Category Archives: scripture

What Difference Does Jesus Make?

I occupy a lot of different roles. When I was born, I became the son of David and Martha Jo Harvell. Eventually I became know as Michael Joe to most folks, that is until I got married and then I became Joy’s Husband. I have been known as the chubby blond headed guy with blue eyes, a pretty good cook, a decent teacher, a not bad writer and a host of others things. When I went to Pastor my first church, I became known as Pastor, Preacher or Rev. After Joy and I were married for several years, we had our daughters Gracie and eventually Hope and I became Gracie & Hope’s Dad. To some folks I am a friend, to some an encourager and to some, just a goofy guy that loves Jesus. I’ve actually have more roles and titles than I have time to write about. I remember when I was younger hearing a Preacher preach a message and he asked the question: “Do you want a title or a testimony?” As a young kid, I thought: “Why not both???”

I hear people all the time say: “I love Jesus” or “I know Jesus as my Lord and Savior.” And that sounds really good, but I can’t help but wonder: “DO WE REALLY KNOW WHO JESUS IS AND IF WE DO, SHOULDN’T THAT MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE?”

What Do You Think Of When You Think of Jesus?

There Are Many Different Pictures of Jesus! A lot of different beliefs, many of them in conflict with one another. For us to be so sure that we know Jesus and have a relationship with him, we should be able to articulate from personal experience who he is and what he has done in our lives, but often, we just repeat what we have heard or been taught, because the truth is: We know about Jesus, but we don’t really know Jesus.

Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” -I John 4:15

Some people don’t see Jesus at all. Out of all the ones that do see Jesus, many only see him as a good man or an interesting teacher. When we see Jesus, we need to see him as he really is, in all of his glory and splendor. We need to see him as the humble, loving and faithful teacher that taught and teaches us a better way to do this thing called life. We need to not just say we believe, but prove we believe with the way we live our life, in the things we say and do. When we accept Jesus as God’s son and the perfect sacrifice for our sin, the evidence that it (he) is real is that our relationship with Jesus begins to change, develop and grow us into something more magnificent than we could ever dream or imagine.

We Know That We Know Jesus When:

We see Jesus as God’s Son! Jesus is not just a man. Jesus is the God/Man. Jesus is God come to earth, to live in the flesh, to show us through a living, breathing, physical example how to live, grow and be blessed in this life and for all eternity. And Jesus gives us the way and will to reclaim our rightful place as God’s special creation, made in God’s image and all that comes with that amazing truth. We know that Jesus is God’s son, but we have to do more than know it, we have to believe it and believe it in such a way that it changes our life from the inside-out.

We see Jesus as our Savior! The realization that I can open up my life to God and know Him in a real and personal way is amazing. The belief that I can have my very own personal connection with the supernatural power of the Almighty is incredible. And to think that all of this blessing is found in and through God’s Son Jesus, who made a way for us where there was no way is the icing on the cake. There is nothing we can do to make our messed up selves right with our God, but if we will accept and believe in the gift of His son, Jesus will become our Savior, cleanse us from all unrighteousness and restore us to a real and right relationship with Him that allows His blessing of forgiveness and power to flow to and through our lives.

We see Jesus as… Who or what do you need to see Jesus as today? Stop playing pretend games, get dissatisfied with just barely getting by and get to know Jesus and all the roles He can fulfill in your life by helping you to fulfill all the roles you were created for. Jesus is everything we need him to be and so much more, we just simply have to receive and believe…

Take A Joy Pill And Call Me In The Morning!

We live in some of the most uncertain times that we have ever lived in. We have no idea what the economy is going to do? There is the continual threat of another pandemic and the same ole, same ole, general stress of working hard everyday and paying bills.

