Vertical vs Horizontal

Vertical vs Horizontal

I am installing a deck at the back of our house this summer. I’m handy, so it didn’t seem overly daunting. However, I had never built a deck before, so I did my homework. I watched YouTube videos and found blogs about decks and anything else I could find about the subject. I wanted to know all about decks and how they are built. From a deck that is low to the ground or one that is slightly higher like mine is going to be. I needed to understand how to set up the foundation or base of the deck so it would be sturdy and not fall over.  I needed to understand the vertical vs horizontal aspects of supporting the deck.

The groundwork, finding the horizontal

After deciding what the deck would look like, I began laying out where the footings would be. My first problem was how to layout a square in a vast open space. I knew it was going to take some geometry. And being married to a math teacher, she helped me with the details of working it out. There is a rule about triangles; if one has a ratio of 3-4-5 for the sides, it is a right triangle. So, I could use this to measure the distance from the house to the deck footing and know I was in line with the other objects around me.  

Since the footing is 1 foot wide, and my deck leg is not, I knew I would have room for adjustment after the footings were done.  So, I measured where the footings should be and marked out with spray-painted places to dig the holes. Then we began digging. That evening we dug out two of the four holes for the footings. Everything was looking good. It was getting late, and I decided to call it a day. The next day brought a whole day of rain and delayed our planned work.  

The following weekend was great, though. Holes were free of water; the ground was damp enough for digging to be easier. So that I wouldn’t have the same issue if it rained, I went ahead and set and poured the first two footings. I put my base at the bottom of the hole. Put the footing tube in and used a 4’ level to ensure that foundations were vertical and upright. I poured my concrete, and those were done. I moved on and started digging the final two footing holes. Once dug, I placed my footings tubes to see how things were looking. I thought everything was great. 

Setting the base

So, I set my base and poured the concrete for the final two footings. After everything was said and done my wife informed me that things didn’t look straight. In that moment I thought to myself, “How could they be crooked? I put the level on them to make sure they are vertical and upright.” 

Little did I understand she was trying to say that the footings don’t look square in relation to the other footings or the house. My problem was I was so focused on the vertical aspect of the footings that it did not occur to me to recheck the horizontal relationships. Sure, enough, everything was off when I went to install the brackets that will hold my posts for the deck. Nothing lined up straight. My footings were more of a quadrangle than a square. I had to shift my brackets to get them lined up. It didn’t help a lot, and I will not dig up these footings. So, I will keep those footing in the existing relationship, but they will always be off a little. 

After I installed the brackets, I said to my wife,” yeah, I somehow missed the footings. They are not square.” As I was mulling over an issue, I believe the spirit revealed something in my life with those footings; my understanding of relationships and how I relate to God and other people was challenged. I needed to examine my vertical and horizontal relationships more closely. 

Vertical vs Horizontal 

In the vertical realm, how am I relating to God? Am I studying my bible? Do I view the world through the lens of Christ? Is my communication with God a continual conversation? What is flowing out of me as an overflow of my heart? Can I genuinely say in every effort, I pursue what it means to be Christ-like? I am striving to finish the race! What else can be said? Am I perfect? By no means. Are there areas that need improvement? Absolutely. But I know I must keep moving forward.  

The horizontal relationship aspect hit me a little more complicated than the vertical. How often do I invest in those in my sphere of influence or my Oikos? I challenge those in a sphere with their vertical relationship to God but miss our horizontal relationship. To want others to be spurred on and to pursue righteousness, but at what expense, and I am doing it. I what to check your vertical, and I don’t examine the horizontal.  I don’t see where Jesus was ever not invested in the horizontal aspect of relating to people. He knew exactly where people were always. I think an example was Matthew 9:9, when Jesus called Matthew from the tax collector’s booth.  

Where are you 

How many times do you think Jesus passed by Matthew’s booth? Knowing that Matthew would go as soon as Jesus said, “Follow me.” And I say to that, but He is this Son of God. He has insight that I don’t have. I believe this is where we are short-sighted. Yes, we will have to work harder at those horizontal relationships. However, this is how we lean in to find out where we are in those relationships. To be curious about someone other than ourselves and want the true answer to “How are you doing?” We need to be the Church and truly love one another.

