Has God giving you a word for this year? As my wife, Chelsey and I prayed, the Lord, gave us the word “activate” for 2023.

As I dwelt on this and spent time with the Lord, I realized that this word has many implications in my personal life. For one, I’m a children’s pastor at my job is to help kids become activated into ministry. We are also parents who are to activate our own children by teaching them about Jesus, prayer, and scripture.

We also have so many promises from the word of God that we just don’t activate in our life! We have a promise of touching anything together, in the name of Jesus, and yet many times we fail to pray together for a special need. We have the promise of peace if we just pray and give thanks, yet instead we get anxious about situations.

There are also gifts that the Lord has given us that we have allowed to go dormant in our lives. One of mine is writing. Life with two children under two years old has really taken a toll on our formerly structured schedule, but I believe the Lord is instructing us to activate what he has given to us by His Spirit.

I would love to know your word for the year, and if you don’t have one, I would encourage you to pray about it!

That time with the Spider!

Alrighty, time to put your seatbelts on because we’re about to talk about something very serious… and scary. It’s a battle most of us have had to face… a battle that has had many of us on the run…a battle that has caused fear to grip us in the most real way.


By now you may know what I’m talking about. Yes, I’m talking about spiders.


I don’t know about you, but I’m NOT a fan of spiders; however, there was a lesson God taught me through one of these disgusting creatures that I want to share with you. It was a winter morning in Paris, Texas. I was in my bathroom wearing my robe and slippers brushing my teeth when my eye caught something hanging from the ceiling. The blood drained from my face as I realized… it was a black widow.



My life flashed before my eyes… well that’s a little dramatic, but I did panic. I took of my slipper, aimed, and threw it at the spider only to knock it down to the ground. (I may have also made some very awkward high-pitched sounds that we won’t discuss further)


Now before you take my man card away, let me remind you that black widow spiders are indeed dangerous. One bite from one of these can cause some serious damage to a human. It wasn’t wrong to have a healthy awareness of what it could do, but it was a little crazy to let something that small take control of my mind, or in this case, my bathroom. In fact, it’s almost comical that this little enemy could convince me that he’s got more power that I have.




But something happened when I spotted it on the ground. There was a boldness that filled me as I lifted my foot (with the slipper on of course) and stomped the little monster underneath. The battle was over. The fear was gone. The victory had been won!


Was the lesson about a spider? It was actually about a lot more. You see, sometimes we have things that seem to be hanging over our heads, causing us to fear. All kinds of situations that threaten our livelihood. They try to rule the room, strike fear, and take control of your mind and emotions. But something happens when we relocate these things from above us, to under the feet of Jesus!


Check out this prayer form the book of Ephesians



18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.





That includes whatever fearful situation you’re facing today. It’s been placed under the feet of Jesus. I don’t know about you, but that eases my mind and my heart. Jesus, who loves me, and who knows me, and who died for me is in control. And not only that, but through Him I have His incomparably great power to overcome the enemy!


Today I choose to focus on Him and what He has done. This doesn’t mean we don’t have situations that are serious and potentially harmful, but it means we face them from the standpoint of victory. I will tell every “spider” of a circumstance that the Lord is in control and I will fight my battles according to the word.


Sometimes “FACING” fear is really just “PLACING” fear where it belongs!

Today I challenge you to picture your “spider”, whatever it may be, under the feet of Jesus.

Disobedience and Disqualification

This sentence got to me this morning…

“Disobedience may eliminate opportunities for service by disqualifying one from a position of leadership.” (Ryrie study Bible)

1 Samuel 13:13-14
Samuel said to Saul, “ You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, for now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”

Saul undoubtedly felt the pressure of the battle. The enemy’s army was HUGE. Can you imagine the stress…trying to hold it all together as the leader of an army that is outnumbered. He became impatient and he took matters into his own hands, which wasn’t what God had instructed.
This act of disobedience would change his life. “Would have” is a key phrase here… if you Would Have been obedient, the Lord Would Have established your Kingdom over Israel forever.
Disobedience is no joke. It’s not something we can pick and choose depending on the situation. It’s sometimes very difficult in the face of pressing circumstances to trust God and His timing. But we can never do in our own strength what we can do in God’s strength. We can never accomplish in our own timing what God can accomplish in His.
Your situation may be pressing today, but remember that it doesn’t change what God has already spoken to you. His instructions and commands are to be followed. Don’t freak out and think you’ve been abandoned. Don’t think you’re gonna have to take the reins. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to trust God in the waiting. Immediately after Saul just “did it himself”, Samuel showed up…
I encourage you (and myself) to place obedience to God as the first priority! You can’t prove that you trust the Lord without an opportunity to trust Him.
This is your opportunity! What are you going to do?

Get the “Would Haves” out of the way today. I Would Have, but ______________.
Whatever filled that blank… surrender it to God today and Trust Him with it completely.

Wild or Free

Psalm 32:8,9

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.



