Economic Hard Times and Praying

I don’t have to tell you that prices are up and enthusiam is low. It seems in our world that things are a bit out of control. We pay more for less. I filled up my truck yesterday and spent over $80..liquid gold! It is during these tough times that people really question God. Does He know what is happening? Does He care? What is He going to do about it?

These are tough questions to handle. Whenever i face difficult days and periods in life, I always turn to God’s word…the Bible. Philippians 4:20 reminds us that, “My god will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) a few key words can encourage us:

Wow! Simple Living is now in print and will be arriving soon. Many have pre-ordered this book and will soon receive it on their front doorstep. I pray you enjoy the read and are challenged to live the Simple Life. Consider purchasing copies for your friends as they will be touched as well.

It is exciting to see what God is doing. Continue to pray for me as I am just about 100% recovered from back surgery. Pray that doors will open for interviews and book signings. Mostly, that this message will get out to those who need a relationship with Christ.

I have just finished the final documents releasing Simple Living for print! I know many of you have already placed orders and soon you will receive your books. Thank you so much for taking the time and investing in this project. I can’t wait for you to finally open the front cover and dive in to the simple world.

This being my first book, I didn’t know what to expect. I have been well pleased with all the fine people at WinePress and Pleasant Word. They are the absolute best to work with. I encourage you  to consider their services if you desire to be published.

Summer has brought its soaring temps and humidity to the south! I pray your days are going well. I wanted to give a brief update on a few items. My recovery is going well and I am back in the pulpit. I really hated missing two Sundays but God provided. Pre-orders are now being taken for Simple Living. I am so excited! I want to thank those who encouraged me to write and many who are supporting this adventure. I think this book can give guidance to many who do not know Christ and those whose faith may have grown weak. Consider buying some copies for friends who need a little laughter in their day and direction along the way.

I pray God’s richest blessings on you. Pray for me as I begin to wirte a second book. The working title is, Playing with God. It will be a very challenging book.

Summer has arrived and it is hot! I pray you are having a great and Simple summer. God has definitely slowed me down for a few weeks. On July 3 I had some back surgery and will be recuperating for a few weeks. Nothing major just more time to study and relax. I don’t like to slow down so “cabin fever” has set in!

I have learned that there are so many people ready to step up and helpduring times of need. I am reminded how important relationships really are and just how much patience I lack. Soon I will be back in full swing.

Women Can Thrive

Just last week, our “Blog for working Moms” included part I of an interview with Dr. Yvonne Anderson, a Georgia educator who’s passionate about getting parents involved in their children’s education. In the future, you can expect video blog posts and other resources to help women thrive.

Lessons from the Littlest: A Devotional for Mothers of Young Children, the 31-day devotional book by Cherise Bopape, offers valuable insight for moms, showing them how to be cognizant of God at work in their lives as they interact with their young children.

“I tend to make things complicated,” Cherise Bopape says. “By mimicking the innocence and faith of a child, we please God. Through spilled milk, poop-filled diapers, and a slew of Little League games or cheerleading practices we can still praise God, be thankful, and give service with a smile. I had to learn this the hard way.” Many moms would nod in agreement. However, Cherise Bopape uses these everyday scenarios to inspire today’s busy mothers.

During a 3:00 p.m. book signing on May 1, 2010, at The Emerald Earth—a coffee shop nestled inside the Acworth Bookstore (4857 N. Main Street, Acworth, Georgia 30101)—parents will meet two authors, Cherise Bopape and Mayor Tommy Allegood. They will be reading excerpts from their respective works and conducting a question and answer session.

Moms will enjoy this opportunity to be inspired, gain parenting insight, and hear stories on child rearing. A door prize will be offered. Admission is free. However, donations ($5 to $10) are suggested. Coffee, tea, chai, and pastries will be available for purchase.

Cherise Bopape is an author, freelance writer, blogger, and speaker. She encourages single moms, inspires mothers with young children, offers tips for women who struggle with work-life balance, and provides hope for victims of domestic violence. She volunteers on the advisory board for Dream Again, Inc., a non-profit organization that serves single mothers. Having been a guest on various television and radio programs, Cherise Bopape has also written articles for The Lookout Magazine,, and various newsletters for non-profit organizations.

According to a survey conducted by this dot com, “only 44% of those surveyed would classify single moms as ‘respectable.’” Reading a bit further, my reactions went from gasps to disgust as I glimpsed at American’s poor perception of single mothers.

