Day 172: By God’s Grace

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Sunday, June 21st, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
2 Kings 1:1-2:25
Acts 13:42-14:7
Psalm 139:1-24
Proverbs 17:19-21
For full text click here:

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. – Acts 14:3

Signs, miracles and wonders bear witness to God’s grace. None of us deserves a miracle. Yet God is willing to do supernatural things in our lives when we trust in His Son Jesus Christ!

Grace is unmerited favor: we cannot earn it by definition. Jesus took on the punishment we deserve, so that we could receive the reward only He deserves! Signs, miracles and wonders in your life are the evidence of God’s grace. Ask God for more evidence!


Father, I know I don’t deserve a miracle; but I’m asking for one all the same. I need to see Your hand moving in my life. I need You to put Your supernatural power on display! In Jesus’ name, I’m asking for supernatural proof of Your favor!

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

Day 171: The Size of Sin

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Saturday, June 20th, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
1 Kings 22:1-53
Acts 13:16-41
Psalm 138:1-8
Proverbs 17:17-18
For full text click here:

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

…and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. – Acts 13:39

When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, we are justified from all things. We are not only justified from most things, with God reserving the right to judge us harshly if our worst sins are bad enough. We are not only justified from some things. We are justified from all things.

There is no sin so great that it can overshadow the work of the Cross. Jesus died on the Cross to redeem you from every one of your sins: past, present and future!

When we die, we will not be compared to another man. We won’t be stacked up against our neighbor. Our task is not simply to be the best we can be. God requires perfection…but we are incapable of being perfect.

But Jesus Is perfect! When we believe in Jesus, and confess that He is Lord, we are judged just as He Is: infinitely righteous! All our sins are washed away, and we are accepted into heaven with open arms.


Father, thank You for the Cross! Thank you that the blood of Jesus washes me clean, and His death on the Cross makes me whole. I can never be perfect; but Jesus already achieved perfection for me!

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

Avoiding Burnout

The following is an adaptation of the sermon ‘Avoiding Burnout’ preached by Pastor Mike White on Sunday, 6/14/2015, at CityLight Church. To listen to the full podcast please click here:

What Is Burnout?

Burnout is a serious problem. It occurs when we can no longer muster the strength and energy to do what we once loved to do. It happens when we can’t put in the effort to do what we need to do to support our families. Very simply, burnout is defined as, “Physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress.”[1]

As a pastor, I would extend that definition even further. Burnout can also result in spiritual collapse. We rarely sin because we have bad intentions; but we often sin because we’re tired. When we work long and hard for God, but don’t see any tangible reward, our faith can become exhausting. We start to lose sight of Jesus: our ultimate end goal. We start to lose hope in God’s promises for our lives. So how does burnout happen?

Girdano, Dusek & Everly (1996) noted that there are three stages of burnout in their book, “Controlling Stress & Tension.”[2] First comes stress arousal, which involves persistent irritability & anxiety, insomnia, inability to concentrate, and headaches. Energy conservation comes second. Symptoms include lateness for work, procrastination & turning in work late, social withdrawal, cynicism, resentfulness and apathy. The third and final stave of burnout is exhaustion: chronic sadness, mental & physical fatigue, and the desire to move away from work, friends & family.

The most alarming characteristic of burnout is that most of us don’t even notice the symptoms until we’re at the exhaustion stage. Our bodies tell us that we’re moving too fast, but we push even harder. Our brains tell us we’re thinking too hard, but we chug a cup of coffee and get back to the grind. Our spouses, or even children, note that we’re always busy, but we brush it off as being a requirement of life.

So, take a long, hard look at your life as it stands, here and now. Are you experiencing any of the symptoms of burnout?

God calls us all to dream big. He has amazing plans and purposes for our lives. Yet sometimes, the weight of His call becomes overbearing. So, what do you do when God has called you to do something you can’t possibly do? What do you do when you’re faced with an impossible task, and you just don’t have the energy to get it done? What do you do when your heart just isn’t in it any more?

Ask God to transform your heart. The health of your life depends on the condition of your heart. If your heart is chasing after the things of this world – money, power, success – you will end up at the end of your rope. But when your heart is properly positioned towards God, He will leave you refreshed!

God never calls us to accomplish something great for His Kingdom without providing all the resources we could ever need. He will prepare our hearts for the task at hand ahead of time, so that when we face the biggest challenges life can throw at us, we are fully prepared.

Transform Your Heart

Saul was the first king chosen for the people of Israel. God desired that His people would live for Him, without a king; but the people wanted to be like the surrounding nations. They cried out for a king, so God gave them one.

