“Lift Your Eyes Up” by Dave Good

Good day!! Welcome back to another edition of the GSM blog. Once again my name is Dave Good, it is my honor to spend the next few minutes with you. I pray my words are a blessing and encouragement to you.

Today, I’d like to talk about the first week of advent. The first week of advent is marked by the lighting of a purple candle which is the candle of hope or the “prophecy candle.”  Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden, man has been in need of a Messiah. Our sins separate us from the presence of God.

At first, God gave us the sacrificial system in order to atone for our sins. The sacrifices were numerous and in many ways not sustainable. Thankfully we serve a God who had a solution from before the foundation of the earth.

I Peter 1:19-20 “but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you”God had a plan from the start.” (NKJV)

How did this plan manifest itself? I’m glad you asked. The hope of the Messiah was written in just about every book of the Old Testament. Everything written in the scriptures point to our need for a Savior.

“I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult.” (Numbers 24:17 NKJV)

What I want you to notice about this verse is the Star. The verse says a star shall come out of Jacob. This is a clear promise for the upcoming Messiah. Let’s fast forward several hundreds of year and turn to the story of the Magi. The gospel of Matthew tells us: “saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:2 NKJV)

How did the magi notice the star? I mean, if you look up at the sky on a clear night there are countless stars twinkling in the dark. The answer is pretty simple. First, they were well aware of the prophecy concerning the Messiah. Also, they must of made it a habit to observe the stardom on a nightly basis so they wouldn’t be caught off guard and miss His arrival.

The arrival of the Messiah in the form of a newborn baby lying in a manger happened some 2000 years ago. Each year we wait expectantly to celebrate His arrival. This year, I feel it’s not only important to celebrate the birth of the Messiah but also to search the sky for his second coming. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” (Acts of the Apostles 1:11 NLT) Did you catch that. The same why Jesus ascended into heaven is the same way he will return again.

My question to you is, “Are you searching the sky like the Magi? Are you watching intently for His return? Are you prepared for His return?” Those are crucial answers that need to be pondered.

Friends, as we draw closer to the birth of our Savior, let us not forget that his return may be just as close. I pray you take some time to examine your walk with the Lord and ask yourself, “Am I prepared to meet the King of Kings?” I pray you take the next couple of weeks and prepare yourself for His eventual coming. We don’t know when that time will come but if we prepare now we will allow the anticipation and excitement of his coming fill our hearts and lives today as we waiting expectantly for His return.

 

“Preparing Your Soul” by Dave Good

Good day!! Welcome back to another edition of the GSM blog. Once again, my name is Dave Good and it is my honor to spend the next few minutes with you.

Today, I would like to talk about preparing your soul for eternity. No one knows how long they will have on this earth. I’ve seen people live 100 plus years and I’ve seen some lose their life at a very young age. Some are taken in the blink of an eye, due to a tragic accident or sudden illness, while others pass away slowly after a long battle with cancer or some other fatal illness. The point I’m trying to make here is that we just don’t know when our time is up.

I believe we serve an extremely graceful God who gives us every opportunity to secure a place with Him in heaven. I think back to the criminal hanging on a cross next to Our Savior on Calvary.

“Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”” (Luke 23:39-43 NKJV)

While one criminal was mocking Jesus, the other criminal was able to see the truth. The criminals deserved to be put to death for the crimes they committed but Jesus did not deserve to die. The criminal’s declaration of his own sins and the realization of the injustice of Jesus’s innocence was the first step to securing his salvation.

If you put yourself in the criminal’s shoes you might be able to sort through his thoughts while hanging on a cross next to Jesus. The criminal knew what he did wrong. We are not told specifically in the story but you could imagine maybe murder, blasphemy, inciting a riot, or a threat to the powers to be, the truth is we just don’t know what he did. Whatever his crime was he deserved to be on that cross.

On the flip side, this criminal must have been aware of the life of Jesus. If you were living anywhere around Jerusalem, the works and miracles of Jesus were well known and talked about. The criminal must have figured things out as his life was hanging in the balance. He acknowledged Jesus and was offered salvation.

The reason I’m bringing this up to you today is because it’s never too late to secure your eternity. The criminal next to Jesus had only hours to live and I’m sure his life involved a lifetime of wrongdoings just like us. Jesus offered salvation at the very last minute and promised him a place in heaven. The only thing the criminal had to do was acknowledge and have faith in who Jesus was.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,” (Ephesians 2:8 NKJV)

Jesus offers us grace, despite all that we have done wrong, if we only have faith. We need to have faith that Jesus lived a sinless life, died on a cross, and rose from the dead three days later. He paid the price for our sins and restored us to the Father. There is no other way.

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NKJV)

Friends, I’m not sure what your past looks like or what sins you have committed over your lifetime but I’m here to tell you that it’s never too late to get right with God. If you put your faith in Our Savior he promises to meet us in paradise. I don’t know about you but that sounds good to me. Knowing I can spent eternity with the Father is the greatest gift he can give us. I urge you today, don’t put off your eternity. It’s never too late to accept the precious gift of salvation!

“I Can’t Wait!” by Dave Good

Good day! Welcome back to another edition of the GSM blog. Once again my name is Dave Good and it is my honor to spend the next few minutes with you. I hope my words are encouraging to you and move you closer to God

Today I would like to talk about the waiting game. No I’m not talking about waiting in the car while your wife is just running in for a few things. I want to talk about the “I can’t wait!” game. I think we all have said to ourselves, “I can’t wait for Christmas!”, “I can’t wait for my birthday!”, “I can’t wait to graduate!”, “I can’t wait to get married”, “I can’t wait to grow up!”, the list could go on and on. The “I can’t wait” statement is a phrase filled with excitement, expectancy, and hope. I would love for you to take a few minutes and ponder some of the things you have said it about in the past.

As I’m sitting here pondering about some other “I can’t wait!” statements that I’ve said, my thoughts began turn toward Jesus. When I look at the life of our Savior I try to imagine some of the phrases he would have used. Could He have said, “I can’t wait to be baptized!”, “I can’t wait to preach in my Father’s temple!”, “I can’t wait to select my disciples!”, “I can’t wait to heal the sick and give sight to the blind!” I can imagine Jesus saying that entire list and much more.

Despite all those positive and joyful intentions, I wonder if Jesus would have even dared to think about the ominous I can’t wait phrases. I’m referring to thoughts of “I can’t wait to spend 40 days and 40 nights in the desert being tempted by Satan”, “I can’t wait to be betrayed by my own disciple, Judas.”, or how about “I can’t wait to be beaten, scourged, and sentenced to death on a cross by Pontius Pilate.” Finally there was “I can’t wait to be hung on the cross, suffocating and bleeding to death for the world’s sins.”

After reading the list I just created I can’t help but try to wrap my head around the adversity and anguish Jesus had to endure for our sins. We put him on that cross. We sentenced him to death. Why in the world would he do that for sinners like us? The answer is actually quite simple. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13 NIV)

The “I can’t wait!” statements that Jesus must have said were based on the joy and hopes that came out of his suffering. Jesus knew that “I can’t wait to die on the cross” was only the prelude to “I can’t wait to rise on the third day!” Jesus knew the end of his suffering from the beginning. He knew his suffering and death would save his people from the consequences of their sins and give them eternal life, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”(Romans 6:23 NIV) Jesus endured all so we could spent eternity with Him. It was all worth it to Him.

Friends , I’ve said quite a few “I can’t wait!” statements in my life. Most of them were ushering in a new phase of life. Jesus did the same thing. His “I can’t wait!” statements ushered in eternal life for all those who believe. He wasn’t just thinking about the next few months or even the next few years, he had forever on His mind. Next time you think about your “I can’t waits!” keep your focus on a much larger outlook and you would be amazed how your perspective will change.

I hope my words are helpful and thought provoking. I appreciate your time and look forward to seeing you again next week.

“What Is Love?” By Dave Good

Good day! Welcome back to another edition of the GSM blog. It is my privilege to spend the next few minutes together and I pray you find my words are encouraging and bring you closer to God.

The English language does not give the word love its just due. In Greek the word love can we translated into 7 different meanings:

Today, I want to talk to you about love. If I asked you what the definition of love is I’m sure just about all of us will give a different answer. Some may say love is an emotion you feel towards your family. (i.e. I love my spouse or I love my kids). Others may define love as an attachment to a valuable object. (i.e. I love my dream car, I love my new house, or I love my new shoes). The reality is that we can love ourselves, we can love others, and we can love things.

  • Eros: romantic, passionate love. …
  • Philia: intimate, authentic friendship. …
  • Erotoropia or ludus: playful, flirtatious love. …
  • Storge: unconditional, familial love. …
  • Philautia: compassionate self-love. …
  • Pragma: committed, companionate love. …
  • Agápe: empathetic, universal love.

Such a simple word with so many meanings. No wonder this word is spoken so much and never really understood. I think the only way to settle this debate is to ask the only One that is defined as love—God himself.

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8 NIV)

God is love. Love is the basis of His character. His thoughts and actions are derived from love so who better to explain what love really is and He does just that through His Holy Word. If we take a look at Paul’s letter to The Corinthians we see other aspects of God’s love.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, 7 NIV)

When you take the time to slowly read those verses it can be both encouraging and convicting. God’s definition of love displays the attitude, posture, and actions involved in loving someone. To be honest, when I was reading those verses I was convicted that I am not loving others the way I should be. You see, many times I fall short in several aspects of this definition. I am not as patient as I should be. I can get a little envious sometimes. I can also be selfish and self seeking and geez I know we all keep a record of wrongs. I am just being honest with all of you. I am so grateful God gives us instructions on how to love better and I pray that each and everyone of you takes the time to examine the way you love others in the light of God’s definition.

I thank God for his all encompassing definition of love, but you know God is not just a God of instruction, He is also a God of action. I wil leave you with this last thought.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)

Not only does God explain to us how to love but He demonstrates love but sending His Son to die on a cross to save us from out sins.

Friends, it’s impossible to examine and define love in a one page blog. My hope today was to give you a few scriptures to point you in the direction of the author of love, God himself. I pray you take a few moments and think about how you love others. Where can you improve? Where can you get better and display the characteristics of God? The only way to truly understand love is to appreciate what God did for us on the cross and live a life that strives to bring Him glory.

Until next week

Blessings,

Dave

 

 

 

    

“Change Your Mind” by Dave Good

Good day!! Welcome back to another edition of the GSM blog. Once again my name is David Good. I am so excited to spend the next few minutes with you. I pray my words impact your life and bring you closer to God.

Today, I want to talk about changing your mind. For some of you I know changing your mind is easy. Heck, sometimes I change my mind several times just trying to order dinner. Seriously though, the type of change I’m talking about will change you entire life.

The change I’m talking about is about restoring, refreshing, and renewing your mind for good. In order to turn your life around it is important to renew and change your mind. Before I met Christ and allowed him into my life I talked like the world, I walked with the world, and I thought like the world. I just wanted to fit in, you know be cool, and be accepted by my friends and loved ones. This kind of thinking often led me into trouble, disappointment, and ultimately a feeling of emptiness. Once Christ entered my life and I started seeking him though my life and my mind started to change drastically.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV.

God instructs is to put off our old self, forget those old desires, and change our mind. This change leads to righteousness and holiness. Sounds pretty straightforward and simple to me. If I allow God to change my mind I will live a holier life.

This all sounds amazing but one question remains. How in the world can we change our minds like that? The answer is that you can’t do it by yourself. God and His Word has to play a vital part in your new mindset. I can honestly say that what I think about now is completely different than what I thought about even 10 years ago. Back then my mind was filled with worldly views and selfish and evil thoughts. My mind was a mess.

Thankfully when I accepted Christ he began a reconstruction project on my mind and attitude. His spirit filled my life with joy and love unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. That is when I fell in love with the Word. Taking the time to read my Bible and meditate on its verses and stories has changed my mind forever.

