!

Romans 8: 31-39
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written “For your sake we face death all day long we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Where are you today in Christ?  Are you living the word or still wasting time living in the weakness of your flesh.  Not an easy start to this message, but yes we need to be called out and challenged regarding our engagement of God's word; its integration into our daily living.  Too many times, I find myself conversing with believers about emotional tribulations they are experiencing reflecting the need for God's word to be integrated into their lives.  Desperation surfaces often about the same challenges, many of which are caused by the same person or persons.  Often the advice is the same, focus on God's word and understand its truth, we are more than conquerors!  His word does not return void and given that fact we must then acknowledge that the challenges we are facing are nothing more than an opportunity to conquer.

For many of us, we believe challenges our opportunities to pray for the person or persons whom responsible for those challenges, we focus on the individuals or the problems failing to focus on the opportunity.  What opportunity?  The opportunity for individual spiritual growth, the opportunity to integrate God's word into every facet of our lives, and the opportunity to learn to practice the unconditional love God demonstrates to us with those who present the greatest challenges.  We must learn how to keep our egos in check, our pride under control, our emotions from being triggered by the actions of others, our low self esteem in check, and our insecurities from overcoming our rational thinking.  The word is intended to help us grow beyond our brokenness into the conquerors God created us to be.  Our rebirth begins the recreation process and it becomes our obligation to engage God's word, the tool that will help us grow into his perfected child able to overcome life's challenges and frustrations, becoming more than conquerors.  I say yes, I am more than a conqueror!  Just a little advice to go!    

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A2G: This Little Light of Mine, I'm Gonna Let It Shine!

We have all heard the lyrics of this children's bible song, but have we really considered the meaning of the words.  As Christians we all have a little light ignited within us the moment we accept Christ as our personal savior.  We are reborn moving from the darkness to the light, being renewed and transformed into his image.  

Our challenge as new believers is to grow our light, to develop into strong and responsible Christians able to shine in the darkness.  We become a light shining before all as evidenced by our actions.  Growing our light takes place as we commit to prayer, to learning and living the word, and sharing his message.  We move into the place where our light shines in the midst of the darkness.  Darkness is no longer a place to flee from but rather an opportunity to let our lives shine bright, reflecting the message of Christ.  We often pray and complain about the darkness in our lives rather than recognizing that Christ places us in the darkness so we can illuminate the path for others, a light helping them find their way to salvation.

Recently, I dealt with a situation where the person was dark and unreasonable, a person I wanted to avoid at all cost.  I prayed what most of us might think of praying, God get this person away from me.  But today as I prayed God revealed that this person was not placed in my path so I could complain about them, but rather so I could love them and shine the light of Christ.  I fell into the trap of the flesh not recognizing an opportunity to serve my Lord, and instead criticized the person rather than loving them.  I now realize my mistakes; I failed to love the least lovable and to illuminate the path to Christ.  Fortunately God is forgiving and provides opportunities for us to overcome our mistakes and carry out the work he needs us to complete.  He wants us to be the light that shines in the darkness and gives us multiple opportunities to achieve that goal.  We can shine our light on those we serve at work, our families, our friends and on the strangers we meet each day.  Let's all let our lights shine!  Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Are You A Toxic Handler, A Peacemaker?

In the world of organizations and organizational behavior we look at how people formulate an organization and how their interactions create, manipulate and establish the culture within the organization.  Churches as places of worships are organizations replicating many of the same challenges because once again, people are coming together to impact the culture of the church.  Peter J. Frost's article regarding the impact of the Toxic Handler within the organization spoke to my heart with regards to the role of the Toxic Handler within the church, and every church has at least one or more toxic handler.  Unlike author Frost, I identify this person as the Peacemaker within the church.

So what is a Peacemaker?  Why do we need a Peacemaker within the church?  Many would argue the leader of the church, the Pastor, should be responsible for ensuring there is peace within the church, but I believe the role pertains to those God anoints to be peacemakers which can be anyone from the Pastor down to the Custodian.  The peacemaker recognizes the importance of helping reduce the divisions commonly found in so many of our churches today.  First and foremost, he or she practices God's word ensuring they listen carefully to the issues without becoming part of the conflict and without concluding they have all the answers.  A peacemaker focuses on reading between the lines to ascertain the true cause of the pain, does not take sides even if he or she has one, and helps individuals talk through the pain.  If trusted, they can bring a level of greater understanding of the word and its application to the conflict at hand.  Peacemakers are well connected throughout the church and the various groups within the church, they have the uncanny ability to walk on the waters that divide the various groups.  Succeeding in the role of peacemaker involves a deep understanding of self, the strengths and flaws existing within self enabling us to ensure his or her strengths are a blessing to others while keeping individual flaws in check to prevent an escalation of the conflict.