John 13:34-35 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this, all men will know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another.”  

By this, all men will know that you are My disciples. Does anyone know I am a Christ-follower by the way I love those in my horizontal relationships? Not how much scripture I can or can’t quote. Or how many things I avoid in my life. But it is how I love others. Do I have to live a righteous life? Yes. I must live a life worthy of the call by which I have been called, but I must also love others the way Christ loves us. I must get out of my way and exalt Christ so that others may be able to receive Christ’s love. Do I want others to walk in an upright manner? Can I help them find that level of measurement that holds them accountable to Christ? I want to. But what do they need from me? 

All things to all people 

Paul said that he became all things to all people. He had been in so many circumstances and had many credentials for who he was. I believe he knew how to meet people where they were and truly cared about them. In his letters, he would often mention other people. I think he got it. Today, we live in a culture that is so easily divided. A culture of if you don’t believe what I believe, then your worthless. I challenge us to be the Church. Meet those in our horizontal relationships with some grace. Let them see the love of Christ flow out of the abundance that is in us.  

I also challenge us to know where our families are in this horizontal aspect. Never lose sight of those closest to us in an effort to win over a lost soul. Don’t just put that vertical level on them. Be curious about what is going on inside of them. What are they feeling, what are they experiencing, and how are they relating horizontally. We must get outside ourselves and think more Christ-like in our relationships. To be honest, open, and transparent with those around us.  


Father, help us be who you called us to be. To work on our vertical relationship with You and know our horizontal relationship with the people around us. Please help us be others-focused and meet them where they are, but also point them to your son Jesus. Amen 

Credit – Chance Sloan
Walking with God

Enoch walked with God, and he was not

Genesis 5:21-24

Enoch lived sixty-five years and became the father of Methuselah. Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after becoming the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.

This quick glimpse at the father of Methuselah is fascinating to me. He is a man only mentioned twice in the bible, but the attributes attributed to him are outstanding. He has these four verses here in Genesis and is also mentioned in Hebrews 11. Some refer to this chapter in Hebrews as the “Hall of Faith.” A list of deeds performed by men who did something extraordinary through their faith in God. Of the three attributes of Enoch, what was mentioned in Hebrews was that he walked with God, and then he had been taken up. His witness was that he lived a life pleasing to God.

What does it mean to walk with God? For Enoch, the people around him noticed that he lived a life pleasing to God. Did that mean living a “blessed life” by our terms today? Was he rich? Did it imply he had the latest wagon to haul his kids around? The bible doesn’t say, except that he was pleasing to God in his walk with God. The Hebrew word for “walk” is Halak. The definition is to go, come, walk. The NASB Halak is translated into over a hundred words that are some type of moment. These include following, growing, living, and passing.


How was Enoch following, growing, living, and passing in his life that everyone witnessed and said, “Hmm, he is pleasing to the Lord.” I mean, we are only five chapters into the bible. Sin had entered the world; they were kicked out of the garden. The law was not written yet. Jesus hasn’t died for our sins yet, so the Holy Spirit had not come. And yet Enoch walked in a manner that was pleasing to God. I live in a time that the law is written, Jesus came and fulfilled the law, and I have the Holy Spirit with me, and yet I struggle with hang-ups, compulsions, and addictions. Taking a look at Enoch allows me to examine my own life. To question my motives in following God.

Is there evidence that I am growing as a Christ-follower? Does my daily life reflect a Holy and Just God full of mercy and kindness? Am I passing the test before me that is life? Am I choosing Jesus above all else?


I wonder who had helped Enoch on his walk in his life? Did his father teach him the way to follow God? Was he able to hear stories of Adam and Eve and how they walked in the garden in the cool of the day? Did he have friends or family that helped him be accountable for his actions? What did he do? How did he live his life? Maybe, a better question for us is, how are we living our lives? Not to get into a comparison trap of trying to measure up to Enoch, but to say it can be done. We can put down the things in our lives that take away from following Jesus and take our cross and follow him daily. Living a holy lifestyle that is a direct reflection of who we are in Jesus.

Not a perfect life, but one striving for that finish line of meeting Jesus face to face. And when we get there, we can look back and say we did everything we could to follow, grow, and live a life pleasing to God.


