The Good, the Bad, the Ugly


Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. Hebrews 13:5

A dear friend of mine sent me a text message that said, “I’m so glad we can tell each other the good, the bad, and the ugly!” We have been friends for many years, and we have learned to share our joys and our failures. We recognize we are far from perfect, so we share our struggles but we also rejoice in each other’s successes.

David and Jonathan had a solid friendship too, beginning with the good days of David’s victory over Goliath (1 Sam. 18:1–4). They shared their fears during the bad days of Jonathan’s father’s jealousy (18:6–11; 20:1–2). Finally, they suffered together during the ugly days of Saul’s plans to kill David (20:42).

Real friendships are a gift from God.

Good friends don’t abandon us when external circumstances change. They stay with us through the good and the bad days. Good friends also may point us to God in the ugly days, when we may feel tempted to walk away from our Lord.

Real friendships are a gift from God because they exemplify the perfect Friend, who remains loyal through the good, the bad, and the ugly days. As the Lord reminds us, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).

Dear Lord, I thank You for the good friends You have placed in my life, but above all, I thank You for Your friendship.

Read about living in the power of the Spirit and serving one another in love at

A friend is the first person who comes in when the whole world has gone out.

INSIGHT:Although Jonathan was the son of the king and in line for the throne, he was willing to sacrifice his own advancement and, instead, promote David. Throughout the years of their relationship, Jonathan showed the hallmarks of a true friend and brother, regarding David as more important than himself and seeking to put David’s interest ahead of his own. What are some characteristics of lasting, meaningful friendships (see Prov. 17:17)? What kinds of sacrifices are necessary in order to build a significant friendship (see Phil. 2:3–4)? How can our friendships represent the heart of Christ for us? (see John 15:15).

Rekindling the Fire

Luke 10:27

The Lord created us to live passionately for Him. In that way, we enjoy the blessings of an intimate relationship with our Creator. But there are other benefits as well. Just as the warmth and beauty of flames draw people toward a fireplace, God uses our passion to draw others to Himself.

So, not just for our sake but also for the sake of others, we must be careful not to let our fervor for God fade. Thankfully, the indwelling Holy Spirit nudges believers who start to head in the wrong direction. If you sense this to be the case, you can take several steps to realign yourself with Him.

First, evaluate where you are spiritually—ask God whether your fire has grown cold. Second, acknowledge any distance you have allowed to separate you from your heavenly Father, and repent. Third, refocus your attention on Jesus; meditate on how He teaches His followers to live. Spend quality time in Scripture daily, asking the Lord to speak to you through His Word. Pray, not by using fancy language but by crying out earnestly and seeking God’s face. Fourth, rely upon the Holy Spirit to guide you back to an intimate and exciting relationship with the Father. Finally, love and serve God by worshipping Him and reaching out to others.

What occupies the majority of your time and attention? Do your thoughts and conversation tend to revolve around worldly topics or the things of God? If your fire for the Lord has dwindled, take the necessary steps today to renew your passion. Living closely with Him is well worth the effort and discipline.

In His wisdom and grace, Everything We Need

“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” (2 Peter 1:3)

In His wisdom and grace, God has seen to it that we have everything we need to produce “life and godliness.” “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (v. 4). This all-sufficient tool is, of course, the written Word of God, much of which came through the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ, who in turn claimed it came from God the Father: “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me” (John 17:8).

Furthermore, the written Word is the source of our faith and the only hope of salvation. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). This Word in which our faith is grounded is forever alive, “being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Peter 1:23), and not to be altered, edited, or supplemented. “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life” (Revelation 22:18-19).

Rather, we must live by the words of this book: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

To ensure that the “great and precious promises” regarding “life and godliness” are ours, we must believe, guard, and follow the teachings of this book. “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13). JDM

“Follow thou Me.”

Genesis 24:50-67

Laban, having heard Eliezer’s story and seen the jewels, which were no doubt great arguments with his mercenary mind, consented that Rebekah should go with him to Isaac.

Genesis 24:51

It is always right for young people to seek the consent of parents and natural guardians in such an important business.

Genesis 24:52

He was too devout a man to fail to adore ingratitude; too many, however, only pray in need, but forget to worship in thanksgiving.