There is a lot to be said about identifying the role, talents, and skills of a true peacemaker.  Each of you is challenged to search within yourselves and assess if you are one of God's peacemakers; one who has been critical to addressing conflict and creating peace.  Perhaps you simply never realized that this is a calling a gift God has given you and the importance of being more intentional in using this gift.  Are you a peacemaker, able to alleviate the toxicity existing within your church, workplace, or school?  Jesus provides us with a prayer reminding us He was a peacemaker seeking his people to be united as one body in Christ.  Here is his prayer for peace:

22"The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. 24"Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.…
John 17: 17-24

Let us come together in one mind and one accord to celebrate being the Peacemakers where ever we are!  Just a little advice to go!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Feeling Convicted?

Have you felt convicted?  In what ways?  God uses the Holy Spirit to convict us in different ways based on the status of our walk with Him.  Conviction can expose us to the fact we are walking outside of God's will, a reminder we need to realign ourselves with God's word.  Conviction can also come in the form of reprove, a reminder of what we know to be true and the fact we are contradicting this truth by the manner in which we are behaving.  Conviction can also come in the form of convincing, convincing us to to do God's will; to take the steps to be right with the Lord.  God's conviction through the Holy Spirit serves to ensure we are reminded of His grace and love for us.  We are reminded he claimed us by the shedding of His blood and is unwilling to let us depart from Him.  In the secular world a convicted person having been found guilty is penalized but in God's world his conviction opens the door for repentance, forgiveness, and renewal.  There is no sentence, no condemnation in Christ our Lord!  Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Simplicity of Christ!

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

There is much to be said about this scripture but today I want to focus on the last few words, "the simplicity that is in Christ".   Christ's gift of salvation was provided to us with a very simple set of instructions.

First we must understand we are all sinners, guilty of the sins of the flesh despite our every effort to love the Lord.  Romans 3:23 reveals to us that all have sinned and fall short of God's glory.  Stop trying to be perfect, stop believing that perfection is a requisite for salvation, and understand our struggle against the sins of the flesh are a natural part of our journey through this life.

Second, recognize that Christ is the son of God and that he died so you and I can have the gift of salvation through his unconditional love.  It is by his grace and not our works that we have access to salvation.  The Bible says, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, [Jesus Christ], that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).  Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” — a complete life full of purpose (John 10:10).

Finally, repent from your sins and seek the Lord and you will be blessed.  Luke 3:19 tells us, "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord". How awesome, all we need to do is repent to sincerely turn away, in both the mind and heart, from self to God.  A sincere turning away from that which we know is wrong to that which is righteous under God's word.  But the best part is our sincerity is rewarded with a refreshing from the Lord, a renewed feeling of oneness with God which completes us.

Yes, Christ's plan is a simple one but we often forget that important detail.  If we simply recognize him as our Lord, sincerely repent for the mistakes we make, and live within his word we have salvation.  If we practice the word then we become living proof of his immense love and compassion for others. Please remember that living for Christ is not so complicated, he made it so simple!  Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Not if, But When!

God tells us in 1 John 5:14 that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  Not only does he hear us, but he responds.  He tell us in John 15:7, if you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  We must learn to remove the doubt from our minds and to recognize his word as truth, it does not return void.

It is not if God will provide for your bills, but rather when he provides for your bills; not if he will heal you but when he heals you; not if you will get the promotion but when you get the promotion, and so forth.  God is only limited in responding to our prayers by our doubts and unwillingness to move from the if statement to the when statement.  If you catch yourself saying the "if" statement then stop it and move towards the "when" statement.  When God heals me, when God promotes me, when God delivers me all recognize that God will fulfill his promises for your life.

We need to learn to be patient, to trust in His will, and to remain consistent in our belief in His word.  We have not because we often ask not and often believe not.  As you believe, you shall receive.  Accept God's word as truth and His promises will come to pass in your life; not if they come to pass, but rather when they come to pass!  Just a little advice to go!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

He is Our Hiding Place!

Psalm 32:7
You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble;
You surround me with songs of deliverance.

