Get Inspired

Believer, Husband, Father, Dreamer, Writer.

My blogging experience came about through the process of learning to cope with the death of my own father.  He passed away unexpectedly at the age of 54.  Dad was the family “glue” and I was not ready for his death.  Billy Graham said, Suffering is part of the human condition, and it comes to us all. The key is how we react to it, either turning away from God in anger and bitterness or growing closer to him in trust and confidence.  I started writing as a vehicle to get my feelings out so I could see them more clearly.  The years that followed my father’s death have been a journey of discovery.  I have learned that even when I can’t see it, God does have a plan.  I have learned that although my earthly father is gone, my Heavenly Father has been with me all along.  I have learned that the Bibe is full of God’s letters to me.  I am still learning.  One person has said, You never get over the death of a family member.  You just learn to live with it.

Sometimes I get off topic, but mostly try to write about daily Christian living, how God impacts our lives and how we impact the lives of those around us.  I try to post new blog entries once a week.  Sometimes more often, sometimes less often.

“The Bible is endlessly interesting because it is God’s story, and God by nature is Himself endlessly interesting. The Bible is an ever-flowing fountain. The more you read it, the more you find its truth and beauty to be inexhaustible.” –D.A. Carson

Words are slippery little things.  Said in the right way, words can inspire, motivate, energize.  Used in the wrong way, words can dishearten, destroy, alienate.  If you like what you read, please share with your friends.  All I ask is that you credit your source.

Dr.B watermarked

Spiritual Warfare

My grandmother used to talk about a spiritual battle we are engaged in.  When I was young I understood what she was saying, but I’m not sure I comprehended the true value of what she was saying.  I have began to understand that we are in a literal battle.  With literal evil spirits waging war for control over me and control over this world.  Satan knows my weaknesses and what he can use to trip me up.  What trips me up may not be the same thing that trips someone else up.  But Satan knows what trips you up too.

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.  Ephesians 6:12

When did this war begin, and what are we fighting for?  The battle began when Satan Became proud of himself and started to proclaim himself to be like God.  So Satan was cast down to earth and not allowed to leave.

How you are fallen from heaven, o shining star, son of the morning!  You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world.  For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars.  I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north.  I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.’  Instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead, down to its lowest depths.  Everyone there will stare at you and ask, ‘Can this be the one who shook the earth and made the kingdoms of the world tremble?  Is this the one who destroyed the world and made it into a wasteland?  Isaiah 14:12-17

"Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning!”  Luke 10:18

So Satan and his demons were cast to earth, and the earth became a garbage heap.  But God decided to redeem the earth.  The first thing God did is proclaim, “Let there be light”.  Light drives out the darkness.  The perfect example being when I walk into a dark room.  I feel around for the switch and turn it on.  Where did the light go?  It is driven back into the corners, under furniture, recessed areas.  When God declared Let there be light He drove the darkness back into the hidden areas, just like the dark room.

Then God made a man - Adam.  God made air, water, plants, animals and gave Adam dominion over them.  Then God made a helper for Adam, so he would not be alone.  The one thing the people were not to do is violate God’s law - do not eat of the tree!  When the people ate, they gave dominion of the earth back over to Satan.  So God decided to make another Man - Jesus.  Up to the time that Jesus died for our sins, Satan still had dominion over the earth.  Notice what Satan said to Jesus while He was being tempted in the wilderness.  

Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me”  Matthew 4:8-9

The spiritual battle has raged on.

Cleansed, Holy, Right Standing

"Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NLT)

What does God want from me? Commitment? Servitude? Humility? Yes, God desires these and more from me. Obedience is better than sacrifice. “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams." 1 Samuel 15:22 (NLT)

But I am not perfect and I mess things up, so now what do I do? When I believe on the name of our Lord Jesus I become:

3-right standing with God

All the work is done... AMEN!

"If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts." 1 John 1:8-10 (NLT)

“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life." Titus 3:5-6 (NLT)

Roman Road

I have a lot of tools at my workbench.  Mitre saws, levels, angles, chisels, power tools and many others.  These are tools I don’t use every day, but they’re good to have around for when I decide to add a bedroom to our house!  Then I have my toolbox that contains those essintial tools that will get me through almost any situation in a pinch.  Pliers, screwdrivers, wire, a handful of screws, glue, tephlon tape, electrical tape - and yes - duct tape!  These are the Swiss Army Knife tools for help in any standard household emergency.

The Bible is similar, in that the whole compilation of Scripture is a set of valuable tools effective for teaching us and bringing us into a close relationship with God.  But I may not always have my Bible with me.  So how about a toolbox, containing those verses useful in an emergency.  Say someone at work says, “I’ve noticed you’re different.  Why don’t you act like all the other people?”  What would I say and could I recall Bible verses from memory?