I fill my mind with Psalms of praise and Proverbs of wisdom and they have been pushing out the filth of my old mindset. The only way I can explain this is by giving you an example. Your mind is like a computer hard drive. It only has so much space to store data. If you fill up the hard drive with filth and a worldly mindset there is very little room for God. What the Word is capable of doing is rewriting the hard drive. The word washes over the filth and restores your mind with more Godly thought. After a while, and a lot of studying, your mind becomes renewed and changed for good

Friends, if there was one piece of advice I can give to you that will change your life it would be this: Read your Bible each and every day. Spend time reading, listening, and applying the Word of God to you life. God gave us the Word as an instruction guide to life. This book will change your mind and your life forever. It will change how you talk, how you walk, and most importantly how you think. My daily Bible reading has been one of the best habits I’ve ever started. If this Book can change a wretch like me I promise you it can do the same for you, all you have to do is open it and start reading.

I pray my words were a blessing and prompts you to change your mind for good. Until next time have a great week.

 

 

“Let Your Light Shine” by Dave Good

Happy Monday! Welcome back to another edition of the GSM blog. Once again, my name is Dave Good and it is my honor to spend the next few minutes with you. I pray my words are an encouragement to you as you deepen your walk with Our Lord.

Today, I want to talk about your light. No, I’m not talking about the light in your house that you always forget to turn off. I want to take about the light inside of you. You may have read that Jesus referred to himself as the light of the world, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5 NIV), but what does that even mean?

Well, the light refers to his nature, his presence, and his character. The way Jesus lived was unlike anything this world had ever seen. He lived a sinless life full of love, sacrifice, and compassion. Everything he did was geared towards loving others, helping the needy, and bringing glory to His Father in heaven. He modeled what it means to live for God and let your light shine before men.

The example of Jesus’s life is so valuable to each and everyone of us. In case you haven’t noticed, the world we live in is becoming darker and darker by the day. We have wars, rumors of wars, famines, crime, and economic hardships. When you focus on all the adversity in the world it is not hard to develop a feeling of hopelessness and despair. Now more than ever we need a source of light in the world.

So you may be asking yourself right about now, “What does this have to do with me? To be completely honest, this has everything to do with all of us. We have to be the light in this dark world. Our actions, our lives, our decisions have to shine a light everywhere we go. We have to use the example that Jesus displayed for us and influence the world around us. We have to live like Christ. Sure we are not perfect like Jesus but as Christians we have his Spirit living inside of us to help us. The Holy Spirit is our helper that aids us as we navigate this life

Did you know that light overcomes darkness? If you walk into a room with a flashlight the room gets lighter. The light doesn’t get darker. This is the same thing that happen when we enter a room. Our light should shine and illuminate the room. I know you are thinking you don’t glow or light up but that is where you are wrong. Your eyes, your smile, your whole appearance has the potential to change the room. Your words, your actions, and even your reactions can set the tone wherever you go. That is why it is so important to live in a Godly manner. We need to allow the light of Christ to shine through us each and every day.

The final question we have to ask ourselves today is this, “How can I let my light shine before men and bring glory to God?” The answer is actually pretty simple. In the Bible, Jesus gave us the two greatest commandments; “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31 NIV).

Loving your neighbor as yourself is pretty self explanatory. Treat those around you with love, respect, and honor. Put yourself in their shoes and treat them how you’d like to be treated. That is the easiest way to let your light shine.

Friends, I know there are days when we don’t always feel like letting our lights shine. There are days when the world seems to overshadow our best efforts to treat others with love. I know that we may not always get it right but we just have to try our best. We need to rely on the Holy Spirit and allow the example of Jesus to guide our decisions and actions. The more we fill ourselves with His Word and rely on His strength the brighter our lights will become.

I hope everyone has a great week and that you will let Christ’s light shine brightly through you!

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” ‭‭(Matthew‬ ‭5:14-16‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

 

 

“Praying the Psalter” by Pastor Randy

Yesterday my buddy Jack and I took a trip down to the Abbey of the Genesee. While there we observed two of the divine hours… Sext (Noon) and None (2pm) by joining the monks in chanting the chosen Psalms for that day.

It is one of my favorite things to do when I visit there and I even purchased a handwritten copy of the Psalter some years ago which I use when observing the hours.

So, in order to experience this a little yourself, my challenge for you is to choose a psalm, any psalm, and spend at least 10 minutes meditating on it either in silence or rhythmically reading it aloud.

Take notice of the words, the voice of the author, what images come into your mind, and what God might speaking to you through it.

Feel free to share any insights in the comments section. Happy Friday!!!

“Playbook of Life” by Dave Good

Good day!!  Welcome back to the GSM blog. My name is Dave Good and it is my honor to spend the next few minutes with you. I pray this blog is a blessing to you and brings you closer to God.  

Today, I want to speak to you about practice Most of you know that I am a huge sports fan. Over the years I have played and watched just about every sport there is. Growing up we used to play football in the street, pick up basketball, hockey in the school yard, and baseball in the empty field down the street. Sports allowed me to channel my competitive side and more importantly burn off some of my energy.

Sports have been such a blessing to me over the years. As I grow older the sports have changed a bit but they are still a part of my life. Gone are the days of football and basketball but I still enjoy biking, golf and going to the gym. I will be completely honest with you, I was never great at any sport but I was able to utilize my talents enough to not make a fool of myself. I was never the fastest guy or the strongest but I could understand the game and use my knowledge to overcome those shortcomings. This sounds like the movie, “Rudy.” If you haven’t watched that movie I encourage you to view it—you won’t be disappointed.

Through all my years of sports participation the one thing I’ve learned is that practice is essential to improvement. Any time you join a team, I don’t care what sport it is, the season always starts with a playbook and practice. In football, the playbook diagrams all the plays the offense or defense runs. In basketball the coach utilizes a magnetic board to demonstrate the player movements. In golf, the players carry around a book which contains yardages and club selections from the practice rounds. Every sport has some sort of playbook to help them be the best they can be and impart knowledge to the players.

Our life has a playbook too. It’s called God’s Word or the Bible. Reading your Bible will provide you with God’s playbook for our life. The Bible provides instructions, plays, and rules we need to play the game of life. I know, you are probably thinking that life is not a sport but I beg to disagree. The life we face has everything football, baseball, basketball, or any other sport would include. The are rules, momentum swings, adversities, competitiveness, and drama, all within one game.

The way we get better at life, and the ability to overcome and endure the adversity that is thrown our way, is to spend time practicing. Life practice involves reading our Bible each and every day. Just like an athlete trying to improve and make the team, understanding the Bible and spending time reading it is just like practice. The more you practice the better you get.

You can ask any professional athlete and they will tell you they have spent hundreds, if not thousands, of hours practicing and most of the time they are doing it by themselves. Whether it’s spending the time at the gym or running laps to improve their endurance, most of the time no one is around or even knows about the effort they are putting in. The same can be said about our walk with Jesus, our prayer time, and our Bible study. The Gospel of Matthew tells us in Matthew 6:6, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

The Word tells us that we should find a secret place to practice with our Bible. I can honestly tell you I’ve spent many , many hours in His Word. I love reading what God has to tell us. I love trying to understand His commands and rules. I love digesting the plays and directions he has written out for us. The Bible has taught me so much on how to play the game called life and not only endure it but to compete at a very high level.

Just like a professional athlete we never master the game. Sure, we will have days where we feel victorious or strong and there will be days when we feel defeated and worn out. The good news is that our practice and devotion to God’s word will give us the skills needed to stay in the game and fight to the end. The best part is that not only will will be more prepared but God will play the game with us.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”Deuteronomy 31:8

The truth is that we have the greatest teammate of all. The G.O.A.T. as they say playing along with us. The Lord, himself will coach us , instruct us, and participate along side of us each and every day.

Friends, I hope this analogy from the world of sports and the game of life is helpful. I cannot stress enough how important it is to read your Bible. We need to put in the work on a daily basis to understand His Word. And, if you do just that, I promise you that the practice will pay off and you will be equipped with all the skills necessary to play the game of life at a very high level.

God bless you and I look forward to spending more time with you next week.

“And the Greatest of These is Love – Part 2” by Dave Good

Happy Thursday!!! Welcome back to another edition of GSM’s “Refill with Randy” blog. My name is Dave Good and it is my honor to spend the next few minutes with you. This week, we are going to delve into part two of the greatest command. In case you missed last week’s post, I wrote about loving the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. (Feel free to pause and read it real quick) Jesus tells us the second greatest command is to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Once again, that doesn’t seem hard at all. The first question we have to answer is Who is my neighbor? The Pharisees asked Jesus that exact question and Jesus replied with the parable of the Good Samaritan. I encourage you to read Matthew 10:30-37 if you are not familiar with the story. If you just want the cliff notes version (kinda showing my age here if you know what cliff notes are lol.) Jesus tells the story of a man who is robbed and left for dead. A priest and a Levite pass right by him but a Samaritan, whom the Jews hated, cared and saved the man’s life. This parable kicked the Pharisees right in the gut for thinking they were better than everyone and overlooking the needs of others. Jesus goes on to say that the Samaritan loved his neighbor most of all.

The key to obeying the second command is putting others ahead of yourself. You are never too good, too busy, or too proud to help someone in need. Just think of all the people you come in contact with on a daily basis. Whether it’s the cashier at the coffee shop, your family and friends, the hostess at your favorite restaurant, fellow employees, or other church members, everyone has a need and these needs come in many forms. Someone may just need to talk and get a few things off their chest. Others may need help paying a Bill or making ends meet. Some might need help around the house. Needs come in many shapes and sizes and the key is to recognize and just be willing to fill the need.

Now some of you are probably saying, “I have enough to worry about in my own life, I don’t have time for everyone else. My grass needs cut. My bills need paid. I have to work full time. My kids need new clothes for school. My car needs to be inspected this month. I just have so much going on right now. I’m really busy.” Notice all those statements above have one word in common—MY.

My my my, there is a lot of me in those statements. I can honestly say I can relate to all of them. In fact, over my lifetime I have probably used each and every one of those excuses. Loving your neighbor requires us to put others ahead of your own agenda or needs. It involves seeing a need and finding a way to meet it. This is easier said than done but when we look to the example of Jesus it is easy to adjust our focus towards others.

The key to obeying the command to love your neighbor as yourself is to take the me out of the equation. Jesus gives us the perfect example and displays the perfect servitude mindset when he said the following “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

Friends, loving your neighbor involves putting others first. It involves finding a need and trying to fill it even when it’s not easy or convenient. Loving others takes sacrifice and intentionality. When we look at the sacrifices Jesus made in order to meet our needs our we see the bar set pretty high.

My ask for this week is simple. Find one way to love you neighbor as yourself. Find someone with a need and fill it. The need doesn’t have to be big and how you fill it doesn’t have to be time consuming but the important thing is that your act of kindness is intentional.

Until next time…

“And The Greatest Of These Is Love – Part 1” by Dave Good

Good day!! Welcome back to another edition of GSM’s “Refill with Randy” blog. Once again my name is Dave Good and it is my honor to spend the next few minutes with you. I pray my words will be a blessing and encouragement as you start your day.

Today, I would like to start a 2 part series on the greatest commandments. Jesus himself confirms to us the greatest commandments in Matthew 22:36-39 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

That sounds easy enough. I love how Jesus keeps simplifying things for us. At first God gave the Israelites some 600 plus laws to follow after He guided them out of Egypt. No one could uphold all those laws so God proceeds to give us the 10 commandments. Surely we can follow 10 simple rules, right? Once again 10 rules were too much for us to handle. So Jesus sums up our entire Christian walk in two commands: Love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself. How easy is that?

Let’s take a few minutes and dissect the first command, “Love your God with all you heart, all your soul, and all your mind”. That sounds easy enough. Don’t we all sit here and say, “I love God!” The clause to that whole statement is with All your whole heart, soul, and mind. This is the part that will separate His people from others.

We all love someone or something. There are just components to our life that occupy our love. For some it’s a spouse, a job, money, a reputation, or a car. For others it’s an addiction or a vice that steals our love away from God. I apologize if I’m getting a little personal but the hard truth is the only thing that opened my eyes. I will be honest and tell you that over my lifetime I think I’ve loved every example I listed. The good news I have to report is that my God slowly began shifting my attention to His love.

