Accountability, Battles, Bible, Cleansing, Fire, Godliness, Idols, Judgment, Obedience, Purity, Scripture


AMOS 5:6

“Seek the LORD so that you may live, or He will break through like a fire, house of Joseph, and it will consume with no one to extinguish it for Bethel,”

Recently, there was a wildfire that swept through parts of Colorado near to where some friends of mine live. They had to evacuate their home and flee for safety. Thankfully, their home was spared, but many homes and businesses were totally consumed. This fire was aided by over 100 mile per hour winds. It seemed it was unextinguishable, but firefighters finally got it under control.

God’s fire is unextinguishable. No one or nothing can put out His fire. Amos warns Israel that the result of not seeking after God is His fires of judgment. He will consume everything in His path. God’s fire will purify the nation of Israel. Bethel, the site of their rebellion, will be consumed.


What is standing between you and your loyalty to God? We need to put those things down or risk the fires of God. As believers in Christ, our salvation is sure. Nothing can take that away. But all those things that are “wood, hay and stubble” will be burnt away.

Can you name some things right now in your life that you need to lay down? For me, it’s television. I can get lost watching a ballgame or some movie. Before I know it, I have spent 3-4 hours in front of that “one-eyed monster.” I am choosing to lay that down this year.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying television is evil. But when I spend more time in front of it than I do in God’s Word, something’s wrong. Will you join me in evaluating your own life? Instead of facing the fire of judgment, let’s enjoy the fire of the Holy Spirit. Let’s let our fire burn brightly so others can be drawn to Him.

May the things in my life that prevent me from being with You, Lord, be burned away. I want to be fireproof when I face You at judgment.

Agreement, Bible, Brokenness, Discipline, Fasting, Hearing, Humility, Intimacy, Modeling, Offering, Prayer, Purity, Sacrifice, Scripture, Suffering


JOEL 1:14

Consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly; gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD.”

Hey, I like to eat. I don’t enjoy fasting. I’m just being honest. The times I have done a fast, my stomach reminded me constantly that it was being neglected. Breaking that fast was awesome. I missed chewing stuff. But I know the benefits of a fast far outweigh the temporary physical discomforts.

Joel is calling on the priests to proclaim a fast for the people. Why? To humble themselves before the Lord and beseech Him to intercede on their behalf. He was asking them to cry out to the Lord. The Hebrew word for “cry out” could mean “to shriek.” This was meant to be heard. Combined with their fasting, it was a sorrowful action.


Fasting isn’t meant to be enjoyable. We should feel something physically. Our hunger pains should remind us to pray. Suffering isn’t tolerated well in the West. We are way too spoiled. If we don’t get three meals a day plus a snack, we think we have been deprived. We forget that many people in the world get by with one meal a day.

But you can fast from things other than just food. You can fast from electronics. Wouldn’t that be tough for us? My wife says I couldn’t handle that. I have to agree that I am tied to my computer way too much. Ask the Lord what He would have you fast from. If you ask, be prepared to fast. It may be food. It could be television or the internet. Whatever it is, when you decide to fast from it, use that time to hear from Him in a fresh new way.

The Lord has been calling me lately to fast, and I have been avoiding it. It is time for me to submit. I know whenever He calls me to fast, He has something to tell me. Would you pray for me as I listen to Him? I’ll let you know what He says.

Father, I am listening. I want to hear Your voice.

Accountability, Bible, Choices, Death, Encouragement, God's Will, Purity, Refreshing, Repentance, Sanctification, Scripture


HOSEA 14:1

“Return, Israel, to the LORD your God, for you have stumbled because of your wrongdoing.”

Sometimes when I am in the woods hunting, I come across a dead animal. I always smell it before I see it. It’s hard to not smell it. When I find the carcass, it hardly recognizable. Often, I have to really look to figure out what it was. It has decayed to a point that you really don’t want to touch it or be near it.

Why do I bring that up? Because the Hebrew word for “stumbled” can also mean decayed. Israel has gone so far from God that they had that same stench. Their sins reeked. God was not pleased. Hosea is begging them to return. They can be salvaged if only…


How are you smelling? I’m not asking if you deodorant is working. What I want to know is if your sins are stinking. All sin smells. Sorry, but that’s the truth. It may not smell to begin with, but it will. Left unconfessed, that sin will begin to turn rank in your life. The stench of sin in your life will begin to be noticed by others.

