Monday, March 30, 2020

I Will Praise You in This Storm

“Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 
- 2 Chronicles 20:15

Last week I heard the story of Johnny, a 5-year-old boy who was in the kitchen with his mom while she was making dinner. Johnny’s mom asked him to go into the walk-in pantry and get her a can of tomato soup—but he was afraid to go into the pantry alone. He protested, “Mommy, it’s dark in there, and I’m scared.” She waited a minute or so and asked him again, but he still said he was too scared. Finally she said, “It’s okay—Jesus will be in there with you.” So, Johnny walked hesitantly to the pantry door and slowly opened it. He peeked inside, saw that it was dark, and started to abort his mission. But then he had an idea. He faced the darkness of the inner pantry and called, “Jesus, if you’re in there, would you hand me that can of tomato soup?”

We all have times when we’re scared. I was scared when my wife was rushed in to the OR for an emergency c-section with our first daughter. I was scared when I saw my second daughter at the age of 2 fall head-first out of a shopping cart at the grocery store. I was scared a year ago when I passed out in an ICU patient’s room. And honestly, I’d be lying if I said that I don’t find this whole coronavirus pandemic to be a bit scary.

King Jehoshaphat of Judah experienced fear, too. At the beginning of 2 Chronicles 20, he got the news that three nations—Moab, Ammon and Edom—had formed a vast army to make war on his kingdom. Moab and Ammon were located to the east of Judah, and Edom was located to the south. These enemies joined together somewhere south of the Dead Sea and began moving north toward Jerusalem. As the three armies made their way to within 50 miles of Jehoshaphat’s doorstep, there’s no doubt about it: Jehoshaphat was worried, and he was scared. So, what did he do?

Jehoshaphat rallied his people to call out to the Lord in prayer. He asked the nation to fast and pray, and that’s exactly what the people of Judah did. As he led his people in prayer, Jehoshaphat acknowledged that God rules over heaven and earth. He reminded God of the promise He had made to his great, great grandfather King Solomon after the temple was dedicated: If God’s people would humbly turn to God and cry out to Him for deliverance, God would hear them and save them (vs. 6-12). And we’re told in verse 13 that it wasn’t just the men’s Bible study group, or the women’s prayer group, who stood humbly praying before the LORD. It was everyone--men, women, children and even little toddler—all crying out to God.

In response, God calmed Jehoshaphat’s fears by sharing with him the same four words that He repeats time and time again to His worried followers: “Do not be afraid.” It’s the most repeated command in the Bible. “Do not be afraid” appears more than 100 times in the pages of Scripture. When God commissioned Joshua to lead the Israelites, he said, “Do not be afraid.” When the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, he told her, “Do not be afraid.” When Jesus appeared to the women on Resurrection Sunday, guess what he told them? “Do not be afraid.” Over and over and over again in Scripture, God tells His followers, “Fear not! Do not be afraid.” And that’s what God told Jehoshaphat.

The next morning, his army marched out to the battlefield. Jehoshaphat gave his people a rousing pep talk: “Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld” (v. 20). Then he did something very strange. According to verse 21, Jehoshaphat put a praise team at the head of his army. And this praise team had one task: “to sing to the LORD and to praise him for splendor of His holiness.”

As Jehoshaphat’s army marched toward the battlefield, the hillsides were filled with the sound of voices singing, “Give thanks to the LORD, for His love endures forever.” And as men of God leading the army of God praised God, the Spirit of God was catapulted by their praise onto the battlefield, turning Judah’s enemies against each other. On that battlefield, the LORD won the victory without Jehoshaphat’s army having to lift a single sword. Praise has the ability to defy the odds and win victories in Jesus’ name!

2 Chronicles 20 reminds us that when we as God’s people humble ourselves before the LORD and pray … as we lift our voices in grateful praise to Him … there is power in our praise. It’s our job to trust God, love God, and obey His word. And part of that obedience involves praising Him. So, regardless of how crazy the circumstances around us are …we praise God. Because He is always good. He is always strong. He is always faithful. And He ALWAYS comes through.