Have you ever felt like trouble seems to follow you around causing you to ponder why the Lord would allow this.  The reality is that God is our hiding place, that he protects us from the storms that come our way. Oh, it might not feel that way but be certain that in the midst of the storm and the pain we experience God is there.  Like Job who suffered the enemies attack but remained faithful, you must learn to trust God is your hiding place, that he will surround you with songs of deliverance.  Paul found himself imprisoned and instead of accusing God of forsaking him, he began to sing songs of praise; songs which turned into deliverance for him.

I remember going through a storm and crying out to God for help.  I felt alone and forsaken, like God had given up on me.  As I cried, I asked God to talk to me.  The phone rang and I continued in my prayers getting more upset with every ring.  I finally jumped up grabbed the phone and angrily asked, “who is this?”.  A friend responded telling me that he was praying and the Holy Spirit spoke to him and said call David.  He was obedient to the Spirit and when I answered he told me, “David I do not know what you are going through, but God wants you to know you are not alone, he is with you.”  I was alone in the house calling on God and he responded and let me know that I was in his hiding place; nothing could harm me.  It took a while for me to recognize that my experience was not about the trouble I was in but the trouble he was preserving me from.  God’s plan was in play and I simply needed to rejoice in the Lord knowing that I was in his hiding place, preserved from all trouble.  I thank God that he surrounds me with songs of deliverance; know that he does the same for you!  Just a little advice to go!

P.S. Pray for Mr. Rodriguez who is in the hospital with cancer with little time to live, may God’s will be done and may his peace be with him.  Also pray for Gary Smith who is having surgery that he would come through without any complications and have a speedy recovery.

In Christ,
Dave Hernandez
Keep on, Keeping on!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Upheld by God's Righteous Hand!

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Imagine straying from your father, rebelling, becoming homeless and ending up in jail.  That is the story a new friend, Josh, shared with me two weekends ago.  You see, my friend made mistakes that were costly and left him alone and forsaken.  He was released from jail and returned home to his father who accepted him with open arms and some pretty strict restrictions.  He faced some tough challenges but soon found himself with the opportunity to come home to his Spiritual father.  He gave his life to Christ, surrendering to him and repented from his sins.  He began a new journey that would lead him to marriage, the mission fields of Africa and Ecuador and the blessing of a son.  

There is a lot more to Josh's story, but just the little I've shared speaks to God's amazing grace and ability to transform us from fearful and dismayed to strengthened and upheld.  God will uphold each and every one of us with his righteous hand, all we have to do is come home to him.  Just a little advice to go!

P.S. Josh will graduate from Cornell Law School next December and return to Arizona to practice law wherever God leads him.  Please keep him and his family in your prayers!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A2G: A Benefit Plan Like No Other!

Psalm 103
Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.  Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.

God offers us a benefit plan like no other, one that ensures eternity for all who sign up.  With so  many disheartened people suffering because of the daily challenges at work and home, there is a need for a new benefits plan, one that only God can offer.  Psalm 103 provides us with benefits unlike no others, we simply have to sign on the line that says, I believe!


  • Forgiveness is available through sincere repentance and the practice of unconditional forgiveness.  You have to practice it to receive it.  
  • Healing is provided for physical, emotional and spiritual ailments.  You need only to faithfully request it and believe.. 
  • Redemption is promised, He will buy back of your issues, your pain, your sadness, and more; He will restore you to whom he intended you to be.  
  • He Crowns us, beautifying us as we become a new creation worthy of all his promises with the old things passing on as we learn to let go!
  • Satisfaction is guaranteed, like the eagle is renewed you are renewed to the status God intended for you filling you with a spirit of joy that never ends.  They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:31

Monday, May 5, 2014

Fighting Discontentment, A Worthy Battle!

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks Himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with jewels. Isaiah 61:10 

This is the day that The Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalms 118:24

Pray for me!  Recently the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart about how often I neglect God's word, failing to live it each and every day.  It is easy to live in discontentment focused on all that is wrong; the challenges at work, at home, and in your spiritual walk.  Before you know it, the obstacles become so difficult that you find yourself sounding and acting as a defeated person.  Somehow the fact that you are surrounded by numerous blessings bypasses you and you reflect a spirit of discontentment believing that everything is wrong and subject to criticism.  