In 1 Sam 10, Samuel anoints Saul to be king over Israel:

Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him and said: “Is it not because the Lord has anointed you commander over His inheritance? – 1 Sam 10:1

Saul never asked to be king; God simply chose him. Over the course of my life, I have learned to be very suspicious of any leader who asks for power and promotion. God will exalt us in due time, but it is not our prerogative to advance that time if that haste is against God’s will.

God made Saul king; but Saul never really wanted to be the ruler over Israel. When the day of his coronation had arrived, Samuel called all of Israel together to anoint their new king. But while the crowds gathered, Saul was hiding:

And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was chosen. When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was chosen. And Saul the son of Kish was chosen. But when they sought him, he could not be found. Therefore they inquired of the Lord further, “Has the man come here yet?” And the Lord answered, “There he is, hidden among the equipment.” – 1 Sam 10:20-23

Saul was afraid! He knew Israel wanted a king, but he also knew that he was not the man for the job. He distrusted his own qualifications, and had no desire for the limelight. And that was exactly why God chose him.

God prepared Saul, in advance, to be a great king. How did he do it? He transformed Saul’s heart:

So it was, when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, that God gave him another heart; and all those signs came to pass that day. – 1 Sam 10:9

Long before his coronation, Saul had received a brand new heart from God. The only characteristic that made Saul fit to rule – and to carry out God’s destiny for his life – was that God had touched his heart! And God’s hand on your heart is all you need to walk out His will for your life.

Ask for Wisdom

Solomon never asked to be king: he was the son of David, and the throne was his inheritance. He was called to judge the people of Israel, who had grown to be more numerous than the sand on the seashore! This was a tall order, and Solomon knew he was unprepared.

Solomon was young and inexperienced. His father, David, had been an outstanding king, which made for a tough act to follow. How could he ever fill those shoes? He asked for a new heart.

God came to Solomon in a dream, and told him, “Ask! What shall I give you?” (1 Kings 3:3) Solomon could have asked for anything in the world. But he had his request ready, and it was not what you might expect:

And Solomon said: “You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You; You have continued this great kindness for him, and You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” – 1 Kings 3:6-9

Solomon knew he was unqualified to rule over Israel. He knew his own wit and intelligence wouldn’t do the trick when it came to managing God’s Kingdom. And that is exactly why God chose Solomon to be king.

Solomon asked for the one thing he needed to fulfill God’s call on his life. He asked for wisdom: an understanding heart. Solomon could have asked for anything! But he didn’t ask for money, power, or a long life. Because his request was tailor-made to satisfy God’s plans instead of his own, God gave Solomon everything he asked for, plus everything he didn’t ask for. Because Solomon did not ask for wealth, or power, or a long life, God gave all those things into his hands!

God transformed Solomon’s heart. The only characteristic that made Solomon fit to rule – and to carry out God’s destiny for his life – was that God had touched his heart! And God’s hand on your heart is all you need to walk out His will for your life.

Solomon’s young age, and lack of experience, did not matter. God doesn’t need our resume to know if we’re capable at succeeding at a job; He simply has to look at our hearts. Age and experience are not what matters when it comes to stewarding responsibility; maturity and the understanding of how to handle the weight of God’s calling is what counts!

Some of us need God to expand the capacity of our hearts so we can fulfill the desires He has put on them! We need to ask God for heart transformation, so that we can be up to the tasks He puts in front of us. Are you ready to let God touch your heart? The only thing that will make you fit to carry out God’s destiny for your life is God touching your heart!

Positioning Your Heart for Health

The way to avoid burnout is by asking God for help. We must ask Him to transform our hearts, and expand them to bear the weight of the calling He has for our lives. We must ask him to orient our hearts towards Him, because it is only in Him that our hearts will be satisfied!

Our hearts are made of flesh. In other words, they are naturally inclined to sin. Unless God intervenes, our hearts will stay wicked:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” – Jer 17:9

Our natural condition is to lust after the things of this world. So, what are you struggling for? What’s burning you out? Is it money? Power? The pursuit of a culturally defined emotion called happiness?

If our hearts desire the things of this world, we will waste our lives pursuing them. We will go through life like dogs chasing cars: always after moving targets, but unsure of what we would actually do if we ever got a hold of one!

But if our hearts genuinely desire God, He will give us eternal joy and everlasting life. The pursuit of worldly treasures is a Catch-22: as soon as we stop yearning for, and chasing after, the things of this world, God will give them into our hands!

We can never simply change ourselves. The Gospel – transformed life through Jesus Christ – is not about behavior modification. It is about heart transformation. If we want to be truly changed from the inside out, we have to ask God to do the heavy lifting. We can’t change ourselves; but God can certainly change us when we ask Him to!

