The Lord will restore you completely!

“When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like those who dream.” Psalm 126:1

In a season of brokenness and despair, the Lord came to me and promised, “I will restore you completely.” Even though the struggle with depression, hopelessness, fear, and shame did not end immediately, I continued to stand on this promise, flood my heart with God’s word, and cry out to Jesus for deliverance.

Years later, while enjoying the freedom, joy, peace, and confidence in God’s love that had become my “new normal”, I was reminded of God’s promise. I was assured: God had restored me completely.   My faith, calling, joy, intimacy with God, confidence, passion, and more were restored. The many promises God had given me were (and still are) coming to pass in my life. Just to name a few:

He had promised joy and intimacy with God from Isaiah 56:7;

He had promised blessing and confidence from Isaiah 54;

He had promised freedom from Psalm 126;

He had promised hope through Isaiah 60 and 61….

God is faithful. He will do what he promised for you. He will restore you completely. He is the God who hears the cry of your heart and sees your distress (Exodus 3:7-10). He is the God who is with you even in opposition (Genesis 39:21). He is the God who conquered sin and death (Acts 2:24).

Do you remember what God did to the Egyptians? He destroyed them because they were oppressing his people. That is your God. That is the God who loves you and made promises to you. That is the God who made a covenant with you in Christ. Just as He delivered Israel completely, bringing them out of bondage, blessing them financially, teaching them to worship God, and leading them into their promised land, so God will restore you completely. He will heal you inside and out, He will deliver you from all addictions, He will rebuke the devourer of finances and pour out abundant provision on you, He will put confidence in you for your calling, He will fill you with His Spirit, He will break off all fear and shame, he will lead you on the right path, He will be glorified through your life.

So you will declare, when God restores you completely, what David said in Psalm 18:19, “He delivered me because he delighted in me!” And you will sing, “When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouths were filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing…. The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad.” Psalm 126:1-3

I encourage you to receive God’s promise TODAY.  Start declaring TODAY; starting singing TODAY.  God is for you!






Thankfulness is the healthiest emotion

Thankfulness is reality

1 thess 5:16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Thankfulness is the healthiest emotion.  It is the most “real” feeling, because thankfulness aligns with the reality that all we are and have is a gift from our Creator and Redeemer–something he has graciously done and given rather than something we have earned or deserve.  Every breath and every gift is from above.  Therefore, when we are grateful, we are in agreement with truth, with reality.  It is truly the only appropriate response from a creature to the Creator, from the redeemed to the Redeemer.

And because it’s the most real emotion, it’s the healthiest.  When a person is full of thankfulness it puts their heart at rest and stimulates joy.  When a person is ungrateful, envious, greedy, prideful, boastful, or complaining it robs people of joy and peace.  From ungratefulness flows depression, anxiety, anger, discouragement, disunity, and such.

Faith thanks God

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were  thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

People don’t believe in God because they are not thankful.  This, Paul says in romans 1, is fundamentally what is wrong with humanity.  At the core of our disease–our sin, our rebellion, our insanity–is that we are ungrateful.  Idolatry begins with ungratefulness, legalism/religion begins with ungratefulness (and that rooted in a lie about God we have believed). Paul brings the indictment to all humanity: you know there is a Creator but you don’t want to acknowledge your dependance on his sustaining power and grace; you know he is the source but don’t want to give him the credit.  It’s not for a lack of evidence that we struggle to believe; its for a lack of thankfulness.  Our resistance to the humbling effect of worship is what blinds us and causes us to be selective in our honest assessment of the facts staring us in the face.

If we think God owes us or is stingy we try to manipulate him or control him like an idol.  If we think we have to earn something from him, we become legalists seeking to earn favor. If we work for our salvation or blessing, then we are to praise. We have something to boast about.  Eph 2:8

But the reason why life is a gift, and more so salvation, is because it removes all boasting in self. It destroys that pagan, religious effort.  Even unhealthy responses like shame, condemnation, guilt, and such are rooted in this lie of needing to earn from God and produces ungratefulness.  When something is a gift, you simply receive it with thankfulness… like a child–unbridled gratefulness and enjoyment.  The truth is that God is good; that he is all good, all the time; that every good and perfect gifts come from God; that there is no darkness, wickedness, evil, ulterior motives in him.  He created us because he is good, he created everything good, he created everything for our good.  He loves us and wants the best.  And the same motive drove him to the cross.  He redeemed for our good.

