Author Archives: John Dukes

About John Dukes

My greatest joy in life is my relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus is truly the light of my life and my reason and purpose for living. He is the reason I live and breathe and exist! It is my deepest and heartfelt longing, and biggest cry of my heart to see Him face to face one day. I cannot wait! I love my wife and my two awesome kids that God has blessed me with. My family is a gift from God and I just love them so very much. My wife Nina is so precious and beautiful to me. She is so much more than I could ever ask for or deserve. I cherish her and thank God every day for allowing my life journey to cross with hers. My two children, Katy & Ben are the two greatest and most awesome gifts from the Lord and I pray every day, for God to mold me and use me to be the father that He desires and that they deserve. My life verse: Psalm 37:3-5

2 Chronicles 22, 23; Revelation 10; Zechariah 6; John 9

Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?”  He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.” Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him.  (John 9:35-38   NKJV)

In John 9, Jesus encountered a man who was born blind from birth.  Jesus healed the man and the man’s life is miraculously changed.  He tells others about how Jesus had changed his life, even amidst sharp criticism and testing by the religious leaders and authorities.  He was so overwhelmed with joy over how his life was changed, that he could not help but tell the truth even if it meant persecution.

I find it very interesting that this man first recognized Jesus only as a prophet (John 9:17).   Immediately after he was cast out from the meeting with the religious leaders, Jesus heard that the man was cast out and He went to go find him.  He loved him so much and continued to pursue him.  When Jesus found him, the encounter helped the man to know Jesus even more.  As a result, he no longer saw Jesus as only a prophet.  Jesus, now, was his Lord and Savior.

As this man grew to know Jesus more, he not only was able to see physically with his eyes, but he also grew to know Him spiritually with his heart.   I love how Jesus, in His unfailing love, desired to reveal Himself more and more to this man.  The man recognized that Jesus was seeking him and as a result, began to walk with Him, grow closer to Him, and know Him more and more.

This passage has reminded me that God is always seeking for me to know Him more.  He is always using all circumstances, all situations, and He is constantly orchestrating all things for His glory, perfectly woven into His master plan, specifically designed for me to know Him more and to grow in His grace.

As this year is rapidly coming to a close, I have been looking back on the past year and reflecting on events and circumstances that have come up in my life.  There is no question.  Jesus has been seeking me just like He did this man.  There are times when I have responded to Him there are also times when I have forgotten who I am in Him.  Through it all, no matter how I have responded or failed to respond, He has never given up on me.  He keeps loving me.  He keeps pursuing me.  He keeps growing me despite my stubborn and sinful nature.  He keeps pouring out His mercies and grace.

It is my prayer that in the new year, Jesus gives me the faith like this man in John 9.  I want to be able to speak boldly of how awesome He is despite the opposition and persecution that surrounds me daily.  I want to be able to see His hand at work in my life not only in the blessings but especially in the trials and difficulties of life.  My prayer is for God to grow me in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ and make much of Himself with this existence.

Lord, I love how your Word speaks to my heart.  I love how you always remind me of how awesome your love is and how you never, ever, stop pursuing me, even in my darkest hour.

Lord, you know my heart.  Anxieties for me are huge!  I worry so much about thins I should be trusting in you…things already in your hands and already part of your plan to bring glory to yourself.  Help me Lord, to trust in you more.  Help me to see you clearly at work in my life and in my heart.  Help me to respond to your work in my life in ways that bring honor to you and grow me.  Be magnified and lifted up high for all the world to see how awesome you truly are.  Help me to set my mind on eternal things and not just what I could see and touch now in the present.

I look forward to this coming year, Lord.  I long to ascribe glory to you for all things and I am eagerly expecting and anticipating for you to grow me closer to you.  There is no greater joy, no greater love, no bigger longing than to be in fellowship with you continuously.  I love you, Jesus!