Over the years I have really begun to understand just how much God loves me. God has provided me with countless blessings and gifts. God has given me a beautiful family, a wonderful career, amazing friends, and He has showered me with more grace than I deserve. I haven’t even mentioned the most important gift of all which of course is the gift of sending His one and only Son, Jesus, to die for my sins. If all those blessings don’t make you appreciate and love God with all your heart, soul, and mind I would encourage you to spend some reflection time with God. Ask God to reveal just a portion of His love to you and you will soon realize that loving God back is the least we can do.

So the question is, “How exactly can I love the Lord with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind?”

I’m glad you asked. I have a few recommendations for you to explore. 

1. Spend time with God on a daily basis. Devoting time to reading your Bible along with a healthy prayer life will bring you closer to God.

2. Count your blessings. Take time to reflect on how good God has been to you. Make a list of the grace, mercy and favor God has bestowed on you over the years and it will illuminate Gods great love for you.

3. Evaluate how you spend your spare time. When you take a step back and examine how you utilize you time you might be surprised. How much time are we spending on our phones watching tv, or hobbies. You might be surprised how much time is given to those instead of your walk with God. Once you get a sense of where you spend your time ask God to help you reprioritize.

Friends, the true key to loving God begins with the recognition of how much God loves us. He loved us first and sent his son to save us from our sins. Living for Jesus and loving him with all your heart requires gratitude and purpose. As you grow closer and closer to Him it becomes easier and easier to love him with all your heart. This type of love doesn’t always happen overnight but will be the most rewarding decision of your life. 

Join me next week when we will visit the 2nd greatest command. Love thy neighbor as they self. Until then have a great week!

“It’s Time to Put God’s Plans First” by Dave Good

Good day!!! Welcome back to another edition of the GSM’s “Refill with Randy” blog. Once again my name is Dave Good and it’s my honor to share the next few minutes with you.

Today, I want to talk about God’s perfect timing. In Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 we learn that, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” (NIV)

If you take a minute and let those verses sink you I am confident you will discover that nothing is by accident. God has a timing for everything in our life. In Jeremiah 29:11 God says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I don’t know about you, but I had plans for my life. I had dreams I wanted to achieve and goals I wanted to accomplish. I call this Dave’s Plan. I pursued my plan for most of my earlier life and I am happy to report that I accomplished almost everything I set out to do. I am not boasting or bragging because it was only by the grace of God that I was able to do this. Despite all the good things I’ve done, God had bigger plans for me.

Almost 20 years ago, God took my dreams and shook them to the core. He flipped my world upside down and set me on another course. This is the period in my life that I accepted Christ as my Savior. My whole world was falling apart and God was in the process of rebuilding it back right. Since then, Jesus has captivated my life and instilled new dreams and new goals.

One of the dreams I have since been nurturing is to one day preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Early on in my life this dream was not even a consideration because I was too worried about starting a career, beginning a family, and buying a car, to worry about my relationship with Christ. Boy how my life has changed! God took my priorities and refocused them on Him instead of the world and I am so glad he did.

Over the years, I have had the privilege of serving God in many ways. I taught Sunday school to the kids, I’ve helped with Vacation Bible School, and most recently I’ve led Bible studies on Wednesday night. Sometimes I just shake my head when I think about how God is using me. I don’t deserve to be used like this, to be honest none of us do, but yet God’s amazing grace permits us to be useful.

When I look back on the twists and turns of my life I can start to see God’s Plan and not just Dave’s Plan. I also know that God had to clean me up quite a bit so that I could even become aware of God’s Plan for my life. Thankfully He has been refining my life, giving me knowledge and wisdom, and restoring my heart and mind to His standards ever since.

Friends, I am here today to tell you that God has a plan for each and everyone one of us. He has instilled dreams in our heart for His purpose. Those dreams will come true if they are a part of His Plans and not just ours. The only way to figure out those dreams are to abide in Him, following Him and His Word closely, and to prioritize His Will for our lives. Among other things we do this by spending time in prayer, searching His Word, and getting to know His Ways. All this won’t happen over night but, if we are faithful and consistent, He will turn His dreams into ours. Then when the time is right our dreams will come true and all for His glory.

I hope my words encourage you today to dream big and allow God to fulfill Your dreams

Until next time…

“Actions Speak Louder Than Words” by Dave Good

Good day!!! Welcome back to another edition of GSM’s “Refill with Randy” blog. Once again, my name is Dave Good. I am honored to spend the next few minutes with you. I pray my words will be a blessing to you and bring you closer to Christ.

Today I want to explore an old saying that most of you are probably familiar with. The saying goes like this, “Actions speak louder than words.” I am almost certain we all have either heard or even said this well known principle of life. When you take a few moments and really examine the meaning of this phrase you can see the truth in it. Although this phrase is not biblical I really believe that God wants us all to live by its standards. We can find similar phrasing in Scripture though like in 1 John 3:18 where the author writes, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

I don’t know about you but this saying speaks volume to me. I am guilty of not upholding the standard we just read. I have made promises or said things that I did not follow through with. I had good intentions when I said the words, but I failed to deliver on the promise. This realization drives me to want to do better and I will definitely use it as motivation to do so.

The encouraging part of my downfall is that we serve a God that never fails on His words. If God promises to do something it is done. He will never go back on His word. The Lord models what it truly means to let your actions speak louder than words. The Bible is full of God telling us He loves us. Over and over again, God reminds his people that He loves them and will protect them. I have told a lot of people I love them but do I always show them I love them? The answer is no. I often fall short on showing my love with action. God, on the other hand, displays His love with the ultimate action. God sent his only Son, Jesus, to die on a cross for our sins. If that doesn’t show you God loves you I don’t know what will. We serve a God of action—not just words.

God is also a God of promises. He not only tells you His promises but He actually keeps them. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)

Friends, we may never to be able to keep every promise that we make or be able to consistently show our love like we should but with Gods as our role model good thing is God is our role model we can learn to live out our love, keep our promises, and allow our actions to speak louder than ever before. The only thing we can do is strive to be better. Strive to be more consistent. Strive to be more like the example God has modeled for us. This is not easy and we won’t always get it right but the closer we walk with God the more our actions will speak louder than words.

Have a great week I look forward to connecting with you again!

“Take Up Your Cross Daily” by Dave Good

Good morning and welcome back to another edition of GSM’s “Refill with Randy” Blog!

Today, I would like to spend a few moments talking about the decisions we make on a daily basis. Throughout your day you will be faced with hundreds, if not thousands, of decisions to make. Some may be easy, like what time I have to get up and get ready for work. If you are like me you probably have that down to the minute. Other decisions will be harder. For instance, what am I going to wear or what do you want for dinner? ( By the way, I hate that question. Lol) Some questions are more important than others. What do you want to be when you grow up or what college will you attend? There is always the most important question of all. Do you believe in Jesus Christ? As you can see, just a few examples of the decisions we face can have a drastic impact on our life.

Jesus, himself had to face many decisions while on Earth . He had to decide what to wear, what to eat, and where to go. He walked this earth and faced challenges every day just like us. The only difference was that Jesus navigated this world without making a poor decision and without sinning. Unfortunately, we will never be able to achieve the same perfection on our own. We live in a fallen world and perfection is impossible without Christ. The Bible tells us, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” (Romans 3:10) We may never obtain righteousness here on earth but it shouldn’t stop us from trying. So the question remains, how do we strive towards righteousness and make good decisions?

For that answer we must turn to The Word. “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Matthew‬ ‭16:24‬) ‬‬Take a minute and let that sink in. Jesus, himself said, if you want to be my disciple you must deny yourself and take up your cross and follow me. What you just read is a truth that will transform your life. ‬‬‬‬

When I read a rather complex and powerful statement. I like to break it down into smaller more understandable concepts.

The first command is to deny yourself. In other words, it’s not about you. The world doesn’t revolve around you and you cannot have or do whatever you want. Living as Jesus did requires you to live selflessly and put the needs of others before you.

Next, Jesus tells us to take up our cross. The cross is not the same cross he died on. The cross is a symbol of the responsibility and life that is entrusted to us. I don’t think I have to remind you that this life is not easy. Life is full of ups and downs and adversity. We must live responsibility each and every day. It’s not easy but the cross of life is something God gives us the strength to endure.

The final piece of this verse is To follow me. This command is the easiest to understand. Jesus wants us to follow his lead. He wants us to live a life that He first modeled for us. Jesus spent his life loving, helping, and taking care of others. If we are going to follow Him, it is essential that we live that same way.

Friends, our Christian walk is not easy. We must decide each and every day who we are going to follow. Are we going to follow ourselves and live our way or will we follow Jesus? We need to make that decision daily. The good news is that Jesus has already set the example as to how to live life. Jesus would never expect you to do anything that He hasn’t done first. I hope my words are encouraging and bring you closer to God. I look forward to seeing you next week.

“A Long Look in the Mirror” by Dave Good

Happy Monday! Welcome back to another edition of GSM’s “Refill with Randy” Blog. Once again my name is Dave Good and I am honored to spend the next few minutes with you. I pray my words are encouraging and have a profound impact on your Christian walk.

Today, I want to talk about something that we do every day. It’s a really simple thing to do, yet it can have a dramatic impact on your life. It’s really so easy, everyone can do it. What I’m talking about is looking in the mirror. I can hear the “come on Dave’s” already. You are probably saying, I look in the mirror all the time and other than admiring my hair, how is that going to change my life?

I’m not just talking about the glance in the mirror to wash your face or, for you ladies out there, apply your makeup. I’m talking about taking a long look deep into your soul. Here is where the complete honesty comes in. There were many times in my life when I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. There were periods in my life when I suffered from low self esteem. I remember growing up and going through my teenage, brace wearing, new glasses, acne faced phase and really thinking, “Dave you are a mess and pretty ugly”.

I also recall times of shame and regret. Have you ever sinned or done something you weren’t proud of and then tried to look at yourself in the mirror the next morning. I can honestly say that I’ve had that feeling too many times. I’m talking about the not even looking at yourself when you are brushing you teeth kind of guilt and shame.

Taking a long stare at yourself in the mirror is one of the most revealing things we can do. According to William Shakespeare, “Eyes are the window to the soul.” Jesus tells us that, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew‬ ‭6:22-23‬ ‭NIV‬‬) Our eyes are so important to our health and outlook. ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

So the next question is, “How can looking in the mirror improve my Christian walk?”

  1. It allows you to be completely honest with yourself. We need to take the time to examine our lives, admit our flaws, repent of our sins, and expose our shortcomings. A mirror doesn’t hide our flaws, it exposes them, and when we get to the point where we can work on those flaws and repent of those sins our reflection will look so much better.
  2. It challenges you to want to be better. When you take a long look in the mirror it can often drives you to clean up our act. No one wants to look at themselves with a mess on their face, if you see something you would to wash it off. Your life and soul are no different. The mirror will force you to clean up your act.
  3. In order to see yourself clearly in the mirror, you must have a good light. The light of our soul is Christ. The more we allow Christ into our life the brighter our light is. Working on your closeness with God will always allow His radiance to shine through you.

Friends, I understand that taking a good hard look at your life may be difficult but I promise you it’s worth it. I’ve spent too many years with the wrong perception of my self, living under the guilt and shame from my mistakes. I am here today to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way forever. God created each and every one of you in His image. If you are willing to work on your problems and be honest with yourself, your reflection will become closer and closer to image that God created. I pray these words are impactful to you and I look forward to our time next week.

“The Race of Life” by Dave Good

Good day!! Welcome back to another edition of the GSM blog. My name is Dave Good. I am excited about our time together. I pray my words are a blessing and bring you closer to God.

Last week, I wrote a blog called,”Who do you run to?” If you missed it I encourage you to take a minute and read it. The gist of it was that we all have someone or something we run to when things start to fall apart. We should be running to God, but that’s easier said than done. I am not going to go over all the details here (you can still access that post) I just wanted to set the foundation for what we are going to talk about today.

A few weeks ago, I decided to start running again and I signed up to run the Albion Strawberry Festival 5K. It’s a 3.1 mile race that winds through the village of Albion and down the Erie Canal. The course is fairly flat and very scenic. I have run it a hundred times over the years so I’m quite familiar with the terrain. To be completely honest with you, I haven’t really run in a few years and getting back into shape has been quite the challenge. The last time I ran this race was 2018 which was before the pandemic.