Solomon knew God’s power to impact his heart. When he had finished building the temple at Jerusalem, he dedicated it with these words:

May the Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers. May He not leave us nor forsake us, that He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, which He commanded our fathers. – 1 Kings 8:57-58

Solomon asked God to reposition the hearts of His people. We cannot incline our hearts to God on our own; God must incline our hearts to Him. The most we can do is ask for, and accept, the transformation He is willing to provide!

Jesus invites His disciples into a beautiful state of equilibrium. When we adopt and internalize God’s desires for us, and make them our desires for ourselves, then we will have the desire of our hearts.

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. – Ps 37:4

Then, and only then, will our hearts be full. Then, and only then, will we be refreshed: ready to experience Resurrection Life.

– by Pastor Mike White

© Michael D. White, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael D. White with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



Day 170: How Can I Hear from God?

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Friday, June 19th, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
1 Kings 20:1-21:29
Acts 12:24-13:15
Psalm 137:1-9
Proverbs 17:16
For full text click here:

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” – Acts 13:2

One of the most common questions I hear as a pastor is, “How can I hear from God?” Another is, “Is fasting really necessary?” Our reading today lends an answer to both questions.

Immediately prior to hearing specific instruction from God’s Holy Spirit, the church at Antioch did two things: 1) they ministered to the Lord, and 2) they fasted. These are frequently the necessary ingredients if we need to hear from God in a major way.

To “minister” to the Lord has multiple meanings. “Minister” is the Greek leitourgeo (Strong’s 3008). It can mean to minister to God as a priest ministers in the temple. It can also mean to pray. To “minister” can also mean to instruct others concerning the way of salvation. Finally, it can mean to materially aid those in need of resources, thereby alleviating their poverty.

When the early church 1) prayed, 2) witnessed, 3) practiced radical generosity, and 4) fasted, God spoke.

So, do you need to hear from God? Pray. Boldly share the Gospel. Give like your life depends on it. Fast as worship to the Lord. As you do those things, make time to listen for God’s voice.

Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. – Acts 13:3


Father, I need to hear from You! Bring me back to the simple disciplines: ministering to You and fasting. I know that when I do the simple things, You will speak. It’s just that simple!

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

Day 169: Visions

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Thursday, June 18th, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
1 Kings 19:1-21
Acts 12:1-23
Psalm 136:1-26
Proverbs 17:14-15
For full text click here:

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

“So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision.” – Acts 12:9

God communicates to His people through dreams and visions. The verse above tells us just how real our visions should feel. Peter had experienced visions that felt so real that, in this case, he actually mistook reality for a vision! An angel of the Lord broke him out of prison and led him to freedom; but Peter could not tell if what he was seeing was actually happening!

Let’s re-set the bar as to what we expect to see from God. He will make Himself so real to us that the line between heaven and earth becomes blurred!

“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” – Joel 2:28


Father, Your word promises that Your Holy Spirit will fill us with prophecy, dreams and visions. Release those heavenly experiences into my life, in Jesus’ name!

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

Day 168: Humble Beginnings

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Wednesday, June 17th, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
1 Kings 18:1-46
Acts 11:1-30
Psalm 135:1-21
Proverbs 17:12-13
For full text click here:

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” So he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’ ” – 1 Kings 18:44

How do you respond when God’s promises start to take shape? Elijah’s servant had checked for rain six times, and seen nothing. But he didn’t give up, and his persistence paid off. As he checked a seventh time, a small cloud was beginning to form.

Our response at this moment is pivotal. Elijah started to see the formation of God’s promise – abundant rain – but had yet to see the fulfillment. He didn’t react with disappointment, saying, “I thought the cloud would be bigger.” He didn’t react with doubt, saying, “That cloud will never be enough to give us rain.”

Elijah and his servant both reacted with full faith. As they went to tell Ahab that torrential rain was coming, “…the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain” (v 45). Their faith, paired with action, allowed the fullness of God’s promise to materialize.

Do not despise humble beginnings. As God’s promises take shape, ramp up your faith. Step out and do what God has called you to do. Trust that even the smallest cloud will pour out abundant rain!


Father, thank You for abundant provision. Your word never fails, and Your promises always come to pass. I trust in You!

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

Day 167: Supernatural Provision

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Tuesday, June 16th, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
1 Kings 15:25-17:24
Acts 10:24-48
Psalm 134:1-3
Proverbs 17:9-11
For full text click here:

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

“Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” – 1 Kings 17:9

God supernaturally provides for His people. But the delivery might look a little different than you expect!

Sometimes, God’s provision is miraculous: He rained manna from heaven for the Israelites, and He sent ravens to feed Elijah with meat and bread. At other times, however, His provision comes from the hands of other people. God will put people in your life to get His provision to you.