Thank God for the faithful servants he utilizes to speak to our lives and to help us battle the lies of the enemy.  In my case a friend patiently lsitened to my complaints and then asked the key question, "so tell me about what is going right"?  Right then and there God began to move my spirit reminding me of all the blessings he placed in my life.  Several days later I heard a message on the subject of discontentment and thought, there He goes again reminding me to stand up and rejoice.  Finally, yes I am a bit slow, I turned on the television and heard a message on defeating the spirit of discontentment and knew it was time to stop complaining and strart rejoicing.  Wow, what a difference when you can start the day by rejoicing and being glad for the gift of salvation, for the robes of righteousness, and the ornaments that he bestows upon us.  Yes, this is the day The Lord has made, I will be glad and rejoice in it!  Just a little advice to go! 

Friday, April 11, 2014

If You Feel Persecuted, You Are Not Alone!

Perhaps you are experiencing a level of criticism and attack from friends, family, or co-workers and are wondering, why me?  Jesus tells us in the book of John, Chapter 20, verse 15 that "if they persecuted me, they will persecute you also."  Yes, living for Jesus doesn't free you from persecution.  I won't walk you through the many biblical leaders persecuted for their faith in God or service to Christ.  Too many were persecuted and killed simply because they believed.

Saul once hunted believers down, judging them guilty and executing them on the spot; talk about persecution.  God transformed Saul the persecutor into Paul the promoter who would take the lead in spreading Christianity to many and in the end, he would suffer persecution up to his death.  Because of his leadership a number of churches were planted and numerous church leaders were developed helping to spread the gospel.  He would go on to author 14 of the 27 books of the new testament helping memorialize the story of Christ for all to read.  He was a Jew who converted to Christianity but used his Roman citizenship to overcome the obstacles and persecutions he faced as he lived a life of service to Christ.

Like Paul, we as believers are not exempt from persecution and for some that persecution can even result in death, yet they continue to preach the gospel come what may.  We must recognize, as difficult as it may seem, persecution as a reality of our faith remembering the attacks and the consequences do not go unnoticed by our heavenly Father.  He assures us in the end, that no weapon formed against us shall prosper and he will never leave us or forsake us.  In Christ, we can do all things and focusing on Him will help us overcome any attack of the enemy.  Feeling persecuted, simply call on Jesus and He will take it from there!  Keep on Keepin on! Just a little advice to go!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Live the Gift of Life!

Recently I participated in a basic yoga training class, a gift from a friend.  The first thing they taught was the importance of controlling how I breathe.  Sounded silly at first but little by little I began to practice controlling my breathing; taking deep steady slow breaths learning to relax my body, making it easier to focus my mind and thoughts.  I thought of Adam, the first man God created and how he breathed life into his body.  His lungs expanded and posture straightened as he began his first day of life, exploring all that surrounded him.  How awesome!

God spoke to my heart reminding me to take the time to slow down, breathe deeply, straighten up, relax and look around.  Like Adam, I began to notice the awesomeness of all that God has created the natural world that surrounds me.  Acknowledging the awesomeness of all that breathes and lives is important and requires that we stop, take a deep breath, relax, and open our eyes wide.  Value each moment of each day and celebrate the gift of life.  Love and care for those God has placed near to your heart, they are a gift to be valued and cared for.  Live!   Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Tired and Weary?

Psalm 69:3
I am exhausted from shouting for help; my throat is sore; my eyes grow tired of looking for my God. 

Have you ever felt the despair that David felt during his persecution.  Things can go wrong when you least expect them and without any wrongdoing on your part.  Finding yourself in the midst of a battle or a number of battles calling for Christ and waiting for an answer that doesn't seem to come can be discouraging.  It is during such difficulty that we can begin to experience sadness, anger, doubt, and so forth.  Looking up towards heaven becomes seemingly impossible so our eyes also become weary.   This is a reminder that our belief is founded in faith; we simply believe God to be present even when it doesn't seem he is there.  We believe because we know that in the end, God shows up and saves the day.  He rescues us from our sorrow and fills us with his joy.   Yes we can grow tired and weary, but Christ shows up and fills us with the power of his Spirit, renewing our strength so that we can continue to carry out his purpose in our lives.  Praise the Lord!  Just a little advice to go! 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Forgive Me!

1 John 1: 9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Recently, I sat at a meeting listening to a colleague express his sadness over the reality that he may have offended others.  He explained that it was never his intent to offend and asked for forgiveness.  Most in the room didn't see this coming and looked surprised but touched.  Someone offered to close the meeting with prayer and prayed for everyone in the room but most importantly for our colleague.