As I started my training, I decided to test my endurance right of the bat and just run as long as I could without stopping. The good news was I was able to run the full 3.1 miles without stopping. The bad news was I was so sore the next 3 days that I could barely walk. (All I can say is this getting old thing is not fun. Lol) My first run gave me a lot of confidence that I could complete the race, it also reminded me I have a long way to go. My next run didn’t go so well. I started out really fast and ran out of breath quickly and before I finished the course I had to stop and walk 3 separate times. I’ve gone out a few more times and I’m happy to report that I’m making strides. I have been able to run longer and faster and only have to stop 2 times lol. I’m getting there, I know in my heart I will be ready for the start of the race.

Now, you are probably thinking what does this have to do with my Christian walk? Our Christian walk is like a race. Hebrews 12:1 tells us, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Each and every one of us has a course for our life God has planned for us. Some people call it destiny, I like to call it’s God’s plan for our life. God created us to run a specific journey on this earth. The good news is we know where the finish line is and that is life eternal with God himself. The problem is that trying to get to the finish line is not as easy as it seems

We all have hindrances that weigh us down throughout the race. It could be the sin or addiction we can’t shake, the anxiety and fear that consumes our minds, or the problems and issues of this world that seem to come at us from all directions. Our race of life is often filled with stuff that slows us down.

I am here today to tell you to just keep going. Keep your eyes on the finish line. Paul tells us, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
‭(Philippians‬ ‭3:14‬)
The course of life may be full of hills, obstacles, and long distances but God will be with you the entire time. He is faithful and will spur you on at times towards the finish line. He will point you in the right direction and sometimes even carry you up the hill. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy‬ ‭31:8‬) That is the God I serve. ‬‬‬‬

The last point I want to make before I wrap this up is simply this: it’s ok to stop or slow down when you are out of breath. There are times in training or even in a race when you are just too tired to keep going and you have to just slow down and catch your breath. It’s OK to slow down and recover. Maybe you just need to take a day to relax, maybe you need to just spend the day reading or being still and allow yourself to be restored so that you can continue your race.

Friends, I could go on and on about what running has taught me over the years. I have learned so much about myself, my strengths and my limitations. The race we are running is not easy, it’s long and difficult. Always keep your eye on the finish line and let God run with you. He knows the way and He knows the pace we need to run to get there.

Have yourself a great week!
‭‭‬‬

“Who Do You Run To?” By Dave Good

Good day!!! Welcome back to another edition of GSM’s “Refill with Randy” blog. Once again, my name is Dave Good and I am really excited to spend the next few minutes with you. I pray my words are a blessing and that they can help bring you closer to God.

Today, we are going to have a very practical and revealing discussion. I have a question for you. Who or what do you run to when things turn for the worse? I want you to think about that question for a minute. The answer may surprise you.

When I asked myself this question, I would appropriately tell you I turn to God when things get tough. You are probably sitting there saying to yourself, that is the correct answer. Then if I sit and think about it, maybe it’s not always God. Other appropriate answer would include: I call my spouse, I call my parents, I call my best friend, or maybe it’s a brother or sister. Again, all of those are great answers and would definitely help you cope when life throws you a curve ball.

Now is the time to get brutally honest and hopefully address a situation that could be a hindrance to your Christian walk. What if I asked you the same question again and you answered with things like this: I grab a bottle of wine and drink my tears away, I get really angry and start throwing things or punching walls, I turn my computer on and visit sites I shouldn’t just to dull the pain, or maybe you just get in your head and scream at anyone you run into. I am sorry if it seems like I’m being harsh but I am just keeping it completely transparent right now.

You see, when we are facing with trials and tribulations we have a lot of options in which we can choose to handle the situation. Some are good and some are bad. The whole purpose of this entry is that I want you to really think about how you deal with adversity. Confession… ALL of the above answers were in reality my own answers at certain points in my life. I covered just about every approach in the past. I can also sit here and say that the first answer works the best. I know you are probably thinking, God doesn’t always answer my prayers and my situation has gotten better. You may also tell me that God takes too long and that you need to figure this problem out right now. I completely understand where you are coming from. God doesn’t always resolve the situation right away but I can also assure you that His solution will be best.

When we take matters into our own hands we often create more of a mess and I won’t even bring up the hangover the next morning or the busted wall that needs fixed. Even if we confide in a loved one or a trusted friend they may not give you the best advice. I’m not saying never talk it over with others, I just want you to be mindful of the limitations of human guidance. We are all flawed and I can assure you I’ve given advice that may not have been the best. I didn’t do it intentionally but it was based on my limited understanding and not the eternal wisdom that only God can offer us.

As I wrap this up I would like to share with you some strategies I have found useful in dealing with adversity.

  1. Always take a minute and pray. We serve a God that is always there for us. All you have to do is talk to Him. Tell God how you are feeling and ask Him to help you sort things out.
  2. Open your Bible and search the scriptures for guidance. So many times the best advice has already been written in the pages of His Word.
  3. Take a deep breath and regain your sound mind. A lot of times problems can really disrupt our spirit. We get angry, confused, and at times our emotions may run wild. If you take a minute just to calm down and refocus you will realize that a clearer head can help reveal a proper reaction.
  4. Talk to a trusted family member, friend, or your pastor. After you have spent some time with God and regained your composure a conversation with a loved one can clarify the situation. Just make sure their response is in line with God’s Word and answer.

Friends, I hope this entry is helpful to you. I confess that I have not always attacked a problem correctly, I am not perfect and I don’t have this life all figured out, but I can tell you that over the years and many failures I have learned to trust God to guide me out of many situations. Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself. He is faithful and will never steer you wrong

Until next time have a great rest of your week!

“I Surrender All” by Dave Good

What’s it going to take? That’s the question I want to address today.

What is it going to take for you to finally turn your life over to God? Now some of you are going to say, “What are you talking about Dave? I accepted Christ years ago and turned my life over then.” If that is the case, I applaud you. However, just because you accepted Christ doesn’t mean you surrendered your life to Him. There are a lot of saved Christians who are still at the wheel and control of their life. I am one of them. I accepted Christ almost 20 years ago, yet there are still areas of my life that I still hold onto. I hold on to my financial situation, I hold on to my use of free time and pleasure, and I hold on to my decision making. In many ways I am still in control.

One of the scariest things in life is to be out of control. Ironically, a lot of us are out of control and don’t even know it. We go about our daily life, tackle all the problems that arise, and make it through the day. We head home, try to get some rest, and do it all again tomorrow. Does this sound familiar? I get the chance to interact with hundreds of people every day, as a pharmacist and one of my favorite things to do is ask someone, “How are you doing?” It’s a simple question and I get answers like: “Living the dream”, “Pretty good”, “OK”, or my personal favorite, “So far so good”. All of these are good answers but do they sound like the truth?

The majority of time we put on our happy face and bare and grin it. I don’t believe that is what God had in mind for our lives when He created us. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us God has a plan for our life, a plan for us to thrive and conquer this life. I do not believe God created us to just make it through the day. That is why it is so important to hand over our life to His plan. His plan is a promise, we can trust Him with our life. He will never let us down or forsake us. The one who created you will put you in a career that you were created for. He will put you in a relationship that he intended you to be in. He will provide for you on a daily basis. These are all promises which God can not fail to fulfill. The problems come when our own control based decisions influence His plan for our life.

So the question arises, “How do I surrender my life fully to Jesus? “ I can honestly say that I don’t have the exact answer to that question except to say that you just have to take it one day at a time. Every day we have hundreds of decisions to make, right? How you make those decisions determines who is in control of your life. If you make snap decisions and just do what you feel is right then that is a self controlled mindset. My recommendation to you is pretty simple, when you are faced with decisions, whether big or small, prayerfully ask God for guidance and discernment. Now you may wonder how how you could say a prayer and wait for an answer when a decision needs to be made quickly? In those situations we rely on what we have already learned from reading His Word and trust that The Holy Spirit, aka The Helper, will guide us daily. That little small voice that nudges you while you make decisions, that is God’s way of prompting us to make right decisions on a daily basis. We just have to listen and obey.

Friends, I don’t even pretend to have all the answers. My life is not perfect and I haven’t always make the best decisions. I have learned over the years though that my best decisions have been made when I have gone to God in prayer or heeded to The Holy Spirit’s still, voice. God will always point you in the right direction. He will always guide you along His will for your life. The more decisions you make according to God’s plan the more you surrender your life to Christ. Surrendering to God is a daily choice but it is also the wisest choice

Thank you for you time. I look forward to the next time. Have a great rest of the week and may God bless you!

“Thanking God for Your Miracle” by Dave Good

Welcome back to another edition of the Refill with Randy blog. My name once again is Dave Good. I pray that the message God has imprinted on my heart will be a blessing to you.

Today, I’d like to talk about miracles. The first question I have to ask is, “Do you believe in miracles? “ I hope your answer is yes! I am a big believer in miracles. I have seen God do some amazing things. I’ve seen family members healed, I’ve seen people set free from addictions and bondage, I’ve seen money and blessings from out of nowhere. These are just a few examples of the many ways God has touched my life and the love ones around me. Now you may be sitting there thinking to yourself “That’s all good but how do you explain a miracle?”

I’m glad you asked that question. A miracle, according to the dictionary, is an event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God.

A miracle simply put is something you really can’t explain. It can only be explained as an act of God. 

I’d like for you to let that definition soak in for a minute and take a moment to think back at a time in your life when something happened that you really can’t explain. Maybe it’s surviving an accident that you don’t know how you did. Maybe it’s landing a job which you weren’t really qualified for. Maybe it’s a check in the mail that you weren’t expecting which came at just the right time so that you could keep the lights on. My friends this is a short list but they are all examples of what I would consider a miracle. I’m telling you right now, we have all experienced a miracle at one time or another.

Just writing this has caused a flood of miracles to rush into my memory. Over the years God has been so good to me. Thank you Jesus!!!

So how do miracles happen? In order to answer that question we have to look at the master of miracles himself—Jesus Christ. If you’ve spent any time in the Bible, and even if you haven’t, I’m sure that you are aware of at least a few of the miracles he performed during his time on earth. There was the feeding of thousands with just a few fish or loaves. There were the countless accounts of him healing of the deaf, blind, and lame. How did Jesus solidify these miracles?

I believe there are two essential elements of a miracle. 

1. Faith…. You’ve got to have faith ( ugh side note – as soon as I wrote that I suddenly heard George Michaels in my head. So of you may know what I’m talking about lol) Anyway, miracles have to be based in faith. Mark 5:34. Matthew 15:28, Matthew 9:29, speak to this just to name a few. The miracles were performed for each and every example listed because of the great faith in the power of Jesus.

2. Prayer… it is important to pray and ask God for your miracle. One of the clearest examples of the need for prayer comes when the disciples were unable to free the boy from the unclean spirit. The story can be found in Mark 9:14-29. The disciples couldn’t free the boy so then sought Jesus to perform the miracle. Jesus later shared with his disciples that this kind of unclean spirit can only come out with prayer.

3. Thanksgiving… No I’m not talking about turkey here. I’m talking about giving thanks to God for what He is about to do. Jesus displayed this essential part of a miracle multiple times in the Bible, most prominently in the feeding of the multitudes from Matthew 15:36 and Mark 6:41. Jesus took the tiny fish or the loaves of bread and first thing he did each time was “give thanks”. He gave thanks to His Father in Heaven for what he was about to do. All miracles need to start with a grateful heart and an anticipatory spirit.

Friends, I don’t know if any of you out there are waiting for your miracle but I pray that what I have shared might help you. Anytime you put faith, prayer, and thanks all together I know something miraculous is going to happen.

Thank you for your time, I pray my words are a blessing and allow you to uncover even more miracles in life. I look forward to seeing you next week.

“Spring Cleaning” by Dave Good

Good day!! Welcome back to another edition of the Refill with Randy Blog. My name is Dave Good and I pray that my words will be an encouragement to you and add some blessing to your life.

Today, I’d like to talk about spring cleaning. I know most of you are probably going to say, I hate cleaning. Lol. I know this isn’t the best topic but I think you will find out it can be a rewarding experience. I would have to say spring is one of my favorite times of the year. If you take a few moments and look around you will soon see signs of life everywhere. The weather is starting to get warmer, the trees are starting to bud, flowers are emerging from their winter slumber, and the grass is turning a vivid shade of green. The world is starting to awake from the long winter hibernation. To me, this is an exciting time of the year. 

