6 Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces. 7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you…. 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him.  Matthew 7:6-7,11

I’ve been pondering the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7) the past couple weeks. Amazing the perspective differences that come simply from reading all three chapters in one sitting over and over then digesting with God the overall and overlapping message. Our human nature loves to cling to pieces. Unfortunately, we often end up trampling the pieces and then tearing the messenger or the true message to pieces.

If each author of a book/letter of the Bible (like any gifted author of any book) has generally one main point or a thesis to address in their writing, then it would only make sense that the reader should not dissect the pieces of the text apart from each other else the whole easily loses its one focus.

In what has become known as “The Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus is teaching the crowd the importance of trusting God and living from the inside out rather than basing your goodness or others on what is seen. Matthew 7 continues this idea by instructing us to be aware of our own issues before attempting to help others.

The question that came to me today: Is Jesus indicating that helping others out of our own righteousness (which comes from God) is like giving pearls to pigs? Since the segment on Ask, Seek, Knock ends with “do to others…,” is the instruction more related to helping others get the speck out of their eye rather than the more commonly taught idea of praying for what you want? If it is more about helping others, it seems the instruction is to let others seek God – ask, seek, knock on his door – and not to bring the attention on ourselves or what we think we can toss at them to help. Our abilities/gifts/help are limited.

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

We cannot make someone a “good” person. Only God can do that from the inside. We cannot give lasting comfort to those who mourn, or give the earth to the meek, or crown with righteousness those who are hungry for it. There are people in my life that I desperately want to experience the comfort and joys that God wants to give them in this life. But if I attempt to give them what only God can truly give, it will most likely be trampled by them (I’ve seen it happen). Maybe because they will see it as me trying to say they need to be like me. Or simply because the “good gifts” I can give are mostly external stuff or words that have meaning to me because I have wrestled with God over those words.

It is the one who puts effort in asking God directly, seeking his ways, and knocking on his door; they are the ones who receive, who find and who move forward with the gifts only God can give. The unseen and the seen. And it is the unseen gifts of God that give meaning, purpose and love for all the external gifts that he gives to us each day.

The next time you notice the speck of sawdust in someone’s eye, you might want to hold back on trying to help them too much. If they ask you for advice, the best advice you can give is for them to ask, seek and knock on God’s door. Even in discipleship, the goal is to make them dependent on Jesus, not on us.

It is much easier for God to explain why they don’t always get what they ask for than it is for us to give our opinion.

There have been plenty of times that I’ve asked other people to explain what God is doing and only been temporarily, if at all, comforted or satisfied with their response. Nearly every time that I have made the sincere effort to ask, seek, and knock (and sometimes argue and wrestle) with God, he satisfies and comforts me. Sometimes the comfort comes quickly, sometimes it takes years. If I continue seeking, he continues revealing until I find the door to move forward in my understanding of who he is and the unexplainable peace of his ways.

God offers and desires the most intimate relationship. Any appreciated relationship involves effort. How much effort are you putting into your relationship with God?

Purchase this song for .99 at


It’s summer. I’m not as busy so I thought I’d share some thoughts that come to me during my intimate time with God. Quite often these thoughts come as I’m chatting with God about my kids or in response to what God has highlighted for me as I read the Bible.

I have two teenagers. Teenagers. Full of hormones and subject to extreme mood swings. My desire for them is to learn how to live in peace and experience as much happiness as possible. This is the recipe God gave me for them (and for me).

Recipe for More Peace & Happiness

  • God:  Chat with God as you wake-up and continue throughout the day
  • Food:  Eat Healthy – don’t skip breakfast and don’t eat late at night
  • Rest:  Get eight hours of sleep every night
  • Fitness:  Exercise (cardio & weight bearing) regularly

Blend all ingredients to produce more peace & happiness. Prepare and consume daily for at least three weeks to increase thankfulness, confidence and inner joy.

What is God saying to you this summer?


I’ve always felt the door-to-door magazine sells folks were being exploited. So I did a little research after a conversation with one today. Please read the articles below if you have door-to-door magazine sellers in your neighborhood.

This article is dated 2015: Human Trafficking: Mag Crew Kid at your door could be victim 

These articles are older but still seem relevant.
Houston Press – What Mainstream Publishers Don’t Want You To Know About Door-to-Door Magazine Sales
NYT – For Youths: A Grim Tour on Magazine Crews 

It breaks my heart but I don’t think giving them what they need for their “points” helps. If they are young, suggest they get out of the mag crew and go home. Maybe ask if you can call someone for them or get a message to someone for them. Let them know there are other options and there are people willing to help no matter what they are being told or what they have done.

