Common Courtesy Rant

I have been working on recruiting, screening, and training volunteers for work. It is an enjoyable task, but it reminds me of the fact that some people lack common courtesy. I understand if you have an emergency and cannot follow through on a commitment. For those who need it, I am going to offer some free advice for those who didn’t get the common courtesy course in school. 

  1. If you have an appointment and do not plan on keeping it, contact the person with whom you have an appointment so he/she can make more valuable use of his/her time other than waiting for a no-show.
  2. Don’t volunteer to do something you don’t want to do. I can’t tell you how many times I have had people express interest in doing something when I didn’t ask. I never expected them to do it, but they almost broke their neck to offer help and kept telling me how much they would help only to not be available for contact when the time came to help. 

What would you add to that? I’m discovering that some people are not taught well and others are just lazy. For those who don’t think about these things, I don’t want to be the one who is guilty of leaving them uninformed.


Happy 2nd Anniversary to My Wife!

Today marks my 2-year wedding anniversary to Jennifer! I have been amazed at how sweet the last two years have been. It seems like yesterday that we met. It was actually June 23, 2015. A co-worker invited me to a Nerium party. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s a skin-care product. This co-worker had told each about the other, and this was her way of introducing us. My now wife stalked me on Facebook and became my friend the night before. I gladly accepted the request because I saw she was an attract believer who was available😀. I hope that doesn’t sound too shallow. We messaged back and forth that night and discovered we knew a lot of the same people. Then comes the Nerium party. I’m the only guy. Surprise, huh? Here I am with my co-worker, future wife, future mother-in-law, and future stepkids. Everyone left, we talked forever, and the rest is history.

I knew after a difficult marriage that I wanted to remarry. Some thought I was crazy. I was taking a big gamble. What if this marriage would fail like the first? So many things to consider. We both had children involved. I was a man in ministry. With all these factors, neither of us ran. We married rather quickly. Not because we had to, but because we knew what God was doing.

I hope this is a word of encouragement to those who have suffered the sting of divorce. God can send you the kind of person you asked Him for. When you are seeking Him, He will align circumstances for you. Don’t settle for the devil’s imitation. You too can enjoy the joy of marriage in the will of God. Happy anniversary, Jennifer!

Temporary Parting

In this life, I have found myself leaving frequently for one place and moving to another. I also said, “This is not goodbye; it just means I’ll see you later.” This only applies to those of us who know Christ and know for sure we will meet again in His presence.

Today, I went to the visitation of a precious lady who was one of our patients. We had the best visits as we would make much of Jesus each time. When I went to the home just hours before she breathed her last earthly breath, I thought about how much I will miss the visits but how she will be breathing with no difficulty. Today, the family sorrows yet possesses comfort that she is with the Lord. I went through the line and hugged some of the family. One of the daughters said to me, “You know you really made the last few months of her life, right?” I wanted to cry right along with the daughter because I was humbled by what she said. I always feel that I receive the greater blessing and am honored that God would use me to encourage people in their last days. 

In this line of work, we try to not be attached to patients and families but the attachment is inevitable. Then we feel the separation to some degree when the patient passes away. I’m reminded of the last verse of the hymn “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”: “When we asunder part, it brings us inward pain. But we shall still be joined in heart and hope (expect) to meet again.” To the believer who has lost someone close to you who was also a believer, take comfort. You didn’t lose that person. This is only a temporary parting.

Joy Stealers (Guest Post from My Wife)

JOY STEALERS…you may know people like this! They may be your ex-spouse, a co-worker, even your parents or siblings. You have exciting news, or something special happening in your life, but they cannot receive it, or celebrate it with you, because they are critical, judgmental, complain, gossip, point out flaws, focus on everything that that is wrong with the situation, and ultimately drain you, and leave you not nearly as excited as you were. But please realize IT’S THEM, not you!

People can easily become jealous of us and what the Lord is doing in or through us. They tend to have their own perception of what they think is right and wrong for us, OR focus on how our news will affect them (self interest) and how it will make them look. However, only God knows what is best for each of us.

We must remember, “we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 

We have to be alert and self-controlled because the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). He comes to kill, steal, and destroy, so we have to be aware of his schemes, as he uses people to accomplish his purpose (John 10:10). 

The Bible says do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer (Ephesians 4:27-28). 

The Lord says, “I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly” John 10:10. It’s the opposite of what the devil is trying to accomplish. It is a fullness of life characterized by intimately knowing God. We are commanded to let this light we have shine before men (Matthew 5:16). We let other people snuff our lights out when we get into the spirit of “approval seeking” and fearing what others think. However, God gives us power through the Holy Spirit to live a life free from joy stealers. 

So when you have good news to share, don’t worry about what other people think! Focus on what the Lord is doing in your life because:”Light shines on the godly, and joy on those whose hearts are right” Psalm 97:11

“Joyful are those who obey His laws and search for Him with all their hearts” Psalm 119:2

“Joyful are those who fear the Lord – all who follow His ways.” Psalm 128:1

“Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord, who have no confidence in the proud or in those who worship idols.” Psalm 40:4

And let us pray these things when someone attempts to steal our joy…

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13) 

And be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you (2 Corinthians 13:11).

In conclusion, Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

Here is some additional thoughts you might find helpful:

Is Your Faith Just a Meme?

