Always Wear Coveralls to Work

My dad was an engineer. He would often wear a suit and tie to work back in those days, but I could tell when he was going to be out in the shop that day because he would have a set of coveralls he would bring with him. Those coveralls would protect his regular clothes and even his body from the dirt and grime that the work would bring. He wouldn’t leave home without them. Much can be said for that same attitude in our daily lives.

When we get serious about doing God’s work, we are apt get dirty. This world loves to throw dirt onto anyone trying to better themselves and those around them. When we are leading people toward the light, the darkness beckons us more than ever. We are more easily soiled and tarnished. The devil loves to see people succumb to sin.

Let’s face it, in today’s world, sin is easy to come by. Sometimes it’s even a little fun. That fun quickly turns into pain. The more dirt and sin that’s hurled your direction, the easier it is to become overwhelmed by it and fall.

‘Look out for number one’ and ‘those with the most toys wins’ are common phrases in this all-about-me type of world. If you are kind or thoughtful and you go to extremes to show Christ’s mercy and love to others, you are going to get lured by sin. So much so, in fact, that you will often wonder if it’s all worth it. “If I just spend money on myself and focus on me and my own pleasure, I would be rich and be having fun. Who cares about other people anyway?”

Who cares about people? God does. He loves you and He loves all of His creation. Whether you know it or not, you have the most high God as your Heavenly Father. So do all people, whether they realize it or want to admit it.

God’s plan for our lives is to do our best to take care of one another, from the least to the greatest of us. He loves us all. We are all God’s children. As His children, we are to take care of our brothers and sisters.

Sure, we could write a check when we see that commercial about starving kids in Africa, but God doesn’t just want your money. Truly caring for yours fellow person will involve our heart and soul much more than our wallets.

The apostle Paul said, “I fill up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ…” Col 1:24. Truly, Jesus lacks nothing. He’s God. What Paul wants to focus on is that he makes present the sufferings of Jesus Christ in order to help others. If it takes suffering and toil to help others prosper here on earth and to gain eternal life with God, that suffering is worth it.

The hard work pays off when you see the dead come to life in Christ. Through His blood on the cross shed to take our sins away, we are allowed eternal life. There’s no more important work in this world than to let others know about that love.

That work is tough. It’s hard and it takes dedication. The kind of dedication that will cause the devil to take notice of you.

Not too many people want to hear about God or salvation. It goes against the here and now approach of this world. They may laugh and scorn you. They may hate you for telling that truth and do all kinds of things against you, even to the point of death in some countries.

You will suffer like Christ suffered. After all, He’s the Master and the servant is no better than their master. You will face all kinds of mud-slinging. However, God loves you and promises that He will protect you.

As the Bible says, “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31.

God will take care of His children, but you have to stay with Him. The Bible says to put on Christ like a garment (Romans 13:14). Through the power of His Holy Spirit living in and through you, you will do great and wonderful things for people that you never thought possible. You can set this world ablaze with the love of Jesus Christ, healing the sick, lifting the broken hearted, feeding the poor, and so much more than that.

Doing God’s will allows you to prosper in so many ways that truly matter. This world looks for money and fame to gauge prosperity. Those things are passing like dust. The prosperity that truly matters is the crown of gold that is laid up for you in Heaven. That prosperity is forever! It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.

So it is up to you. You can stay clean and safe if you want, or you can truly do the Lord’s work. Yes, you’ll probably do ok here in this life looking out for just yourself. But that all won’t matter when you are faced with the same death that comes to all of us someday. Then what will you have to show for your work?

God wants us to show love and to care for all people the way He cares for and loves us all. That takes work. Be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ, but don’t start that work before putting on the Holy Spirit. In those coveralls, you will be ready and well equipped to take on anything. Your soul will be kept clean of sin and all the dirt of this world.

If you do this, I believe and declare that on that faithful day, when your time here is over, you will step boldly into Heaven and hear Jesus say to you “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Now at last, enter into the joy of the Master’s house.”

God’s blessings to you.


This Guy is a Complete Tool

I remember a friend of mine worked at a video store (for you youngsters in the crowd, we had VHS tapes that you could rent back in the days before the internet was really a thing). I had browsed and found a couple of movies to rent. When I went to check out, it turns out that my friend had wrote something into the comments section of my rental file. Specifically, he wrote, “This guy is a complete tool.” To which, when the lady at the counter read this, she chuckled almost uncontrollably. We talked about it and had a good laugh together.

