Thursday, December 24, 2009

New twist on an old command

John 13:34-35
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

The commandment to love one another was not new. Moses commanded Israel, "Love your neighbor as yourself" in Leviticus 19:18. Jesus affirmed this command and declared that it was the second greatest command in Mark 12:31. So what was so new about what Jesus was saying?
Jesus command took love to a whole new level. The old standard was to love others as one's self. The new standard as to love as Jesus loved.
Looking back, they disciples would have immediately thought of Jesus act of humility, serving them through foot-washing. Looking forward, Jesus was also pointing to His love displayed on the cross through His sacrifice. These are the marks of true discipleship; service and sacrifice. The world will know that we belong to Jesus by these signs of love.
So how an I doing at loving others through service and sacrifice? Do people know that I am a follower of Jesus by my humility, service and sacrifice or simply by my job title? Do others see Jesus in and through me or simply around me? What could I do today (every day for that matter) to demonstrate this type of love to my family, friends, coworkers and even the strangers that I cross paths with?

Father - teach me to love others the way that You have loved me. Teach me to overlook faults and flaws as you have overlooked mine. Teach me to serve and sacrifice with no regard for myself. Let others see You in and through me. Teach me to Love. Amen.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Audience of One... Glory to God

John 12:42-43
Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Could this be said of me?
Do I shy away from sharing Christ and the Good News of the Gospel with my neighbors, friends and family because I am more concerned with their opinion of me than my Savior's? Am I more concerned with reputation than righteousness? Do I take the path of least resistance rather than the path of greatest Glory (Jn. 12:27-28)? If I truly love Jesus and count myself as His I must follow and be found where He is (Jn. 12:25-26). I must love Jesus more than my own life, my reputation, my comfort. I must live for an audience of One and bring Him glory alone.

Father - humble me and hunger me for Your glory. Teach me to hold loosely to the things of this life and strive for things that are eternal. May my lie bring You glory alone. Amen.

John 12:25-28
He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.
27 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name.”
Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Emotional Jesus

John 11:33
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.
John 11:35
Jesus wept.
John 11:36
Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!"
John 11:38
Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.
John 11:43
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!"

Jesus was not a cold, methodical, stoic leader absent of emotion. He was not a man so focused on the ultimate will and plan of the Father that He missed the significance and weight of each step along the way. He was not so divine that His humanity could not be seen... or perhaps even held back. He was moved and troubled. He groaned. He wept. He loved. He cried out.
So what was all that emotion about?
I like to believe it was a combination of three things in the past, present and future.
Jesus wept because he understood the consequences of sin and the pain it brought. The situation He faced in Bethany was not as it was supposed to be.
Presently, Jesus wept at the loss of His friends. While He knew that Lazarus would soon return to life, He identified with the separation that sin and death brought. At that very moment He was separated from His Father (a temporary death) for their sake. Similarly, perhaps He wept because He knew how incomparable the paradise is that He was about to pull Lazarus back from. Perhaps He wept because He fully identified with Lazarus' return trip away from the Father.
Finally, I believe as Jesus stood at the tomb staring down the cave and the stone, He saw His future. There at the grave of Lazarus His destiny became more humanly real than any time before. This was not only the Father's will for their sake, that they may believe, but also for His sake that He may be prepared to take the same journey. As He was trusted to raise Lazarus from the dead, He would have to trust His Father to raise Him from the dead.
No matter the source of Jesus' emotion, it is undeniable that Jesus truly identified with us. I love the words of Hebrews 4:14-16, "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."

Thank You Jesus for identifying fully with our humanity... that we may one day identify fully with Your deity. Amen.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Whose voice are you listening to?

John 10:4-5
And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

Whose voice are you listening to? If I am His, If I belong to Jesus, I will hear and recognize His voice above all others and will follow Him. If I follow another voice, if I follow temptation and sin, I must question, "to whom do I belong?" Whichever voice I follow is my master, my shepherd. Jesus is the "Good Shepherd" who leads to abundant life. All other voices are thieves who come to steal and kill.
As one of Jesus' sheep, I must stay close to the shepherd and train my ears to hear His voice only. I do this by reading His Word regularly, by meditation and worship that focuses on His Word, by prayer and listening for His Holy Spirit, and by fellowship with other sheep who also know and follow His voice. To ignore these disciplines is to risk following another voice.

Father - sharpen my ears to hear Your voice only. Keep me close and help me to follow You. Amen.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Has God changed you?...

John 9:25
He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”

Notice the blind man's approach to spiritual issues. When the Jewish rulers challenge his belief that Jesus is a prophet, he does not argue or debate or get sucked into a long exasperating theological discussion. The man born blind simply states the obvious change that Jesus worked in his life; "I was blind, now I see." There is no debating life-change. From that point on it was up to each listener to decide what to do with this Jesus.
When it comes to sharing my faith, do I have life-change that I can point to? Has Jesus been working in and on me? If so, then my story is sufficient enough to share; regardless of my biblical knowledge or theological foundation. If not, then no amount of biblical or theological knowledge will ever challenge anyone to see Jesus differently. If He has not worked His work in me first, others will not follow.

Lord - continue Your work in me. Open my eyes and help me see where You want to work in me, where you want to change me. Give me the faith and courage to obey and wash myself clean like the blind man. Write in me a story of life-change that inspires others. Amen.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Who is Jesus?