I need a Swiss Army Knife tool kit of Bible verses.  These are the verses that I could memorize to help in an emergency situation.  The Roman Road is a collection of four just such verses from the book of Romans.  I’ve noted them below from the New Living Translation Bible, but you could use the translation you’re most comfortable with.  If I had these four verses memorized, I could explain to someone who asks, “What does it mean to be a Christian?”  Or, “How do I become Born Again?”  (John 3:3-16)  1 Peter 3:15 says, "And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.”  So if you don’t already have your Swiss Army Knife tool kit of memory verses, ask God if these might be a good place to start.

Roman Road:

Romans 3:23 "For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”

Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 5:8 "But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”

Romans 10:9 "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

There it is, the simple plan for salvation from key verses found in the book of Romans.  By the way, I can’t take credit for inventing the cool tittle of Roman Road.  I was actually taught this as a young man during a church class, shortly after being born again myself.  However, I was recently reminded of the Roman Road while listening to the radio the other day.  So I'm making a personal commitment to memorize these four verses again.

There are a couple other verses we might consider memorizing for your Swiss Army Knife tool kit.  These are 1 John 1:7-10 "But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.  If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.  But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.”  And another addition to our Swiss Army Knife tool kit could be 1 John 4:4 "But you belong to God, my dear children.  You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.”

Of course, there are a lot of verses I could memorize and include in my Swiss Army Knife tool kit.  Memorization is healthy, both mentally and spiritually.  And, the Bible itself instructs me to commit Scripture to memory.  I was once told that during the time of the gospels, religious leaders would often make it their life goal to commit the whole of Scripture to memory!  WOW!

A Year of Bible Study in Review

Racial tension, cyber attacks, airline crashes, virus outbreaks & ISIS are just a few of the disturbing headlines from 2015.  With all this bad news, we could use a healthy dose of hope as we face 2016.  We all hope for peace on earth, while at the same time we must recognize that people are divided by politicians, nations and special interest groups.  We live in a broken world that needs to be made whole.

Even as we suffer, we must continue to hope that better days are ahead.  Paul put it like this, "Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay." (Romans 8:18-21 NLT)

We could all use a healthy dose of hope.  Many people, Christian or not, turn to the Bible to find words of hope and encouragement.  Each year digital media becomes more accessible to us and this includes the Bible.  Which now allows data to be gathered about what we are looking for in the pages of Scripture.  Let's take a look at some of what was most searched, underlined and shared in digital Bibles in 2015.

According to the Olive Tree Bible Study App® we do a lot of highlighting of Bible verses.  Olive Tree reports that their users have created and synced over 87 million highlights - that's a lot of digital highlighters!  The favorite highlighting colors are yellow, green & pink; in that order.  The most highlighted verse is Romans 12:2 "Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."

So as we are dealing with all the bad news and personal tragedy from last year, what are the most searched Bible verses of 2015?  According to Bible Gateway® the top 10 searched verses were:

10. Proverbs 3:6 "Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take."

9. 1 Corinthians 13:7 "Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance."

8. Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding."

7. Romans 12:2 "Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."

6. Philippians 4:6 "Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done."

5. Psalm 23:4 "Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.  Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me."

4. Romans 8:28 "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."

3. Philippians 4:13 "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."

2. Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."

1. John 3:16 "“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."

Don't allow discouraging news headlines to smother your hope.  Jesus came into the world to give us hope in abundance.  God became human and made the ultimate sacrifice to save us and give us hope!  If you're a believer in the God of the Bible you know that all the unrest in the world is going exactly according to His plan for us.  But many people live in uncertainty of what may happen next in their lives or world.  Perhaps you'll find an opportunity to share one of the verses above with someone who could use a healthy dose of hope in a broken world.

Read more about the most highlighted, shared & searched verses.  Or if you want to learn more about where to get a digital Bible, click on the links below.

What's In The 500 Million Synced Items?

Top 10 Bible Verses of 2015 And More: Bible Gateway's Year In Review Is Here

Oh The Joy…!


New Year Goals

Happy New Year!  It's that time when I tend to think about the coming year, and what my goals should be.  I don't like to use the word "resolutions".  I prefer to say goals.  I might be splitting hairs here, but hear me out.  To me resolutions speaks of my resolve to change something.  Some goals are within my power to affect - reading the Bible, praying or exercising.  Others I have limited control over - getting married, a job promotion or medical conditions.  Jesus cautioned me about making a vow to the Lord that I can't keep, "Do not even say, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black." (Matthew 5:36 NLT)

I am not saying that I should not have goals.  What I think Jesus is telling me is to be careful about vowing something that the Lord is not in.  I need to have goals.  But can I make a resolution like, by the end of the year I want to have a better job and buy a home?  Rather, as a Believer, my prayer needs to be something like, If it's your will...  I need to have goals.  It was the late Zig Ziglar who said, "You can't hit a target you can not see, and you can not see a target you do not have."  Anyone familiar with Zig knows that he would follow up that statement by adding that our targets need to be realistic.  An archer, regardless how skilled, can not hit his target while blind-folded.  Remove the blind-fold so he can see his target and dramatically improve his chances of hitting it!  Some goals, or "targets", are within my power to affect.  Others I have little control over.

