Author Archives: Otis McMillan

Otis T. McMillan ~ Light, Life, and Love

“Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” —Daniel 6:10

Daniel’s life shows the power of a heart transformed by faith in God. A transformed heart is a grateful heart. A heart filled with gratitude overflows in praise to the Giver of Life. It perceives the world (and the people in it) differently.

It is strengthened in faith, and grows in confidence that God will continue to show himself strong on our behalf. What has God done in your life? How do you see the world differently because of who God is?

Take a moment to pray with me for a life of gratitude: Transform our hearts, O God. Fill us with praise for who You are and gratitude for what You have done. Strengthen our confidence as we worship You with humility and thankfulness. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”—John 8:12

Our eyes are drawn to light. Light in all its forms—a pinprick of light that illuminates a dark room, moving light, changing light—draws our attention. Jesus said that he is the light of the world.

Are our eyes as tuned to spiritual light as they are to physical light? Do we strain to catch a glimpse of Jesus, the Light of the world, whose presence stands out like life-giving light in a dark world? Look for Jesus to go before you today, and follow where he leads.

Take a moment to pray with me again, this time to see the light of Christ: Transform our hearts, O God. Fill us with praise for who You are and gratitude for what You have done. Strengthen our confidence as we worship You with humility and thankfulness. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

“We love because he first loved us.” —1 John 4:19

As we come to know whose we are and we become increasingly familiar with God’s character, we cannot help but be overwhelmed at the depth of God’s love for us. His love is a powerful change agent; it permeates our attitudes, thoughts, words, and actions. It transforms our lives, bringing new purpose and meaning.

When we extend his love to others, it transforms them, as well. Are we being so transformed by his love that we find ourselves loving others like Jesus loves us, even if that means loving out of our comfort zone? Who will you love like Jesus today?

Take a moment to pray with me for the love of God to transform your life: Jesus, Your love is transforming our lives, changing us from the inside out. May Your love complete its work within us. Reach into our hearts, revolutionize our thinking, reshape our lives so that we are more like You, living ambassadors of God’s love. Teach us to love like You, we pray in Your name, amen. 


Otis T. McMillan ~ Affections and Understanding in Discipleship

Your affections must be “set,” not movable.

“If you then are risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” – Colossians 3:1-2

The word “set” is the key word in this portion of scripture. It refers not only to placing your affection on the things of the Lord, but also to letting them stay firm. As disciples of Christ we should be stable in our desires and efforts. We are to seek consistently those things which are above.

Do you find yourself moving your attention from heavenly things to earthly things continuously? Do your affections change from one day to the next? As a believer seeking to follow the Lord, it is essential that you “set” your affections on those things which are above. Flexibility in your emotions opens the door for additional attacks from the enemy. Stay firm in what you seek for, and “set” your affections.

Observe, pray, respond: ask God for understanding.

“Discretion shall preserve you, understanding shall keep you.” – Proverbs 2:11

Decisions that are made with no regard for discretion often result in negative results. Before taking action, observe prayerfully what is occurring. Then, after asking God for understanding, respond as God directs.

Have you ever responded too quickly to a situation, only to regret what you said or did? Perhaps you left God out of the process. Steps that will assist you in responding with discretion include observation and prayer. Seek the Lord for his discretion and then respond with godly discretion.

Understanding turns sadness into joy: your doubt is unnecessary.

“And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.” – Luke 24:52-53

What changed the fears and doubts of the Lord’s disciples into joy? What caused them to worship him in the temple? After watching the crucifixion of their Lord all hope appeared lost. The disciples saw no reason to rejoice. All this changed when Jesus opened their understanding of the scriptures. Doubt was now replaced by joy.

Your doubts are there because you have limited understanding of the scriptures. As you sit before the Lord, he will open up your understanding of his Word. Where there was doubt, it will change into joy. Prepare yourself for victory, for God has ordained it.