Spring is also the perfect time to do some cleaning and evaluation. One of the first projects I do each spring is get the garage and mower ready for the work that lies ahead. The mower oil and blades need to be changed, the porch and garage need swept and organized. There is work to be done all around the house. I know right now you are probably thinking what does all of this have to do with my Christian walk and ministry? I’m glad you asked.

Spring is a time of new growth, reorganization, and new life. I really think our Christian walk could use a season of new growth, reorganization, and new life too. I am not here to throw stones or point fingers but I really think if we are honest with ourselves, we would all agree. I can only speak for myself but I love the idea of breathing new life in my walk. A lot of the time we can get stuck in a bit of a routine or a rut. So the next question we need to ask is what are some of the ways we can grow and mature spiritually this spring?

1. Spend more time in The Word. One of the easiest ways to grow spiritually is to read your Bible more. I don’t care how long or how many times you’ve read the Bible, it will always speak to you in new ways. The Bible is God’s Living Word and you will never master the depth of it so keep reading it and rereading it.

2. Start a devotional. Another way to grow close to God is through the reading of devotionals. Pastor Randy and I have completed many devotionals together using the YouVersion Bible app. It is a wonderful tool to not only deepen your scripture reading but it also helps with accountability. I encourage you to take a look at it if you haven’t already.

3. Spring clean your daily routine. Since the topic of this entry is all about spring cleaning, I think this is a perfect time to take a look at our daily routine and get rid of some of the clutter. I encourage you to take a look at how you are using your time. How much time are you spending with the Lord? How much time are you spending on social media? How much time are you working ? How much time are you relaxing? All of this is important for a well rounded life yet, like everything else, it must be done in proportion. If we are spending too much time in any one of the list above our life could be out of balance and could lead to problems down the road. Spring is the perfect time to reorganize our daily routine to ensure a balanced daily walk.

Friends, Spring is the perfect time of year to fine tune our lives. Spring is a time of rebirth and I hope you seize the opportunity to breathe some fresh life into you walk with Jesus. I will never claim to have all the answers. I will never claim to know it all. The one thing I will tell you is that over the years I’ve used some of these things to deepen my own relationship with Jesus. I can assure you they are helpful because I’ve seen the fruits of it in my own life and I pray that you will too.

“Jesus is Bad for Business” by Dave Good

Good morning!!! Welcome back to another edition of GSM’s “Refill with Randy” Blog. It’s my honor to spend the next few minutes with you. I hope my words are a blessing and bring you closer to the Lord.

Today, I’d like to talk about what happened after Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. The gospels of Matthew and Mark give us a few clues of what Jesus did once he was paraded into Jerusalem. In Mark 11:15-18 it says..,

“When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” When the leading priests and teachers of religious law heard what Jesus had done, they began planning how to kill him. But they were afraid of him because the people were so amazed at his teaching.” (NLT‬‬)

When I reflect on the actions of Jesus in the temple I am reminded of the threat Jesus posed to the Jewish leaders. Jesus was truly bad for business. He shined a bright light on the corruption of the Temple and shrewd business practices of the moneychangers and sacrifice vendors. Jesus was disrupting the flow of money into the Religious Leaders pockets and he also seized the power and status from them. Jesus repeatedly called the Temple, “His Father’s House”, completely contradicting the claim of the Elders as rulers and managers of the Temple. In other words, it’s like walking into a store and dealing with the manager who thought he had the final say but the owner walks in and completely overturns the decision. Jesus put His full authority on display and there was nothing they could do about it. Once again, Jesus was bad for business.

This response of the Jewish leaders to the threat and authority of Jesus was simple. They plotted to eliminate him. Over the next few days, the urgency to kill Jesus escalated tremendously. This really was the last straw that sealed the fate of Jesus. A few days from now they would succeed by nailing him to the cross.

As I am sitting here reflecting on the actions of Jesus, I am convinced that this story is just as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago. Today, Jesus is still bad for business in a way. How many people are offended by the name Jesus? How many businesses are avoided because they bare a Christian focus? How many conversations are avoided when the name of Jesus enters it? How many friendships are altered when Jesus enters into someone’s life? These are just a few examples of the impact Jesus has on the world today.

Friends, as we continue our journey through Holy Week, let us hold on to the authority and power of Jesus. To the world, Jesus is a threat. He is bad for the schemes of this world. I am here to tell you today that doing business with Jesus and modeling your life after His example will have a remarkable effect on your life. Jesus came to die and save us from the punishment of our sins but he didn’t come to be a friend of the world. Yes, Jesus may be bad for business… but he is great for our life.

“Body, Mind, and Soul” by Dave Good

Welcome back to another edition of GSM’s “Refill with Randy” blog. I am so glad you are here today. If this is your first time, welcome! I hope you continue to follow us as we scatter words of hope to all of you. My name is Dave Good and I am honored to share the next few minutes with you.

Today, I’d like to discussed your triunity. You are probably thinking, “Come on Dave, that’s a big word, what in the world are you talking about?” I am so glad you asked. I think we all have heard that Our God is a triune being. He is God the father, God the Son, and God the Spirit all in one. Many people refer to this as the Trinity. Let’s take it one step further and remember that we were created in God’s Image (Genesis 1:27). God created us with a body, mind , and soul. So we are also triune in nature. Today we will discuss how we are to take care of each one.

The first part of us is our body. Your body is your physical appearance and structure. You know… your arms, legs, face, and torso which, if you are anything like me, has the tendency to keep expanding. Go ahead and look back at an old photo and see how much you have changed over the years. Your body, once you get past your youthful prime, is on a constant decline through the years (I’m getting a little depressed just writing this). Anyway, we need to take care of our bodies the best we can. Our God created us to take care of this temple that houses our mind and soul. We should participate in regular exercise, eat right, and not abuse ourselves with any substance that could harm us such as smoking, drugs, or too much alcohol. I know this is getting touchy but I want you all to live your best life.

The second part of us is our mind. The mind is where our thinking takes place, decision are made, and it is the source of our intelligence, and, just like with our physical bodies, our minds also need to be nurtured, taken care of, and developed. I know some of you may be saying hey Dave I’m pretty smart I went to college. Others may be saying I’m not too smart and didn’t do well in school so not much I can do. I’m here to tell you God has given us a mind that is so dynamic that if you put the time in you might just be amazed. God also gave us the owners manual to help nurture our minds in the form of His Word. The Bible has the ability to stretch, transform, restore, and renew our minds if we put the effort in and read it daily. Romans 12:2 tells us that we are to be transformed by the renewing our mind.

The third and final part of ourselves is our soul. The soul is a little harder to define but it can best be described as our inner being which consists of our character, our conscience, and our spirit. Our soul is what departs from our earthly body and, if we choose Jesus as our savior, taken up to heaven. The best thing we can do for our soul which will never die is accept Jesus. That boils down to accepting that we are all sinners and we need a sacrifice to make us right with God. Jesus came to earth in the form of man, lived a holy life, and died a sinner’s death on the cross for our sake. If you can accept that and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead then God’s Word says that you will be saved and you (your soul) will spend eternity in heaven. I hope you will make that decision today.

As you can see, there is a lot of effort involved in taking care of our whole self. It takes a daily decision to make sure we are living our best life. However, sometimes we get out of practice and neglect or hurt ourselves. Maybe we aren’t reading our Bible like we should and our mind gets out of focus. Maybe we just got back from vacation and eating out every day has added a few more pounds. To tell you the truth it’s really easy to become a little off track. That is why I think it’ is so important to take an inventory on a regular basis. Look yourself in the mirror and check your body, ask some questions that check your mindset, and make sure things are in balance. If they aren’t in balance make a plan to fix it.

Friends, I know I gave you a lot of things to consider today. I know I may have shed some light on areas that are really out of balance or need a lot of attention but I’m here to tell you that you can start to get back in shape today! Make the decision to work on your body, mind, and soul and you will be amazed how quickly things can change and how much better you will feel when things slide into balance. I hope this entry was helpful for you and I pray God will help you in balance all areas of our life. Blessings! DG

“The Decisions We Make” by Dave Good

Good morning!!! I like to ponder life a lot. I think that is one way we can grow. I think it’s really beneficial to ask yourself tough question and seek God and your inner self for some answers. I don’t think you have to dwell on them continuously, but being able to identify some answers to these question can offer a dose of healing. Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about.

Here is a really simple question. Have you ever made an important decision which had a major impact on your life? I can only answer for myself and the answer is most definitely YES. There have been times when the decision I made was so beneficial to my life that it has brought me much reward and blessing. For instance, my decision to attend pharmacy school many years ago has enabled me to pursue a career and provide for my family. I would say that was one of the best decisions of my life. I have no regrets whatsoever on that one.

Let’s flip the coin a bit. I have also made decisions that didn’t turn out so great. Looking back on my life I can definitely see times when the choices I made led to more problems than anything. The one area that this often shows up most is our relationship choices. I can only speak from the lens of my past relationships and I can see how God has guided the outcome because I couldn’t see clearly at the time.  I will be the first to admit that I haven’t made the best relationship choices. The main reason for that is that I never included God in on that decision. 

Most of my life, especially before I made Christ my savior, I chose relationships that looked good on the outside. I’m here to tell you that looks can be deceiving and often misleading. I think that is why God reminds us that we should not judge by the outside and look at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7). God looks and knows our heart and makes decisions on what is on the inside—not the packaging. It’s kinda like going to the store when you are hungry. You browse the freezer case or the snack aisle for something that will satisfy your hunger and end up picking the box with the most appealing picture. We never really turn the box over and looks at the ingredients and decide if it is good for us.

Friends, I’m no expert and God knows I’ve made a ton of poor decisions and mistakes. I’ve picked the wrong girls to date and I even initially picked the wrong one to marry (and later divorced) but I’m here today to tell you that we serve a God who loves us and wants the best for us. Despite my poor choices I can honestly say that God has given me a second chance and blessed me with an amazing wife and an incredible family and He was able to turn my heart towards Him. I can also say that God has changed the way I make a decision. I try my best to avoid the impulse buy or snap decision. I do my best to include Him in the process and I have been blessed because of it.

Life is very complicated and we are faced with decisions each and every day. My hope and prayer is that each and every one of you who read this will take a few minutes to evaluate how you make decisions. I pray that You include God in on even the small choices. You will be amazed at the difference it can make.

“What’s in Your Closet?” by Dave Good

Good morning! Today I’d like to talk about your heart. Our hearts are the most important organ God created in us. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)

God commands us to above all else, guard your heart. I don’t think there is a more direct command in all of the Bible. The heart is precious and the contents of your heart display a lot about what matters most. 

When I was praying about this week’s blog God gave me the analogy that our heart is like a house with many rooms. Within that house there are rooms which we allow anyone into, kinda like the living room. This part of our heart is usually well maintained, clean and organized. We don’t mind showing off this room and often allow people to spend the most time here

The other rooms of our heart are for special guests only. I’d like to think of this room as the formal dining room. Sure we tend to invite a lot of people over and share a meal with them in the kitchen but most people only use the dining room for special accessions with their family and closest friends.  This area is a little more guarded and often protected. 

Another room we keep close to our heart is the bedroom. The bedroom is where we rest at night and should be reserved for our spouse and family only. Too often times we allow people who are not supposed to be in these rooms and those decisions can lead to serious consequences. This is the room that I really feel God wants us to guard at all costs.

When I was putting this passage together, the movie War Room popped into my mind. The last room in the house is probably the one which is most important. Let’s call it “The Secret Room”. You know, the one room of the house that is most private and considered to be yours and only yours. Most guys have a man cave or a workshop or ladies may have a sewing room or craft room. This place is the one place where you can be alone, seek God, and just get away for a bit. We all need a room like this. Our inner room can be a place of healing, relaxation, and prayer. Very few people are introduced to your inner room but the one person you must include is God. God needs to have access to all of our rooms to ensure our lives are in order.

Friends, our rooms may not always be in order, or even clean, but it’s important to make sure we are guarding our rooms above anything else. We need to make sure we are only allowing certain people in certain rooms and we must make sure that we are using our inner room to meet with God and allow Him to help us clean each room.