Like Jehoshaphat, when a vast enemy—or a highly contagious virus—is bearing down on us, we tend to get nervous. And we tend to get frightened. But when that fear grips us, we need to do what Jehoshaphat did: We need to take our worries and fears to God. The battle belongs to the LORD.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. During this COVID-19 outbreak, please join us for our online worship service Sundays at 10 a.m. Simply go to to view the service on our homepage.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way

“If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little one because
he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” 
- Matthew 10:42

Last Monday—after waiting in line for over an hour for toilet paper at Target—I found myself longing to return to the big box store later that day. Why? Am I a glutton for punishment? No. I wanted to return to the hullaballoo because of the amazing thing God had taught me while I was there.

Shortly before 7 a.m., I arrived at the Apple Valley Super Target, and I took my place in line outside the store. There were about 50 people lined up in front of me. I said to myself, “Under the circumstances, this line isn’t that bad.” But after entering the store, grabbing a shopping cart, and making my way to the toilet paper aisle, I learned that there was a second line forming inside the store. Of the 50 people who had been ahead of me in line outside, around 40 of them had already formed a line for toilet paper inside.

And wouldn’t you know it! The line was at a standstill. There wasn’t a single package of toilet paper on the shelves, but the Target team members assured us that toilet paper would be trickling in as it arrived. So, we waited. And waited. And waited.

Surprisingly, the one-hour wait was quite entertaining. The two young ladies in front of me in line were wearing double-barreled gas masks and giggling as they held up their cell phones to take selfies and make video calls to their boyfriends. And after a few minutes in line, I turned around and began talking with the middle-aged man standing behind me as well as the two chatty ladies in line behind him. It quickly became clear that these two ladies were strong Christians who attended church regularly and trusted in Jesus Christ to see them through these troubled times.

After about ten minutes in the standstill line, I thought to myself, “I might as well get some other shopping done.” So, I asked my three new friends in line if they’d mind holding my place for me while I grabbed some eggs. They quickly agreed, so I offered to grab some eggs for them as well. After a few minutes I returned to my cart---still no movement in the line. So, I left the line a second time to grab a few more items. Over the next 40 minutes I left the line an additional three or four times.

Finally, I reached the front of the toilet paper line, and there was just one package left. I felt bad taking the last package, because I knew that the man behind me in line had been, like me, waiting for an hour. And I knew that he had an appointment to get to, and he wouldn’t have time to wait the 20-30 minutes for the next shipment to arrive.

So, without giving it much thought, I tore open my newly-acquired package of toilet paper and gave him a couple rolls. You wouldn’t believe the sounds of shock that came from the crowd behind me. It was as if I had just handed him two gold bars. The man offered to pay me for the entire package, but I said, “Don’t worry about it!” as I made my way to the checkout line.

After waiting in the checkout line for a minute or two, a Target manager asked me to step into a closed checkout line, and she began to ring me up. She said, “I saw what you did. Thank you for taking care of one of our guests.” I stood there in disbelief as she gave me free plastic bags for my groceries, plus a 10% discount on my entire order.

As I pushed my cart out the door, tears welled up in my eyes. The Lord had revealed to me this simple truth: During this coronavirus pandemic—as millions of our fellow Americans are running around in fear like chickens with their heads cut off—simple acts of kindness will carry a much greater impact than usual. As followers of Jesus Christ head to Target, WalMart, Costco, Stater Bros., and WinCo and carry out simple acts of kindness and love in Jesus’ name, people’s hearts will be touched in a way that they wouldn’t normally be touched.

Never forget, followers of Christ, that God never wastes anything. On so many different levels, this coronavirus pandemic is a stress-producing nightmare. But we serve a God who specializes in bringing life and goodness out of the ashes. We serve a God who works “all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

So, in the days to come—as you venture out from your home and cross the paths of perfect strangers at the store, at work, or at your favorite drive-thru—please be kind. Be compassionate. Be patient. And allow every word that you speak and every action you carry out to communicate this peace-giving message: “It’s going to be okay. If we trust in God, He will see us through.” 

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. During this COVID-19 outbreak, please join us for our online worship service Sundays at 10 a.m. Simply go to to view the service on our homepage.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Me and My Big Mouth!