Fast forward a couple of decades later to my dad’s funeral. I had just finished delivering the final benediction at the gravesite and we were all leaving. One of the funeral directors looked at me and said, “You are a really good preacher.” To which I replied, “Thanks. I’m just grateful to be a tool for the Master to use.” This just came out of my mouth, not for some false humility, but I was honestly happy to be there in that capacity that day. I was sad for my dad’s death, but honored to preach God’s Word at such an important time in my family’s lives.

I look back and realize what was being said in both instances. In one sense of the word ‘tool’, I was being called something derogatory and not worthy of any recognition. In the second use of the word, there was a recognition, but it was being passed from myself to the one who was using the tool. In one sense it was a negative, in the other sense it was a positive. What changed was who used the tool and what the tool was being used for.

You and I are both a certain type of tool. We may not be used in the same ways and at the same times, but we are all going to be used for a purpose. The difference is who is using us. We can either use ourselves for the wrong purposes or we can let go and allow God to use us to create something wonderful.

I have a toolbox with hammers, screwdrivers, and wrenches. Why do I need all of those? I need the right tool for the right job. A hammer shouldn’t be used to turn a bolt or you will quickly end up with something ruined. Just like that tool scenario, your experiences and talents enable you to handle certain situations better than other people.

In short, nothing you’ve been through in your life will be for nothing. All of the experiences have made you into what you are today. The good and the bad that you’ve gone through over the years will be used for God’s glory, if you just make yourself available for Him to use.

I have an old hammer that belonged to my grandad. It’s been plenty used and It’s worth noting that the head had come loose years ago. The wooden handle broke a bit, but my dad was able to fix it well. Now, I use it and like using it because it is still just as solid and trustworthy as when it was first made.

Was that hammer broken, yes, but that wasn’t the end of the story. The owner fixed it. It was better than ever and became the centerpiece of his toolbox.

You and I may be a bit broken from the trials of life, but are you ready to heal? God is ready to make that happen. You’re worth it to Him. The Bible says that you are God’s masterpiece. You are very special to Him. He loves you and wants to help you experience your best.

You are useful and this world needs you. However, you need to be made available for God to use. Our sin will keep us from our calling, but through the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are released from our sin. His blood on the cross frees us and makes us capable to do great and wonderful things for Him and our fellow people.

When we accept Jesus Christ, we are healed of our brokenness. You have talents and skills that can be used to help so many people in this world. The difference happens when you let go and you put yourself into God’s hands. Don’t be afraid of being a tool for Him to use. Who better than the Master Craftsman to know how best to utilize you and to take care of you?

Yes, I am a complete tool. Proud of it in fact. We are all tools. So what will you be used for?

God’s blessings to you.


The Reason for the Season

“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” – Luke 2:11

When the world needed peace, Jesus Christ was born. At a time when things didn’t seem that they could get any worse, Jesus arrived. When people were scared, angry, self-absorbed, and looking to the wrong things to bring themselves happiness, God arrived on Earth.

By all rights, this description sounds a lot like 2020. Wars and rumors of wars, protests and infighting at every level, and a pandemic that has affected the world. Nothing about this year was easy or occurred by any of our supposed plans.

We need peace, we need complete love, and we need hope for the future. In short, we need Jesus. Now more than ever, we need The Savior. We need Jesus Christ for n our lives and in our hearts. He is the only way to where we need to be.

Whether you believe in Him or not, Jesus Christ has changed the world forever. Our common year is based off of the life of Jesus Christ. Even if some people changed the acronym, it’s still before Christ’s birth and after. Phrases we use every day, such as “Go the extra mile,” “blind leading the blind,” “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” or “straight and narrow” are all words straight from Christ’s mouth. This whole time of year especially is because of Jesus. You can say happy holidays all you want, but the truth of the matter is that Christ is the reason for the season.

Even in places that are cynical of Christian values, I have heard Christmas music playing. Take the time to listen to those songs. Those are songs of praise and worship and they are being played all over the place and even all over the world this time of year.

To paraphrase the book of Acts, if this whole Jesus thing was just of men, it would turn to nothing. However, if this really is of God, there’s nothing in this world that can stop it. It’s been over two thousand years since the birth of Jesus and there is no silencing the believer, no matter what heretical laws are passed and no matter how politically correct this country becomes.

Why is that? Because the person who has been forgiven of much shows the most love for the Lord. I have been forgiven of many wrongs in my life and, if by chance I am ever rendered mute, my actions and my very soul would still sing out in praise of the God Most High.

That’s why there was a bright and shining star that showed the way to Christ’s crib that fateful night. Even the universe showed praise to the Creator with a glow that could never be equaled. That shining star stood for peace and hope to the ones in need of a savior. It also stood as a warning light to those who thought they were doing fine by their own ways. It was a green light to love and a red light to evil.