Otis T. McMillan ~ Mercy and Righteousness

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)

It is common practice to look for personal recommendations before trying something new. Jesus didn’t just recommend leading by serving to his disciples, he lived it in front of them, then commissioned them to follow in his footsteps. He calls us to live humbly with our God, to confidently expect to “receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16), and to live for the Father’s approval alone. He tells us that exchanging power-driven leadership for leading by serving is worth it. Do you trust his recommendation? 

“I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)

A godly life is a reasonable request: all belongs to God. Hold nothing back. As we seek to understand the mercy of God, which is displayed in his longsuffering towards us, it helps to recognize how much we owe him. It is only a reasonable request that we present all of ourselves to him, displayed in a godly manner. All belongs to God; we ought to hold nothing back.

As we consider our lives, there are possibly areas that we hold back from God or parts that we know are not pleasing to him. As Paul exhorts us to do, present yourself a complete living sacrifice to him. His mercy deserves all of us.

Proverbs 21:21. “He who follows after righteousness and mercy finds life, righteousness, and honor.”

The pathway to honor begins with righteousness and mercy. Respect comes to those who live godly lives.

It is often stated that respect must be earned. The scripture provides us with insight on how to earn it. Those who set their attention not on what the results will be, but commit themselves to follow after righteousness and mercy, will be the recipients of honor . They will find contentment and respect.

As you treat others with mercy, and seek to live a godly life, you will gain the respect of others, as well as find contentment and joy. Doing right and treating others with respect brings a sense of peace and completeness. It allows one, regardless of their current circumstances, to feel complete.

“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:6)

Prayer: Jesus, we trust that your plans for us are for our good and for the Father’s glory. Help us to follow you today, leading others by serving. We pray with confidence in you as the way, the truth and the life. Amen.

Otis T. McMillan ~ Lead Like Jesus

Have you ever faced a challenge so big that you were tempted to run from it? Fear invaded your thoughts when you looked at it, and you found yourself saying “there is no way I can do this”? If so, you are not alone. Moses and Gideon are just two of God’s leaders who wrestled with fear, and Abraham and Elijah wrestled with discouragement. If you struggle with either fear or discouragement, go ahead and run; just make sure you run in the right direction. If you run, run to the Father. Go quickly, fall on your knees, cast yourself on him, and call out to him for help. He is waiting for you.

“I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me.” (Psalm 120:1)

Are you content to have unfulfilled needs in your life? Most of us aren’t. We want enough for today, plus extra stored away for the future. Yet our longing for more than enough is often limited to what we can see and touch. Jesus told us that these things would never satisfy. He taught that only God can fulfill our most important needs, giving us a sense of security, identity, significance, and purpose.

These are essential needs for leaders. Only when we let God fill these core needs can we turn from our self-centered ways to lead like Jesus.

Consider the words of the Psalmist: “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1)

What do you need in order to lead like Jesus today? Do you need strength? He sustains the universe. Do you need courage? His Spirit emboldens us to witness to him in word and action. Do you need confidence? Jesus triumphed over death. He is for you. He longs to empower you to live and lead like him. Receive his strength, courage, and confidence. Surrender to his Spirit. With open hands, receive the wisdom and guidance you need to lead like Jesus today.

Paul wrote, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:18-19)

Lord Jesus, open our hearts and minds to understand who You are and who we are in You. May we turn to You for the insight and power we need to lead like You. In Your name we pray – Amen.

Otis McMillan ~ Testing, Trusting, Timing


Your Faith Will Be Tested

1 Timothy 6:12: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”

Paul understood the challenges Timothy would face as he shared the Gospel message. One area was the flesh’s desire to have more than what God was providing. It was not a new battle; Israel struggled with having manna in the wilderness. They wanted milk and honey. Paul made it clear one’s faith would be tested. The key was to stay focused on God and the promise of eternal life, trusting God to provide.

Your faith in God will be tested. As you fight the good fight, staying focused on God and eternal life, you can be assured that the Lord will provide your needs. Your commitment to godliness with contentment will be honored by him. Your faith will be tested, but with the Lord’s help you will be victorious.