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”

- Proverbs 18:21

I can only remember one time in my life when I was slapped by a girl. I was a senior in high school, and there was a certain sophomore girl who was looking for a boyfriend, and for some reason she set her sights on me. I wasn’t interested, so when I found out that my friend Rusty liked her, I opened my big mouth and gave him her phone number. This might not have been a big deal were it not for the fact that most girls found Rusty to be…well, less than a catch. He was socially awkward, and, honestly, he looked like a younger version of Orville Redenbacher.

Well, the following Sunday as I was standing in front of the youth room at church, the girl in question spotted me from across the parking lot. She walked up to me, called me a name that I can’t repeat in The Daily Press, and smacked me upside the head. As far as slaps go, It was a “10 out of 10.” Excellent form, good follow-through, and a large red mark on my cheek to prove it happened. As a 17-year-old high school student, I learned a very important lesson: My mouth can get me into a whole lot of trouble.

Nowhere is this lesson made more clear than in the New Testament book of James, chapter 3. In verses 2-12, James paints a vivid picture of how influential and powerful our tongues really are. In fact, he teaches us that our tongues are powerful in three key ways.

#1: OUR TONGUES HAVE THE POWER TO DIRECT (vs2-4). Just as a one-pound bit in the mouth of a one-thousand-pound horse can direct him wherever the rider wants to go, our two-ounce tongues have the power to steer and direct our entire lives. James is very honest with us in these verses. He basically says, Hey, Christians! Face the facts. We’re all screw-ups. Every one of us stumbles in many ways, not least of which is with our mouth. In fact, whenever you reach a point where you can successfully keep your big mouth in check, you’ll be able to keep the rest of your body in check as well. Because as goes the mouth, so goes the body.

#2: OUR TONGUES HAVE THE POWER TO DESTROY (vs5-8). James gives us an illustration to convey the destructive power of the tongue: he compares it to a single spark. Do you remember the Ranch Fire? In the summer of 2018, the Ranch Fire destroyed 410,203 acres across four counties in northern California. It was the largest wildfire in California history. Do you know how the fire began? It began with a single spark that flew from a hammer as a man was driving a metal stake into the ground. Isn’t that remarkable? A single spark grew into the largest fire in California history.

Similarly, a single sentence—even a single word—can destroy countless lives. Consider this: Adolf Hitler’s manifesto, Mein Kampf, contains 153,750 words and takes the average reader about ten hours to read. Someone has calculated that for every single word in Hitler’s toxic book, 125 lives were snuffed out by the Nazis during World War II. How tragic! Over the course of human history, hateful words have caused wars and destroyed nations. We know this! But we tend to think that our tongues can’t do nearly as much damage. Well, don’t be so sure.

#3: OUR TONGUES HAVE THE POWER TO DEFILE (vs9-12). In verse 10, James offers a strong rebuke to every Christian with a mouth: “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” Point well taken! We shouldn’t be singing praises to God with our mouths on a Sunday morning and dropping “F-bombs” with these same mouths an hour later when someone cuts us off on the drive home. We shouldn’t be saying, “God bless you!” to strangers one minute and saying, “I can’t stand you!” to our family members the next.

Just like on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), God desires to set our tongues on fire for His purposes with the flames of heaven. But far too often we allow our tongues to recklessly burn with the fires of hell. And when we do, a few seconds of hell-bent language can completely defile days, weeks, even years of good, heaven-bent language. Consider how many marriages have been destroyed by a few hateful words and how many people have left churches because of a few careless comments.

But there is good news. If we allow God to take the reins of our tongues every day, He can use our tongues for great good. Our tongues can be used to speak peace, kindness, and hope into the lives of others. And if God holds the reins of our tongue, He can help us keep our big mouths shut so that we don’t defile the good things that we’ve already said and done.

In closing, let me be bold enough to suggest that you incorporate the following twelve life-giving words into your vocabulary every day. These are twelve of the most God-honoring words that could ever come out of your mouth: PLEASE and THANK YOU. These three words never grow old. Use them every day. I’M SORRY. Don’t be stubborn. Let God use your tongue to sincerely apologize and bring healing to the relationships you’ve strained or broken. YOU ARE LOVED. Whether you’re talking to a family member or a stranger, everyone needs to know that God loves them. I’M PRAYING FOR YOU. Don’t just say, “I’ll pray for you.” Make it immediate. Make it definite.