After seeing results like this, it’s important to show the “lemonade” that can come out of the “lemon-laden” life many single moms experience. Obviously, America needs to be reminded of successful people like movie industry mogul Robert Townsend; Olympic medalist Michael Phelps; actor and producer, Tom Cruise; award-winning neurosurgeon, Dr. Benjamin Carson; and even U. S. President Barack Obama—all who were raised in single parent homes.

During my interview with Robert Townsend last week, I was happy to find that he’s using the arts to educate the masses on single parenthood and offer solutions. He does this through a web-based series he produces and directs, Diary of a Single Mom. Townsend stated, “Being raised in the ghetto of Chicago … how my mother did it, I have no idea. We grew up in the roughest neighborhood. I think they praise NBA stars and athletes … and the unsung heroes are single moms.”

Despite appalling survey results and bashes from the public, continue to press on, ladies. God loves you, sees your struggle, and desires to empower you to an awesome finish. Letting Him guide your steps, build your faith, and provide all you need to excel, you’ll soon realize that you really can be someone’s hero.

All You Need Is Love and Kindness

Luke 6:26 “Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.”

Everyone wants to be liked. My goodness, Mark Zuckerberg has built a billion dollar business on “likes.” We feel wonderful when we’re liked, somewhat devastated when we’re not. There’s nothing wrong with desiring to be liked. Even in evangelistic terms, who listens to someone they don’t like? The problem comes when “like” takes precedent over love.

How do you react when you feel someone doesn’t like you?

One natural human tendency is to withdraw. This probably occurs if rejection has played a role in our past. The hidden danger lies in interpreting everything through the lens of negativity. Someone doesn’t wave back at church. Someone else doesn’t respond to an email or facebook post. Another disagrees with something we believe. They all become evidences that we’re not liked. Can you see where this leads? Straight to paranoia. And all paranoia—even in small doses—distorts the image of God we are meant to bear.

A second danger for like-addicts is that we’re not apt to confront someone with the truth for fear they won’t, well, like us anymore. We may even use love language to rationalize our reluctance. But no matter how much we try to justify it, there is nothing loving about letting people believe lies. That’s just using cheap grace to hide our selfishness. Love is not “live and let live.” It’s more along the lines of dying. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:3).

Another option takes the form of love. Rather than letting our minds mull over either real or misperceived rejection, we choose a higher road. We direct our thoughts to what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). When we soak our minds, our souls, with the good stuff, we don’t need to gobble up man’s affirmation like a starving waif. We’re full. So full, that even if our perceptions are true, and someone is rejecting us…what difference does it make? We respond out of the love God has given us, not out of a desperate need for man’s approval.

Blessed are those who seek to love more than be liked. The Beatles notwithstanding, it’s all we really need….

The Last Man Kneeling

Hebrews 5:7 “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.”

Jesus was perfect in every way. But his prayers weren’t heard because he was perfect. If all his accomplishments were written down, John tells us that the whole world would not have room for the books written. But his prayers were not heard because of his works. Crowds followed him everywhere he went. But his prayers were not heard because of his popularity….

He was heard because of his reverent submission.

So even if we could achieve perfection in this life, even if we could fill a library with books of all we’ve accomplished, even if we could accrue a following of thousands….none of those factors would cause us to gain the ear of God.

If Jesus was heard because of his reverent submission, might not that also be true for us?

Scripture tells us that the Lord’s eyes go to and fro throughout the earth searching for hearts that are fully committed to him (2 Chronicles 16:9). God loves it when we earnestly seek him in prayer. He loves the blistered-knees-wear-the-carpet-out kind of prayer. He also loves what one of my friends calls popcorn prayers—those we pop right then, right now, whenever and wherever a problem arises. It’s not the length of the prayer that counts, but the depth.

Nor does God care what we look like when we pray. We can sit, stand, fall on our face or bend our knees. Reverent submission is about inward kneeling. Yet the parallels between outward, physical kneeling and inner posturing are striking. External kneeling is less strenuous because of its proximity to the ground (as when gardening); it makes us less visible (as when taking cover in combat); it provides stability (due to the center of gravity). Interestingly, inward kneeling accomplishes all three of these. It releases our stress as it humbles us; it provides cover in spiritual warfare; it causes us to be more stable because it draws us nearer to our Center.

So I’m praying that as you read this both you and I would be people devoted to prayer offered in reverent submission. May we follow the example of the author and finisher of our faith…

the last man kneeling.

Mind The Gap!

Psalm 8:4 “what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?”

Mind the gap, please! We heard that warning every time we prepared to disembark the London Underground on our recent trip to England. The words echoing from the public address system cautioned passengers to be aware of the opening between the subway door and the station platform. The unique British term captured my attention….