Genesis 24:53

He was a wise steward, and knew what arguments weighed most with Laban.

Genesis 24:54

God’s servants should imitate this steward, and never be loiterers.

Genesis 24:56

We ought not easily to be delayed from duty. To loiter is to disobey. When God speeds us we should speed indeed.

Genesis 24:58

How happy would ministers be if all young people could be as readily led to the great Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus. He accepts the willing mind. He asks for the heart. Alas, how many deny their consent to his loving claims.

Genesis 24:60

The blessing of parents is a precious dowry.

Genesis 24:63

This good man, in his choice of a suitable place and time for one of the most heavenly of occupations, is an example to us all. If we meditated more we should be far more gracious than we are;

Genesis 24:66

Happy is that servant of God who dare tell his Master in heaven all that he has done. What a sad account would some have to render; for, “who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?”


In all my Lord’s appointed ways,

My journey I’ll pursue;

“Hinder me not,” ye much-loved saints,

For I must go with you.


Through floods and flames, if Jesus lead,

I’ll follow where he goes;

“Hinder me not,” shall be my cry,

Though earth and hell oppose.


My spirit looks to God alone;

My rock and refuge is his throne;

In all my fears, in all my straits,

My soul on his salvation waits.


Trust him, ye saints, in all your ways.

Pour out your hearts before his face;

When helpers fail, and foes invade,

God is our all-sufficient aid.


The Holy Spirit Wants To Place A Razor-Sharp Sword in Your Hands

Ephesians 6:17

How would you like God to give you a weapon that can rip to shreds the devil’s strategies against you? Well, that’s exactly what He has done! Ephesians 6:17 declares that God has given you “… the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”!

I want you to look at the word “sword” in this verse. It is the Greek word machaira—a word that exacted fear in the minds of those who heard it! You see, this wasn’t just a sword, but a weapon of murder that caused the victim horrid pain as he lay bleeding to death.

Just for your knowledge, there were various types of swords used by the Roman army during New Testament times. For instance, there was a huge double-handed sword—a sword so massive that it could only be utilized with the use of two hands. This sword could not be used in real combat because it was too huge. Instead, it was used during sword practice sessions because it helped develop stronger muscles as soldiers swung it against a post that represented an enemy.

There was also a long sword that was used for fighting in a battle, similar to the sword we are familiar with today. This sword was very effective in battle, but it more often wounded the enemy than it killed him. Because it was long, it was most often swung at an enemy from the side, thus scraping or cutting a gouge into the side or limbs of an adversary.

But the weapon referred to in Ephesians 6:17, coming from the Greek word machaira, was neither of these swords. This sword was an exceptionally brutal weapon. Although it could be up to nineteen inches in length, most often it was shorter and shaped like a dagger-type sword.

Just as a dagger is inserted into a victim at close range, this sword was used only in close combat. It was razor sharp on both sides of the blade. The tip of the sword often turned upward; sometimes it was even twisted, similar to a cork screw. Because this dagger-type sword was razor sharp, it could easily be thrust into the abdomen of an adversary. And if it had a cork-screw tip, the attacker could shred the insides of a victim by twisting the sword.

All these characteristics made the machaira a very deadly and frightful weapon. This two-edged, dagger-type sword inflicted a wound far worse than any other sword that was available to the Roman soldier at that time. Although the other swords were deadly, this one was a terror to the imagination!

By using the word machaira in Ephesians 6:17, the apostle Paul is saying that God has given the Church of Jesus Christ a weapon that is frightful to the devil and his forces. Why is this weapon so horrific to the kingdom of darkness? Because it has the razor-sharp power to slash our demonic foes to shreds!

Because the word machaira denoted a sword that was dagger-shaped, it tells us that the “sword of the Spirit” is a weapon that is normally employed in closer combat. Let’s take this one step further, so we can understand why this is so.

Notice that this verse calls it “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The term “word” is taken from the Greek word rhema, which describes something that is spoken clearly and vividly, in unmistakable terms and in undeniable language. In the New Testament, the word rhema carries the idea of a quickened word.