Father, we ask for every hindrance that so easily keeps us from you to be removed. Please, remove the blinders on our eyes so that we can see you as you are. A great and powerful holy God that is full of mercy and grace. Please help us understand what it means to follow you and what it takes to pick up our cross. Thank you for your son, and thank you for the cross. Amen.

Walking with God
What choice do I have

What choice do I have – A believers perspective

Genesis 22:1-18

God spoke to Abraham and gave him a command to sacrifice his son. This was the son of promise from God. Abraham was faithful and followed the command. He gathered wood for the sacrifice, took a couple of servants and his son Isaac and headed off to worship God. Isaac must have understood enough about worship to know a lamb was needed for the sacrifice. He asked where the lamb was, and Abraham responded that God would provide. Once there, Abraham built an altar and bound his son. As he was about to slay his son, God stopped him. God saw his faithfulness. He then provided a ram stuck in a thicket. Because of his faith and obedience, every nation is blessed. It is through this lineage that the Savior will be born.

Is perspective a choice?

What is pain management? A process that alleviates or reduces the amount of pain one experiences. Pain has a wide range. It could be from mild to moderate pain. Or some might say their pain is excruciating to agonizing. Even perceiving pain has a wide range of avenues in our lives. We can experience mental anguish, physical ailments, or even emotional scars. The question is, how do we deal with our pain. Do we turn to the wrong coping mechanisms? Do these mechanisms then turn into compulsions? And finally, we have full-fledged addictions? Please don’t hear what I’m not saying. If you have something going on mentally, physically, or emotionally seek help. I am saying that we often attempt to dull our senses, so we don’t have to deal with the pain of what is happening around us.

If we are in a situation and we see a path of least resistance, how often do we take that path? In this passage of scripture, Abraham was given a path. Being a father, I don’t think this path is the path of least resistance. But I see it was a path of obedience. A path that was managing pain. When God instructed Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, I can only imagine his pondered thoughts. Isaac was a promise from God, and now he would be sacrificed as a burnt offering. Will God raise Isaac back from the dead? How is this going to bring about the promise of many descendants? Why must I give up my son? Why me, why this?

His faithfulness is a choice

What Abraham was thinking did not stop his faithful obedience to God.  He displayed something I struggle with within my life. Having the proper perspective. To Abraham, the pain of offering his son as a burnt offering was less than the pain of not following God’s commands. Ouch! So, in studying my bible, I see where God has given commands and instructions for a way of life that is pleasing to Him. And if I choose to ignore or be blinded to the truth of these commands and instructions, my pain management is about me. “God, I don’t want to face the truth of who You are. So, I’m going to try and fill my life with XYZ.” It’s easier for me this way.

In reality, I have a choice of sacrificing what I put between God and me. God: You know when you eat all that food. Including all those desserts. You are trying to find peace and hope in something I created instead of turning to Me. When you’re having a bad day, you want to eat cookies or cake and wash it down with a big glass of milk. Turn to me instead. Tell me about your day. Please tell me where you’re struggling. I can handle it; I will comfort you. You will get through it with my strength, and I will turn your pain into something beautiful. Just look at My Son, Jesus!

How are you managing your pain? Are you making the choice of turning inward with your pain? Trying to find the next thing that will dull your pain. Abraham embraced it. He was going to follow through, and God said I will handle your pain because you held nothing back. I will provide a sacrifice so that you don’t have to.


Father, change my perspective on life. I want to turn to the creator instead of the created when dealing with the pains of life. Teach me to see in every moment that the pain of not knowing you, following you, or believing you is far greater than anything else. Amen.


What’s the code for decision-making in my life?

Genesis 12

When God spoke to Abram, He gave Abram instructions or a code. God’s code was for Abram to Go from here to there, and I will tell you when to stop. In my strength, you will become great, and through you will come a blessing for everyone. I will protect and react accordingly by blessing or cursing those who bless or curse you. Abram packed his things and went. After setting up camp, a famine came over the land. Abram began decision-making out of fear instead of faith. He went down to Egypt for fear of dying from starvation. He lied about his relationship with his wife for fear of death from people. Because of that lie, Pharaoh took Sarai as a wife and paid Abram generously for her. This was outside of God’s plan, so He let Pharaoh know that Sarai was Abram’s wife. Pharaoh confronted Abram and gave Sarai back to him. He then sent Abram and Sarai on their way.