God positioned a widow to provide for Elijah. The prophet did not wait for something that seemed supernatural; he accepted God’s word and received all the widow had to offer. When he found out she was on her last meal, Elijah didn’t lose faith: he recognized that God would also use him to bless her! He was not too proud to accept the help, and he did not modestly turn her assistance away. He demanded what God had promised; and as a result, both Elijah and the widow were supernaturally blessed!

Is God looking to bless you through the hands of someone around you? 


Father, thank You for divinely positioning people in my life to share Your blessings with me. I know You work in mysterious ways, and Your blessing doesn’t always take the shape I expect it to. But I love everything You do!

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

Day 166: Gold & Bronze

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Monday, June 15th, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
1 Kings 14:1-15:24
Acts 10:1-23
Psalm 133:1-3
Proverbs 17:7-8
For full text click here:

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

Then King Rehoboam made bronze shields in their place, and committed them to the hands of the captains of the guard, who guarded the doorway of the king’s house.

– 1 Kings 14:27

King Rehoboam was defeated. He drifted from the ways of God, and everything he had was stolen. The king of Egypt came into Jerusalem and took all the city’s treasures away. Solomon’s gold shields were stolen; but instead of confessing his defeat and turning to God for restoration, Rehoboam tried to hide what had really happened.

The gold shields were stolen, so Rehoboam made bronze shields in their place. He constructed a counterfeit to keep up appearances. Had Rehoboam repented, and turned his heart to God to ask forgiveness, God might have restored the gold shields. Yet Rehoboam valued appearances more than reality. He thought he could hide his heart from God.

Are you allowing a counterfeit to stand in the place of what the enemy has taken from you? When we seek God with our whole heart, God will give us true gold: priceless riches in the form of a restored relationship with Him. When we forsake appearances to pursue Him, He will restore everything the enemy has taken from us!

Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you. – Zech 9:12


Father, help me to worship You in spirit and in truth. I want to seek You with my whole heart. I’m done trying to maintain appearances. I want more of You, no matter the cost!

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

Day 165: Fear and Comfort

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Sunday, June 14th, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
1 Kings 12:20-13:34
Acts 9:26-43
Psalm 132:1-18
Proverbs 17:6
For full text click here:

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied… – Acts 9:31b

Fear and comfort are not mutually exclusive. When the Bible tells us to “fear” to the Lord, Scripture intends to convey that we should respect and obey God. We should worship Him with a reverential awe, knowing that He is the God of the universe, and all things are made at His hand. When we fear God, we achieve the balance necessary to be comforted by His Holy Spirit.

Growth happens when we balance fear & comfort. Luke gives us the divine formula for spiritual growth: 1) fear (revere & respect) God, and 2) let the Holy Spirit do His job. The Bible calls the Holy Spirit our Comforter and Guide. God has so much He wants to get to us, and His Holy Spirit is the Messenger He uses to get us His wisdom.

Need to be refreshed? Ask God for refreshing from His Holy Spirit. Need to be revitalized? Ask God for revitalization from His Holy Spirit. Need to know what God is up to? Ask for revelation from His Holy Spirit. Embrace God’s Holy Spirit as your Friend and your Guide, and watch the changes that take place in your life!


Father, thank You for divine balance. I know I can fear You, and be comforted by Your Holy Spirit, at the same time! Put me in that perfect place, and help me to experience supernatural spiritual growth, in Jesus’ name!

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

Day 164: Kingdom Communication

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Saturday, June 13th, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
1 Kings 11:1-12:19
Acts 9:1-25
Psalm 131:1-3
Proverbs 17:4-5
For full text click here:

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” – Acts 9:6

Saul experienced God. He encountered Jesus, face to face, and asked a question many of us ask in our daily lives: “Lord, what do you want me to do?”

Yet Jesus would not respond directly and matter-of-factly to Saul. He responded to Saul as He does to many of us: wait and see. God isn’t always willing to give us the full picture right off the bat. Sometimes, He requires smaller steps of obedience; and when we step out in faith, He will reveal the rest of His plan to us.

When Saul arrived in Damascus, God spoke to him in a vision, and told him a man named Ananias would come to heal and baptize him in the name of Jesus. At the same time, God spoke to Ananias, and told him to go to Saul! The result was a divinely orchestrated set of supernatural circumstances that could have never evolved if Jesus had shown Saul the whole picture up front.

Take a step out in faith. Trust that God is working behind the scenes to bring more of heaven into your earthly reality. He will set up divine appointments and cause you to experience breakthrough beyond your wildest dreams!


Lord, thank You for Kingdom communication. I trust that even now, You are appointing people to intercede on my behalf. You are dispatching divine messengers to ready my path. I don’t need the full picture, because I have You: my God!

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

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