John (johnd7264)

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2Chronicles 5-6:11; 1 John 4; Nahum 3; Luke 19

“No one has ever seen God;  but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”  (1 John 4:12 NKJV)

Usually when I think about love, the first thing that comes to my mind is that love is a feeling.  But this is erroneous thinking, for God’s Word consistently demonstrates that love is so much more than just feelings.  It is an action.  A choice.

In 1 John 4:12, John reminds his readers that although no man has ever seen God at any time, He manifests His love through people that are being used by Him, for the purpose of loving others in a way that only God could love.  This is a very different kind of love that the world is accustomed to.  This is righteous, unselfish love in action that is meant to draw people closer to God.  It demonstrates to an unbelieving world that God is very real.  This type of love draws people closer to Him.

This makes me think about the way I choose to love people.  Am I loving people with unselfish motives that are focused on bringing glory to God or am I loving others so that they love me back?   Am I hungry for the love of the world or am I more hungry to experience the love of God more deeply and intimately and share the love of Jesus with the world?

I must be honest.  Absolutely, I want to be loved.  But as I grow older and as God matures me, I am learning that what the world thinks about me is really not as important as I make it out to be.  The bigger question, and the far more important question, is what does the world think about Jesus when they interact with me?

The other day, I came across a quote from an unknown author that I think is so true!  It says this:  “At the age of 20, we don’t care what the world thinks of us;  At 30, we worry about what it is thinking of us;  At 40, we discover that it wasn’t thinking of us at all.”

It is not about me, nor was it ever about me.  I am to love others by sharing the love of Jesus with the world.  The world is starving for love, but it is only the love of Jesus that will satisfy their starvation.  I must love my Father, obey Him, and love His people for the purpose of making much of Him and Him alone.

Perhaps if I love people with the purpose and priority that God desires, then they will be able to see God as He longs for the world to see Him.

Lord, your Word is so rich with such important lessons!  The more time I spend meditating on your Word, not only do I realize that I need to do it more, but the more I learn what it is you are thinking.  The more I love your Word and your teachings, the more I can feel your heartbeat.  And, oh Lord!  How I long for my heart to beat in rhythm with yours!

God, I have such a long journey to travel.  I am so far from being the man you desire me to be.  Hy heart is wayward.  I am human.  I am too often focused on what is in it for me instead of focusing on making things about you.  And Lord, I feel you teaching me that making things about you is really what’s best for me anyway!

Lord Jesus, I love people only because you loved me first.  You already demonstrated your awesome love for me in that while I was still dead in my trespasses, you have made me alive together with you!  The single most important thing I need to live for is YOU!  I must learn to take up my cross, die to myself, and love all people in the world the way you long for me to love them.  But Lord, this task seems so big and so overwhelming to me, but I will walk by faith and not by sight and trust that all things are possible with you by my side.

Teach me how to manifest your love to a world that so desperately needs to know you.  Show me how to love people like you have loved me.  Help me to show the world how wonderful you are.  Manifest your love in me.  Make much of yourself by taking this existence and using me.

I absolutely love and adore you with every fiber of my being.  I am overwhelmed by how truly awesome you are and my greatest desire is to learn to love you more and praise you and worship you forever.  Thank you for being the joy of my life.  Thank you for being my anchor and support.  Thank you for making my dreams so beautiful and thank you for being my reason and purpose for living.  Thank you for being my God!

I love you, Jesus!

John (johnd7264)

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1 Chronicles 16; James 3; Obadiah 1; Luke 5

A Spirit of Thanksgiving

“And he appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, to commemorate, to thank, and to praise the LORD God of Israel.”  (1 Chronicles 16:1 NKJV)

David’s love for God is so inspiring to me.  Throughout David’s life, he demonstrated so beautifully his incredible heart for God by: (1) always remembering what God has done for him and for the nation in his prayers and his words,  (2) demonstrating to others how awesome God is by telling them about God, and  (3) showing the glorious riches of who God is by allowing God to use his life for the purpose of bringing glory not to himself, but to God.