Abram failed

We can sit here and pick apart how Abram failed. And he did fail. But Abram made decisions based on fear instead of faith. He left the land God had given him; he self-protected from the people in Egypt. This ultimately led to his wife as a sacrifice so that he could live. But what is the root cause of his fear and failure? Did he think, “God can’t meet my needs; I have to meet my own needs.” I must find my own food, making sure I live to fulfill God’s promise. Did he question the power of God to handle the situation? Abram, who God changed his name later to Abraham, is known for his faith throughout the bible. So, what happened here at the beginning?

Abram is the father of the Jewish nation. This is where it all began. Could it be because he lived 75 years one way, and suddenly because God speaks to him, he is trying to live another way? What was his faith like in the beginning? What was our faith like at the beginning of our spiritual walk? He had bad days; they are recorded in the bible. He made a bad decision, and fear was at the very core of the decisions in this passage. How many bad decisions have I made from fear? Looking back or even looking forward, how many bad days could I count. As a believer, I am to put my faith in God. It seems that some days that is easier than others.

What about me?

So, what does this story of Abram’s life show me? God’s sovereignty, grace, and mercy. God had a plan for Abram; through his family line, he would share the gospel with the world. Next, even on our worst days, God’s grace is enough for us so that He can use us to bring His message of hope to the world. Through God’s mercy, He saves us repeatedly so that we will have the opportunity to share His message of hope. A few chapters later, we see Abram as Abraham with faithful decision-making on full display.

I challenge you to examine your spiritual walk with Christ. Are you making all your decision based on fear? How are you trusting God to fulfill your needs? Are you progressing in your decision-making from fear-based to faith-based? I know there are areas of my life where I struggle with making decisions based on my faith in God. But what I am learning is that when I fail in those areas, Jesus is right there with me—helping me up, helping to keep going, and allowing me to share His message of hope.

Relationship or Perfection

My life is not about attaining perfection. It’s about a pursuit of a relationship with my Savior, God, and King. There is freedom in that. I have the freedom to fail in life because Jesus is there with grace and mercy. I have the freedom to succeed in life because Jesus is there to receive honor and glory. We must change our perspective on wins and losses, failing and succeeding. I must keep going, striving for that finish line where Jesus is waiting and wanting to say, “Well done!”. Are you in the race? Some people that claim to be Christ follows are stuck on the sidelines. They are stuck in fear, afraid to fail and not meet the “standard” of God. News flash, we are never going to meet the standard. That is why God came to us in the flesh. So that we could have a relationship with Him that was cut off when sin entered the world.

Abram failed. More than once. Just in this chapter. Take a step. Move and decide based on faith in a good, holy, and perfect God. Who wants the best for you. Who wants you to be free from sin.  To be free to pursue a relationship with Him. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to serve someone else because of fear. You would not be reading this devotional if it wasn’t for taking that next step of faith. What’s your next step?


Father, as a believer, we have the freedom to fail. We also are free to succeed. Either way, you love us just the same. You want us to check our hearts and lean into a relationship with you. I believe you like us to be more relational than legal because, in our relationship, we will learn to want to follow your word. Give us that desire; open that area of our hearts that hinders us from knowing you. Expose it to the light so it can be moved, and we take that next step closer to you. Amen

Credit – Kristen Weidner

Count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ!

7But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Philippians 3:7-11

In this passage, Paul has reminded us that the most significant gain in life is knowledge. A knowledge that every selfish pursuit up to this point in life is an absolute dung heap that leads to the trash. Everything done in my vanity and pride is utter waste. Anything that I do to bring me salvation or righteousness is futile. Only with my faith in God and my belief in Christ will I be saved and made right with God. And as I grow in my knowledge of God and in my conformity to be Christ-like, I will be conformed to His death to attain the resurrection from the dead. I can know Christ and the power of His resurrection, but I must also know the fellowship of His sufferings.