Read, Study, and Meditate: Trust that Strength and Stability Will Follow

Psalm 1:2: “But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”

God’s Word has the power to transform one’s mind but it takes more than an occasional glance. The process begins from reading and hearing, but additional steps must occur. The Word must be rightly divided to assure that we correctly know what is being communicated. Meditation is next. This allows the Word to enter our spirit which will bring about change. Strength and stability will follow.

Many struggle endeavoring to conquer areas of weakness. Resolutions are made but change, if it comes, is only short lived. Their efforts are dependent on their own strength and will. Time in God’s Word is lacking. If you desire stability in the ways of the Lord the process must begin. Give time daily to read his Word, study to show yourself approved, and then meditate day and night upon what you have studied. Your strength and stability will follow.

Timing: While Others May Doubt, Proclaim Your Faith

Romans 4:20: “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.”

As Abraham aged, those around him sought to persuade him that the hope of a child should be forgotten. Even when his wife shared her doubt, Abraham refused to allow his faith to stagger. He chose to give God the glory by sharing his testimony. He was persuaded that the Lord’s promise would be fulfilled.

Everything that God has promised you will not occur overnight. Be assured that the delay that you face does not mean that God’s promise will not be fulfilled. It does provide you the opportunity to share your faith in the midst of the doubts of others. As others say no, give God the glory, for all of his promises will be fulfilled!

Otis McMillan ~ Christmas Living: Prayer, Preaching, and Possibility

“But the angel said unto him, ‘Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.'” (Luke 1:13-14)

Yesterday’s prayer has been heard: God simply is waiting for the right time to bless.

As a young couple, Zacharias and Elizabeth asked God for a son. Their prayers appeared not to be heard. They aged and came to a place in their lives that they accepted the fact that parenthood would not be a part of their lives. It was at that time the Lord revealed to them their prayer had been heard. He simply was waiting for the right time to bless.

There are prayers that you have prayed that you may have given up on. Before you make that decision it is essential that you understand God’s timing is different from man’s. God has a greater plan for your life and will respond at the proper time. Be assured that yesterday’s prayer has been heard; he is simply waiting for the right time to bless.

“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:1-2)

Someone needs to hear about Jesus: are you prepared to tell the message?

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord, we must recognize the importance of John the Baptist. He was sent to declare the message of the coming of Jesus. Men and women needed to know that the one who was mightier than he was coming, one that would baptize with the Holy Ghost and fire. The message of salvation had to be told.

As important as John the Baptist was at his time, his role remains vital today. Every child of God must be adequately prepared to share the message of Jesus. There are countless men and women waiting today to hear about the one that can change their lives. There is only one Savior, but there must be a countless number of believers ready to share the story.

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)

Don’t limit yourself to the possible: with God all things are possible, even the impossible.

Every account in scripture provides the reader with a valuable lesson. Mary’s trust in the fact that God could not fail allowed her to be used by the Lord. Even when she could not imagine how it was possible for her to have a child, she refused to limit herself. She stepped out of her box, knowing that with God, even what appears impossible is possible.

Each child of God has created a box that indicates to them what is possible and what is not. The key to being used by the Lord, and to receive what God intends for your life, begins with you being willing to step out of your box. As you take God at his Word, and walk in faith, miracles will occur. Don’t limit yourself; God has wonderful plans designed for your future. They only appear impossible.

Otis McMillan ~ There Is a Place the Lord Must Bring You

We read in Matthew 17:1, “and after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart.”

There is a place the Lord must bring you: God needs your attention; he has something to show you.

The Lord took Peter, James, and John to a high mountain apart. It was essential, for their effectiveness, that he reveal facts about him they did not yet know. It is important to note that they were separated from the others and it is not by accident that they journeyed to a high mountain apart. He had something to show them and needed their total attention.

Your usefulness in the Lord necessitates your continued growth. To aid in this development, the Lord will separate you from others, and take you to a place where he has your total attention. As the Lord brings you close to him, pay close attention, for he has something to show you.

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” (Matthew 4:1) Your temptation you are facing is intentional: God has a purpose for all he does.

