Monday, August 26, 2013


Stanley Ipkiss is a klutzy, push-over, and a don’t-know-how-he-makes-it-in-the-real-world idiot. Stanley’s existence is an absolute total disaster, so much so that he ends up on a rickety bridge in an old busted down Studebaker. However, he finds himself in the river trying to save what appears to be an attempted suicide. Instead of a suicidal victim, he finds a mask that literally changes his life. Later on in the movie and with the help of the mask, he eventually learns how to change himself into somebody that he is not.

How many of us end up on that bridge of life, looking to be somebody or something else other than what we are? Are we true to ourselves or do we put on a mask for another’s benefit? Actually, we all wear masks metaphorically speaking.

When we put on that mask, we are saying, “I’m blessed brother. I’m doing great, bless God,” but on the inside, we are hurting like crazy. On the other hand, maybe we are wearing that mask as a front that could garner us acceptance from someone else. In any event, when we put on that mask we are projecting to others something that we are not. Why do we do that? Is it because we fear rejection or are we afraid of not belonging to, or not fitting in, worrying about what others might think of us?

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well [Psalms 139:14].

Even the world knows this, when it says, "To thine own self, be true."

Let me illustrate with an example from my own life.

A couple decades ago, people called me the weeping prophet after the Prophet Jeremiah of the Bible. Not that I am a prophet by any stretch [1 Corinthians 13:9], but because I would weep many times at the drop of a hat as the emotional situations presented themselves.

I felt that I was a man and I’d been in the service and I thought I was hard enough for others to think of me in the same fashion as well. For example, when sharing Jesus at a Christmas party, I’d weep almost to the point of crying. This would happen frequently on other occasions  as well during sensitive and tender moments.

I’d notice that some folks would bow their heads in embarrassment for me. It got to where I didn’t even speak anymore. I was embarrassed for myself for always breaking down in front of everybody all the time.

I know that it’s OK for men to cry but to cry all the time. It made me feel very effeminate and I hated that. I was also ashamed as to what others would think of me as well. I didn’t feel like a real man standing in the midst of real men or standing in the presence of what society would call a man’s man.

I finally asked the Lord to remove this sensitivity from me. I prayed this whole scenario to Him. Well. . .God did just that and either removed it or only blocked my sensitivity. To this day, I have yet to totally breakdown over my mom and dad’s death. This bothers me terribly because I loved them with all my heart. Dad was my hero and mom was my support, my friend, and my spiritual leader [1].

There have been many other incidences that I should have wept and actually bawled but haven’t done so. It is at the point now that I hate who I am. Now I am not short on self-esteem but sometimes I feel like I do not know who I am.

I have asked God for forgiveness and to restore me emotionally but as yet, only He knows whether He will restore me or not. I know He has forgiven me but my emotions remain the same. So maybe this is my lesson for rejecting the way He made me. Maybe this is my cross to bear.

So. . .as someone who knows first-hand, each and every one of you are beautifully and wonderfully made. He made you like you are for a reason. So remove the mask and don’t reject who you are. In fact, embrace it, because you, like David, are the apple of God’s eye.

[1] Dad didn’t ask the Lord into his heart until the last 10-15 years of his life. But he was the most radically saved person I’ve ever seen.

NEXT WEEK: I will continue with Understanding God's Word, Part Two: Formal and Dynamic Equivalency. Sorry for any inconvenience to my readers.

Monday, August 19, 2013


Part One: Delight or Duty

How many times have you heard it said, "I just don't understand the Bible."

Why do so many believers struggle with understanding God's Word? Some think that if they only could go to school, maybe seminary, or class after class, they'd understand. Nothing wrong with either of these two avenues but for the average Joe - or Joe-lene - it's unrealistic.

Much of the secret is not so much in schooling, but through our obedience to God. It might sound overly simplistic, but the more we read God's Word, the more it becomes a living book to us and we begin to hear and understand the voice of God. However, if we have not obeyed Him, how can we expect Him to give us any deeper truths?

The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant [Psalms 25:14].