DO NOT PUT YOURSELF OR YOUR FAMILY AT RISK. You can call the police to help them or have them contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 888-373-7888. Inviting them in your house is not safe.

For more information on Human Trafficking visit http://www.polarisproject.org/


WoodsEdge Community Church 01/18/2015
Jesus In The Gospel Of Luke Series
Luke 12:1-12
Jeff Wells

If we walk honestly and rest in God’s deep grace and loving provision, we need fear no one else, and God’s Spirit will give us the very words to say as we speak up for Him.

Click here to Listen to Sermon: Fearless In His Love

My Notes from Jeff’s message

  • Authenticity: Be real, no masks (Luke 12:1-3)
    • Matt 26:38 Jesus was real. He confesses that he is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of wanting to die. He asks for the help of his disciples.
    • When do you put on a mask to impress others rather than being yourself and being real?
  • Fear: Fear God, not people (Luke 12:4-5)
    • “Either we fear God and nothing else, or we don’t fear God and fear everything else.”
    • What is God saying to you about your fears?
  • Love: God is compassionate, tender and gentle (Luke 12:6-7)
    • The one you should fear most, cares about every detail of your life. God loves you personally.
    • “When we live in the love of God, we begin to pay attention to people the way God pays attention to us.” John Ortburg
    • When did you last experience the overwhelming sensation of the personal, tender love of God?
  • Stand Up Boldly for Christ (Luke 12:8-9)
    • Reality: If we don’t acknowledge Jesus, he will not acknowledge us.
    • Talk with Jesus about areas where you resist speaking up for Him.
  • Unforgivable Sin (Luke 12:10)
    • Blasphemy is about the life-long rejection of the Holy Spirit’s witness to Jesus.
    • If you have not accepted the Holy Spirit’s testimony of Jesus, will you do that now?
  • Depend on the Holy Spirit (Luke 12:11-12)
    • The Holy Spirit lives in us to guide us in all situations.
    • Ask God to reveal where you need to depend more on His Spirit this week.


Five Studies to use with this message

Studies written by Lisa Crum
These studies have not been reviewed or approved by WoodsEdge.

Authenticity:  Galatians 2:11-13

Read from the beginning of Galatians to grasp the tone and background.

What was Cephas (Peter) doing before the people came from James (Judean Christians) [v12]? What does Peter do when these Jewish Christians arrive [v12]? Why? How does this impact other Jewish Christians living in Antioch [v13]? How have you experienced a similar situation? Listen to God’s loving, gentle response to you about times you feel you change or simply keep quiet to fit in or appear to be something you are not?

Fear:  Esther 4:1-16

Find time to read the entire book of Esther if you are not familiar with this story.

Why are the Jews so distraught [vv 7-8]? What instruction does Mordecai give his niece, Esther [v8]? Why does she not want to follow his instructions [v11]? How does Esther respond after Mordecai addresses her fears [vv13-16]? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal a recent time you were in a position to make a difference but chose to do nothing because of fear? What is the worst thing that could happen to you if you faced that fear? What is the best thing that could happen if you followed the leading of the Holy Spirit?

Love:  John 4:4-30,39

Before reading the questions below, read the passage a couple times. Wait for God to ask you questions or highlight verses to discuss with him.

Based on what you read or already know about Samaritan’s and Jews at the time, how do you picture the woman – personality, tone, dress? How does Jesus surprise her (more than once)? What was most impressive to the woman and the townspeople [vv 29,39]? Why is this significant to the woman and the townspeople? How do you feel about Jesus knowing everything you ever did? Sit in his presence for a bit and drink in the love he has for you even knowing everything you have done. Worship him in Spirit and in truth.

Be Bold for Jesus:  Acts 4:13-20,29-31

Read from the beginning of Chapter 3 to grasp the context of this passage.

What amazes the Jewish leaders about Peter and John [vv13-14]? What do the leaders do about Peter and John’s teaching [vv17-18]? How do Peter and John reply to this warning [vv19-20]? In light of the threats, what is the prayer of the believers [vv29-30]? What are your prayers when faced with threatening situations? Pray the prayer in verses 29-30 for yourself. If you have not had threats, replace “threats” with “fears.” Now, go out and expect opportunities to speak the word of God boldly.

Depend on God: Exodus 33:1-6,12-20

Chapter 32 reveals God’s anger at the Israelites because they made an idol and bowed down to it.