Here’s an example of a rhema or a quickened word. You are praying about a situation when suddenly a Bible verse rises from within your heart. In that moment, you know that God has supernaturally made you aware of a verse you can stand on and claim for your situation. When this happens, it’s as if the Holy Spirit has put a sword in your hand—a spiritual dagger—that you can insert into the heart of the enemy to bring about his defeat.

There are many examples of God giving someone this kind of quickened word in the Bible, but the best one is found in Luke 4, where Jesus is being tempted by the devil in the wilderness. Over and over again, the devil tempted and tested Jesus. But with each temptation, a scripture was quickened inside Jesus, and He would speak forth that scripture to the devil, brandishing it like a sword against His enemy. Each time Jesus used a verse that the Spirit had quickened to Him, the sword of the Word dealt a serious blow to the enemy—causing the devil to eventually flee in defeat.


Because of the words machaira and rhema, Ephesians 6:17 conveys this impression:

“The Spirit will place a razor-sharp sword at your disposal anytime the enemy gets too close. This sword’s power will be available the very moment the Spirit quickens a specific word for a specific situation you are facing.”

When you receive a rhema from the Lord, the Holy Spirit drops a word or scripture into your heart, causing it to come alive supernaturally and impart special power and authority to you. This quickened word is so powerful that it is like a sword has been placed in your hands! That’s why Paul calls it “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

The next time you find yourself in close combat with the enemy, take the time to get quiet in your heart and listen. The Holy Spirit will reach up from within your spirit and quicken to you a scripture that has the exact power you need for the situation you find yourself in at that moment. In other words, the Holy Spirit will give you a rhema—a specific word for a specific time and a specific purpose.

When that happens, you have just received real “sword power” in the realm of the Spirit. It’s time for you to insert, twist, and do damage to the devil. Then you can watch in jubilation as he hits the road and flees!


Lord, I know that Your Spirit has the very answer I need for any situation I may confront in life. When He speaks to my heart, it places a razor-sharp sword in my hands that I can use against my spiritual enemies. Help me keep a sensitive ear to the Holy Spirit so I can recognize those moments when He is trying to give me arhemathat will put the devil on the run!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!


I confess that I can hear the Holy Spirit’s voice when He drops a word into my heart at the exact moment I need it. Those quickened words impart special power and authority to me.

They are so powerful that it is as if a sword has been placed in my hands! When I receive that kind of word from the Lord, I insert it, twist it, and do as much damage as possible to the devil until he’s sorry he ever messed with me!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!


  1. Can you think of times in your life when you needed a rhema for the situation you were facing?
  2. Did you turn to the Holy Spirit in those situations to listen for a quickened word?
  3. What steps can you take to help make the Scriptures more readily available in your life? How would that change the situation you are in now?


How Big Is Your Vision


“The real qualities of leadership are to be found in those who are willing to suffer for the sake of objectives great enough to demand their wholehearted obedience.”


A friend of mine who consults CEO’s of small companies tells me that over 90% of these firms operate on a re-active rather than a pro-active basis. In other words, they simply respond in a knee jerk fashion to market conditions: No great vision. Just daily… grinding… survival.


Aim at nothing and you are sure to hit it.


Many people circumscribe their lives to the same aimless, reactive, blandness: Putting out fires. Solving problems. Oiling the wheel that squeaks the loudest. Oppressive… boring… survival.


Bound by the tyranny of the urgent.


Perhaps our problem is that our vision is so small that it only merits a mediocre response.


One impassioned writer cried out against this mind numbing, visionless level of subsistence:


“Give me men to match my mountains:

Give me men to match my plains:

Men with empires in their purpose:

Men with eras in their brains.”


Christ had an objective great enough to demand His wholehearted obedience: Your salvation.


Jesuswho for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame… ” (Hebrews 12:2)


The “joy set before Him” was His vision of your redemption… Which resulted in His wholehearted obedience to the Father’s will: The cross.


Tell me, do you have an objective in your life that is “great enough to demand your wholehearted obedience“? If not, life must be pretty stale stuff.


May I suggest that unless you have a vision – a dream – an objective that (1) Is bigger than your life, (2) Is linked to God’s eternal purposes, and (3) Demands faith and sacrifice, you are already dead.


They just haven’t set the date for the funeral.



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