Yes, your tongue can cause a whole lot of damage. But, praise God, in the hands of God it can do a whole lot of good—more good than you’ll ever know. 

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for our worship service Sundays at 9:45 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd., Victorville, or on Facebook Live at www/ For more information, visit

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Autopsy of a Dead Faith

“Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
- James 2:17

The Danish theologian Soren Kierkegaard told a story you might call “The Parable of the Ducks.” In this story, there was a certain town where only ducks lived. Every Sunday morning, the ducks would waddle out of their houses, waddle down the main street and waddle into their church building. One week, as usual, they waddled down the aisle and sat in their pews. As the service began, the duck choir sang, and then the duck pastor stepped up and read from the Duck Bible. And he gave them a stirring, inspirational message. He urged them: “Ducks, God has given you wings! With these wings you can fly like birds! No walls can confine you! No fences can hold you! You have wings, and you can rise up and soar like eagles!” All the ducks shouted, “AMEN!” And when the service was over … all the ducks waddled on home.

Those ducks might have had lots of faith. But their faith was dead. And in the second chapter of the book of James, James talks about the problem of dead faith. In verse 14, he asks two questions. The first is: “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?” The implied answer is, it’s no good at all. If you believe something in your head, but you don’t live it out with your hands, it’s useless faith. Next, James asks the hard question: “Can such faith save him?” Once again, the implied answer is no.

In verses 14-17, James is basically saying: “If you believe that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God and you believe that he died on the cross for your sins and rose from the grave on the third day and you believe in Heaven and Hell—but those beliefs don’t change the way that you live—that’s not real faith. That’s dead faith.” That’s a sobering thought. So maybe it’s time for a spiritual check-up. If you really want to know if your faith in Christ is a dead faith, here are three things that would be true of you:

1. You talk the talk, but you don’t walk the walk. In verses 15-16, James gives an example that is repeated in churches more often than we’d like to admit. A Christian brother walks to church in the wintertime, and he’s way underdressed because he doesn’t have a warm coat. And a fellow believer says, “God bless you! Stay warm out there!” That’s a nice thing to say, but what good does it do the guy? None, really!  Or a Christian sister comes to church and happens to mention that she’s run out of food stamps with a week left in the month. So, a fellow believer says to her, “I hope it all works out okay. I’ll pray for you.” That’s a kind thing to say, but it doesn’t put food on the poor woman’s table.
2. Your beliefs are biblical, but they don’t stir your emotions. A believer with dead faith believes the lyrics in the praise songs are biblically sound and accurately describe Jesus. But those lyrics don’t stir his heart. Those lyrics don’t move her spirit. The believer with dead faith attends church week-in and week-out and remains emotionally unmoved by what is sung, by what is preached, or by what is done. There is no passion for Christ, no true excitement for Christ, no real love for Christ.
3. Your faith is compartmentalized. It’s in your head, but it hasn’t led to repentance. It hasn’t changed your lifestyle. Jesus has made it clear that many believers will come to him on the day of judgment calling him, “Lord! Lord!” And Jesus will say to them, “I tell you the truth, I never knew you…. When you did not help the least of these brothers of mine who were hungry or thirsty or homeless or sick or in prison, you didn’t help me either. So, go away into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Warren Wiersbe says it really well: “Beware of a mere intellectual faith. No man can come to Christ by faith and remain the same any more than he can come into contact with a 220-volt wire and remain the same…. Dead faith is not saving faith. Dead faith is counterfeit faith and lulls the person into a false confidence of eternal life.”

So, ask yourself this important question: Is my faith a dead faith? Do I talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk? Are my beliefs biblical, but they don’t stir my emotions? Despite my beliefs about Jesus, am I actually going to miss out on heaven because my beliefs haven’t transformed my behavior?

By contrast, John Calvin explained real, biblical faith this way: “People are justified by faith alone but not by a faith that is alone.” Works can never save you. But neither can inactive faith. Real biblical faith … works. True, saving faith leads to action. Real, Biblical faith involves the whole person: mind, heart, spirit, and body. If God’s word has stirred your heart … DO it. Obey it. Live it. Because faith—real, real biblical faith—works.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for our worship service Sundays at 10 a.m. at the new Dr. Ralph Baker School in Victorville. For more information, visit