I hope this analogy is useful to each and everyone of you. I pray you take a few moments and, with God’s help, clean up your rooms and always guard your heart above everything else.

Have a great week and I look forward to connecting with you again next week.

“Fix Your Eyes on God” by Dave Good

Good morning and welcome back to the “Refill with Randy” blog. Once again my name is Dave Good and it is my honor to spend a few moments with you. I pray our posts are a source of encouragement and hope for you during this time of uncertainty and adversity. I pray they would bring light into your life in the midst of all the darkness that surrounds us on a daily basis.

Today I’d like to share a few thoughts that are inspired by one of my favorite songs. “Fix my eyes” by for King & Country. If you have a few minutes, I’d encourage you to give the song a listen to and see how it’s words really relate to our daily walk.

One of the hardest things to do in this world is to not get discouraged. Our circumstances, situations, and decisions can directly impact our mindset or focus. The first verse of the song talks a lot about our regrets and downfalls, I call it living in the rear view mirror. Sometimes we can get trapped by some mistakes or poor decisions we have made in the past. We have a tendency to dwell on those memories and some people never get past them whether it’s a divorce, a failed relationship, an addiction, or any other form of bondage we put ourselves in. I’m here to tell you today, “Stop looking in the rear view mirror and start focusing your eyes on the road ahead of you.” Fix your eyes on God.

The second part of the song talks about difficulties we encounter trying to navigate this world. Being a Christian in today’s world is not easy. We face challenges every day that tempt us to stray off the narrow road. Jesus warns us of the adversity in life. He reminds us that the way to heaven requires discipline and a steadfast spirit. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” (Matthew 7:13 NIV)

The words of Jesus himself remind us to fix our eyes on Him. Fix your eyes on the reward of spending eternity with Him. 

As I said before, this world is extremely difficult to navigate because there are problems and obstacles all around us. How we respond to our problems is often determined on whose strength and focus we use to attack them. If we keep our eyes fixed on the problems and do not seek the Lord’s help, our issues will overwhelm us quite easily.

Friends, I’m here to encourage you today. No matter what you are going through, no matter the obstacles in front of you, God has the means to overcome your situation. The key is to keep your eyes on Him. Don’t let the world distract you and steal your victory. Jesus reminds us of this fact in the following verse. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)

No matter what your are going through take heart and keep your eyes fixed on Him!

“God Is Not Mad At You” by Dave Good

God is not mad at you. 

Good morning and welcome back to the “Refill with Randy” blog. Once again, my name is Dave Good and it my pleasure to share this time with you. I hope you are having a great week and I pray the following words will be a blessing to you.

I have a real simple question for you. Have you ever done something wrong and felt bad about it? You know that feeling when you did something and it bothers you all day. It leaves that sour feeling in the pit of your stomach and never really goes away until you make it right. I can only speak for myself and answer that by saying, “Most definitely yes.” and I know that feeling all too well.

Maybe you told a lie, maybe you raised your voice at a family member, maybe you talked about a friend behind their back, maybe you watched something you shouldn’t have, or maybe you drank a little more than you should have. These are just a few examples of the situations we put ourselves in that lead to remorse, guilt, and shame. I can only list a few that I know firsthand, I’ll leave it to you to think of a few more examples.

Now that we all have relived that feeling of guilt, shame, and remorse the next question is, “Where does it come from and how do we get rid of it?”. We often feel guilty when we sin or miss the mark. We have done something wrong and we have a feeling of sorrow for it. The Word reminds us that…

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10)

As you can see, guilt can be a good thing. On the other hand shame can be very debilitating. One way to look at shame is as follows: Guilt is seeing you did something wrong, shame is seeing yourself as a failure. You can see how the feeling of shame can cause you to feel even worse.

I want to make one thing perfectly clear. Shame does not come from God. God does not want us to view ourselves as failures. He is not mad at you. When we do something wrong He loves us not matter what. Now, that being said, God doesn’t want you to keep on sinning but rather to repent and get back on track.

So now the question is, “How to we deal with guilt for the things we do wrong?”

1. Confess your sin to God. Ask Him for forgiveness and strength to avoid future sins.

2. Repent or turn away from the sin that so easily entangles us. In other words, stop doing the things that are causing you so much grief.

3. Ask for forgiveness and make it right with those you offended or hurt.

4. Accept God’s forgiveness. “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9)

Did you catch that? If we confess our sins, He will forgive us and cleanse us. See, God is not mad at us. God loves us more than anything, He just doesn’t want us to stray from the path He created for our lives because He knows that in doing so we will inevitably hurt ourselves and others.

Friends, I don’t know about you, but I’ve wrestled with sin for a long time and the battle isn’t over yet. I’ve spent a lot of energy fending off guilt and shame and at times I’ve run from God because I thought He was mad at me. I’m here today though to urge you not to run from God but, rather, run to Him. Allow Him to heal you and cleanse you. He’s not mad at you, He loves you more than anything and simply wants the best for you.

I hope these words are an encouragement to you. You are not alone in this battle and the battle is not over yet. Keep your head up, press on and always remember that God loves you and is not mad at you. Have a great rest of the week!

“When Life Hurts” by Dave Good

Good day everyone. Welcome back to The GSM blog. Once again my name is Dave Good and I’m honored to spend this time with you. I hope you are having a great week, full of blessings. Today I would like to discuss a topic that I think we can all relate to at one time or another—when life hurts.

I don’t know about you but, although I am greatly blessed and God has does so much for me, there are those days when life just hurts. Jesus reminds of this fact when he says…

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)

Over the next couple of minutes I’d love to equip you with a few tools to combat the hurts of life.

1. Prayer – One of the easiest ways to deal with a hurt in this life is to pray about it. Prayer is like making a phone call to God. When life throws you a curve sometimes the easiest way to deal with it is to talk about it, you know get it off your chest. Prayer allows us to bear our issues before God anytime, any place. What a gift to have access to God himself when things aren’t going right.

2. Trusted Friends & Family – Another blessing God gives us are trusted family members and friends. I lost my mom almost 10 years ago and I miss have the opportunity to bounce my cares off her and ask her for advice. That being said, God does not leave us alone. God is gracious enough to also put trusted brothers, sisters, and friends on our path to assist when life just hurts. My advice is to not try and go it alone but rather reach out to your circle of trust and learn to overcome together.

3. Read The Word – God was so gracious to us to send down His Written Word. The Bible is the owners manual for navigating this world. When the hurts happen The Bible is a source for so much encouragement. The next time life knocks you down take some time to seek His Word and allow it to console you.

These are just a few ways to combat the adversity of this world. No one deals with the hurts of this life the same but I pray that some of the tactics I have found helpful will benefit you as well. However you choose to deal with the hurts of life I pray you do it in a healthy and constructive manner. Don’t allow the hurt to derail your growth or walk with the Lord

Thank you for you time. I pray my thoughts and suggestions were helpful and will ultimately allow you to navigate this world a little more efficiently. Until we meet again, may God bless you and heal all the hurts we encounter on a daily basis.

“Who Am I?” by Dave Good

Welcome back to another edition of the “Refill with Randy” Blog. Once again my name is Dave Good and it is my pleasure to share a few thoughts with you today.

I’ll start by posing a simple question, “Who do you say you are?” Take a minute to actually answer it. If you are like me you might respond: I’m a husband, I’m a dad, I’m a Christian, I’m a Bills fan, I’m a pharmacist, I’m a music lover… you get the picture. There are countless ways to answer that question and I’m sure we all came up with a variety of different responses.

I would say that all of the answers I gave as examples were pretty positive, because I am genuinely pretty positive, but often times others might be less positive when describing themselves. Some people may answer that question with: I’m a loser, I’m ugly, I’m cursed, I’m a horrible person, I’m fearful, etc. There are just so many ways to answer a simple question.

What if we answered that question through the eyes of others? Be careful who you ask because you might get responses like: You’re a loser, You’re an addict, You’re a cheater, You’re a liar, You’re ugly, You’re dumb, You’re worthless, and so on. Once again there are a ton of not so encouraging ways other people can define us and that can have an adverse effect on us to say the least.

Let’s also take a minute to consider how God would answer that question for us. Perhaps “You are loved” or “You are chosen.”

“We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people.” (1 Thessalonians 1:4)

When I first started thinking about this question I have to admit that some of my answers were good, some were bad, some matched who God says I am, and others did not. Some were positive and some were negative. There is just not one way to answer the question but ultimately we have to continue to find our true identity in Christ in order for it to match our Creator’s design for our life.

As we have discovered, there are many ways that we could answer this simple question so I really feel that it would be beneficial to take some time to consider a number of them. Maybe reflect on your first answer and then apply some of the answers God himself has given us and see if they coincide or really just don’t line up with the truth.

Folks, I guess I’m writing this entry today because I have battled my way through poor self image and insecurity in the past and perhaps you have too. I have had some really negative answers to that simple question and it wasn’t until I devoted my life to The Lord and spent a lot of time learning how He has already answered that question that I was able to see myself differently. God doesn’t make junk or mistakes. We are wonderfully and fearfully made and our answer to the question should reflect that fact.

I hope this is helpful to you. I hope it offers you encouragement and I pray that over the next few weeks you begin to change your answer to the question into a more positive and God inspired one. I look forward to spending some more time with you soon but until then God bless and have yourself a great week!

“Trust the Process” by Dave Good

Welcome to another edition of the GSM blog. My name is Dave Good and once again it is a pleasure to share some thoughts with you. I hope my words will be an encouragement to you as we continue to walk and deepen our faith together. Today, I’d like to encourage all of you to Trust the Process. I know, most of you are probably wondering what that means?

As some of you know Pastor Randy and I are huge Buffalo Bills fan. I know you are probably thinking, “What does a football team have to do with our walk with Christ?” I’m glad you asked 😇 and if you lend me your attention for a few more minutes I will explain the correlation between the two.

The phrase Trust the Process has been a team slogan for the Bills ever since Head Coach Sean McDermott was hired. Trusting the Process means that in order to achieve your dreams and your goals you must trust a systematic and deliberate process to reach the end. The process may not always make sense, and often takes longer than we would like, but if you persevere the end result will be achieved.

Coach McDermott has taken the Bills on quite a journey as he inherited a broken- down football team but has been fine tuning them into a championship caliber squad. Practice by practice, lesson by lesson, and detail by detail, the process has slowly been changing the entire culture of the organization.

I know you are probably still sitting here wondering what this has to do with our Christian walk. Well, if you think about it, the majority of the time we begin that walk when we are just a broken-down shell of ourselves. I personally found Christ when my life seemed to be falling apart. I was flawed, personally and spiritually broken, and full of sin. I didn’t know where I was headed and I had no process to resurrect my life.

Fortunately, a man named Jesus walked into my life and The Process of restoring my life began. The truth is that the Process that Jesus used to restore my life wasn’t always fun and a lot of time it didn’t make sense to me. There were times of doubt and uncertainty, and maybe even a lack of faith on my part, but Jesus slowly started the Process of chipping away at my stony heart.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)

God has started a Process in all of us. He knows every detail of our inner being and He desires for us to be the best version of ourselves for His glory.

Now, my best version doesn’t always shine forth. There are days, and even weeks, when I need God to instill some more Process in me. There are times when the Process is thriving and my words, actions, and life display God’s work in my life. I guess what that really means is that the Process for me isn’t complete and I need to keep trusting in His ways.

I could go on and on giving you details of how our lives aren’t perfect but that we still be to keep Trusting the Process of God in our life but I really just really want to give you some encouragement that none of us are finished products. We need to keep working in step with God’s plan. We need to keep striving for the best version of ourselves. We need to keep our minds and hearts sharp with the Scriptures. We need to approach God on a daily basis through prayer and devotion. We need to keep trusting God and His Process for our lives. It won’t happen over night, it takes a lifetime, but in the end God’s Process is perfect and will lead us closer to His glory.

I pray these words I’ve shared with you are a blessing. I pray they give you some hope and encouragement. Don’t give up, keep striving, and, as always, Trust the Process. In the end you will be the best version of yourself and you will bring God glory.

Until next tine, may God bless and may His Process continue to refine your life.