If everything comes from God, if all good gifts in life are from God (James 1), then the only logical response is thankfulness.  When we are ungrateful for any aspect of life, for any person or gift, we are being ungrateful to God and dishonoring him.  When we complain or grumble, when we compare or are envious, we are discrediting and dishonoring the one who has given us everything.

How would you feel? 

Numbers14:11 Then the Lord said to Moses: “ How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them?

What if you gave me a gift and I grabbed the gift, held it to my chest and said “thank you gift for giving me yourself.”  Or what if someone asked me who gave me the gift and, while you stood silently by, I explained how I bought it, how I earned it because I’m awesome. How would you feel?

And so, faith is always thankful.  Gratefulness is the manifestation of faith because it’s rooted in truth. We are grateful when we believe that God is and is a rewarder of those who seek him diligently (Hebrews 11), when we believe that he is good and every good and perfect gift comes from him, when we believe that in him we move and breathe and have our being, when we believe that he is for us and not against us….  Faith simply receives the gift with thankfulness and enjoyment.  Faith boasts in God (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Faith is thankful because it embraces the truth that I did not earn this, I cannot deserve this; my life is contingent on another’s choice, work, generosity, mercy, kindness and patience. As my friend Clint says, “you can’t be thankful for something you have done.”

Zero complaining

Philippians 2:14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world….

We have much to be thankful for (a list would stretch across the galaxies) and nothing to be ungrateful for.  Mindsets like envy, complaining, blaming God and others, entitlement (you owe me), and such are rooted in ungratefulness and unbelief.  These stem from faith in our efforts or in another person.  Those responses and emotions are evidence we have idolatry in our hearts (see Psalms 37).  They are unbecoming of a Christ follower.  Those things should not be among us–in our hearts, churches, families, words.  You may think you are a “fairly grateful person” but the presence of emotions and vocabulary rooted in things like envy and complaining are the opposite of gratefulness. Listen to your words, watch your heart; are you truly thankful, fundamentally thankful?  Freedom begins when you realize: no one owes me anything!  God doesn’t, people don’t, your parents don’t, your employer doesn’t, the government doesn’t.  We need to return to the basics of life: everything is a gift from God.  This is Faith 101.   If our expectations or words don’t align with that truth, we have lost our way.

Can you imagine giving someone a gift only to have them ask why you didn’t spend more or why you didn’t give them what the other person got? Can you imagine them complaining about the gift?  Or what if the day before Christmas, after you labored over a special present to give your friend, they bemoan, “you never give me anything, you never think of me.”–how would you feel?

Faith believes God will do what he says and waits patiently with thankfulness to come through.  Faith does not compare or envy or complain.  It gratefully receives from God what HE wills to give.

Thankfulness is attractive

Psalm 22:3 But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.

God is attracted to a grateful heart.  People are attracted to a grateful heart. When we are grateful we shine like lights in darkness (Philippians 2:15). Not only is thankfulness one of the healthiest emotions but it is one of the most attractive ones–to God and people.  God is drawn to it.  It pleases him because it honors him for who he is and what he has done.  So let praise fill your lips always–Psalms 34.  He is always worthy of our thankfulness, praise, rejoicing, worship.

If you want to always be filled with the Spirit, always saturated in his presence; If you want God to be drawn to you, attracted to you; if you want him to want to be around you; if you long for the presence of the Lord then always praise him.  Aren’t you the same?  Would you rather be around a grateful person or a complainer?  If someone always talks about themselves or always complains, do you feel drained or filled?

Psalms 100:1 Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! 2 Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.

Ephesians 5:18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be  filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving  thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…

And thankfulness attracts people who are far from God, without hope, in disappear.  When they see light shining at the end of their dark tunnel they run to it.  When they hear words of thankfulness, see you filled with joy even in hard times, observe your contentment and peace in a storm, they are experiencing your faith which points to God’s faithfulness and truth.  Your thankfulness is a great witness of Christ, your gratefulness shouts “hope” to them.  So shine!