So please remember this time of year, Christmas time. Praise Jesus for His wonderful life and His death upon the cross for our sins. A believer’s future is sealed by complete and boundless love and it all started because a star was born and His name is Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas and God’s blessings to you.


Most Needed Verse

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” – Philippians 4:6

When I was growing up, my mom always had a Bible sitting on the coffee table in the living room. I liked picking it up and seeing all of her handwritten notes in there.  One thing in particular stood out to me.  She had Philippians 4:6 written down next to big, bold, underlined words saying, “MOST NEEDED VERSE.”

To anyone who knew my mom, you would understand just why she wrote this verse down with such importance. Mom was a worry-wart; in fact, she was the queen mother of worry-warts.  If she would have gotten paid for worrying, even my great-grandchildren would never have to worry about their next meal.  However, no matter how much she worried, most of the things she worried about never came to pass anyway.  The very few things that did happen, her worrying couldn’t have changed them at all.

Many of us spend our lives concerned for what the future holds. We sometimes “what if…” ourselves literally to death.  Worry doesn’t keep bad things from happening, it only wears us down and saps every bit of joy from today.  Jesus knows how prone to worry that we are, but He puts it plainly when He said, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?”  Almost the entire 12th chapter of Luke shows Jesus talking about worrying being a waste of time.  He is speaking right to each of us when He says to consider how God provides for animals who do not plant but are always fed; flowers of the field that do not labor or spin and yet they are arrayed in more beautiful clothing than King Solomon was in all of his glory.

This life is tough sometimes. Becoming a Christian doesn’t take away the pain and the problems, but it does help you to deal with them better.  By being close to Jesus, you are setting yourself up against an immovable pillar.  The weight of the world may come crashing down on you occasionally, but you are always supported.  You are not alone!

Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” How true that is.  His Holy Spirit is living in you and through you, helping you every step of the way.  We may not understand all of God’s plan and frankly it’s not for us to understand, but just know that our Heavenly Father is caring for us always.  Much like the old “Footprints in the Sand” poem, Jesus carries us through the trials and difficulties in life.  In short, if you walk with Jesus, you will never be alone.  God is bigger and stronger than any problem that you could ever have.

During the last conversation I ever had with my mom, she seemed more at peace than any other time that I knew her. Honestly, I was more concerned than she was.  Her cancer had eaten her away to nothing and we both knew there wasn’t much time left.  But, out of all of those heart-wrenching anxieties, this woman who would have normally worried about anything looked at me and said, “My darling baby boy, please don’t worry.  You and I love Jesus.  I promise, we’ll be together again.”  She taught me more at that single moment than she taught me throughout my entire life.  She taught me her most needed verse as well as the next one after that which states, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  At that moment, she showed me the true peace of God.

I miss my momma.

If there’s anything she’d like for me to tell you right now, it’s that you can’t worry yourself to Jesus. Instead, cast your worries upon His mighty cross of salvation.  He has you in His arms.  You’re safe now.

God’s blessings to you.


For Peace With God

God’s plan is for peace in your life, but in this crazy, confused, and fallen world, it seems like all we have are difficulties and pains. Once one goes away, another takes its place. It is the furthest thing from peace, but we need to realize that being at peace is not automatic.

Our problem is that we are separated from God. We are strangers in a strange land and that becomes more apparent with each passing day. Sin abounds. It’s all we see around every turn in this world. After a while, we find we jump right into that sin with both feet. But don’t think that you are alone in that mess. In Romans 3:23, it says that ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. How right it is.

The words ‘sin’ and ‘fallen’ don’t need to be what define you though. God has placed a remedy before us to bridge the gap between Him and us. That bridge is the cross of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection paid the penalty for your sins and mine. The bible says that “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24).

However, just because the bridge is there doesn’t mean that we automatically get saved. We have to accept that saving grace. We can’t just take a flight if we have a ticket. That plane will leave without us if we don’t climb on board. We have to cross the bridge and we do that when we accept and receive Christ through His personal invitation.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” – John 1:12

“Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” – Romans 10:13

To receive Christ you need to do four things:

  1. ADMIT your spiritual need. “I am a sinner.” Just like in any problem, the first step is admitting you have one.
  2. REPENT and be willing to turn from your sin. You have to pick a path. One leads to death, the other to eternal life. You at least have to be willing to turn down the correct path, but make no mistake, you can’t do it alone. You need Jesus’ help and that’s what He’s offering.
  3. BELIEVE that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross. Romans 10:19 says that if you declare with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
  4. RECEIVE, through prayer, Jesus Christ into your heart and life. Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in” (Revelation 3:20).

