The Desert Comes Before the Promised Land

Posted: December 12th, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

 The Desert Comes Before the Promised Land

20 Days of Believing God (Day icon cool The Desert Comes Before the Promised Land

After Jesus was baptized we read, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.”

After Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus, he preached there, but then went into Arabia for several years. The origin of the word Arabia can also mean “desert.”

After Moses killed an Egyptian, he fled to the land of Midian where he stayed for 40 years. Midian? It’s right next to Arabia.

Before God led the Israelites into the Promised Land, Moses said to them:

“Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”  (Deuteronomy 8:2-3)

We know that after Jesus was in the desert for 40 days, He went on to call His first disciples and begin His public ministry.

After Paul’s season in the desert, he began his mission of taking the gospel to the Gentiles.

Moses spent 40 years in the desert before God called him back to Egypt to lead His people into the land He’d promised to them.

I don’t think Jesus, Paul, Moses or the nation of Israel loved the desert. I know I don’t. And I’m sure you don’t either. Unless of course, there’s a resort in the middle of it.

The desert is a prerequisite though. It’s a training ground for for whatever God is calling us to do next.

God is up to something in your life. He has you in the desert for a reason. He wants to reveal Himself to you. He wants to teach you. He wants to humble you. He wants you to know you don’t live on bread alone, but on every Word He speaks. He is the One who is causing you to hunger and He is the One who is feeding you.

The desert won’t last forever. God uses it for a season and then brings you into a land of fruitfulness. If you don’t experience the desert, then You will not be prepared for how He will bless you and use you in the future.

Hold on. Don’t quit. God is at work. He will lead you out at just the right time. Keep your eyes on Him and trust Him.

The desert comes before the Promised Land.


What Does God Want?

Posted: December 10th, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

 What Does God Want?

20 Days of Believing God (Day 6)

Last weekend, my right eye was watery and bloodshot. Then I felt a mild sore throat coming on. Then some congestion. And by Tuesday night, my eye was fine, but my throat was not. Mildly sore had become severely sore. I didn’t get much sleep that night and didn’t get much work done yesterday. Including a post for day 5 of our 20 Days of Believing God.

After a trip to my doctor, I’m already starting to feel better, but not getting a post done for your yesterday is probably a good reminder…

We can make all the plans we want, but we’re just not in control…and our plans are rarely, if ever, the point.

We can get frustrated when things don’t go our way, but maybe when they don’t, they’re actually going exactly as God intended. Maybe being sick when you feel like you can least afford it is God’s way of saying, “I’m not dependent on your work to meet your needs. I’ve already got this!” Or maybe, “Why don’t you slow down for a moment so you’ll hear My voice?”

I’m not saying God is going around making us sick, but I sure do believe He can use our sickness or failure or confusion to get through to us…if we’re open to Him.

So what’s not going right in your world today?

Did you oversleep and miss a meeting?

Open an email and discover you’re late on a payment?

Did your baby poop or throw up on you…right after getting both of you dressed?

Was it an argument with your spouse before you even had your first cup of coffee?

What’s confusing you or frustrating you today?

Whatever it is you’ve already faced, are facing now or will face later today…remember that the One who made you and loves you is never taken by surprise by your frustrating day, your messed up plans or the vomit stain on your shoulder.

So if God isn’t making all our plans succeed or making everyday go smoothly for us…let’s remember what’s really going on.

Let’s not lose sight of the simple fact that God wants you. Not your plans. Not your work. Not your promises to do better.

He wants YOU.

He desires you. He longs for you. He watches and waits for you. He enjoys the time you spend with Him. He loves it when you talk to Him while you drive or go for a walk. He delights in you. He enjoys you.

He didn’t make anyone else just like you. He wanted a unique relationship with YOU.

And He wants you to love Him and know Him. He likes it when you seek Him. He enjoys it when you believe Him…not your out-of-control circumstances.

And He invites you to experience Him and His rest today. Right now. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus said:

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

That’s a wonderful invitation, isn’t it?

But let’s not miss our part, because if we do, I’m afraid we never get to experience what He’s promising.

We must come to Him and take His yoke upon us. When we do, He promises rest, He promises to teach us and He promises to give us a light burden.

To experience all He has for us, we must say “no” to all the distractions, so we can say “yes” to time with Him. Time alone with Him in His word is what allows us to learn to think like Him, to see life like He does, to know Him better so we can trust Him more.

And then what a privilege to also take our heavy burdens and give them to Him. Our financial worries. Our health issues. Our broken relationships.