Have you ever seen a wild horse being broken by a trainer? It’s quite a show. This horse that is used to doing what it wants is now under the control of someone else. Of course this doesn’t come naturally for the animal and it sure isn’t use to hearing commands, nor does it understand them. So the process begins as the handler places a bridle on the horse along with a bit in its mouth, all connected to a rope which is held by the man. The trainer will stand in the center of the ring and allows the horse to go in circles as he holds the rope. The horse can pull away or try to run off, but it’s painful when it does. He eventually learns that the sooner he obeys, the sooner he is free of the bit! He’s only causing himself pain.


Many years ago a good friend had a vision of my life. She pictured the Lord in the center of a ring and I was the horse, trying to painfully pull away. She told me I wasn’t getting out of the Lord’s plan for my life, and I was only going to hurt myself if I tried to run.


Isn’t this a picture of many lives today? We desire freedom. We all want liberty but we often misunderstand what truly brings it into our lives. It comes through obedience to Christ. He doesn’t give up on us. He has a will for our lives and desires for us to be free and fulfilling our destinies. He also knows this doesn’t happen overnight for the person who is so accustomed to having his own way. Many times we experience the discomfort of disobedience and God definitely allows it. But what he intends for us to learn is that he’s not trying to hurt us, but he’s trying to break us so that we can be used!


God wants to get us to the place where we stop when he says “whoa”, and we go when he says, “giddy up”. The place of true obedience. Although we are constantly learning and increasing in knowledge and understanding, we aren’t meant to be in basic training forever. The truth is, we can decide when we’re going to finally submit. It’s only then that God can use us to the fullest in true freedom! So if you’re still a wild one and you’re experiencing the pain of disobedience, know that the Lord uses broken people. Wild and Free have been used together for too long. We have to choose… Choose freedom and experience the wild ride the trainer has for your life.

So you had a bad day…

So you had a bad day…


Are you having a bad day? As I read the Christmas story, I realize that Mary and Joseph were definitely having what we would call a bad day. There’s a census and they’ve got to travel while she’s ready to pop.


“Really God? Right now? We’ve just worked out all of this stuff in our relationship and now You’re gonna send us all the way to Bethlehem? I mean you’ve spoken to us and we know you’re in the big middle of our situation, but now, though we know we’re blessed, we’ve got to travel like this.”


Not in a nice comfortable CAR, but on a donkey…an uncomfortable ride, especially for a pregnant woman who’s about to bust. Away from their primary physician and away from work, to travel. This costs money and time. They get there and you know they’re ready to lay down because this trip has no doubt worn them out…. and just when they think they’re gonna lay down their heads, they’re told there’s not a room available!


We’re sold out!
It’s a bad day!

Then they find the only thing offered to them is a stable. I doubt they walked in and were like, “HEY, this is nice”. No, they were like… “HAY, this place is filled with hay.”


Sometimes when things aren’t what we expected, it seems like a bad day.
But we can’t forget that God placed them in this stable. Look at the things God used here:

He used circumstance, He used the government (which issued this census), He used people who not only came and took all the good rooms, but He also used someone to offer what he had even though it wasn’t much (a stable). All things were working together. Even though it wasn’t pretty, it was the most beautiful thing taking place on Earth and in Heaven at the same time.
It wasn’t easy to travel to Bethlehem in their condition, yet God’s working out a detail that’s of the utmost importance. You see, in Micah, God told the people that a ruler would be born in this little town of Bethlehem.


But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.

Micah 5:2


Many times God is working through struggles to get you to a place where He’s destined a miracle. God used this couple to do something huge for His kingdom, and it wasn’t how or where they expected. God knew exactly what He was doing with Mary and Joseph just as He knows exactly what He’s doing with you.
Just like Mary was carrying Jesus, so are we. And many times God leads us to a place where we deliver Him into the darkness. A place where despite any struggle and discomfort, there’s a greater detail in His plan that is being made compete. So today, know that He knows. Know that He sees when things don’t go as we planned. Know that He sees when we face rejection. Know that He sees when we end up in a place that makes us wonder or question even though we’re doing what we’ve been asked to do. God knows the details. Trust in Him, even if it seems like nothing is working out. There’s no telling what He’s planning to birth out of your bad day.

No Good Thing Will God Withhold

Psalm 84:11

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

This verse has been one that I’ve held onto and shared in times of great “situations”, times of waiting, and even times of wanting in life. God is a sun and shield, which means he not only sheds light and gives life, but he also protects us. Even from things we think are good, but aren’t best for us. Then He reminds us that there’s no good thing He will withhold from us who walk uprightly. So in those moments when we’re faced with questions of “why can’t I” or “will that ever happen for me” or “am I going to get that job” or “will I ever get married or have kids”????? Or even when we face disappointments and wonder why God didn’t allow what we believed was best for us. Remember that there’s nothing good that He’ll withhold from us and often times He’s protecting us and has something greater around the corner! I hope this encourages you as it has encouraged me.