Advent Week 4 – “Tuesday” by Dave Good

Hello friends, it’s Dave Good here again and this week we are delving into a topic we all seek and desire more of. I think we can all agree that joy is one of the most impactful emotions. The dictionary defines joy as the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.

Who doesn’t want some great delight or happiness. I know I would love more joy in my life. Joy can be derived in so many ways.

Joy can come from a newfound relationship. Who doesn’t love the feelings associated with the prospect of a new love.

Joy can come from a new job or a promotion at work. The excitement of new career opportunities gives us such hope.

Sometimes we find our joy through the victories of our favorite sports team. Who doesn’t love the feeling of walking into work the next day after a Bills win.

Joy can come from the birth of a new child or grandchild. I don’t know about you but getting to hold my daughters for the first time was an unbelievable feeling.

How bout the purchase of a new car. Who doesn’t love the smell of a new car and the exhilaration of its acceleration.

Or how about the smell or first bite of your favorite food? The joy of tasting mom’s spaghetti or a perfectly done steak always puts a smile on my face.

These are just a few examples of what we find joy in. For the most part that list is all positive and harmless right? But what happens when our pursuit of joy causes us damage or harm? For instance, a new car is nice but can you afford that new car payment? How bout that perfectly grilled steak? Can you push away from the table when you are full or will your gluttonous side persuade you to eat the last bite? What bout that victory from you favorite team? Can you keep your celebration to a limit and not rub it in a friends face? As you can see there can be an ill effect to our pursuit of joy.

Another limitation of the pursuit of joy is that it never seems to last long enough. That new promotion is turning into a lot of work and longer hours. That new born baby brings with it sleepless nights and diaper changing. That new car turns into a repair bill after a few months. That sweet victory turns into the agony of defeat in just a week. All this pursuit of worldly joy can be draining and all in vain.

The pursuit of joy as we have seen,  can be good for us, bad for us, and often short lived here on earth. It is no wonder why people have a hard time truly finding joy. Joy can be very unstable and short lived. So what’s the solution to our pursuit of joy?  It is actually pretty simple and straightforward. The Bible tells us “but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”

Did you catch that? I bring you good news that will bring great Joy to all people. Yes the Messiah has been born.  True everlasting joy is found in Jesus Christ. Jesus was born that first Christmas morning to save us from our sins.  Jesus died on the cross and later rose again so that we may have eternal life with the Father.  Jesus was born to redeem us from the punishment we rightfully deserve. We can now live with hope and a future. I don’t know about you but the hope of eternal life is the greatest sense of joy I’ve ever experienced. The Bible takes the joy of eternal life one step further in the following verse: “and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”

Everlasting joy will crown our head. Gladness and joy will overtake us!!! When I read encouragement like that I find it hard not to let my emotions swell. We serve a great God who loves us and wants nothing but the best for us. Just to know God and worship Him is a source of joy that this world can not duplicate. There is nothing on this earth that gives more joy than taking refuge in the Lord and soaking in His love. That is where the ultimate joy comes from.

As we enter into this final week of Advent and get closer and closer to the birth of Jesus let’s hold on to that joy. I pray that the familiar words of the song “Joy to the World” that Pastor Randy shared yesterday would resonates even louder to you this Christmas. And I pray that the Joy of knowing Christ and His love becomes the source of your happiness. I promise you if you make room for Him and adore Him this Christmas will be the most joyous ever.

Advent Week 2 – “Thursday” by Dave Good

Welcome back to the GSM advent series. My name is Dave Good and once again I am honored to share this time with you. I pray that you find our time together is beneficial to you. Advent is one of my favorite times of the year. A time to prepare our hearts for the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. A time to just focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

As we celebrate this second week of advent, our attention turns to peace on earth. I could imagine that the night Jesus was born there was anything but peace in and around Bethlehem. The little town was turned into an overbooked, overcrowded metropolis thanks to the census decree that was called by The Roman emperor, Augustus. Every Jew was to return to their tribal hometown to be counted for taxation purposes. That fulfills a prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

The whole town was saturated with people. There were people in the streets trying to return to their family home. There were people stuffed into the local establishments enjoying a meal with friends and families. The inn was completely overbooked. I’m sure there were people in the markets scurrying about trying to buy goods and fresh food. The little town of Bethlehem was just buzzing with activity. The once small, quiet town was anything but peaceful at that time.

When you stop and think about it this is kind of how we spend every Christmas Eve. Most of us spend it preoccupied with stuff to do. We spend the day cooking or preparing a lovely meal for our friends and family and then we make that last minute run to the mall to ensure that we can cross every name off our Christmas gift list. After we spend the day driving home to spend quality time with loved ones. Christmas Eve usually turns into a lot of hustle and bustle most of the time. For a lot of people Christmas Eve is anything but peaceful.

Mary and Joseph were in quite the predicament that first Christmas Eve. Mary was having contractions and birthing pains and they had no place to spend the night. The inn was full, yet fortunately for them the resourceful innkeeper allows them to take refuge in the barn behind the inn. The Savior of the world was about to be born in a manger, among the animals. What should be a monumental celebration turns out to be more of an afterthought than anything else.

I think we have to be honest with ourselves. Our Christmas Eve traditions often turn the miracle of the birth of our Savior from a monumental celebration to an afterthought. We allow the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to rob us of our peace. We focus so much on the non essentials of Christmas that we lose our joy.

Mary had every right to complain about her situation and yet her circumstances did not steal her peace. She understood what was really happening at the moment her baby let out his first cry. She understood the prince of peace was here on earth. Her eyes were on the true meaning of Christmas and that will always restore the peace deep inside you.

Friends, I pray this Christmas we keep our eyes on Christ as we seek his peace as well as the joy and hope that is associated with his coming. Let’s try not to get too wrapped up in the business of the season and allow the stillness and serenity of Jesus to fill our hearts. Have a great rest of the week and may the advent season be a blessing to each and everyone of you.

Advent Week 1 – “Tuesday” by Dave Good

Welcome to another Advent edition of GSM’s Refill with Randy Blog. My name is Dave Good and I am honored to have the opportunity to share a few words with you today. I pray this will be of benefit to you and deliver just a ray of hope to your life.

Pastor Randy approached me and asked me to share my thoughts on the subject of Hope. At first I thought it would be great idea to bring up the areas in the world that seem so hopeless. All around us we are impacted by the long-lasting pandemic, racial tensions, vaccine mandates, political strife, rumors of wars, and what seems to be nonstop chaos around the world. People everywhere are looking for something to hold onto, something to take refuge in, something to give them a sense of hope.

When I thought about the Advent season and our search for hope I immediately recalled the journey of the Magi to see the Christ child. The Gospel of Matthew tells the story of the Magi who followed a bright star to the town of Bethlehem “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him”

No one is certain who the Magi were, how many there were, or where exactly they originated from, but we do know that they were searching for some hope. The Christmas narrative tells us that they had left their country in the east and followed a bright star through the desert for several weeks if not months. It is said that they led their caravan of camels and other animals on a journey in search of the Messiah—the long anticipated King of the Jews. They endured days of scorching desert sun and freezing cold nights. They probably encountered thieves and bandits as well as wild animals along the way. The journey was no walk in the park to say the least.

Another bit of information that the Gospel of Matthew shares with us is the valuable gifts the Magi brought with them. “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”

They presented to the child gold frankincense, and myrrh, some of the most precious things in the world at the time. So to put this whole journey in perspective. The Magi leave their distant home, follow a bright star, and journey through the desert with valuable gifts, all to go see a child. To me the story seems a little absurd. What would make these men even consider this voyage? The only answer I can come up with is hope.

They were hoping the star they were following would lead them to the long awaited Savior. They were hoping to pay homage to the King of the Jews. They were hoping to worship and adore the Christ child. They were willing to risk it all just to find some hope.

Just like the Magi all of us are chasing after hope. How many times do you hear exchanges like, “I hope this happens or I hope I get this for Christmas or I hope the Bills win or I hope you feel better”? Hope is all around us and something we pursue on a daily basis. Hope often causes us to take risks or chances just like the Magi. Hope is definitely an integral part of life

My question for you is where, what, or who is your hope in? For some it’s a job. For others it’s a country. And for some it’s a loved one. We place our hope is so many things. I can’t decide for you what to place your hope in but I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you where my hope comes from. My hope comes from the Lord.

I can say that my belief in that same child the Magi visited some 2000 years ago brings so much hope to my life. I believe that the child born on Christmas Day grew up, died on a cross for my sins, and paved a path for me to have eternal life with my Heavenly Father. The name of that precious child is Jesus.

To be honest with you my hope in Jesus didn’t just come overnight. Just like the Magi I had to go on a journey to secure my hope and I misplaced my hope in many things along the way. Things like my career, my reputation, my status, my football teams, my talents and abilities, etc. And I will be honest with you, at some point or another all of these things have disappointed me. All of these things have let me down. The only thing I’ve found that I can always count on and hope in is my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.”

There is so much hope in the Bible and with a relationship with Christ. I pray that this Advent season you find your hope in the Lord. I pray that you prepare your heart for when he will come again. And I pray that the hope of the Lord becomes more real and alive to you each and every day.

“The Greatest Gift of All” by Dave Good

Welcome to the final edition of the Take Five Advent series. I hope our various styles and viewpoints have been a blessing to you. Over the last four weeks we have been preparing our hearts for Christmas and the birth of our Savior, Jesus. Today, I’d like to wrap up the entire series with some words of encouragement and hope. Let’s see if we can discover the true meaning of Christmas and receive the greatest gift of all. Jesus.

Christmas has many meanings to different people. To some, Christmas is about family and friends. Christmas signifies an opportunity to gather with loved ones, have a wonderful meal, and just spend time together. Unfortunately, the year 2020 has put a damper on the majority of the festivities. The company Christmas parties and large gatherings have been deemed unsafe and cancelled. Even the large family dinners have been discouraged. The traditional means to celebrate Christmas will be challenged for sure.   Despite all the restrictions, I want you to know that Christmas will still be a joyous time. I encourage you to utilize technology like Zoom and phone calls to keep in touch with those we can’t gather with. Although family and gatherings mean a lot, it is not the true meaning of Christmas.

To others, Christmas is all about the presents.  Christmas is the time of year when the tradition of gift exchanging takes over. Everyone spends their free time thinking about what present to buy or what present they would like to receive.  The kids make out a Christmas list and send it to Santa. Grownups have to answer the tough question served up by their loved ones simply stated, “What do you want for Christmas?”  The whole world shifts their attention and energy to picking, giving, and receiving the perfect gift. Despite the good intentions behind the gifts of generosity, this is also not the true meaning of Christmas.

The true meaning of Christmas is derived in the life of Jesus Christ.  There are some of you who may be asking, “Who is Jesus and why is He so important?” I’m glad you asked. Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us’” (Matthew 1:23) (NLT).

The birth of Jesus was the culmination of God’s plan to save the world from our sins.  Sin entered the world as soon as the forbidden fruit was consumed by Adam and Eve. The result of their sin was separation from God. There was a wedge formed between the world and God the Father. At first, God gave the people a system of sacrifices and burnt offerings to resolve their sin issue. This system however was only temporary and offered no long term solution to the separation from God. There needed to be a more permanent solution and that solution is Jesus

God decided from the very beginning that the first Christmas night was the perfect night to give the world the greatest gift of all, Jesus. Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life to become a sacrifice for our sins.  “And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him” (1 John 3:5) (NLT).

Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead three days later. This perfect sacrifice restored our relationship with God and gives us a way to eternal life. “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6) (NIV).

On that first Christmas when the baby Jesus was born in a manger in the town of Bethlehem, it was the beginning of the salvation of the world. God sent His Son to give us life. To me, that is the true meaning of Christmas.

Friends, I’d like to conclude this entire series with an invitation to receive the greatest gift of all: the gift of eternal life through Jesus. If you don’t know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, I’d love for you to pray this prayer with me.

If you just prayed that prayer with me, I’d like to welcome you into the community of believers. I would also like to congratulate you on accepting the greatest gift ever given.  You now possess eternal life though belief in Jesus Christ. I pray that this series has touched your heart. I pray that this Christmas has a meaning unlike any other Christmas you have ever celebrated.