Proverbs 16:9 tells me, "We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps." (NLT)  For me, this is reminding me of two things.  First, I should not make goals that I have not offered to my Lord in prayer.  Second, don't get discouraged.  I may envision a path to accomplishing my goal.  My Lord may see a different pathway, which becomes an opportunity to develop my faith.  I have to become flexible to my Lord's will, even putting aside my goals if need be.

So, what am I trying to say?  Goals are a healthy part of my Christian life, to help keep me focused.  I need to be cautious of making goals that are unrealistic, or may not be my Lord's will for my life.  Remain flexible, remembering that I am God's servant and He has the better plan for my life.   Something to pray about as I consider my goals for 2016!

"Look here, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year.  We will do business there and make a profit.'  How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow?  Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.  What you ought to say is, 'If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.'  Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.  Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it." James 4:13-17 (NLT)

New Life

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

Colossians 2:6-7; Galations 6:7-10

31 Proverbs

I've enjoyed reading through the Proverbs. A habit I was in and will take it up again. 31 Proverbs, 31 days in a long month. The book starts by stating that if anyone seeks wisdom, ask and God will give it freely. I'm asking God for wisdom. Not the world's "wisdom" - God's Wisdom.

"Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down? Who holds the wind in his fists? Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak? Who has created the whole wide world? What is his name—and his son’s name? Tell me if you know! Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection. Do not add to his words, or he may rebuke you and expose you as a liar.”

Proverbs 30:4-6

Life Is Fragile

I take my next breath for granted. I also assume that I will be alive tomorrow. What I mean is there is any myriad of things that could happen to me. I could be killed in a head-on collision on my way home this afternoon. I could choke on a piece of vermicelli at lunch and die. Right now there could be a flesh-eating virus that has started to consume my body. Hey, it could happen! I assume I have another breath, another day or another year. But nothing is guaranteed. We tend to forget that life is very fragile.

Now, I don't want you to dress in a bio-suit bundled in bubblewrap because you're so afraid that something terrible is going to happen to you. However, if you have ever thought to yourself, "I don't know if I'm going to be here tomorrow. I'd better get my life straight with God." Then what I would tell you is, do it now. Don't hesitate. You don't know if you have the next breath. You don't know if you have tomorrow. So get right with God now!

Belshazzar was a very arrogant person. He had seen his Grandfather go through the school of hard knocks before he finally understood that God was the only God, worthy of praise and worship. Belshazzar was so arrogant that he took the cups that were set aside for the sacred worship of God in the temple. He used them to toast pagan gods made of metal, wood and stone. When he did this a hand appeared and wrote "Mene, mene, tekel, parsin" on the wall. Nobody understood what the words meant, so they called for a man named Daniel to translate. Daniel told Belshazzar that he has been weighed and measured and found to be lacking. Then Daniel said, "You have not honored the God who gives you the breath of life and controls your destiny!"

Everything I have, everything I enjoy, even the air I breathe belongs to God. He allows me to take my next breath. Seize the day. Get right with God today, because we don't know if we'll have tomorrow.

Daniel 5:23-30 "“For you have proudly defied the Lord of heaven and have had these cups from his Temple brought before you. You and your nobles and your wives and concubines have been drinking wine from them while praising gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone—gods that neither see nor hear nor know anything at all. But you have not honored the God who gives you the breath of life and controls your destiny! So God has sent this hand to write this message. This is the message that was written: Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin. This is what these words mean:

Mene means ‘numbered’—God has numbered the days of your reign and has brought it to an end.

Tekel means ‘weighed’—you have been weighed on the balances and have not measured up.

Parsin means ‘divided’—your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was dressed in purple robes, a gold chain was hung around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom. That very night Belshazzar, the Babylonian king, was killed."

Was God Surprised?

Why am I surprised by life events? Good things happen, bad things happen. I look at these events with surprise, does God? No. There are no lucky or unlucky events in my life. God has everything under control. I ask, "Why does this have to happen to me?" God says, "It's all part of my plan for you, child." I say, "If I had left for work one minute sooner, I may have been involved in that accident." God says, "I knew that, so I placed events into your morning to make you leave a few minutes later." My dad used to say, "We're Christians, we don't do luck." He was right!

Psalm 139:16-18 "You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered. I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!"

© HangNailed 2017