It is very easy to get distracted by all that is wrong and miss out on what is right. And if we stop to think about it for just a minute, there is a lot that is right. We need to be careful not to miss the joy of today, because we won’t let go of yesterday or because we are worried about tomorrow.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:4-7

Anxiousness has a way of eating up our minutes and before we know it, we’ve lost hours and then, if we are not careful we have wasted another day. The best way I know to not waste a moment is to be grateful for it. I have found that gratitude creates a space and place where the “joy of the Lord is my strength!”

The Anxiousness Antidote Is Joy!

In Philippians 4:4 we are told to “Rejoice in the Lord always” which means that we are to have joy in the good and the bad, in the ups and the downs of life. We have joy not because everything is going the way we want it to, but because we have a relationship with the One, Who created us and we know that He uses all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

The Scriptures goes on to say: “Again I will say, REJOICE!” It’s Repeated For A Reason and the reason is that we often need reminding to shift gears and pull out of misery and heartbreak and pull into blessing and favor.

We don’t need to deny our feelings. It’s okay to feel your feelings. In fact, I believe it is very necessary to feel them. I think it is very important to feel them and process them, learn from them, grow from them and then move beyond them to the something better that we were created for. We need to process our feelings in light of the relationship we have with God our Creator. In other words: I feel what I feel, but God loves me and has a plan to bless my life, so I have the power to choose what I focus on, so I feel it and move onto the something better I was created for.

There are times when it seems that nothing is working right. We can’t ignore these times and hope they will go away. Instead, we need to acknowledge that circumstances aren’t good, but God is. When we take the time to make this acknowledgement, we are shifting physical, mental and spiritual gears and we cant help but to be filled with hope and blessing over worry and despair!

It really is just as simple as praying about it! When we pray about everything with Thanksgiving and bring our cares, concerns, worries and anxieties to God, we experience His comfort and peace, a peace that transcends all comprehension. We can’t explain it, just experience it, but experience is more than enough.

As a little boy growing up in Church, one of my favorite hymns that we sang was “What A Friend We Have In Jesus!” It went like this:

“What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear.

What a privilege to carry, Everything to God in prayer.

Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear.

All because we do not carry, Everything to God in prayer…”

Give it to God, get your joy and love every minute of it! ><>

How Much Is This Going To Cost Me?

The older we get, the more we begin to realize and recognize value. We start to understand that some things are worth it and some things are not. I’ve heard more than one old timer say: “You get what you pay for!” and “How much is this going to cost me?”, and I have lived just long enough to discover that this is absolutely true most of the time – we do get what we pay for and anything of value is going to cost us. What is extra important to remember is that we don’t just pay with dollars, we also pay with our time and life.

This human experience that we call life is too short to waste on things that do not really matter, but if we are not careful, that is exactly what we will end up doing. We allow ourselves to get caught up in stuff that does not really matter and end up loosing the precious gift of value.

25 And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 26 If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. -Luke 12:25-27

We have already established that worry is a waste of time and resources. But how do we take on and take out worry, so that it stops robbing us of the precious gift of life. Jesus said: Look around you and see God’s faithfulness! In other words: Realize that you have the power to choose what you will focus on and the direction you will live your life…

If God takes care of this great big world, then He is going to take care of you! Just open your eyes and see all of the things God is taking care of. Look back on your own life and remind yourself of all the times God has taken care of you. Do you really think that the God Who has been taking care of you and seeing you through is going to stop? Of course not, we know better, but we often allow our minds to wander to the worst of places. Remember: God’s got me and I’ve got this!

Every now and then it is good to stop everything we are used to doing. Turn off all of the noise and take a few moments to sit in the still, quiet presence of the One Who brought us to the dance. Spending this time in God’s presence will help us to think about and remember what really matters. We need to Consider our investments! Your life and the way you spend it is an investment, so you need to ask yourself: Am I living a life of diminishing returns or am I living a life of blessing and growth? You were created for a life of blessing and growth. If worry does you no good, then why waste your time???

So remember: A good question to ask yourself is: How much is this going to cost me???