Here in 1 Chronicles 16, an incredible and moving event took place in Jerusalem.  The Ark of the Lord has just been brought to Jerusalem and David appoints certain Levites to minister before the Ark, for the sole purpose of continually giving praise and thanksgiving to God.  David then prays a prayer of thanksgiving that is one of the most beautiful and heartfelt prayers ever recorded in human history (1 Chronicles 16:8-36).

David’s offering of praise and thankfulness is public for all the world to see, even today, as we have the privilege of reading his recorded words in the Scriptures.  He is putting God in His rightful place, singing to Him a beautiful love song, thanking Him for His majesty, His provision, and His unfailing mercy, goodness and love.  Words of thanksgiving come pouring out of David’s heart, affirming the goodness of God for all to see.

“For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised”.

“Honor and majesty are before Him;  Strength and gladness are in His place”.

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!  For His mercy endures forever”.

These words choke me up.  They choke me up not only because they are beautiful words of love but also because I so desire a heart of thanksgiving like David has.  Far too often in my life, praise and thanksgiving are reserved only for holidays, celebrations and when things are going well in my life.  In the absence of gratitude, I often find myself in a place of complacency and independence, taking way too many things for granted.  In short, I become spoiled, living as if I deserve every blessing He has given me.

This makes me wonder just how much more beautiful my life and my relationship with God would be if praise and thanksgiving were a regular part of my daily routine no matter what circumstances I am faced with.  I find that in those times when I have a thankful heart, my mind is removed off of myself and my own little problems and needs, and they are instead focused instead on something far greater than just me.  The more time I spend seeking His face, remembering His works and His promises, proclaiming the good news of His salvation day to day and His wonders among all peoples, the more I love Him.  The more I love Him, the more my life will show it.

Oh God, you are so rich in mercy and goodness.  There is none like you!  You are great and greatly to be praised!  You are to be feared above all gods.  Honor and majesty are before you!  Strength and gladness are in your place!

Lord, I pray that you give me a heart like David’s.  Help me Lord to see every single event, every single person, every single moment through the lens of your perfect and unfailing love.  Teach me to love the things you love.  Teach my heart to break for the things that break your heart.  Give me a heart of praise and thankfulness, not so others would look upon me and declare that I am anything special, but instead so that praise and adoration is ascribed to you and you alone!

Lord, it is my hearts desire for my praise to be genuine and sincere.  I want to give you all the glory.  Take over my surrendered heart and use me.  Take this existence and use it to show the world of your love.  Help me to not waste even one second of this time you have blessed me with on this earth.

I love you and I want to make much of you!  Thank you for loving me all the time!  Unfailingly!

In your precious Name, the Name above all Names, majestic and beautiful Jesus Christ, my Lord.

John (johnd7264)

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2 Kings 20; Hebrews 2; Hosea 13; Psalm 137, 138

No mistake at all!  God has clearly been tenderly speaking to me in my quiet time and also in today’s Scripture readings about His mercy, His grace, and His goodness in the midst of life’s difficult times.

In 2 Kings 20, Hezekiah, who was one of the outstanding kings, was under a death sentence.  In his tears, He pleaded with the Lord through a beautiful prayer for God to deliver Him and heal Him.  Immediately, God heard Hezekiah’s prayer, answered his prayer and granted Hezekiah fifteen more years of life.

In Hosea 13, the Lord  pronounces a relentless judgment on the nation of Israel, who has turned her back on the Lord and has become self-sufficient while forgetting Him.  In the midst of God’s judgment, He shows an unwavering and undeserved measure of grace upon Israel, by giving the people a hope of the promised resurrection and the defeat of death (Hosea 13:14)

In Psalm 137, the psalmist laments and weeps over the bitterness of captivity from Babylon.  His heart is so broken that he says he can’t even sing anymore.  But God hears his prayer and promises mercy by promising to destroy Babylon and set the captives free.

In Psalm 138, David prays a prayer of thanksgiving to God who has revived him in the midst of trouble.  God has stretched out His hand and He has not only protected David from His enemies, but He has also brought him through all of His difficulties, continuously bringing glory to Himself.