Thankfulness is the healthiest emotion

And finally, to repeat, thankfulness is the healthiest emotion.  When you are grateful you will break anxiety and control, fear, and anger; you will break depression and hopelessness.  When you align your heart and words with truth by thanking God (out loud with praise) for who he is, what he has done and what he has promised (i.e. In alignment with his Word), you will find the fruits of joy and peace fill your heart, reshape your emotions, renew your mind, and transform your attitude and the quality of your relationships, ministry, work, and life.  Simply begin to say, “Thank you Lord for… (Insert truth from the Word of God)”.  Do this about everything in your life.  Simply begin to speak and sing praise to God throughout your day.  Like a seed planted in the ground, thankfulness begins in the heart and then manifests in our emotions, thoughts, and relationships.  Like a seed, it takes time to germinate, grow and bear fruit.  But if you stick with it, you will experience a harvest of wholeness.  Thankfulness can literally transform your whole life.  It is that powerful!  You will see the desires of your heart fulfilled, greater fruitfulness, confidence, blessing, and such when you are thankful.  And even in the hard times, you will have a joy and peace inside you that the storms of this life can’t touch.  Can you imagine: everything falls apart and everyone else is freaking out, but you are totally at rest, filled with joy, intimately connected to God, filled with praise, confidently waiting on the Lord.  Why?  Because you chose to be thankful.  It is that simple!  It may not be easy, but it is that simple!

Thankfulness changed my life!

Are these just ideas?  Or is this what has transformed my life?  If someone were to ask me what is the one habit that has changed your life? I would simply reply, “Thankfulness!”.  In a time of deep despair, depression, hopelessness, unbelief, and bondage the Lord led me to thank him.  First, for each day.  Then, for life itself.  Then, for the cross.  Then, for every truth about him, every gift from him, and every promise to me.  He coached me to voice reality with a grateful heart.  He taught me to align my words with his Word in praise.  That simple lesson was THE transition point for breakthrough in my life, relationships, ministry; it was that small act that has rippled through the rest of my life releasing joy, confidence, rest, and influence.

Try it: 24-7 thankfulness for years. The let me know the results.  I’m a satisfied costumer.

Sinless Audio Message Series

Audio message series: Sinless.  You will discover the fullness of what Christ paid for on the cross and be convinced of how fully he has saved you and deeply he loves you.  You will understand the truth proclaimed in Hebrews 10:14 that he has forever PERFECTED those he is sanctifying.  Enjoy!

sinless part 1 …understand how Christ has made us perfect by his sacrifice.

Sinless part 2 …understand how much God delights in you because of Christ’s sacrifice.

Sinless part 3 …understand God’s redemptive strategy to heal and transform us and the world.

Sinless part 4 …understand why you are still in process, how you are BOTH perfected in Christ and being sanctified.

Love God but hate doing devos? 4 simple devo ideas

The Word of God is essential to knowing Christ and becoming like him and yet many struggle with getting into the Word.  Do you wonder: How do I get into the Word since I don’t like to read or have a hard time focusing or comprehending what I read?  Do you or someone you know struggle with doing “devotions”?  Here are some ideas for those who don’t like reading.

First, let’s establish that devotions are vital for the Christian life.

The bible, God’s Word, is the self-disclosure of God. It’s not like any other book. It’s the authorized biography of God, his message to us. It is truth about him, us, and what he is doing to redeem. It is powerful, carrying his transformative life, to those who believe.

Jesus told us, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”–John 8:31-32.  Jesus is teaching that following him and being in his Word are inseparable.  To follow Jesus is to listen to and obey his Word.  He is also teaching that it’s in the Word we find truth and its in the truth we find freedom.

And so, for the person who wants to know God deeply, understand who they are and what they are destined for, and walk in his ways the bible is an essential tool, an indispensable gift.  Hunger for and consumption of the Word is vital to growing and developing as a follower of Christ. It is an essential part of our spiritual diet–Acts 20:32.

By listening to the Word, we hear Jesus, we receive him, we get to know him, we observe him. By responding in prayer and worship we engage with him, become vulnerable, let him know us, and transform us. The more time we spend with someone, the better we get to know them. It’s that simple. The more you know someone, the more you become like them. That is discipleship 101. Be with Jesus, become like Jesus. The call to an intimate relationship with Jesus is the most enjoyable and powerful. It’s so attractive.

How can we know God if we don’t listen?  If all we do is talk and never listen how can we get to know him or allow him to influence us?  Many people pray but never turn to the Word of God and the leadership of the Holy Spirit to allow The Lord to reveal himself and his will. That doesn’t work in a human relationship; it would be like having a relationship with yourself. How do you feel if someone only talks about themselves, almost treating you like a microphone or an ornament?  God wants to be known; he wants a real relationship. And you and I need to be influenced by him; we need to hear from him in order to know his will and ways.  We need to know the truth.  More word, more truth, more light, more transformation. It’s that simple.