The scriptures inform us that it was the Spirit that led Jesus into the wilderness; the purpose being to be tempted by the Devil. It was neither a mistake nor an accident that this occurred. It allowed for three things to occur: Jesus demonstrated how to respond to Satan when tempted; the power of God’s Word; and the model that we should use when faced with temptation. What occurred was not an accident; it was intentional.

As the Lord allows you be tempted by the enemy it is essential that you recognize that it is not a mistake. God is always providing opportunities and lessons for the sake of your growth. Let your response to every situation be Word-based, and know that you need not compromise, for the Lord remains in total control. He has a purpose for what he is doing.

And the Lord’s help is always available to his children. God’s blessings are not temporary; they are forever. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)

The psalmist notes where he looks for any needed help; his focus is completely on the Lord. It is with confidence that he places his trust in the Lord. His keeper neither sleeps nor slumbers. His protection is not temporary; it is always available.

In the life of any believer there are times of helplessness, times of uncertainty. It is essential at these challenging times that you recognize that the Lord’s help is always available. Stay focused on the one who never sleeps or slumbers, one who will preserve your going out and your coming in. His blessings are not temporary; they are forever.

Otis McMillan ~ When You Are Embattled

Are you embattled?

When you are embattled, remember that the battle and the victory belong to God: God uses man because of choice, not need.

“And the Lord said unto Gideon, ‘The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, mine own hand hath saved me.’” – Judges 7:2

Because of sin, Israel found themselves oppressed by the Midianites. Responding to their cries, God chose Gideon and 300 men to deliver them from the hand of their oppressor. The Lord made it clear, by the small number he chose, that the battle and the victory would be his. Though he worked through these men it was by choice, not by need.

God uses people to fulfill his will. As God uses you to accomplish tasks or to bless others, it is essential you understand it is by choice, not need that you are being used. God needs no one to ensure victory. The battle and the victory always belong to him.

When you are embattled, some answers must come from God. Ask, and God will respond. In 1 Samuel 30:8, we read, “And David enquired at the LORD, saying, ‘Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them?’ And he answered him, ‘Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.’”

David was uncertain as to how he should react. As he and his men returned to Ziglag, they discovered that their city had been burnt, their wives and children had been taken captive, and David’s men spoke of stoning him. David knew that there was only one that could direct his actions. He inquired of the Lord and the Lord told him to pursue.

You will face situations in your life that will leave you uncertain as to what actions you should take. In some circumstances, there will be no one that can offer sound counsel. The key is to know that if you ask, God will respond. He has the right answer for every situation, do not hesitate to inquire.

When you are embattled, you are one adjustment away from a great breakthrough: whatever needs set aside, do it now.

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” – Hebrews 12:1

Many of the lives of God’s people contain one or possibly more areas that hinder their growth in the Lord. Unfortunately, their dreams and aspirations are not fulfilled because of these areas. The scripture tells us that every weight, as well as the sin that besets us must be laid aside. The race cannot be run successfully until the adjustment is made.

As you seek the blessings of the Lord in your life, it is essential that you recognize anything that hinders your relationship with the Lord must be corrected. As you commit all to the Lord, you will become a recipient of the fullness of his promises. You may be just one adjustment away from your breakthrough. That adjustment needs to be made now.

Are you embattled? God does not need you, but God does choose you; ask God for wisdom – he will respond; make any adjustment necessary in areas hindering your growth. The battle and the victory always belong to him.

Otis McMillan ~ Whose Voice Are You Listening To?

“And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet. And besought him greatly, saying, my little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.” (Mark 5:22-23)

There is a time when only Jesus can respond. Insist on finding him; he shall respond.

A father found himself with a need that only Jesus could fix. He had left his daughter, at the point of death, to find the Master. Others were not pleased with his decision, but he was convinced that no one else could respond. He was confident that if he could find Jesus, his daughter would be healed.

There are challenges in which you are confident that you, with God’s help, can resolve. There are others that you recognize are beyond your ability to correct.

It is at these times that you must insist on finding the Lord. What you cannot resolve he can. Allow nothing to stop you from bringing your petition to him. He will respond to your need. 