Whether you are a non-believer in search of peace in your life or even if you are a lifelong Christian who doesn’t feel like they have had that connection with Jesus, now is your chance to come to Him. He’s waiting for you. Please pray this prayer with me:

“Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died for my sins and I want to turn from them now and forever. I want You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as Lord and Savior.”

Friends, if you prayed that prayer with me, I believe that you have just been saved. If you didn’t, than what are you waiting for? The bible says that today is the day of salvation; now is the accepted time. I know that if I had a single doubt as to my eternal salvation, you couldn’t drag me away from here without accepting the peace of Jesus Christ.

Now, get into a good bible based local church, if you are physically able, and come to know more about the God who loves you and wants to be with you forever. You are now no longer at odds against Him, but instead you have returned to Him as His child who was once lost, but now is found. His arms are outstretched to welcome you home.

May His blessings be upon you forever.


The Ten Commandments

“I am the LORD your God, which have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me.” – Exodus 20:2-3

Sometimes, with all of the craziness of everyday life, it’s good to get back to the basics.  One thing that seems to go away from peoples’ minds is the fact that there is a right way to live this life and a wrong way.  One way leads to life and that’s God’s way.  Making your own rules up as you go along is truly the wrong way.

God created us as His children and He loves us very much.  Just like all good parents, God wanted to instruct His children on how to live the best that we could.  So one day, God made 10 rules, called commandments, for us to live by and He gave them to a man He trusted named Moses. God knew Moses would pass the commandments along to the rest of us.  Moses lived over 3000 years ago, but the rules God gave him to follow are just as important now as they were back then.

It’s just like when as a kid, our parents give us rules to protect us: to look both ways before we cross the street, to not hit our brother or sister.  They give us rules because they love us and know what’s best for us, and those rules never get too old to follow.

Please remember that each commandment is equally as important as the rest of them, one is not more important than the other. I’m only giving a brief overview of the commandments right now for the sake of time, but these really deserve a much deeper Bible study.

The first commandment is to put God first.  This means that nothing should be more important than God – a hobby you enjoy, tv or video games, even your friends and family should not be more important than God. When you make our Lord the top priority, it will keep your mind and heart more focused on His desires for your life and not just your own.

The second command is to worship only God.  This is like the first commandment in that God wants our love, and He doesn’t want us to bow down and worship a statue just because we can’t see Him.  In other words God is the only one that we should pray to or look to for our completion.  Not sports heroes, not movie stars, just God.

The third commandment is broken all the time nowadays it seems.  God commands us to use His name with respect.  Many people use God’s name like a swear word, or say it when they’re upset.  God wants us to use His name when we’re talking to Him, or telling others about Him in a nice way.  To use His name in these other ways is very disrespectful and hurts God to hear it. You wouldn’t say your mom’s name as a bad word, so don’t use God’s.

The forth commandment should be easy, we are to remember God’s Sabbath, which means His day of rest.  God wants us to take one day of the week and just rest from all of the stress.  When God made the world in six days, He rested on the seventh day.  This gets harder when you get older, there always seems to be something to do, but remember God commands us to take a day off.  Like my mom used to say, “it’s good for what ails you.”

The fifth commandment might be a little tricky for some of you, but it’s very important (like all the other commandments) that you follow it.  He tells us to honor our father and mother.  That’s a tough one if you had not gotten the blessing of a good set of parents.  So many people I meet have dad or mom issues from poor parenting during their early years.  Non-existent parents are sometimes better than abusive or addicted parents.  That being said, God didn’t say to love them or even respect them, but honor them.  You honor your parents by not only forgiving them of their shortcomings, but especially by becoming a better person yourself through a more godly life than what they lived.  Frankly, even the best parent should be held up as a warning instead of an example. Honor your parents

The sixth commandment says don’t kill people.  This doesn’t mean just kill, but the original term written means “an unlawful taking of an innocent life.” It doesn’t mean that a police officer or soldier who needs to take the life of an evildoer in order to protect the lives of good, law abiding citizens.  God understands and the Bible is replete with God-sanctioned wars and the like.  It is unfortunate, but there is evil in this world and true evil will never allow a harmonious existence with good.  That being said, we must go as far as we can to forgive those who wrong us and lead a peaceful life.

The seventh commandment is for those who are married.  God tells us to be faithful in marriage.  He wants us to love our wife or husband someday and treat them with respect. Marriage is important and should be treated like it is. This even extends to what Jesus said about committing adultery of the eyes, so to speak.  If you are married, you are joined with that one man or one woman.  If you cheat or even look upon another person lustfully, you are not only defiling yourself, but your spouse as well.