In Hebrews 2, Jesus Himself, is made lower than the angels and He is made perfect through suffering.  Even though He was the Son of God, and even though He is God Himself, His death and suffering upon the cross saves all who believe and place their trust in Him.  Through His suffering, He has completed all that is necessary for my salvation.

God is teaching me about life and what it truly means to grow in Him.  I am learning that He is often using suffering and trials to teach me how to be more sensitive to others and more sensitive to the teachings of the Holy Spirit, who is at work in me for the purpose of bringing glory to God.  These passages today, have not only reminded me of His unfailing love, His hedge of protection, and His unwavering mercy and grace, but they have also reminded me that knowing pain and suffering in my own life is sometimes necessary in order for me to be able to share His love with others, by reaching out in love and compassion to others who hurt.

I am learning that this is one of the most valuable lessons on being His servant.  So therefore, I have resolved to continue to ascribe praise and adoration to Him for every difficulty, every trial, and every heartbreak.  May I respond to Him with love and joy for the works He continues to do in me and through me.

Oh, Lord, how awesome you are!  How great you are!  You are awesome beyond words, but my heart longs to praise you so much that even though words cannot describe how awesome you are, I still refuse to be silenced.

Lord, I love how your beautiful Word sings to my heart.  I love how you teach me and I love how you orchestrate absolutely everything for your glory, which ultimately is for my good.

Lord, please continue to teach me how to find you and love you more and more in the storms of life.  Show me how to put into practical application everything that you teach me.  Give me a heart that sets the world on fire for your love.  Lord, I confess that often as I am weeping to you and thirsting for you, that it is often difficult to hear your voice, but you always still remind me of your blessings, your presence, and your precious love.  I am weak, Lord, but I ask that you make your strength perfect in my weakness.  Take each and every moment, each and every breath, and use it for your glory!  May I not waste one moment of this time you have given me.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;  Try me, and know my anxieties;  And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

I love you Jesus, with every bit of my heart!

John (johnd7264)

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2 Kings 5; 1 Timothy 2; Daniel 9; Psalm 117, 118

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone”  (1 Timothy 2:1 NIV)

The Scriptures are so very clear.  Time after time, passage after passage, I am reminded once again through the power of God’s beautiful Word, of the importance of prayer.

If I could single out one specific privilege of being a child of God that is the most dear to my heart, prayer is the first thing that comes to mind.  I love to pray!  It brings so much joy and so much comfort to my heart, knowing that God not only cares to listen to little old me, but He desires and wants me to speak to Him and He desires for me to speak to Him often.

I must be completely honest however, and admit that as much as I love to pray, I often struggle with it.  Many times, I just do not feel like it.  Far too often, I get discouraged after maybe having a bad day or if I am not getting enough sleep or nutrition, I am too tired or too lazy to pray.  Many times I forget to pray, and I’m ashamed to admit that that when I finally remember that I forgot to pray, I often hurry through my prayers and what results is empty and hollow words.  My mind sometimes drifts when I pray too and I have difficulty focusing on Him and only Him.

Why is this such a struggle?    Prayer should be easy!  There is little effort required.  I do not have to get dressed up and I do not have to be a CEO of a major corporation to have access to the King of the universe.  He is there for me 24/7.  All the time!  He is not like a busy telephone operator in which I need to wait in a queue to speak to Him.  No matter when, where, or how, Jesus is never too busy to listen to me and He eagerly awaits for me to cry out to Him and tell Him everything going on in my heart and in my life.

The answer is obvious.  It is Satan who seeks to disrupt my prayer life.  Satan realizes what God is able to accomplish in my life when I pray.  He hates that.  He is even afraid of it!  Satan is even frustrated I am typing this blog about prayer!  He wants to get in the way of the love relationship I have with my Lord.  I must never allow this to happen.  I must pray without ceasing, always having faith that prayer brings pleasure to My God.

The more time I spend in prayer, the more He makes me realize that I need to do it more!