On behalf of the Take Five team and Go Scatter Ministries, I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas filled with the love of Christ.  May the true meaning of Christmas resonate in your heart all year long and may the peace and joy fill you each and every day.

Blessings

Dave

“Away in the Manger” by Dave Good

Happy Thursday! This week the Take Five blog has been exploring our favorite part of the nativity story. As we are getting closer and closer to the birth of Jesus, it is important to take a few minutes and highlight the circumstances surrounding the birth of Christ.

The Gospel of Luke gives us a detailed narrative of His birth. Let’s take a minute and read what Luke has to say:

“At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born” (Luke2:1-6)(NLT).

The next verse in the Gospel of Luke is the verse I would like to examine.  “She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them” (Luke2:7) (NLT).

I’d like to translate that verse into everyday terms. Mary gave birth to Jesus, wrapped Him in some cloth and laid him in an animal feeding bowl.  Take a few moments and let that verse sink in. We have the long awaited Messiah of the world born in a barn, wrapped in cloth, and His first bed is a filthy trough. That whole image is hardly fitting for the King of Kings.

Now the question arises, “Dave, why did you choose this aspect of the nativity narrative? I mean don’t you want to talk about the miracle of the virgin birth, the angels proclaiming the good news to the shepherds, or the wise men who visited from afar?” All those details are very interesting and important, but for me the details of His birth resonate the most to me. 

There was nothing pretty about the birth place of Jesus. It was basically a smelly barn filled with livestock of various kinds. Jesus was born amongst the sheep, goats, and cattle. Again, this is hardly the place for the Messiah to be born. Shouldn’t the Messiah have been born in a palace, in a kingly manner, surrounded by other members of royalty? How could God allow His only begotten Son to be born in a barn?   Didn’t Jesus deserve more?

All these questions made me ponder the circumstances a little further. To me, that verse gives me so much hope in life. My personal reflection on the humble beginnings of Christ led me to this encouraging conclusion. If Jesus Christ, the Lord of Lord, King of Kings, the Messiah can start His life, His ministry from the brink of obscurity, then why can’t we do the same? God could have very easily chosen the perfect married couple, living in a beautiful house in the suburbs as the perfect setting for His birth. Instead, God chose an unwed couple and the outskirts of Bethlehem as the ideal destination. Here is the conclusion that I drew from the manger.  God doesn’t need everything to be perfect or the beginning to be perfect in order to save the world. God can use the adversity of life and the humble beginnings to bring joy to the world. So don’t worry if your life started off on the wrong foot. Don’t worry if you aren’t in a pretty situation. God likes to turn humble beginning into joyous endings. The key is to follow the example of the three wise men and allow God to be the guiding star in your life. If you put your life in His hands, I promise you His plans are perfect. Take a look at my favorite verse and decide for yourself. “’For I know the plans I have for you’ — this is the Lord’s declaration — ’plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah29:11)(CSB).

The verse says the plan is perfect not the life. Don’t misconstrue that fact. The plan God has for our life is perfect. We just like to mess up the plan. There was only one man who was able to stick to the plan and live a perfect life. That is the same man who was born in the manger on the first Christmas day, Jesus. 

Friends, I pray you allow the humble birth of Jesus to give you the hope in your life. I pray that you trust your life to God, who can take the most adverse situation in life and bring hope to it. I pray that you are comforted by the fact that it isn’t how you start life that matters, but it is how you finish life that impacts the world. I lift up your situation with prayer and offer you the hope of Christ. I extend to you the fact that God doesn’t need you to be perfect or be in the ideal situation to impact the world.

I hope the words of this blog give you a ray of hope and encouragement. As always, have a great week and hope you join us again.

CHALLENGE…

  • Spend some time today thinking about how Jesus’ life began and how God wants your life to end. It’s never too late to get back on the perfect path that God had planned for us!

“Silent Night” by Dave Good

Hello!!!! I hope you had the opportunity to read the blog from Day 1. If not, I would encourage you to take a look at the entries from our Take Five team. Last week we discussed some of our favorite things about Christmas. This week we are going to discuss and explore our favorite Christmas hymn.

The hymn I chose is “Silent Night.“   If you have ever attended a Christmas Eve service, you have probably participated in a candlelight vigil. The preacher finishes his or her Christmas message and candles are distributed to each and every churchgoer.  The church lights are lowered, and darkness fills the air. A single flame is lit in the sanctuary and passed from person to person.  After a few short moments, the entire church is filled with flickering flames. Looking around, it is a truly serene and beautiful atmosphere. Once the candles are lit, the familiar notes of “Silent Night” flow from the worship band. The result is a wonderfully peaceful moment in time. 

The atmosphere created by the words of “Silent Night” creates a similar effect. Let’s take a moment and break down this beautiful song, verse by verse.

First, let’s take a look at the title, “Silent Night.”

Contrary to the title, that night in Bethlehem was anything but silent on the night Jesus was born. “At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.” (Luke 2:1, 3-7) (NLT). The entire town was completely occupied, there was not a hotel room left to be found.  The only option the expecting couple had was the stable of an innkeeper who had compassion on them. Mary and Joseph made their way to a barn to seek shelter for the night.

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
‘Round yon virgin Mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

The first verse of the song was written to describe the moments after a child is born   If you’ve have had the privilege of experiencing the birth of a child; it is the most incredible blessing in the world. There is a moment, immediately after the birth, that transitions from urgency, noise, and chaos to an incredible feeling of serenity–the moment when all the screams and commotion are transformed into joy and peace. It’s the moment when the newborn is laid on the mother’s chest and tears of joy flow from the parents’ eyes. The long awaited child is here, the bonding between the mother and child has begun.  The room filled with doctors and nurses soon clears and the exhausted mother and child are allowed to finally rest and usually fall asleep in each other’s arms.  What an incredible moment in time!  There is a peace and tranquility that is present that is hard to describe; it just has to be experienced. 

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight!
Glories stream from heaven afar;
Heavenly hosts sing Al-le-lu-ia!
Christ the Savior is born!
Christ the Savior is born!

The second verse portrays the announcement of the birth of Jesus to the shepherds. “That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” (Luke 2:8-11) (NLT). Imagine how frightening this moment must have been. The night is dark. The only sounds to be heard are the animals and the crickets. Then, out of the blue, the angels of the Lord light up the sky with glory and song.  I don’t know about you. I’ve never seen an angel, and while I’m sure they are beautiful, this would have scared the living daylights out of me.  I’m sure they let out a few screams and yelps. Once they regained their composure and gathered themselves, they were greeted with the greatest news in the history of mankind. These lowly shepherds were the first to be told that the Savior of the world, Jesus, was born on this day. In just a few moments, the shepherds went from fear and panic to joy and exaltation. This exact thing takes place when we accept Christ as our Savior.  Our life goes from out of control and fear to restoration and peace with the Father. 

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth

The final verse tries to depict the image of the precious baby Jesus lying in the bed of hay; His face so innocent and full of the glory of God.  There is nothing more precious than a sleeping baby. Their calmness and sweetness are reflected in their peaceful existence. The very last line, “With the dawn of redeeming grace,” points directly to the upcoming amazing grace still to come.

Friends, “Silent Night” is more than a song to sing during a Christmas Eve service.  The words of this song bring joy and hope to a world looking for salvation.  Next time you hear the words of this beautiful song, try to envision yourself gazing into the sweet, innocent face of the baby Jesus. Look at His radiant face and thank Him for what He was born to do. He was brought into this world to die for our sins and offer us salvation.  If you honestly take a moment and let that sink in, you will be filled with thankfulness and joy.  I pray that the words of this blog and the analysis of this song bless your life.  Lyrics are so powerful and if you let the words of this song soak in, you will soon be filled with the joy experienced by those shepherds.  Christ the Savior is born! Hallelujah!!!!!

Please join us next week as we continue to prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord. Have a great week and I hope you join us again.

CHALLENGE…

  • If you have participated in a Christmas Eve Candlelight Service please share what your experience was like? Did you find it meaningful? Why?
  • Both Dave and Kyle (in Tuesday’s blog post) wrote about “Silent Night”. Why do you think that this is such a popular song? What stands out to you? The words? The melody? The meaning?
  • Spend a few minutes quietly listening to thus sing and meditating on it’s words. https://youtu.be/h8lJWj3R7ng

ADVENT – DAY 5 “Getting Into the Christmas Spirit” by Dave Good

Advent is a time of anticipation, preparation, and expectation. What are some things that you look forward to each year as you prepare for Christmas, and what are some things you would suggest that we all do in anticipation of Christ’s coming again?

For those of you who may be new to the blog, my name is Dave Good. Thank you for taking time out of your day to join us as we prepare our hearts for the Christmas season and more importantly, the coming of the Lord.

I have to make a confession, and my family would support this statement, I am not completely in the Christmas spirit yet. So, in the attempt to foster this, I decorated the majority of my front yard with hundreds of red and white Christmas lights and a vast assortment of inflatable devices while slowly transforming the inside of my house into the North Pole. I have to admit my Christmas spirit is emerging.

I am going to play the part of Captain Obvious and remind you that the year 2020 has been a really long and challenging year. We are enduring a world-wide pandemic. We have had to endure social lockdowns and restrictions.  We have faced challenges such as social injustices. We are currently trying to finalize a highly contested election. The year 2020 has challenged us in just about every aspect of our lives.

With all that being said, I’d like to flip the script on the year 2020 and inject some hope into this letter. Geez Dave, now that you have us dwelling on all this adversity, how in the world are you going to do that? I’m glad you asked. Let me pull out one of most inspiring verses in the Bible.

Matthew 12:21 “And his name will be the hope of all the world.” NLT

Friends, this Christmas season is all about Jesus. He is all that we hope for and all that we need. Jesus came into this world as an innocent babe lying in a manger. His arrival caused joy to the world and signifies a hope to all mankind. I don’t care how bad this world gets. No matter how this world seems to fall apart. The fact is that we have hope to hold onto in the life of Jesus and His salvation on the cross. Our hope is solidified in the life of Jesus, period. He is all that we need.

That being said, I have a few favorite things that I enjoy about the Christmas season.

Time with my family. Christmas is one of those times where you just want to be home or go home. There is something about being surrounded by the ones you love. It’s a time to enjoy each others’ presence, a time to share a great meal, and a time to show others we love them with gifts and generosity.

Christmas cookies. I love to gather the family around and decorate cookies. My favorite is good old-fashioned iced cut out cookies. I don’t care what shape they are, just cut them out and top them with some icing and some sprinkles. The trick around our house is you have to eat them fast or hide a few for later.

Christmas movies. What holiday season would be complete without Christmas movies? Whether it’s Christmas Vacation, The Polar Express, or the wonderfully made and predictable Hallmark movies. There is just something about each one that lift your spirits.

Christmas presents.  Who doesn’t like presents?  I have to admit I’m really hard to buy for. Each Christmas season my family and friends ask for some ideas and I always give them the same response. “How ‘bout some golf balls and Buffalo Bills’ gear.” I’m just at a period in life where I really don’t have a lot of wants. What I love most of all is buying gifts for others. Christmas is a time to show others you care and love them. I love to see the look of delight on my kids’ faces or a look of appreciation on a friend’s face. It is so much better to give than receive.

Christmas is such a festive time of the year. We tend to spend several weeks preparing for the big day. I challenge you to approach this year in a different way. Make sure you take some time to enjoy the season.  Take some time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. Don’t get absorbed by the hustle and bustle of an already exhausting year. My prayer for each and every one of you reading this blog is simple. May this Advent and Christmas season be filled with love and joy. May the true meaning of Christmas fill our hearts and may Christ be ever-present in every family dinner, every present unwrapped, and every “Merry Christmas” we speak this year.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS…


What are some things that you personally are struggling with in trying to prepare for Christmas while still feeling the effects of such a difficult year?

What were some things you like to do to get yourself into “The Christmas Spirit”?

It is easy to simply focus on the infant Jesus this time of year but Matthew 12 reminds us that Christmas is part of a much bigger picture. What can we do to keep both the cradle and the cross, Jesus’ birth, death, resurrection, and promise to come again, at the forefront of our minds?


This is meant to be an interactive blog so please share some of your responses with us.