So, who are those who "fear" Him? They are the ones who obey Him and promised a "good understanding." [Psalms 111:10]

Am I saying that if you do not understand God's Word, you are somehow trapped in some awful disobedience of some kind and you won't acquire understanding until you repent? Heavens no. Not saying that at all. As believers, we have the Lord living inside of us via the Holy Spirit and our disobedience can prevent us from tapping into the understanding of God's Word. Why then, would He give us deeper truths?

So, as we dive into the Bible, we can look for and meditate on His instructions. Then as we partnership with the Holy Spirit and obey Him, He will reveal His deeper truths and understanding. It won't be long and our time spent in His Word will become a delight and not a duty.

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Although the above is tantamount to finding His deeper truths, there is obviously more to understanding God's Word than obedience. Books have been written on this subject, so to cover this in a page or two or in a single blog, would be impossible. Therefore, as it stands now, this topic will be a four part series. 

NEXT WEEK: we will learn about how do we even know that it is God's words that we are reading? In "Formal and Dynamic Equivalencies," we will learn how the translators translate the Bible.

In the ensuing weeks, we'll learn about translations, manuscripts and their origins, and finally, I'll give you some suggestions as to how you can study God's Word. If any of you would like me to elaborate on any of those suggestions, please leave a comment stating your requests. I'll do my best to answer any and all requests. God bless you all and enjoy God's Word, our standard.

This will not be an exhaustive study but I pray that it sparks your interest in delving deeper into His Word.

Monday, August 12, 2013


All truth is parallel. For every natural truth, there is an equal and corresponding spiritual truth.

Not all, but much of what I accomplish with my writing I do by two methods. Either God directly gives me something to share with the body or He speaks to me through life’s natural occurrences. Most of my best ideas I’ve written through watching nature and/or people just living life.

Every day, the world around us is alive with activity and floods my mind with ideas for stories. Take today for instance, I was sitting at my table at StarBucks enjoying my normal tall/decaf/no-room/Americano, when I noticed drivers and their different techniques for going over a speed bump. Some stopped and crept over the bump while others never even slowed down. I watched them for about five minutes or so as they entertained me with their driving techniques.

I finally turned my head away from the street and focused my attention on some serious coffee consumption. I don’t know why, but I asked the Lord “Is there something I can learn from this Lord?” A verse popped into my mind.

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
[Proverbs 3:5-6]

How fast do we approach the speed bumps in life? Just like those raised cement obstacles, the enemy can present us with many hindrances that will slow us down, or in some cases, stop us.

Contrary to proverbs 3:5, man has a tendency to look to his own devices when an obstacle confronts him. By nature, man is a self-sufficient being, and to some extent, that’s a good thing. When we realize that God created us in His own image [Genesis 1:27] and that we are spirit, soul, and body [1 Thessalonians 5:23], we can then decide which facet of our psyche we will choose to follow.

The soul [1] is subjective, and takes in whatever we feed it. We then act on that input and develop our own temperament, character, and belief system. In other words, we choose our own standard by which we want to govern and run our lives, and that choice is a direct gift from God.

There are only two sides of our psyche that our soul can choose from, our spirit [2] or our body [3], which the Bible calls the flesh. The soul is our free will and decision making part of us. We can either align our soul with the Spirit through faith, or we can align our soul with the feel good of our flesh. It is all our decision.

The flesh (our five senses), cannot experience the spirit because there is no tangible communication between the spirit and the flesh. God designed it this way to give man choice. However, our faith is tangible. When we get those Goosebumps and feel the presence of God, it is through our faith. Faith is the bi-directional conduit from our soul to our Spirit.

As Pastor Andrew Wommack [4] teaches, when we align our soul with our flesh, it is a majority and we will acquiesce to the feel good of our body. However, when we align our soul with our spirit, that too is a majority and we will renew our mind and become more in tune with the Lord. By constantly renewing our mind [Romans 12:2], we can spiritually grow, become more like Jesus, and can defeat the enemy and all of the obstacles and speed bumps in our lives.

So, when the speed bumps of life confront us, trust in the Lord and lean not unto our own understanding but acknowledge Him, and He will direct our paths.


[1] Self-consciousness
[2] God-consciousness
[3] World-consciousness
[4] Andrew Wommack Ministries