But praise be to God, there’s a remedy. Confess your sins. Be bathed in the blood of the Lamb. Get refreshed by His life-giving water. He will wash away all your sins. His blood works so much better than any household cleaner out there. If you are tired of smelling like sin, come to Him.

I don’t like the smell of sin. The more I spend time in the Word, the easier it is to smell sin. My nose can sniff it out. It’s like an early warning system to my soul. The Holy Spirit points out sin to me before I go there. Do I always listen? No, but when I don’t the Spirit won’t let me go until I confess it. I want to smell good, don’t you?

O God, cleanse me and purify me. I want to smell like Jesus.

Accountability, Advice, Battles, Bible, Choices, Holiness, Horror, Judgment, Obedience, Punishment, Purity, Scripture, Testimony


HOSEA 6:10

“In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing;

Ephraim’s infidelity is there, Israel has defiled itself.”

Before I came to Christ, I loved to watch horror movies. I loved the blood and gore. I know – that’s sick, right? But back then I didn’t really have a filter for what entered my mind. The Holy Spirit wasn’t guiding my thoughts and eyes and ears. The world had complete control of me, and everything seemed fine. Horror was okay with me.

But can you imagine how bad it must have been in the house of Israel for God to call something horrible? Think about it. God has seen the most horrible of horrible. How bad was it? Undoubtedly, pretty bad. God doesn’t tolerate horrible. He doesn’t allow it in His presence. He is holy and pure. Ephraim knew that. The people knew that, but they just kept on with the horrible lifestyles and choices.


Nothing has changed much today. Our world is still making horrible choices. Look all around you. Marriage has been defiled by all the “alternative” lifestyles that are out there. Genders are being questioned and even reassigned outside God’s design. Babies in the wombs are not safe from our “choices.” I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

It doesn’t matter where you live on this terrestrial ball we call earth. People are still engaged in horror shows. So, what can we do about it? Stop watching! Stop participating! Start speaking up for truth. But Carl, if I do that I might face persecution. So what? We must stand up for the truth of God’s Word. He will tell when that is appropriate. He will give you the words to say. Be bold.

I know that is easy for me to say here in print. I can sit behind a computer screen and give you advice. But it’s more than that. I am also fed up with the horror show. I will join you in this battle. Can you claim your family in this fight? How about your city or state or country? Let’s begin, people. Let’s stop being horrible and start being holy.

Father, I am tired of the horrible state of our world. Give me the boldness to stand up for You.

Abiding, Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Cleansing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Godliness, Holiness, Mentoring, Parenting, Purity, Repentance, Sanctification, Scripture


1 JOHN 3:3

“And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

Well, last night I went to bed with my team, the Atlanta Braves, leading in the fifth inning in game seven of the National League Championship. I tried to stay up but was just too tired. I went to bed with a hope they would hold on to win and go to the World Series. Guess what? That didn’t happen. The Dodgers came back to win, sending Atlanta home.

If you read this verse by itself, you have to ask yourself, “What hope?” That hope is not my hope in the Braves (thank goodness). You need to go back and read verses 1 and 2 of chapter 3. That hope is solely in Christ. John tells us if our hope is in Him then we should live in such a way to honor Him. We should purify ourselves by putting anything out of lives that dishonors Him.


Don’t you just love bath time with the kids? Really? You don’t? It can be a challenge, especially when they get a little older. Little boys love to play outside and do not necessarily like to wash that outside off once they come in. The smells of where they have been and what they have been doing are all over them.

The next time you are discussing bath time with the kiddos, read them this verse. I know what you are thinking, but hear me out. Explain to them that just as the physical world can affect how we smell, the spiritual world can affect how we live. We have to keep ourselves cleaned up spiritually through confession and righteous living to remove the stench of sin. You may not can smell that sin, but you can sure see the results of it in your life.

How pure are you today? Jesus wants you to walk before Him purified and reflecting Him. He is not honored by our wallowing in sin and professing to be a believer. He, in fact, demands pure living. Will you confess whatever it is you need to confess today? Let Him cleanse you and help you walk in purity.

Thank You for Your cleansing power in my life. Thank You for convicting me of the impurities I carry along with me. I want to walk representing You.

Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Encouragement, Faith, Faithfulness, Following, Inspirational, Modeling, Peace, Perseverance, Purity, Trust



“so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” 

Our faith is precious, more precious than gold. And Peter reminds us how gold is proven to be precious. It is tested by fire. The same is true about our faith. It, too, will go through testing.

One scholar wrote,
“Christians should be willing to pass through trials: (a) They will purify their religion, just as the fire will remove dross from gold.

(b) They will make it shine more brightly, just as gold does when it comes out of the furnace. (c) They will disclose more fully its value. (d) They will furnish an evidence that we shall be saved; for that religion which will bear the tests that God applies to it in the present life, will bear the test of the final trial.”


So, how do you apply this verse? By living through those testings. As you encounter hard times, you have the God given opportunity to trust Him to prove your faith. Your children are watching. As you talk to them about how you are trusting the Lord in the process, they are listening.

You may not think these moments will be remembered by them. After all, they are young. But, oh, they will remember. God will make sure of that. Trusting moments stick. Faith producing moments make impacts, especially on young lives. And when God brings you through, and He will, celebrate that with your children.

Are you in a trial right now? Is your faith being put through the fire? Thank the Lord that He is purifying it. Thank Him that You know it is more precious than gold. Gold will not last forever. Even it is eventually destroyed. But not our faith. With each “firing” it becomes stronger. Believe that!

I praise You for the fires! I may not enjoy the process, but I am thankful for the outcome. Purify me, Lord!

Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith, Faithfulness, Family, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Purity, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing



“in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified,”

Bottom line? Our faith is public! Our relationship with Jesus is private. But if our faith is real, others are going to see it. Paul is telling Titus that so clearly here. Every word of this verse points this way. “Show yourself” has the meaning of holding something up close to someone to show them. You can’t hide stuff when it’s up close. They see it all.

And what should they see? That you are an example. That word has the idea of a stamp that is on you. They can see the image of it on you. What’s the image? Christ, course. They are His good deeds done through you, not yours. Your teaching, which is done publicly, is imperishable and pure. It’s not tainted. They can trust it. And finally, he says “dignified.” This invites reverence from others because they see you are the real deal. Public, not private.


Public faith in your home begins with you, mom and dad. You can’t just tell your kids about Jesus. You have to live it out. Seeing faith lived out shows them how to do it. Head knowledge is great. We must teach them the Word of God. We need to memorize His Word. But unless we are willing to apply it in our everyday lives, it is futile and meaningless.

Faith is a shareable commodity. We receive it from the Lord at salvation, and we are expected to share it. It’s one of those rare items that grows the more we give it, like love. As you share your faith in your daily life, as others see you live it out, it inspires them toward a deeper faith. You may never even know who you are influencing, but they are watching. There will be times you make a faith decision when your children are in the background just observing. God is using you. It’s public, not private.

Are you one of those “private” Christians? Are you afraid you may offend someone if you share your faith? Listen, if you are sharing the example of faith given to you in Christ, let it offend. I don’t mean to be judgmental or critical. I mean let it convict. True faith in Christ will expose those around us who are living outside of faith. Let your faith draw them home.

Faith is Your gift to me You gave with the intention of giving it away. Help me live my life today that others can see my faith in You is real and alive. I pray someone will come to faith today.

Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deception, Encouragement, Eternity, Heaven, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Purity, Religion, Righteousness


TITUS 1:15

“To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.”

Have you ever used stain on a piece of wood? My dad taught me how to stain. He showed me the difference between a piece of stained and unstained wood. You can see the grains that run through the wood when it’s unstained. But when you apply even a light coat of stain, those grains pop out. It changes your view of the wood.

That’s probably a poor analogy, but today’s verse has two very contrasting views – pure and defiled. You could translate these two words as unstained and stained. One is not distracted by the world. The other lives for it. One sees all things as God sees them. The other sees all things as they prefer to see them. Which are you?


Shaping your child’s worldview is so important. But it begins with their salvation. Only God can truly change how they see the world. You, however, play a huge role in that you help set the environment in which they can readily adjust their eyes to see God’s truth and be ready to hear His voice. Once they respond to His calling (and He is calling them) He will give them that pure heart which will cause them to see “all things are pure.”