“Here, Jesus, I’ve been carrying these for too long. I really don’t think I can take another step with them.”

I will never suggest this easy. If you’re like me, you give your burdens to Jesus, but take them back when you don’t see Him doing anything with them. We can know He’ll do something with them…it just won’t look like what we would have done OR when! And we need to be okay with that, because what we get in return are peace and a light burden.

So what’s ONE thing you can do right now to intentionally come to Jesus and give Him your heavy burdens? If you have an accountability partner, talk about it together.

And I’ll see you tomorrow. I think. That’s the plan anyway.


What’s Shaking You Today?

Posted: December 8th, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

20 Days of Believing God (Day 4)

Do you ever latch onto a thought, run with it, play it over and over in your mind…and work yourself into a fit of worry? Or do you ever have a vague sense of anxiety, but you’re not sure why? You just know something feels off. You’re worried about something, but can’t even pinpoint what it is at the moment?

I do that. More than I’d care to admit.

In Isaiah 7, there are a couple enemy armies that are about to march against Jerusalem. When the people get word, it says they “were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.”

I snapped a picture looking out our front door during a thunderstorm one day. Do you ever feel like that? Shaken by some bad news, like a tree shaken by the wind?

dscn07481 300x225 Whats Shaking You Today?

I do. It happens when I allow an anxious thought, generated by my circumstances, to run loose in my mind. It doesn’t take long for my thoughts and emotions to feel whipped around like those trees in the picture.

God sees what’s happening, so He tells Isaiah to go to, Ahaz, the king, and say:

“Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood…”

Don’t you love that? The two enemy kings are nothing more than smoldering stubs of firewood to God. And if that’s what they are to Him, then that’s what they are to Ahaz and the people of Jerusalem.

God goes on to acknowledge these two kings have in fact plotted to capture Jerusalem, but then says:

“It will not take place, it will not happen.”

What hard, difficult, painful or confusing circumstances are you facing today? Have you allowed them to shake you?

I’m not suggesting we won’t face truly hard times. A job loss. Serious medical issues. Divorce. Rebellious children. Alcoholic parents. But remember, God sees. He knows what you’re facing. And as hard as your circumstances may be, they don’t have to shake you.

To God, your circumstances are a couple of smoldering pieces of firewood. He’s not shaken by them.

Don’t allow your thoughts, which fuel your emotions, to run loose. Remember what God said to Ahaz:

“It will not take place, it will not happen.”

Nothing will take place or happen to you that God does not allow. So you don’t need to worry about your circumstances spiraling out of control and becoming something you can’t handle.

Make the choice to believe God…not your circumstances, not what you see or feel.


What Do You Do When You Feel Like Quitting?

Posted: December 1st, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Before I get to the post, I want to let you know about my new video course, “How to Understand Your Spouse and Transform Your Marriage.” It’s on sale until the end of the week. I want to ask you to imagine what it would be like to wake up on Christmas morning, not only excited about family and presents, but knowing your marriage is better than it’s ever been and you’ve never been so in love with one another. I’ve put this course together to help you understand one another in a way that leads to seeing your marriage transformed in a short amount of time. Click here to check it out. Now on to the post…

Do you ever get to the point where you’ve had enough? I mean really had enough. Like you’ve given it your best shot, but it just didn’t work out?

Maybe you feel that way about your marriage. Or a relationship with one of your kids. Or someone you’ve been dating. Or the business you started.

And do you ever feel like you’ve given it your all, but God didn’t come through the way you thought He would? You did all you knew to do…worked hard, prayed even harder, walked by faith and anticipated God’s blessings.

And then you waited patiently. And you waited. And waited.

And you’re still waiting.

And have you ever looked around at others and wondered why things seem to be going so well for them? Why is God blessing them, but not you? They don’t seem to be smarter or more talented than you. They don’t even trust God the way you do.

And yet, they seem to be enjoying the success that keeps alluding you.

Now what?

What do you do when the doubt creeps in, the anxiety takes over and you feel like you’ve exhausted all your options? What do you do when quitting feels like your only choice?

I’ll be honest…I can relate to those feelings. And there are no easy answers to those questions.

In Lamentations 3, Jeremiah is recounting an awful time in his life. Click here to read the entire chapter. Here are verses 19 to 27:

19 The thought of my suffering and homelessness
is bitter beyond words.
20 I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.
21 Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:

22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”

25 The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.
26 So it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord.
27 And it is good for people to submit at an early age
to the yoke of his discipline

The chapter hinges on verse 21 which begins with that little three-letter word, “yet.”