“While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.” (Mark 5:35-36)

Whose voice are you listening to? God’s words will be fulfilled.

Jesus responded to the request of a father who asked him to come to his house to pray for his sick daughter. He was confident that if Jesus did come, his daughter would be healed. As Jesus was en route to his house, the father received word that his daughter was dead. Jesus, as he watched the man panic, told him, “be not afraid, only believe.” The father had to decide, who would he listen to?

As this man did, you will discover that God’s Word will be fulfilled. Regardless of what others may offer, stay in tune to the words of Jesus. There may be delays, some disappointments, but the promises of God will come to pass. The key is, whose voice are you listening to?

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)

God has greater things waiting on you: the reward will make the effort worth it.

There are many things to focus on and to seek to attain in life. There is only one that truly matters. To walk in God’s will should be what every child of God seeks after. Paul speaks about pressing toward the “mark.” There is a price to pay, but the reward will make it worth the effort. The fact is, God has greater things waiting on each of us.

Never allow yourself to become satisfied with your current knowledge of God. There is a price you will have to pay to touch the hem of his garment, but the reward will be worth the effort. Never lose track of the fact that God has greater things that await you.


Otis McMillan ~ Missional Evangelism

Missional is a popular word today. It implies that in our evangelism, we do more than simply throw the gospel at someone. Instead we look at our culture as if we were on the mission field and ask what we can do to connect with that culture and reach those around us. Missional evangelism does just that. Thinking missionally helps you see that all places are mission fields and that all believers are missionaries. It will also challenge you to reach out to different cultures, ages, and those with broken lives. Finally, it will encourage you to start at the beginning—by getting to know unbelievers.

What exactly does missional evangelism mean? Does it mean moving from beyond the four walls of the church and reaching into a disadvantaged neighborhood to work for renewal? Does it mean living in the same zip code as the people we are trying to reach so we can truly be a missional community? Does it mean deepening already existing relationships with co-workers? Does it mean deliberately changing my patterns of life to bring me into contact with non-Christians on their own turf?

Tim Keller helps to answer this question by observing that the standard pattern of evangelism in the New Testament centered around the household. But the word household in New Testament times was much broader than we tend to think of it.

In the Bible, evangelism does not happen primarily through programs. It happens naturally through one’s relationship with the household which included not just your family, but also fairly close-knit colleagues, kin, friends, and neighborhood. Tim Keller suggest that the biblical term for household applies to at least five relationship networks: your kin network (family and relatives), your neighborhood, (those who live near you geographically), your colleagues (co-workers or co-students), your affinity network (people with a shared special interest) and your friends (those from the other four networks with whom you develop a close relationship).

The relative strengths or weakness of these five networks varies based on your context. But what it means to live missionally is to have authentic friendship with people in these networks. If Jesus is truly important to you, and if you have real friendships with people, then Jesus is going to come up sooner or later in the natural course of sharing life.

Bishop Joseph Johnson in his lecture on “Beyond Maintenance to Mission” describes the present day dilemma of the modern church as “dancing with dinosaurs.” For many years, the traditional church enjoyed the privilege as being the center piece of the community. People came to church because it was the right thing to do. That is no longer true, so the church must reach out to the unchurched in deliberate ways. Bishop Johnson suggest returning to the missionary model of evangelism, which focuses on salvation, outreach and mission.

Every believer has been called to be a missional evangelist in their personal world.800px-Vincent_Willem_van_Gogh_140

Look around and believe that the Spirit of God is hovering over your neighborhood, workplace or school. Some are defeated in their witnessing efforts before they start because they are not convinced that people near them are interested, seeking or already prepared by God. Our Lord has told us that the fields “are white already to harvest.”

Believe me, there are Spirit-prepared people near you who are seeking answers. God will lead you to these people. Ask him and see!



For further research, see Tim Keller, “Evangelism and the Steward Leader” audio. Bishop Joseph Johnson, “Beyond Maintenance to Mission”, Video 2009 Quadrennial Congress