Counting questions…

What am I trying to gain in this life? Do I need more money, or do I need a bigger house? What is the best car I buy? When can I get the next most fantastic cell phone coming out? How much stuff can I acquire in a lifetime? What is the number of trips I can squeeze in before I die? Is there a magic number that I can reach in my bank account to say, “finally, I have enough?” Why do we pursue these things in our life that will never bring fulfillment? Maybe we feel we have lost something. Could we be trying to feel valuable or significant before we die?

We want to know we mattered in that dash between our birth date and death date. Our problem is that we were born with a God-sized hole in us on that birth date. And we do our best to earn something that will fill that hole. Our more significant problem in filling that hole is our lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and our boastful pride of life; we avoid the One who could fill that hole.

You are here ->

I came to a point in life where I accepted the saving grace of a Holy God. And from that point on, I am being conformed to Christlikeness. Every day means I should look a little more like Jesus than the day before. And instead of counting wins and losses by what I think I should or shouldn’t have, I need to see life through the lens of Christ. If that means I must give up some luxury in my life because it means I will draw closer to Jesus, so be it.

When I draw close, I get to know God more. I want the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord. And whatever I think I lost in the process of following Him is not losing at all. Knowing Christ is living as He did. I can’t take anything with me when I die except the knowledge that I will be in His presence. How am I going to live my life in this dash? Trying to earn something, or living with the hope of Jesus in me?


Father, we are prideful selfish people. We vainly attempt to find worthless substitutes for a Mighty God. Clutter, activities, and provision fill our eyes and minds to the point that we can’t see you anymore. Get the things out of our way so that our relationship and knowledge of Christ become our life priority. Amen.

Evening Sunset – Credit Kristen Weidner
I found my keys

Where did I put my keys – Kingdom Mindedness

2Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 

8For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

2 Peter 1:2-11

In this second letter from Peter to the church, he starts by reminding us of who we are in Christ Jesus. If we have faith in Him, we have been given everything we need about life and godliness. We can be partakers of the divine nature. And we can escape the corruption that is in the world. As we pursue the knowledge of Christ, certain qualities will increase. Others will see the overflow of abundance in our hearts. And if Christ-follower is lacking in these qualities, they are blind and have forgotten the cleansing of their sins. Then Peter challenges us to examine our faith walk. Do we bear fruit of belonging to Jesus?

What does it mean to live a godly life? If I have been given everything I need about life and godliness. What exactly did I receive when I put Jesus lord of my life? Did I get my “get out of hell” card? Was I able to give up every bad habit and compulsion that plagued me for years? Or did I instantly receive what some might call the “good life”? Meaning that all my troubles disappeared?

A Gift that is a helper

I received the Holy Spirit, which gave me the ability to apply moral excellence to my life. In moral excellence, knowledge; knowledge, self-control; Self-control, perseverance. In perseverance, godliness; godliness, brotherly love; brotherly love, agape love. I was given the keys to the kingdom. Our problem is that even though we have the keys to this life, we are often forgetful of our saving grace. We live as if we are still trapped in a cell when the cell door is open. When the cell door was opened, we were given everything we needed about life and godliness. We could ask, “Where did I put my keys?”

I am challenged to examine my own life; do I see these qualities flowing from me? Again, not looking for perfection. Where is my heart? Can I sacrificially love someone else? Do I lay down my life and fleshly desires to love my spouse the same way Jesus laid down His for the church? (Ephesians 5:25) Do I pick up my cross daily and follow Jesus, so much so that I put others before myself? Do I apply all diligence in my faith, or do I do just enough in my faith to be labeled “Christian”?

Good enough

There are enough “good men” in the world. The world needs godly men. Those who wholeheartedly pursue Christ. Men who live self-controlled lives because they live under the authority of the Holy Spirit. These men step up and surrender their lives to God’s will and remove the things that distract them from accomplishing God’s plans. A father that will spend time reading a bible with his children and pass up a hunting or fishing trip to do it. A husband who will put his hobby on hold to spend time with his wife and connect emotionally. Do I have to give up everything I find fun? No. But I may need to check my priorities.

We must learn to be intentional with our relationships. God is a personal and relational God, and we must ask, “What is more painful?” Missing out on something that will only entertain for the moment or a decaying relationship with a spouse. Take time to invest in future generations for the kingdom. Run the race of life well.