Things are awful…yet.

You don’t know how you’re going to make it…yet.

You’ve never been this discouraged…yet.

You see no way things can get better…yet.

Yet you can still dare to hope. Why?

Because you remember His love never ends. His mercies never cease. His faithfulness is great. He is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him.

God sees you. Right now. In this very moment of fear and worry and anxiety. In this moment of disappointment and despair. He knows what you’re feeling. He understands your heartache.

He hasn’t forgotten you. He knows what He’s doing. The pain and confusion won’t be wasted.

Later in the chapter, Jeremiah says:

54 The water rose over my head,
and I cried out, “This is the end!”

(Can you relate?)

55 But I called on your name, Lord,
from deep within the pit.
56 You heard me when I cried, “Listen to my pleading!
Hear my cry for help!”
57 Yes, you came when I called;
you told me, “Do not fear.”

If it feels like the water is rising over your head and you’re deep within the pit…call out to Him again. Do it now. He’s listening.

I know it’s hard, but don’t give up. Don’t quit. Keep going. Keep crying out to Him.

And then listen as He whispers to you, “Do not fear.”


How Bad is it Really?

Posted: July 4th, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

How would you feel if you learned there was a meteor ten miles wide on a collision course with earth and scientists were predicting an almost 100% chance of a direct hit in three days that would essentially end life as we know it?

Or how would you feel if you worked for months and months on a political campaign and after the votes were counted, the candidate you worked so hard for lost?

Or how would you feel if when you went to work each day there was a group of people who did nothing but criticize and insult you and tell you your ideas were bad and your plans had no chance of success?

I can tell you how I’d feel. Scared. Discouraged. Anxious. Worried. Hopeless.

Now what if the calculations were wrong and the meteor was never on a collision course? What if you turned off the television before all the votes were counted and your candidate actually won? What if your idea was good and your plans were solid and you knew your competitor sent those people?

Here’s the problem…even if something isn’t true, if you believe it is, you will still be plagued by negative emotions. Reality may be very different than what you believe, but if you don’t know it, then you’re stuck believing a lie. The truth changes everything though.

Imagine the joy of learning the meteor is millions of miles away, your candidate won and your idea is so good you’re getting a promotion and a raise.

This morning, I read a passage in Ezekiel about false prophets. Here’s one of the verses that stuck out to me:

You have discouraged the righteous with your lies, but I didn’t want them to be sad. And you have encouraged the wicked by promising them life, even though they continue in their sins. (Ezekiel 13:22)

Then I read a passage in John 8 where Jesus is speaking of Satan:

He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.

And then I was reminded of the account in Nehemiah where they are working hard to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. Israel’s enemies are relentless in trying to discourage them from continuing the work. But Nehemiah says:

“There is no truth in any part of your story. You are making up the whole thing.” They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining that they could discourage us and stop the work. So I continued the work with even greater determination. (Nehemiah 6:8-9)

And finally, I thought about this verse:

We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one. (1 John 5:19)

So all of this got me thinking. What if things aren’t as bad as we think? Yeah, I know the world is a messed up, broken place, but what if there are many more people in the world who are working for what’s good and right than we think?

Could it be that a very small minority of well-placed people in influential positions could cause mass fear and discouragement? If you don’t think so, listen to a politician or just turn on the news.

I don’t mean to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but then again, maybe I do.

Conspiracy: an evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons; plot. A combination of persons for a secret, unlawful, or evil purpose.

Our enemy is evil and he’s a liar who works to discourage God’s people. If he can get us to believe we’re defeated…then we will be.

What if it’s time to start a movement of people who will choose to believe the truth and pray for truth to be revealed?

Would you be interested in being a part of it?

Let me know.

By the way, the wall around Jerusalem was rebuilt in 52 days.


Freak Out or Faith?

Posted: April 14th, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

 Freak Out or Faith?

How do you respond in a crisis? I don’t mean your first reaction. No one does well when the phone rings at 2:00 a.m. I’m talking about your second reaction. After you’ve had a little time to process.

Do you panic? Feel overwhelmed? Worry? Get anxious? Are you filled with fear? Or dread?

Or maybe you respond well. You pray, assess the situation and take action. Instead of fear, you respond with faith. You might feel powerless, but that drives you to pray.

How do you respond?

In Luke 8:22-56, there are a number of people who are facing a crisis of one kind or another. Some are in fear of their lives. Some are facing serious health issues. And it’s fascinating to see how they respond and then how Jesus responds to them. Click here to read the passage.