Amazing how the words "forgive me" can have such an impact on others and how releasing the burden of our mistakes, whether simple or significant, can help us.  God calls us to confess our sins to him seeking forgiveness from those we have offended.  He asks this because he understands that sincere repentance will not only lift our burdens, but will empower us with courage.  Taking that step, provides others with the opportunity to lift their burden by being granted the opportunity to forgive.   It isn't just about our sin, but helping others recover from the impact of that sin.  The next time you feel the conviction of having done wrong, remember to confess it to the Lord and to ask for forgiveness.  Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Value Living

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.  John 12:26

Value living, that is precisely what we as believers should be doing each and every day.  Companies have value statements that guide the direction and actions taken by the company as a whole.  So why don't we have a value statement that guides our actions as members of the body of Christ?

As believers we have the word to guide our action which we should adapt into our daily living.  During one of my former leadership roles, I developed a set of guiding principles for the organization.  I used the acronym H.E.A.R.T. because I believed if they were to become the values of the organization people would have to believe in them with a heart felt sincerity.  I have adopted those principles as a method to ensure I am "Value Living", here they are:

H-honor-everything I do should be honorable to my Lord and Savior.  If it doesn't honor him then I shouldn't be doing it.

E-excellence-strive to do everything to a level of excellence that is pleasing to the father and I mean everything.  

A-accountable-always remember that everything you do, you are accountable for.  Our father will forgive us, but others will hold us accountable.   

R-respectful-be respectful of all human beings.  I often find myself reminding others that while we may hate the sin, we are not to hate the sinner but to overcome sin through mercy, grace and forgiveness. 

T-team-I believe that as believers we must be part of a team of believers.  There is a reason that God's word tells us that where there are two or more, there am I in the midst of them.  There is greater power in a team approach to serving the Lord.  

So there you have it, my guiding principles which I strive to live by each and every day to ensure that I am "Value Living".  Just a little advice to go! 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Prayer About Ultimate Romance

The following is a devotional that speaks to how often I over demand from my spouse and the correlation between those demands and my lack of intimacy with the Lord.  Often I try to substitute for God's intimacy by demanding more of those around me and that often leads to failure.  Perhaps when you feel that way you may want to think of the prayer written by Scotty Smith, Pastor at Christ Community Church, Just a little advice to go!

    “I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me.” –Song of Solomon 7:10

Dear Lord Jesus, it’s the weekend in our culture in which red hearts, overpriced cards, dark chocolates and cut flowers abound — Valentine’s Day is upon us. For some, it’s a day of incredible kindness, sweetness and gratitude. For others, it’s a day in which brokenness, loneliness and emptiness are magnified. For all of us, it should be a day in which are deepest longings for intimacy and connection find their way home to you, Jesus, the consummate lover.

I praise you for how generous you’ve been to me, in giving me rich tastes, tangible expressions, and a sensate celebration of genuine love in my marriage. There have been times when I have wondered how heaven itself could hold more joy than what I have known with my spouse…

But I equally praise you for showing me, time and time again, that no one human being (or any number of them)… no human romance story… no torrid love affair can possibly fill the vacuum in my soul that’s uniquely Jesus-shaped. Even the best marriage is two broken people, two redeemed sinners who will ultimately not be enough for the other.

Grant me, no, grace me with a deeper and richer experience of belonging to you, Jesus. You’re the ultimate Spouse. I know this, but I want to know it. One moment I believe you truly desire me, and in the next I am filled with disconcerting unbelief. It’s in those times when I am not alive to your pursuit of me, love for me and delight in me that I place unrealistic demands on other relationships. Instead of a steward, I become a user of others. Instead of a servant, I take up a scorecard to measure them by my expectations. Forgive me and free me from all such nonsense.

Let me love as you love me, until the day my betrothal becomes the day of great banqueting — the Day I long for more than any other… the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. So very Amen, I pray, in your tender and tenacious name.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

No Condemnation In Christ

No Condemnation in Christ  Romans 8
1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6For to be carnally minded isdeath; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

No condemnation in Christ: what part of God's word are we not getting when as believers we are so quick to condemn each other instead of loving as God commanded us to do.  Today it is not enough that we condemn each other, too many of us are caught up in condemning those we identify as sinners. Yes, we need to recognize that sin is sin, but while we hate the sin we must still love the sinner; praying for them, caring for them when they are hurting, and sharing God's word with them.  