Father, stir within us that desire to pursue Christ. A hunger to want to know Him more and live a life that resembles Him. Teach us to put down the distractions. Help us love sacrificially. Remind me to look out for my brothers. Bring us from being “good” to be holy in Your sight. Lead us in leading our spouse, children, and others to the foot of the cross. We desire to know You and to be known by You. Amen

I found my keys
The concequence of unbelief

What do I believe in – The Consequence of Unbelief

18He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

John 3:18-21

God? Verse 18b “he who does not believe has been judged already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” We are condemned to an eternity separated from Him if we do not confess that He is Lord in this lifetime. This speck of time that we call “ours.” We have but a moment to see the Light that has come into the world. In this vapor we call life, our pride tries to rule over what we think is our kingdom. Truth is any kingdom that is not God’s kingdom will surely perish—and not bending the knee to the King while we can indeed leads to a consequence of unbelief.

What does it even mean to confess Him as Lord? How does that apply to my life today? If I confess Him as Lord, does it mean I have to give all my possessions away and live a life of poverty? Does it mean God is angry with me if I’m not giving my tithe to the church? Does it mean I have to be in “Church” every Sunday? Or does it mean that I have realized I cannot make it through this life on my own?

The concequence of unbelief
Sun Rise – Credit Kristen Weidner

I need a savior because, in my strength, I have a natural bend to want to accumulate a lot of possessions. Possessions that I think will make me comfortable in life.  Or if I make enough people happy, I’m a good person. I confess He is Lord. I understand that my relationship with a Holy God is far more valuable than anything this world can give. And I want to spend eternity with Him!


How do I wrap my head around eternity? How can I fathom someone not spending eternity with God but completely separated from Him? My finite brain only has a concept of time. And my mind is generally focused on my present. Sometimes, it dwells in the past and tries to plan for the future. But in my finiteness, do I care about the person next to me? Do I see them the way God sees them? How can I live in this life of comfort and know that there are people who will not confess He is Lord? They will spend eternity separated from Him. I believe in this miracle that is salvation.

In my confession of who Jesus is, I struggle to share the gospel. Is the pain of rejection from men more significant than the pain of disobedience to God? I know I can only plant seeds of hope in someone’s life. And it is up to the Holy Spirit to lead them to salvation. But am I doing my part? Am I sharing the gospel? Do I share the good news of Jesus?

I know starting this platform to send out what I read in the bible is a form of sharing the good news, but it will never replace sitting down across from another human at a table and sharing hope over a cup of coffee. God is a God of communion. He is a personal, relational God that cares about me and you. He loved us in His creation so much that the pain of breaking communion with His Son was far greater than just allowing us to our own devices. There is Hope; there is a savior.

You are loved!


Father, You have given us so much. Thank you for Your Son, thank you for the Cross, and thank you for the miracle of salvation. Stir something inside us to bring hope to those who feel hopeless. Let us be a vessel for you to bring You glory and honor in our everyday life. Plant seeds of good news and strive to be Christ-like in loving others. Amen

Jesus - The Answer to Unbelief

Whoever believes – The Answer to Unbelief

13No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 14As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 

John 3:13-17

In Jesus’s conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus is revealing His soon death on a cross. He tells Nicodemus that whoever believes in Him (Jesus) will have eternal life. They will believe that He suffered God’s wrath for us and died on a cross. That through His death, I can be forgiven for my sins. In verse 14, Jesus refers to Moses lifting the bronze serpent in the wilderness (Numbers 21:9). This was a time when Israel had sinned against the LORD. This lifting of the pole with the serpent was a symbol. It was a banner of hope for those that had rebelled against God. They could be forgiven for their sins if they believed and looked at the serpent. Some of the people did not look and died from the serpent bites. Others lived because they did believe in this banner of hope and lifted their eyes to it.

Rebellious People!

Today we are still a rebellious people. We receive blessings of goodness from a good Father. Then instantly turn to the side and grumble and complain in the pit of entitlement. What are we owed? We find ourselves in challenging situations. We’re confused about what it means to have a good Father in heaven who cares about us. And when things don’t go our way, we kick and scream and shake our fists to the heavens. We begin demanding what we think should be our relief.