The first group of people we see are the disciples. They’re out on the lake in a boat when a fierce storm hits. The boat was filling with water and they were in real danger. How do they respond to the crisis?

They freak out by waking Jesus up and shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”

Jesus calms the storm and then asks, “Where is your faith?”

When they arrive at the other side of the lake, a demon-possessed man approaches Jesus just as He’s getting out of the boat. This guy was homeless, naked and had lived alone in the cemetery for a long time. The demons have a crisis on their hands. The Son of the Most High God has just shown up. How do they respond?

They freak out, too. They beg Jesus not to send them to the bottomless pit, but to instead allow them to go into a herd of pigs. Jesus gives them permission and they enter the pigs. The herd then rushes over a steep cliff into the lake and drowns.

The people of that region hear what has happened and rush out to Jesus. When they see the man who’d been demon-possessed sitting there, fully clothed and in his right mind, they face a crisis. Something powerful and mysterious has just occurred and they don’t understand it. How do they respond?

They freak out, of course. They’re afraid of Jesus and beg Him to leave. The one person who isn’t freaked out is the guy who’s been made well. He begs to go with Jesus, but Jesus tells him to go home to his family and tell them all God has done for him.

Jesus gets back in the boat and heads to the other side of the lake again. When He arrives crowds press around Him, including a guy named Jairus who’s 12-year-old daughter is dying. How does he respond to his crisis?

He believes Jesus can heal her begs Him to come with him. Jesus agrees to go with him, but then gets sidetracked by a woman in crisis. She’s been bleeding for twelve years without relief. Nothing she has tried has cured her. How does she respond?

She believes that if she can just touch the cloak Jesus is wearing, she’ll be healed. And she is. Jesus says, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

While Jesus is speaking with her, word comes to Jairus that his daughter has died. But Jesus says to him, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed.”

When Jesus arrives at his home, He tells the mourners to stop weeping because the little girl is only asleep. They all know she’s really dead and so they respond by laughing at Jesus. Of course, Jesus gets the last laugh when He brings her back to life.

Let’s recap…

The disciples face a crisis and freak out. Jesus asks them where there faith is.

The demons face a crisis and freak out because they know who Jesus really is. He exercises His authority over them and drives them out of the man, who is then healed and sane again.

The people of that region face a crisis and freak out in fear and beg Jesus to leave, which He does.

The man who was now free of the demons demonstrates faith by begging to go with Jesus.

The woman who’d been bleeding for twelve years faces a crisis and exercises her faith and experiences healing. She goes in peace.

Jairus faces a crisis when he realizes his daughter is dying. He has faith in Jesus and begs Him to come heal her, which He does.

The mourners face a crisis by laughing at Jesus. The gospel of Mark tells us Jesus made them leave the house before he raised the little girl to life. Could they have witnessed the miracle themselves if only they’d had faith like Jairus?

What’s your crisis today?

Is it financial? Health-related? A troubled marriage or relationship with a child? An issue at work? Maybe you’re overwhelmed by the state of the world.

You and I really have two choices. We can focus on the circumstances we’re in and freak out OR we can focus on Jesus, exercise faith in Him and experience His joy and peace.

I don’t know what Jesus will do in response to your faith. I wish I could tell you the crisis will be immediately resolved. That probably won’t happen. And I wish I could tell you it will be easy to focus on Jesus and trust Him. It won’t be.

Keeping your eyes on Jesus and trusting Him will require diligence. Your circumstances will cry out for your undivided attention. Whatever situation you’re in will feel more real than Jesus does.

But don’t give up. Make the choice to see your circumstances through the eyes of Jesus. Know beyond any doubt there’s nothing too hard for Him. Bring Jesus into the midst of your fears, worries and weaknesses. He sees. He understands. And He’s at work right now.


Worrying About Money

Posted: February 28th, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Do you? Worry about money, I mean.

I’ll confess that I do. I really try not to, but it’s an ongoing battle. It’s become harder recently since I was laid off in November. I got a month of severance pay and received my last paycheck on December 31st.

A few days ago, I was reading in Mark 12 where Jesus is asked about the greatest commandment. He said, “…you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.”

Part of loving God is loving Him with our minds.

This morning, I read Exodus 34:14, “You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you.”

Ponder that for a minute. His name is Jealous and He is jealous. About what? His relationship with you and me.

