You don’t have to wander too far from home or read much news to be reminded that our culture and world are broken. As a whole, we don’t reflect the heart and desires of God. How do you personally respond to that?

When you run into challenges in life, what’s your first reaction?  I’d like to say that I always turn to God right away and remember His promises to me. But if I’m honest, I often turn to other places more quickly. When challenges come up, I try to remember this specific promise from Jesus.

In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat heard the worst news of his life—a vast army was marching against him! All this would have been for nothing if he had put his trust in the wrong thing. Imagine if he had displayed these postures toward an idol made of carved rock (as many people did in that day) or modern-day items people put their trust in.

Remember Jehoshaphat? Enemies were bearing down on him and he had no idea what to do! Well, God basically told “King J” to tell his army commanders to show up to the battle with all their battle clothes on and just watch!

So often we struggle because we cannot get our eyes off our own circumstances and onto God! Even after coming to real faith in Jesus, I have had numerous situations that challenge me in my daily faith walk. I have to ask myself, will I try to do it on my own or will I “lift my eyes” and pray to God for help?

As a young husband, father, and youth pastor, I hit a major bump in the road. After Pam and I had spent six years working with students at a Denver church, the leadership decided to make a change. They implemented a six-month review and eventually decided to replace the youth staff.

One of the lessons that God has been driving home in my life lately is about joy. Where do you try to find joy? Like many people, I can tend to initially look for joy in the context of the circumstances of my life.

Did 2014 turn out to be all you’d hoped it would be? New Year’s is a time when people review the past year and look forward to the days ahead. Pam and I usually take some time on New Year’s Day to pray through our journals. We consider what God has said and what He has done, listening for His voice of guidance.

The Sermon on the Mount, an introduction to life as a disciple, connects our life as Christ-followers to the reign and rule of God, that is, His kingdom. Today I’ll focus on the first and eighth Beatitudes which are unique in that they promise present tense blessings: “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

The Beatitudes of Matthew are some of the most often quoted teachings of Jesus by both believers in Jesus and those who see him as just another teacher. The Beatitudes, and the section that follows them, form the “introduction” to Jesus’ sermon—His manual—on being a disciple/follower/learner.