Gaps. Splits. Divisions. We experience a lot of them in life, don’t we? But no gap bears greater significance than the one between God and man.

When the Jewish Tabernacle was constructed, God gave very specific instructions as to how it was to be built (Exodus 26). Curtains of heavy tightly woven linen separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place where God’s presence dwelt. That linen curtain might as well have been an iron curtain. The separation between a holy God and sin-filled man stood impenetrable.

God, however, minded the gap. He sent One who would bridge the great divide. The only One who could… His One and only….(John 3:16).

When Jesus died, that tightly woven curtain of separation was literally torn in two. His sacrifice atoned for every sin ever committed and provided a way for us—through him—to step safely onto the platform. No longer do we have to fear slipping into the crevice and being crushed by a subway loaded with our sin and shame. His grace carries us into the very presence of God that heretofore had been inaccessible.

God wants us to heed the warning. It’s easy for us to become so engrossed in the hustle and bustle of life, that we ignore his call. Yet he speaks to us as regularly as that heard on the London subway. Mind the gap… Mind the gap…Sometimes he whispers it in moments of aching beauty or undefined instances of joy. At other times, as C.S. Lewis notes, he shouts it in our pain.

Have you heard his voice? Are you mindful of any gaps between you and God today? Don’t take them lightly. Jesus paid a tremendous price to bridge the gap and bring us back to our Father…a Father so filled with love for his children that he…

Minds the gap.

Anything Goes iPhones Madness

Matthew 7:14 “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Have you caught the new Sprint iPhone ad? The tagline proudly declares what is becoming a predominant cry in our culture: I have a right to be unlimited….Wow! Stop a moment and think about where that kind of thinking takes us. Do we really have a right to live without limits? Although the creators of the ad may not have had broader implications in mind, they probably knew they were tapping into a perspective that sells.

Although most people agree that in order for society to function, we need certain restrictions, human nature is quick to dismiss the idea of limits when it comes to morality. (We are told what size sodas we can drink and how many hydrocarbons we may extract for fuel, but woe to those who call any kind of sexual license sin). Limits define right and wrong. You may go so far, but not over that line. So a world without limitations is a world where anything goes. And when anything goes, eventually everything goes. Absent are apps for self-control, restraint, or denial of any pleasure. Limitlessness offers a cheap and unsustainable imitation of freedom.

We don’t have to guess where lifestyles of unlimited freedom take us. The 60’s gospel of “if it feels good, do it,” brought the world unprecedented increases in drug addiction, sexual disease, and family breakdown. The consequences of believing we have the right to anything we want wreaks insatiable appetites…the more we get, the more we want.

We ought to know better.

C.S. Lewis puts it this way: “Human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it.” He calls this the “Law of Right and Wrong.” He explains that although standards of morality might differ from culture to culture, every single person has been created with an innate sense of boundaries. Ironically, it’s within those boundaries that people find true freedom.

So no matter how appealing those iPhone advertisements may be….buy the product if you want, but don’t buy the message behind it. The Creator God, in his mercy, has given us limits. Limits that save us from inevitable chaos. Limits that enable us to live in real liberty.

Inspirational Therapy

Inspirational Therapy gives expression to how we may feel from time to time
during our quest to fulfill God’s will. Its goal is to take you on a spiritual journey
to strengthen your faith, keep hope alive, receive and share love, see the beauty of Christ, and praise Him.

In His presence there is fullness of joy. We live each day in pursuit of this joy. At times we do not realize that happiness is right in our view and can be reached by recognizing our Creator, Lord, and Savior, Who holds the key to our hearts and our future. Once we have accepted Him and His will for our lives, He will make our paths clear.

The journey of life is not an easy one as we occasionally succumb to fear, doubt, and other weaknesses. But it is when we are in this state that we should remember that His grace is sufficient for us and His power is made perfect in weakness. We should make use of our access to Him by humbly praying and seeking His intervention, in order to remove whatever is preventing us from receiving the fullness of His joy. Sometimes we may see immediate results, but for some things more time is required. We should be assured that God will work all things out for the better, as long as we love and serve Him.

Whether we receive His goodness now or later, be patient, have faith, keep hope alive, and continue to love one another to receive an abundance of His blessings. He will restore our souls as we experience His beauty. Always remember to count your blessings and never take these or Him for granted. Give Him all the glory and the praise because the Lord is good and His mercy endures forever. What a true friend we have in Him, for when we feel as if we are all alone, He is right there, closer than a brother. We are always in His presence, but when we seek His will, we will find joy!

Inspirational Therapy is a collection of expressions to help you during your pursuit of God’s will.