Instead, we should be embracing the pain of life. Not chasing what we think will dull the pain. Is life hard, absolutely? Should it be pain-free? Why would we believe that? My God and savior stepped out of heaven into a broken world and was dealt the same pains that I deal with today. I find that comforting. To know that my savior understands what rejection is. The builders rejected the cornerstone (Mark 12:10). Our faith is built on God’s son, who His people rejected, and those that did accept Him seemed very confused the whole time He was walking the earth in human form. But whoever believes in Him shall not perish but will have eternal life.

A new banner of Hope!

So, when I feel insecure and insignificant because of rejection, I know my belief lies in a new banner of hope! Hope is found in the Son of God, Jesus, hanging from a pole. He was beaten, abused, ridiculed, rejected, and heartbroken. I can find peace because my Jesus is right there in my pain. He knows the pain of rejection and humiliation. Through His actions, something meant to kill and destroy became a thing of beauty. Oh, that wondrous cross today, that symbol of suffering and shame, is dear to me. The answer to my unbelief is knowing the truth; God loves me some much He poured out wrath that was due me; on His son. The pain of His son dying on a cross is more bearable than allowing all of humanity no path to redemption.


Father, help me when my belief begins to waver. Lead me through those moments when I think you are not there. Remind me that my purpose is knowing Christ and not dulling the pain of life. Teach me that the pain I’m dealing with can be turned into beauty in those moments. Teach me to use my pains as an opportunity to minister to others. Refine us to find hope and do what is pleasing in your sight. I surrender so my life will look more like Jesus today than yesterday. Amen

Whoever believes in me, Jesus - The Answer to Unbelief
Hope over coffee – John 3
An open bible to John 3

The Problem of Unbelief

11Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. 12If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 

John 3:11-13

In John 3:11-13, we come to a scene where Jesus is speaking with Nicodemus at night about belief and unbelief. Through the conversation, Jesus poses a question to Nicodemus in verse 12 “If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” Even though this question is spoken to Nicodemus, it is a question that everyone must answer. Do we believe the Son of God had descended out of heaven into the earth? Do we believe His testimony of His accomplishments on earth and in heaven? Over the following eight verses, the word “believe” appears seven times.

How do I believe in something? What does it mean to believe in the Son of Man as Jesus has labeled Himself in verse thirteen? What does unbelief look like?

A Believer…

As a believer, my hope lies in the truth of Jesus. That the Son of God descended from heaven into humanity as Jesus. He lived, died, and rose again so that when I believe in Him, my sins are forgiven. He took the wrath that God had for me and placed it upon Himself. So that His righteousness could be placed on me. We can live a spirt filled life to the fullest now and for eternity.

One day He is coming back for His church. I will stand before Him to give an account for what I have done with this life. Will I be told, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”? Will my life reflect who Jesus is? From the first moment I believed until my last breath of air, what will my life say about Jesus? That I was perfect? Far from it! That I had it all together? Not even close. That in every failure, my eyes would be on the prize that is a personal relationship with Jesus?

Regardless of the circumstances, feelings, or what the world tells me, my eyes would be focused on the Savior. Not to receive just a blessing but to honestly know Him. Sometimes going through a particular pain of life, we must refocus on Jesus, and sometimes it takes longer than others, but does that focus always get corrected? I like to think so.

The question

Where are you in your journey of belief? Are you having problems in the realm of unbelief? Would you call yourself a sold-out committed follower of Jesus Christ, or do you land somewhere between the two? What would it take to move from unbelief into belief? Or even move from a “good person” to one who has a depth in their relationship with Jesus and is willing to remove the sin that so easily entangles us to follow Him wholeheartedly? In His time on earth, the people saw Him perform miracle after miracle, yet they still rejected Him. What are you going to do with the good news of Jesus?


Father, I thank You that Jesus came and died for me. He knew everything I was ever going to do, yet He still loves me. He loved me enough to lay down His own life just so I have the same opportunity as everyone else, to believe in Him. I pray that we remove distractions in our lives and that we can either focus for the first time or refocus our hope in You. Amen.

Open Bible John 3 and Coffee
Believes – John 3