Or, you could choose to let your child just decide on their own about religion. After all, you wouldn’t want to influence them in such a private matter. Hogwash! What is more important – where they will spend eternity or being at school on time? We guide our children in life changing decisions. We don’t let them “figure it for themselves.”

Do you see the world clearly? Are you looking through lenses shaped by God’s purity? If not, you have chosen to wear the eyewear of the world in which everything is defiled and stained. Why not today trade in your old glasses for a brand, new pair fashioned by the Lord exclusively for you?

Thank You, Lord, for focusing my eyes on You. I know I can see more clearly when I see with a pure vision. I choose to look up, not down on this world You have placed me in.

Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deception, Parenting, Purity, Sanctification, Satan, Scripture


2 TIMOTHY 2:17

“and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,”

What is a gangrene? Medically, it is a condition where an infection gets so bad that it begins to destroy surrounding tissue and bone. The body literally starts to kill itself. So, how does this apply to us in today’s verse. Oh beloved, look closely. When the body of Christ allows the poison of the world (look at verse 16) to remain in its midst, that poison, that infection, will begin to destroy it from within.

The only cure for gangrene is extreme purification of the area. It can lead to actual amputation of toes, fingers or even whole limbs. All the dead tissue must go. It is full of poison. The same goes for the body of Christ. Those who are poisoning the body can’t remain. They have no desire for healing, only killing. They are NOT a part of the healthy body. Ouch! That’s hard.


I bet your little boy or girl has at some point gotten an infection. Perhaps they have gotten something stuck in their finger or toe which led to an infection. They could see the splinter in there but couldn’t get to it. What a perfect way to explain this verse. That splinter has to come out for healing to occur. That foreign object, which has no purpose in their body, must be removed.

Explain to them that there will be people who will shove themselves into their lives who have one motive – to harm them. Once your child becomes a child of God (and I pray they have all done that) Satan cannot stand that. He can’t “unsave” them, but he will certainly do all he can to try to make them useless to the kingdom. That includes sending that “splinter” into their lives to produce infection. The remedy? Stay purified through the Word of God, remaining watchful for those whose words do not line up with it.

Are you suffering from gangrene right now? Do you have a Hymenaeus and Philetus in your life? These were two individuals who were in the church but were not part of it. They produced gangrene, not life. If you find yourself in the presence of such people, remove yourself. “Amputate” yourself from the surrounding infection. You cannot live for Christ in the midst of it. Choose healing and health.

I want to purify my body, soul and spirit, Lord, daily through You. Help me cut out all the infection in my life so I can stay strong and healthy spiritually. Today I choose to excise anything that reeks of infection.

Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Confession, Forgiveness, Obedience, Parenting, Purity, Righteousness, Scripture


1 TIMOTHY 6:14

that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,” 

Do you ever wonder about how words or expressions come about? I do. I guess I am just curious that way. Today’s title for the devotional is “Clean as a whistle.” What does that really mean? There are several theories, but the one I like is it comes from the appearance of a whittled piece of wood, probably willow, after it is made into a whistle. A smooth, spotless surface was left.

Well, the word in our verse today for “without stain” means just that – spotless, clean as a whistle. Paul is adjuring Timothy that we need to live that way. We should remain unstained by the world, as James says. It is so easy to get the world on you. It can leave some hard to remove spots. But if we are living for Christ and following His commandments, we are less likely to get “dirty.”


I bet your children have gotten clothes stained before. Am I right? My mama used to get so upset when I came home with grass-stained pants. But what is a boy supposed to do when he slides into home plate? You can’t exactly ask the catcher to let you walk in so you won’t get your pants dirty. Sometimes stains are inevitable.

However, we need to teach our children to avoid those staining agents when possible. We know how the world wants to dirty us up. We have the responsibility to point out those things to our children. They have to live in the world, but they don’t have to wallow in its filth. It is comforting to know that Jesus’ blood cleanses us completely. But it is also important to remember that some stains are the consequence of disobedience and can remain for a lifetime.

Are you tired of removing stains in your life? Then start following Jesus’ commandments more closely. He will lead you in the path of righteousness. He also may lead you into a very dirty area in order to reach others. Those stains are not held against you and are easily removed. It’s your choice – dirty or clean?

I am so thankful that I don’t need bleach to cleanse my soul. I am so glad that Jesus’s blood washes me white as snow. Help me walk in such a way that only stains You allow touch me.