As I was praying, I watched as two birds landed on a light pole outside the window of my hotel. They kept looking up to the sky. It reminded me of Matthew 6…

24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

Several things hit me from that passage:

1. We can’t love and serve God and money. We have to choose.

2. I’m to be like the birds outside my window who weren’t worried about anything. They weren’t planting or harvesting. They didn’t even seem to mind the freezing drizzle.

3. Material needs “dominate the thoughts of unbelievers…”

So let me see if I can tie all this together…

The greatest commandment is to love God, which includes loving Him with my thoughts. He is jealous for me. He doesn’t want me to have any other gods before Him. I have to choose between loving and serving God or loving and serving money. And money and material needs dominate the thoughts of those who don’t know God.

So if my thoughts are dominated by thoughts about money, how can I also be loving God with my mind? Practically speaking, it’s like I’m denying He even exists when I worry. Why? Because He promises if I’ll seek first His Kingdom and live as He desires, He’ll meet my material needs.

How about you? Do you worry about money? Or about something else?

God is jealous for the attention you and I give to these other gods who can never satisfy us anyway. When we choose to take our focus off money and put it on Him, it’s one way that we can express our love for Him.

On the other hand, when we choose to worry, it’s like believing God cares more about birds and flowers than about us.


Does God Test Us?

Posted: January 31st, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

In Mark 6, a huge crowd has been following Jesus. It’s now late in the afternoon. His disciples come to Jesus and tell Him to send the people away so they can buy food at the nearby farms and villages.

Instead of doing that though, Jesus says, “You feed them.”

Naturally, the disciples ask, “With what?”

That would be my question. Some of us with an attitude might have said, “Seriously? Seriously, Jesus? Are you for real? Come on, there are thousands of people here.”

Jesus simply replies by asking, “How much bread do you have? Go and find out.”

When the disciples return, they report to Jesus they have five loaves of bread and two fish. So Jesus has everyone sit down in groups, He blesses the food and gives it to the disciples to distribute. There was so much food left over they filled twelve baskets. Mark tells us over five thousand men and their families were fed.

I don’t know how much time has passed, but in Mark 8 there’s another large crowd gathered around Jesus. This time, the disciples don’t approach Jesus with the problem, He calls them and says, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. If I send them home hungry, they will faint along the way. For some of them have come a long distance.”

I would have loved to be there to watch that scene play out. The circumstances are identical to last time. Large crowd. No food. What do we do?

It’s playing out like when a parent is helping a young child with homework. “Okay, let’s try it again. Two plus two equals…”

But the child isn’t quite catching on yet.

“Now think about it for second, if I have two apples and then I add two more…how many apples do I have?”

The parent stares hopefully at the child. The child stares cluelessly at the parent. The answer is so obvious. But still the child isn’t getting it. Like the disciples. Like you and me.

His disciples replied, “How are we supposed to find enough food to feed them out here in the wilderness?”

Apparently, they don’t remember how things worked the last time. Not one of the twelve thinks to say, “Hey Jesus, You don’t have to send them away hungry! I have an idea! Do that thing You did last time! Remember? Remember that time You made all that extra bread and fish? Just do that again.”

I don’t know about you, but I can’t be too hard on the disciples. I don’t remember things God does either. It’s like I’m Lucy in “50 First Dates.” God may have done something great for me yesterday or last week, but I don’t remember it. All I can see is the unmet need today and so I get worried and anxious.

If it was a test, the disciples didn’t do so well. They didn’t remember what Jesus had done in the past, so they didn’t see He could be counted on in the present.

As He did the previous time, Jesus asks, “How much bread do you have?”

This time they come up with seven loaves of bread and a few small fish. And as He’d done the last time, Jesus multiplies what they have and feeds the entire crowd of four thousand people. The disciples gather the leftovers and fill seven baskets this time.

Faith is a big deal to God. He wants to be trusted. He’s pleased by our faith. So don’t be surprised when tests come. Don’t get discouraged when the circumstances seem stacked against you and there’s no way out. God has been faithful in your past. He will be faithful in your present.

And He will be faithful in your future.


How to Believe God

Posted: January 21st, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Since I know many of you read these posts by email, you probably haven’t been to my actual blog site in awhile. If you are on the site right now, you’ll see that the sub-title to this blog is, “A continuing journey…”

And that’s what believing God is for me. A continuing journey. Some days I do better than others. Some hours I do better than others. Some minutes too. Maybe you find like I do that one minute you feel sure and confident in God’s promises and the next minute you feel like He doesn’t even understand what you’re going through.

What it really boils down to are my thoughts. My thoughts determine my feelings. They dictate how I respond to other people, to God and to life.