My God, my awesome Creator of everything that exists, it is so amazing and so humbling to know and believe that even though you hold this entire existence in place, even though you are infinite, timeless and abounding in steadfast and perfect love, you invite me to kneel before you in prayer.  You desire for me to speak to you and you love it when I do this!

Lord, I struggle with the question as to why you would desire to hear from me, when you hold infinite wisdom and unending power in your very hands.  Why would you desire to hear from me?  I am sinful and broken and my heart is often wayward and inconsistent, yet hearing from me is one of your greatest desires.  It is humbling to think about!

Lord Jesus, I humbly ask that you keep the enemy away from the time I spend praying to you.  Let nothing get in between us.  I want to pray during the hurtful times and I also want to pray during the beautiful times of life.  Teach me what it means to be a prayer warrior.  Give me a heart, even with my limited understanding, that longs to pray earnestly to you in all circumstances of life.  Help me to take the focus off of myself, and make me gaze upon you in wonder, awe and amazement.  Change the world with my prayers and bring glory to yourself!  Bring me to the front lines of this battle of prayer and use my prayers to influence a broken world.

I love you so much, Jesus!  And I love that you love me so unfailingly!  Thank you for loving me with a perfect love and thank you for listening to my heart.  Thank you for being the mediator between me and the Father.  Thank you for all you have done and all you continue to do in me.  I offer this existence as an offer of love and worship.  It is all yours!

I love you, Jesus!

John (johnd7264)

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1 Kings 13; Philippians 4; Ezekiel 43; Psalm 95, 96

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.  (Philippians 4:8 NIV)

Meditation.   Thinking.  Thoughts.

Thoughts, unlike any other human characteristic, have tremendous power.   There is little doubt.  What I think about and what I choose to feed my mind with, has a major impact on my ability to imitate the Christlike standards that I am called to live.  Thoughts affect what I pray about.  They affect whether I even pray at all.  They have power over the words I share with others.  Life-giving and encouraging words are impossible to share with others unless I am thinking life-giving and encouraging thoughts.  Thoughts determine my actions.  They determine my level of obedience to God.  overall, they are the difference between really living as God purposed me to live or living for myself only.

Far too frequently, I underestimate the power of my thinking.  Too often, I am spending my time focusing on the questionable things in this world.  I fill my heart and mind with rubbish and I get distracted and seduced by what that the world offers instead of what God offers in His Word.  This is destructive and I cannot grow closer to God and seek His face if I insist on this pattern of thinking.

Paul’s reminder to think about things that are noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, of anything that is of virtue and praiseworthy, challenges me to look deep inside my heart and my mind and consider my thought patterns.  But there is something very interesting about this list of things to think about.  They all have one common denominator.  They are the attributes of Jesus Christ, Himself.

It is Jesus I must make as the focal point of my thinking!  He is noble.  He is the Just One.  He is the only pure individual that has ever walked on the earth.  He is lovely and gracious.  He is beautiful.  He is the one of good report and of virtue and strength.  He is the only One who is worthy of my praise. He is the One I need to think of and focus all of my thinking and meditation on.  Jesus.  To love Him with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength begins with controlling my thought patterns.

I must think less destructive thoughts and set my mind on Him.  Only Him!

O Lord, how awesome…how incredibly beautiful you are!  My heart sings praises to to you!  I am overwhelmed by who you are and all that you have done!

Lord, I know that you live.  I know that you are great.  You have allowed me to taste and see so many times how wonderful and amazing you are.  But Lord, I am human and my heart is wayward.  I need you to help me stay focused on you.  I pray that you fill my heart and dominate my thinking with thoughts of you and your majesty and beauty.  Rid my mind of worthless and worldly things!  These are false gods!  Completely remove these thoughts and stamp them out!  Give me instead, thoughts and meditations that are pleasing to you so that I may not only seek your face more and be closer to you, but also so that you may use me more.