If we keep them hating each other and hating sinners then we lose sight of the truth and become inept believers.  Let's refocus on God's word, the truth that sets us free from confusion and from egoistic traps inhibiting our walk with Christ.  The bottom line is that Christ did not come to condemn the world but to rescue it from the traps of the flesh, not with threats and a spirit of fear but with power, love, and wisdom.   Living in Christ means living within the confines of His word; making every effort to love others so that the miracle of Christ will take place in their hearts.  Just a little advice to go!  

I Am With You Always!

In Matthew 28:20, Jesus tells us to remember, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Wow, what a promise!  In a world where division occurs within families as children and parents become estranged and countries divided by politics and religious beliefs, Christ reminds us that He is with us always.  

The only thing that can separate us from Christ is our sin; our disobedience.  He never leaves us or forsakes us and understands our daily battle to resist doing the things that contradict our beliefs.  Knowing that He is there always should remind us it is in His strength we overcome the daily challenges; he is there right by our side ready to come to our aid if we simply acknowledge him and ask for His help.  For we know that if Christ be for us, who can be against us.  In Him, we can proclaim that nothing will separate us from the love of God!  Just a little advice to go!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Guiltless But Guilty!

Luke 23: 1-5
Then the whole company of them arose and brought him before Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.” And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.

Have you ever been there, judged as guilty even though you are guiltless.  It is a strange and lonely feeling when you find yourself condemned for something you are not guilty of.  Jesus was accused of blasphemy for proclaiming he was the son of God, it was a truth that many could not accept and thus they found him guilty even though he was guiltless.

We too will encounter times where we are condemned for simply speaking the truth or for doing what we know to be right even though others may call it wrong.  In Christ we have no choice but to do as he did, proclaim the truth and/or do right accepting the consequences whatever they may be.

The challenge for us as believers is to overcome the fear of consequence often used by the enemy to dissuade us from doing what our spirit confirms to be right.  This fear can only be overcome through God's word; the knowledge and power promised by his words.  He did not give us a spirit of fear and there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.  In Christ we are left to stand up for His truth, a truth that sets us free from guilt even when others would find us guilty.   Whatever you may face, stand in Christ's truth and when others find you guilty, know that in him your are guiltless.  Just a litlle advice to go!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Joy of the Lord Heals Your Pain!

Celebrating Jesus' birth always reminds me of his resurrection, the fact that he died but then rose from the grave.  He was alive and walking on planet earth as if he never died and had the scars to prove it.  Jesus had the scars on his hands and the wound on his side evidencing the devastation he endured and overcame so that we could be set green from the pain of our sins. (John 20:27)

As believers we often forget that as long as we are in this world we too bear the scars of the sins and suffering we have endured.  Whether physical or emotional, the scars bear witness not only of the suffering but of the miracle of Christ's healing.  The scars and memories remain, but the pain is alleviated by the joy of his salvation.  The bible tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength, we need only to receive him, believe in him, and live in him to receive that joy.  That joy illuminates the greatness of God in our lives, overcoming the darkness and pain of this world.  Yes, trials and weeping may come in the nighttime but joy cometh in the morning. (Psalms 30:5)

Let your scars serve not as reminders of the pain and suffering you have endured, but as reminders of  your rebirth in Christ, your deliverance from the evil of this world, your victory over the pain of the past, and your new found joy in the Lord!  Just a little advice to go!

A2G: Blessings in 2014

Blessings to each of you as your start 2014!  God's word offers us the following promise in Deuteronomy 1:11

11May the Lord, the God of your ancestors, increase you a thousand times and bless you as he has promised!

I claim that word for each of you, praying that your relationship with Christ, your family, loved ones, and friends would would be increased a thousand times.  I also pray that your finances would increase a thousand times allowing you to receive much so that you may bless others with much!

Debbie and I find ourselves blessed in this new year as our parents who have struggled with health challenges begin the new year with us, our children are doing well, and we continue in our service to our heavenly father.  Debbie began a new job this year working at Seton Homes serving single teen moms and I continue to work at Haven for Hope serving homeless men, women, and families.  We are blessed to be able to live our ministry every day both at home and work.

My commitment to God's service includes sharing my weekly devotional, Advice to go,  which can be challenging at times due to my commitment to work, school, volunteering at Bexar County, and much more.  But I will do my best to share the messages that God brings to my life in the hope they will bless you as they have blessed me!  Happy New Year!  Just a little advice to go!