The eighth commandment is don’t steal.  This means that we shouldn’t take something that doesn’t belong to us.  You wouldn’t want people to take your favorite item, so don’t take anything that isn’t yours.  Remember that God is in control and He will provide what we need.  You will never lack for anything if you are faithful to God.

The ninth commandment is don’t lie.  It is always better to tell the truth, and while you’re at it don’t do anything that would make you want to lie.  Usually parents, police, or other authority figures know when you’re lying anyway.  We know you did it, just admit it.  And if you do something wrong and don’t get caught by another person, God sees and hears everything and He already knows that you did wrong.  Don’t lie about it and make the situation worse.

The tenth commandment is don’t covet.  This means that we shouldn’t wish to have things that someone else has.  I know there is always a new muscle car or pair of shoes – there is always something that we want to get.  It’s important to remember that these things aren’t really important.  God is the most important thing and should be in your life (remember the first commandment).

Now I know this list might seem nearly impossible to follow all the time, but God gives us His best and we should try to do our best for Him, too. When we mess up, and we will, remember that things will be OK if we stick close to our Heavenly Father. God loves and forgives us through the finished work of Jesus on the cross.

God’s blessings to you.


No Peacocks In Heaven

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” – James 4:6

We went to the zoo a little while ago and saw many animals, but one of them that stood out were the peacocks. They walked around with their beautiful feathers fanned out, almost with an air of arrogance about them.  Just then, I saw a teenage boy parading around and showing off for his girlfriend.  Now, I don’t think for a second that we are descended from apes or anything, but that situation made me think that the teenage boy might have been born from a peacock.

Many times in scripture we see God being angry with people for thinking they are high and mighty. God is just like any good parent and wants His children to know the value of staying humble.  I know that there has been times in my own life that God taught me humility, and those were lessons that I won’t soon forget.  Humility brings about peace and kindness, because you realize that we are all on the same level as brothers and sisters in God’s holy family.  We all deserve love.

Only God deserves the top spot in our lives and as soon as we think that we’ve somehow earned that spot ourselves, we are headed for disaster. It’s ok to acknowledge that you have certain gifts and be happy about them.  Some people are good artists or singers.  Some are good at sports.  I’m a good preacher.  That’s not pride or arrogance talking, that is simply an acknowledgement of a gift of the Holy Spirit. The problems come when you start thinking that your skills and talents came from anything you did in and of yourself.  Your blessings are just that, blessings.  The Bible doesn’t say that I can do all things just because I’m Daniel Harlow and I’m awesome.  It says that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  No Christ equals no strength.

My mom used to tell me not to get ‘too big for my britches’. I like the old country way of putting things into simple terms.  That is much like the Apostle Peter wrote, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6)  God is not impressed with your stylish cars or clothes.  Not once have I ever thought that I’d rather have a fancy movie star as a daughter rather than my own girls that love me deeply.  God loves you and you are important to Him just the way you are.  You have no need for a Rolex in Heaven.  You came into this world naked and you’ll leave just the same.  Billy Graham put it best when he said, “I’ve never seen a hearse with a U-Haul trailer.”

Sometimes it’s the simplest things in life that really bring you the greatest rewards. Humility is the gateway to Christ’s Kingdom and the key to our Heavenly Father’s eternal blessings.  You can’t lift yourself higher than what God can lift you.


Music To Our Ears

Our good friend is a music teacher and has spent a good portion of her life honing her skills in all things music. One thing I’ve learned from her is that a well trained ear can easily pick out a discordant note. The same thing can be said for our souls.

When you spend time with Jesus through prayer and reading the scriptures, your soul becomes better tuned to what God has to say about things. A well trained ear picks out a bad note and a well trained soul picks out the lies of the world.

There are unfortunately many people in this world calling bad things good and good things bad. We need to figure out what God says is a sin and call it what it is. “There are ways that seem right to a man, but the end of those ways  are death” Proverbs 14:12

It’s hard to know what’s right sometimes, but the more time you spend with Christ, the easier it is to pick out the bad things. When you accept Jesus into your life, the Holy Spirit lives inside of you. You’ll feel those tugs in certain directions from temptation, but you’ll have that still, quiet voice within you telling you right from wrong. The more time you spend in prayer, the louder the Spirit’s voice is inside of you. Pretty soon, doing the right thing comes easy.

If you haven’t accepted Jesus, take the time to do it right now. If you have already been saved, then I urge you to make a daily commitment to spend time in the Word of God. Make a Holy hour for yourself (even if it isn’t a full hour) to pray and read the Bible. Your day will go better, your life will be fuller, and your ears better trained to hear the truth. And the truth isn’t a something, it’s a somebody, and His name is Jesus Christ.

God bless you.