Lord, I know the truth.  The Word is clear!  If I truly set my mind on you and your greatness, I will not be able to help but tell others of how awesome you are.   Finding you and knowing you intimately and deeply will create in me a light, YOUR light, which will shine for all to see how beautiful and majestic you truly are.  I want nothing for myself, Lord.  I am yours and I wish for you to move in me and overflow your love in my mind, my heart and my lips so that your love splashes out to everyone I come in contact with.

For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;  He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.  Splendor and majesty are before him;  strength and glory are in his sanctuary.

I kneel before you and offer this vessel as a love offering, with abounding joy in all of my heart!

I love you, Jesus!


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2 Samuel 22; Galatians 2; Ezekiel 29; Psalm 78:1-37

Then David spoke to the LORD the words of this song, on the day when the LORD had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. (2 Samuel 22:1)

What an awesome privilege to be able to read the prayers and words of David, so many centuries after he lived on earth.  I love that God’s Word has given us a record of compositions, songs and prayers that came from the heart of a that man after God’s heart.  His words are breathtaking to read!  And his dialogue with God is something I never tire of, particularly in 2 Samuel 22 which is the final swan song of David’s beautiful heart for God.

In this beautiful prayer, I am captivated by these words and I love to meditate on them and consider them:

“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;

The God of my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation,
My stronghold and my refuge;
My Savior, You save me from violence.”  (2 Samuel 22:2-3)

The Lord is a rock.  A place of salvation .  He is my foundation.  I could rest in Him and trust in Him.

The Lord is my fortress.  He is the protector of my heart and my very life.

The Lord is my deliverer.    He delivers me from all times of temptation.  He is mighty to save and His mercies never cease.

The Lord is the God of my strength in whom I could put my trust.    He protects me from the enemy.

The Lord is my shield and my salvation.  I could rest in Him because He has delivered me from my sins.  He has torn the veil and given me access to Him by the beautiful gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, who died on a tree for me.

The Lord is my stronghold.  He is my strong tower.  From His heights He allows me to see the big picture as my eyes could see it.  He is my vision.

The Lord is my refuge.  He is my Savior.  He is the one who saves me from violence.

David recognized God for who He is and he recognizes God in absolutely every experience in life!  And He gives me 20/20 vision on who God as I meditate on these intoxicating words.  I am reminded of just how awesome He is.  His poetic expression of gratitude is so profoundly expressed in these words.  And I fall in love with God all over again as I read them.

Lord, you are so awesome!  Your word is a treasure chest that is greater than the greatest that life could offer.  You are timeless and I am so grateful to have the privilege of reading this beautiful prayer over and over again, thousands of years after they spoken to you from one of the greatest hearts that ever lived.

My beautiful Savior, it is my prayer that you give me a heart like David.  I so desire to have a heart like the sweet psalmist of Israel for all I wish to do is lavish my love and praises to you all of my days.  But God, I get distracted by this world.  Anxieties for me are huge and I need to rid my heart of all things that are keeping me from trusting in you alone.  Forgive me Lord, but I am human and my heart is often times inconsistent and wayward.  I need your help and I ask you to what is necessary to develop me into a man that rests and trusts completely in you.

I cannot express my thankfulness to you for your Word and how it speaks to me.  Your Word is life giving!  The words open up my heart and my mind.  They open up life.  The let me live.  And my desire is to live for nobody but you.  All the “comforts” and things I cling to in the world are nothing but emptiness compared to you.  There is none like you and it is only in a loving relationship with you that I am able to really live.

I will praise you my loving Savior.  You are merciful and forgiving.  You are mighty and just.  You are omniscient and altogether lovely and good.  You are my rock, my fortress, my reason and purpose for living.  You are the hope that makes my dreams pleasant.  You are my God and I love you with all of my heart!

Thank you for loving me so unfailingly.  Thank you for breathing life into me and giving me abounding joy found in you.  My desire is to lift you on high and make much of you and I confess my desperate need for you.  It is with a heart of gratitude and praise, that I kneel before you and cry out to you, Abba Father!

I love you, Jesus!

John (johnd7264)

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