Why are the people mourning in chapter 33 [vv1-6]? Why is it important that God’s Presence go with Moses and the Israelites [vv15-16]? Jesus tells his disciples in John 14:15 that the Father is giving them the Spirit of truth to be with them and in them. How important is that to you in your everyday life? How would your day be different if you began by telling God that you only want to go where His Presence is evident with you? Try it. When you pray for God’s guidance, be sure to wait for his answer. Plan breaks throughout your day or put reminders on your phone to stop and notice God’s Presence with you. Seek his guidance in all circumstances.

Fearless In His Love 20150118 PDF

People, God Loves You!

Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19

At the end of the children’s sermon, our son Austin took the microphone from the pastor and spoke with authority, “People, God loves you!” Who is this boy? was not just a question from others in the congregation. I was asking the same thing. After his surprising affirmation of God’s love, Austin stepped forward and spoke a hope-filled prayer.

We received several comments that day. I have treasured the experience for years but I suspect few from the congregation remember it. Those who do, may only remember the boldness of a cute little boy but I wonder what God was doing in our midst through that little boy. Within a few years, the building was empty and up for sale.

It was not religious leaders or wise men who spoke the night Jesus was born. It was shepherds who “spread the word concerning what had been told them.” Luke says all who heard what the shepherds said were amazed, but not Mary. She was more than amazed. She treasured the whole experience including the words and actions of these men who came in from the fields to see her son.

I wonder what happened with all those people who were amazed at what the shepherds told them. Did they go see the baby Jesus or just make nice comments about what they heard? How long did they remember what was told them?

Bethlehem was a busy place in those days. Whether they were thrilled to reunite with family or irritated by the inconvenience of the census, most were probably too preoccupied with life to treasure in their heart the reality that was in their midst. The Savior they had been expecting for generations was being counted in their family line.

What is on your mind this Christmas season? Are you preoccupied with buying gifts, counting party guests, and doing what our culture expects? Are you amazed enough with the birth of Jesus to stop what you are doing, see this thing that has happened and spread the word of this great joy that is for all people?

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11

People, God loves you! May you treasure that truth and let it overflow from your heart all year long.


Published on ChristianDevotions.us 12/29/2010

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
Luke 1:30-34

I laughed when I read Mary’s response. How funny it is when God invites us to participate in something unbelievably amazing and we are stuck on “what did you say about me?” or “I can’t do that, I’m (fill in the blank).”

Read the passage again. How much does the angel say about Mary? How much does the angel say about Jesus? It’s as if Mary heard the first part and didn’t hear anything about Jesus.

Mary may not understand the significance of what the angel said is about to happen but she does not run away from it. She reveals her knowledge and trust in God in what is known as “Mary’s Song” (Luke 1:46-55).

When God invites you to participate with him, don’t get stuck on your position in life. Trust his position and his word.

Read Luke 1. What has God invited you to do with him lately? When you catch yourself saying I can’t to God, listen again for the more exciting part of what he is inviting you to do. Then say out loud, GOD CAN!


Check out YouVersion free app for Christmas Reading Plans

Have you ever been afraid to pray? Not the fear of praying out loud in a group but afraid to enter into conversation with God. Most of us haven’t. In fact, studies show that 90% of U.S. adults pray. Even those who aren’t sure God exists pray to “cover all the bases.”

We tend to think of prayer starting when we begin talking to God. How would your approach to prayer be different if you viewed prayer as a conversation initiated by God? In Nehemiah 8–10 we see that praying faithfully began when the people “listened attentively” to the reading of scripture.

In this passage, the people respond to scripture with emotion and actions. Chapter nine includes what we would more typically call prayer but there is a twist. Instead of making a request of God in their time of great distress, the people make a commitment to God.

While the commitment is to obey carefully all the commands of God, three specific areas are emphasized in Nehemiah 10: marriage, the Sabbath and taking care of the house of God.

In praying faithfully, our first commitment is to be one with God as in a marriage relationship. Observing the Sabbath means we trust that his ways will meet the needs of this marriage. And, by listening attentively to God, we recognize that faithfulness involves assuming responsibility to care for his priorities and values above all else.

It’s easy to shoot up prayers to God, “covering all the bases,” hoping he will do what we ask. You don’t even have to believe in God to do that. It takes courage to listen attentively and be faithful to one whose priorities and values are so different than the world around us.

Do you have the courage to pray faithfully? What does that look like for you personally? Read Nehemiah 8–10. What similarities and differences do you see between this prayer in Nehemiah and your prayers? How might this perspective change the way you enter into prayer in your Bible study group?


Published in WISC Newsletter 2/15/2012 Find WISC on Facebook
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