Let’s admit it! We all love memes. They’re cute. They’re funny. They’re inspirational. But they can also be annoying. Bottom line – they are just memes. They are not sacred items that will get you into Heaven. If I don’t post it, like it, and share it, I won’t have a heart attack or have gangrene set up in my leg. I won’t have 20 years of bad luck or suffer financial loss. 

For many people, their faith is just a meme. It’s a public display of something that potentially may not be lived out privately or outside Facebook and other social media.  The litmus test of your closeness to God is not how many faith memes you post. Do you have a relationship with Jesus Christ? Do you spend real time with God in prayer and Bible study? Do you tell others what He has done for you with your voice? Do you serve Him by helping others? That is the true test. Do you pass?

Power in the Storm

Let me clarify that I am not going to tell you that you have power over the weather. Anyone who would tell you that is a false prophet, so you may want to consider listening to someone else. You are not God, but God has power in the midst of the storm. He also has power over the storm, but I want to make application to God being the power in the midst of the storm – the One who can say “Peace be still” in your life.

It is difficult for us to balance the sovereignty of God with the storms that are taking place. We know these things will come. God said they would. We wonder why He allows them to happen, yet He shows His power through these storms (not just in the storm itself but in the calm that He can give during and after the storm).

I love the account in Matthew 14 of Jesus walking on the water. I am not going to focus on Peter but on Jesus. The wind and sea was tempestuous and tumultuous, but Jesus came walking on top of it. 

Jesus has power over your circumstance and can walk on top of it because He is all-powerful. He may not change our circumstance, but He can be our focal point so we can be a testimony of the restoration after the storm, the beauty instead of ashes. 

I don’t know what these days hold for many, but I know the One who holds the world in His hand. He is holding you too!

When Name It and Claim It Doesn’t Work

There is an increasingly popular “Christian” philosophy that says “name it and claim it” and you will have it. Those who prostitute this philosophy tell you that you can have anything from perfect health to millions of dollars in your bank account. What about when you “name it and claim it”, and it doesn’t happen?

Some might say, “Matthew, you didn’t have enough faith.” I can begin to name countless things that I have believed God for, and He did not give them to me. Is that my fault? God’s fault? Or was it not meant to be?

May I ask this? What if “your best life now” involves living in an average house, driving an average car, living paycheck to paycheck, and maybe even wondering where your next meal will come from? What if “your best life now” is lived in simple and humble obedience to God? No one may ever know who you are, but your acts of obedience do not go unseen by God.

I want to conclude with a verse that may put this into context for you. I John 5:14 says, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” Did you notice the phrase “according to His will”? It may not be God’s will for you to be wealthy. I don’t care what some famous preacher told you. Stick with what GOD said not someone’s twisted interpretation. If you have trouble dealing with the fact that your “prosperity package” never fell out of Heaven, meditate on this verse: “Now godliness with contentment is great gain” (I Timothy‬ ‭6:6‬ ‭NKJV‬). Read the verses surrounding that also. It puts life into perspective. By the way, this was coming from a man who wrote some books of the Bible from a jail cell. Don’t tell me he didn’t have enough faith! He had more than most of us because he was being persecuted for the true gospel rather than enjoying the luxuries of a pimped-out, fake gospel.

If you are wondering why life has not turned out the way you believed it would, you may have been taught some bad theology. When you walk with Jesus daily, you’ll say along with the song writer, “I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold. I’d rather be His than have riches untold…I’d rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today.”

Let Me Help You Out, Lord

The God who created the universe and has sustained it needs our help, right? 

The God who knows all things, even to the point of knowing what we need before we ask, needs our help, right? 

The God who is powerful enough to heal, save, and deliver needs our help, right? 

That sounds a little absurd to me. But how many times have our actions given a “yes” answer to these questions? 

I remember being miserable in certain job situations. I would put out countless résumés, only to have search committees move to another candidate. I tried to plan other escape routes, only to create more detriment to my life. 

Have you done that? Maybe taken the first guy or girl who came along after a breakup because you didn’t want to be alone? Taken a job that wasn’t meant for you because you were desperate to leave where you were? Moved somewhere because you thought you would advance, only to discover that God had nothing to do with your move?

We have all done similar things. We act like God is so busy that He can’t handle the entire earth. More accurately, we are too impatient to trust that God knows what is best for us, so we do something stupid.

Such was the case with Abraham and Sarah. God promised them a son. Sarah got impatient and came up with a not-so-bright idea to permit Abraham to have sex with Hagar. She conceived and gave birth to Ishmael. What happened? Everyone lived happily ever after? Not quite! Sarah lived in jealousy, Ishmael and Isaac were at odds with each other (the reason for continued hostility in the Middle East today), and they all lived with long-term consequences to what seemed like a short-term fix.

Our consequences affect more people than we realize. Getting ahead of God actually creates delays. Why do you think the Israelites wandered for 40 years? They obviously were not learning what God was trying to teach them. 

It is not natural for us to wait on God. This is a discipline we must learn. Thanks to a self-help, instant-gratification, “God helps those who help themselves” society, many have written God out of the equation. Waiting on God does not mean being lazy while you twiddle your thumbs and wait for God to do something. It is actively obeying and doing what you know to do until God reveals the next step.

Dear friend, save yourself some heartache. Don’t sell out for something less than God’s best because you want something now. You may permanently miss out on what God has truly meant for your life. 

P. S. I’m preaching to myself on this one too.

Never Lose the Awe

I sit here this morning as I listen to the song “I Can’t Believe” by Elevation Worship. I never want to lose the awe of why Christ would die for me and why He would use me. Let this bless you.

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