This is precisely why I constantly encourage people to be in the Word of God daily.

And yet, despite its importance, many are discouraged in some way by the call to read the bible. Some hate to read or find it tedious because of struggles with Dyslexia or focus. Some are confused because of the strangeness of another culture; some don’t know where to begin with such a large book. Some are busy, possibly spending hours commuting or taxiing children.

Whatever the reason, if you struggle with reading the bible but recognize the importance of being in the word, here are some simple ideas I hope will help you:

First, listen to the bible rather than read it. Don’t feel you are “cheating” by not reading. The goal is not to read but to get the word into our hearts through our eyes and ears.  In fact, the bible was written to be heard–you may catch more by listening. There are many commands to hear the Word in the bible (not as many to read it). You can find free audio recordings of the bible online.  Try  You can use your computer or smart phone.  You can start a “reading” plan (I recommend the solid lives reading plan) and listen to the bible daily (try the NLT or ESV translations).

You can listen when you are driving, cooking, or working on a project. You can turn off music or talk radio, and spend some time listening to the word and then talking with God about it.

You can also combine reading and listening. For those who struggle to focus, reading the bible while someone else reads it to you or reading out loud yourself may help you to focus and retain more. I also encourage you to read smaller portions (I.e. One New Testament chapter a day).

Second, listen to podcasts. The preaching of the Word is a powerful way to get the word into our hearts. Again, this is not cheating!  Though it’s important to read or listen to the bible ourselves so we understand the context and can own what others are teaching, preaching can greatly aid in understanding the bible and in growing in faith.  Paul emphasizes our need for a preacher in Romans 10: 14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent?. There are many good preachers offering free online podcasts or who teach on TV or the radio.  You can download podcasts onto your phone and listen throughout your day.  Check out  That’s just one of many I listen to weekly to build my faith.

Third, read the Bible with others.  You don’t have to do devos alone to make them “count”.  If you are relational, find others who are like you.  Gather at a coffee shop or living room, read the bible together, talk about it, and pray.  One of my best friends and ministry partners is a business owner.  He begins everyday with a group of people (some employees and some church members) reading the bible and then praying.  He calls it Daily Alignment (DA), inspired by Hebrews 3:13, “but exhort one another DAILY, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”  Notice God is speaking DAILY and we need the Word DAILY.  And yet, we are not told to read the bible by ourselves daily.  Rather, we are called to exhort (or preach to) to one another DAILY.  This is what the early church did (see Acts 2).

Fourth, engage your heart and mind and engage God in conversation.  How?  By meditating out loud on what you read and by talking to God about it. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success (Joshua 1:8).  Meditating on the Word is one of the most potent ways to get it into our hearts and build our faith.  In fact, most people are either bored with the Bible or missing the power of the truth because they don’t speak the Word out of their mouth.  Until the Word comes out of your mouth with faith you won’t see God’s power.  This is one of those “think smarter and not harder” principles.  Meditating on God’s Word will not only help you focus more but it will lead to deeper intimacy with God and greater transformation. The goal is not only to read and know a lot of the bible, but to believe and obey the truths of the bible. Instead of trying to consume a lot with little comprehension, try reading less and meditating and praying more.  Become focused, fixated, obsessed with the truths you discover.  Meditate all day–ponder, think about, discuss, share, converse with God, sing…. As we see in Joshua 1:8, it’s when we meditate that our faith is built, we receive strength to obey God, and then blessing is released. 

When you listen to the Word or when hear someone preach the Word, one of the best ways to get it into your heart is to study it yourself, meditate/think about it, and then talk to God about it.  Simply pick verse (or a few) to meditate on all day/week.  I recommend that after listening to a message about the truths of Scripture from a person, read or listen to the passages they expounded on yourself. Then spend time thinking and praying about it with God. The more you respond to the Word, creating dialog, the more you will be able to receive from The Lord and allow him to transform you.

Do you have other ideas or resources that have helped you or others? Please suggest them in the comments feed.

Where to begin with the bible?  Check out this reading/listening plan (you can also find it on

Want to start a friendship with God? Read this post. 

Want to grow in your relationship with God? Check out It’s a powerful discipleship process that transformed my life and ministry.

Want to read commentaries that explain the bible or study the Bible?  Check out (its free!).

Enjoy God!  He enjoys you!