When I believe what’s true, I experience peace and joy regardless of what’s happening around me. When I believe what I see around me, I easily become anxious, worried and fearful.

My mind must be in a constant state of renewal. Otherwise, I will always default back to believing what I see, not what God says is true. That’s why there’s no substitute for regularly being in God’s word. In it, He reveals Himself, His purposes and His ways. He shows me what He’s like and what’s important to Him. He encourages me, corrects me and instructs me.

Several years ago, I put together an eBook called, “I Believe God: a 40-day adventure.” It’s meant to be used as a daily devotional to help you focus on what God says is true and enlarge your capacity to believe Him. If you’d like a copy, you can get it by clicking here. It’s available in multiple formats, so it’s easy to read on whatever device you have. The suggested price is 99 cents, but I’ve set it up so you can set your own price. You can even make it free if you want.

In addition to my mind being renewed, the other critical element to believing God is having the encouragement of others. There’s no way to make it alone. And not only do you and I need others, they need us, too. I know there have been times when I’ve been talking with a friend and I hear myself speaking truth. Sometimes hearing my own words reminds me I really believe what I’m saying.

So if you want to believe God in a greater way, let me suggest you grab a friend and go through the 40-day devotional together. Talk, text or email each other daily to encourage and pray for each other. Choose to intentionally believe God together for forty days and see what happens.

If you do it, I’d love to hear from you. You can email me here.


Do You Make This Serious Error?

Posted: January 19th, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

In Mark 12, some religious folks have come to Jesus to try and trap Him. These guys didn’t believe there was a resurrection. When you’re dead, that’s it, they said. No afterlife. So they come to Jesus with a question they think will trip him up.

They present this hypothetical situation where a woman gets married, but before she has a child, her husband dies. The law stated that the man’s brother should marry the woman, so the family name could be carried on. So she marries the brother. Well, before a child is born to the second brother, he also dies. And so does the third. And the fourth. And so on until all seven brothers are dead.

These religious leaders then ask Jesus this question: “Whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her.”

With that big set-up, I figure these guys had to be thinking, “Oh boy, we’ve got him now! There’s no way he can talk his way out of this one!”

Jesus replies with these words: “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.” He then goes on to explain how it is they’re wrong. And then He ends by saying, “You have made a serious error.”

I wonder if Jesus would say something similar to you and me. Like when we’re feeling anxious or worried. Or afraid. Or when we’re feeling angry or bitter or jealous or resentful. Or when we’re feeling discouraged and are losing hope.

Here’s what I do to get myself in trouble…

I see my circumstances. I analyze the situation. I can’t figure out how to fix whatever problem I’m facing. And so I get anxious. Then I usually analyze some more. But I still can’t fix the problem, so the worry and anxiety get stronger. Then fear creeps in. And if I let the process continue, I’ll sometimes end up with a migraine.

I don’t know if you’re like me, but praying doesn’t always help. And I think I know why. My prayers are usually so focused on the circumstances that I don’t allow God room to even get involved. I keep rehearsing the situation with Him over and over.

If I would listen more, I wonder if what I’d hear him say is: “Whoa! Gregg! Slow down a minute. Let me say something. Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know My power. Why don’t you dig into my Word and find out what I’ve already promised you and then believe Me?”

Could that be your mistake, too? Could you be too focused on what you see rather than what God says?

What circumstances are you facing today that are causing you to feel discouraged or worried or overwhelmed or angry?

Now do you know what God says about your circumstances? If not, then maybe your mistake is the same one I often make. We’ve forgotten what God has already revealed in His Word and we’ve forgotten His power.

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is 2 Peter 1:3-4, “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.”

God has (past tense!) given us everything (not just some things) we need for living a godly life. He has also given us great and precious promises that enable us to be more like Him. The religious leaders who came to Jesus had made a serious error because they didn’t know His power or the Scriptures.

You and I don’t have to make the same mistake.

Read on for a free offer…

If you’re married and would like a free copy of my latest book, “The Intimate Evening Planning Guide,” I’m offering it for free this week on Amazon. Click here to get your copy. This offer is good until Friday, January 23, 2015. If you like it, I’d really appreciate it if you left a review on Amazon. Also feel free to let your friends know.

One other thought related to marriage…if you feel like you and your spouse have drifted apart and no longer feel connected or if you’re “just stuck” and are having trouble moving forward in your relationship, let me encourage you to take advantage of my marriage coaching process. You can learn more by clicking here.

The Intimate Evening Planning Guide 231x300 Do You Make This Serious Error?