John 8:5-59
Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

Some say that Jesus was a good man and a good teacher but never himself claimed to be God. However here in John 8, Jesus uses the phrase "I AM" twelve times! This is a reference to God as He revealed Himself to Moses on Mount Horeb at the burning bush in Exodus 3 (specifically verse 14). It's clear from the crowds reaction that they finally understood whom Jesus claimed to be.
It is this claim that prevents us from believing that Jesus is simply a good man or a good teacher. Good men and good teachers so not make such absurd claims. Either Jesus is not God and therefore not good; or He is God... and more.
So how do you respond to Jesus claim? Will you pick up stones along with the crowd?... or will you believe?
On another note...
Isn't it funny how John 8 begins and ends with an angry crowd desiring to stone someone? It begins with Jesus inviting "him who has no sin to throw the first stone" and results in the crowds departure. It ends with Jesus claim of divinity and results in Jesus departure. How how deaf and dull we can be.

Lord - let me hear your voice, receive your Word and abide in You. Let me walk away from sin and set down my stones. Let me live in light of Your eternity. Amen.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How do you see Jesus?

John 7:40-43
Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.”
Others said, “This is the Christ.”
But some said, “Will the Christ come out of Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?”
So there was a division among the people because of Him.

There are three types of people identified in this passage.
There are those who are on a faith journey to understand who Jesus is. These people see Him as a prophet. They see a bunch but have not completed their journey. They are in process.
There are those who have come to the conclusion of their faith journey and after searching out both the Scriptures and the person of Jesus have concluded that He is who He claims to be, "the Christ."
Then there are those who refuse to examine the person of Jesus. Tragically, they know the Scriptures but are blind to the Savior. They know just enough Scripture or theology to justify their doubts and questions but never actually seek the answers or explanations. Their doubts and questions prevent them, even blind them, from seeing Jesus true nature and identity. Whether out of pride, arrogance, comfort, apathy, fear or something else, these people simply refused to take a closer look at Jesus.
Ironically, many of these are those who in verses 12 & 14 who claimed Jesus to be "good" and "marveled" at His knowledge of the Law. Jesus cannot be both good and who He claimed to be. Good men do not lie and deceive people... and neither did Jesus. He is who He claimed to be.
(Did you know that Jesus used the phrase "I AM" 52 times in the book of John alone? John was demonstrating who Jesus claimed to be. Check out John 18:5-6. There is no doubt that each time Jesus says "I AM" He's revealing his true nature. He does this four times in chapter 7 alone! No wonder the crowds were angry and debated His identity!)

So, where are you in this faith journey? Are you willing to look closer at Jesus? Are you willing to set aside your religious knowledge, tradition, pride, comfort, questions and doubts and truly examine this Jesus? He's more than good, He's more than a prophet... He is.

Monday, December 14, 2009


John 6:35
"And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst."

In as season and holiday that has become all about hunger, greed, extravagance and self, I'm compelled to ask what really satisfies? How long until the shine of Christmas morning materialism last? The stuff we give and receive this month will all be old and unfulfilling by next. The gadgets and gizmos will soon be replaced by bigger (or smaller) and better ones. The games we play will get old and boring. The movies and music will become familiar. The clothes will become worn and faded. How long does satisfaction last these days? - shorter and shorter each year.
So what does it mean to be satisfied, filled and fulfilled with Jesus? - not just at Christmas time but every day of the year? Does my understanding of and intimacy with Jesus make me so content that I do not huger for earthly things? Is Jesus my greatest desire? Do I turn to Him, feed on Him, when life gets difficult... or even when it's not? Is He my steady diet through prayer, meditation, Scripture, worship and service so that I am not tempted by earthly substitutes?
Am I satisfied with Jesus?
If not...have I truly tasted of His goodness?
Have I truly understood His promise to satisfy?

Jesus - let me be satisfied with You. Amen.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Security in Christ

John 5:24
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

The timing and tense of the verbs in this passage are interesting and inspiring. In the present, we are called to "hear" and to "believe." Receiving the Son in full faith from the Father sets a mark in the time line of our existence. From that moment on we have already passed from death to life, we have already been fully redeemed. Our status has been permanently changed from condemned to forgiven. As Jesus said Himself in John 3:17-18, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. There is no process to unfold, no journey to take, no status to strive for; this is the gift of God - eternal life. And this gift is irrevocable, (Rom. 11:29).
Therefore, though our present faith in the past work of Christ on the cross, we shall not come into judgment in the future. This security and certainty is only possible if our faith is fully in Christ and His work on the cross on our behalf. By this faith I may enjoy freedom in Christ and confidence in my current condition. I can enjoy each day of my life knowing that at this present time I already stand fully and securely in the hand of God. What a glorious and gracious God we have!

Father - teach me to live and strengthen me to live every day in light of this glorious gift. Amen.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Jesus and the Holy Spirit (2)

John 4:4
"But He (Jesus) needed to go through Samaria."

John says that Jesus "needed" to go through the scorned and avoided region of Samaria. He didn't choose to or accidentally enter where no righteous or pious Jew would go... He was compelled to go there.
I believe it was the Holy Spirit that compelled Him to cross these cultural and racial barriers to offer living water to a people He also loved. As Paul said in 1 Cor. 9:16, "for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!" Jesus knew He needed to begin His ministry to Samaria and I believe He understood what the results of such obedience would be.
In John 4 we see the Samaritan woman move from seeing Jesus as "great" (v. 12) to a "prophet" (v. 19) to the "messiah" (v. 25). The townspeople then complete His identity by declaring Him to be "the Savior of the world" (v. 42)... Samaritan too, even gentiles!
This is the result of listening to and obeying the Holy Spirit; we will boldly break through barriers and by our love and truth inspire belief in those who are lost and hurting.

Am I compelled? Do I listen for the Holy Spirit enough to be drawn to such a need? Am I listening enough to be part of such an impact as Jesus made in just a few hours at an isolated well with a lonely, hurting woman? If I'm not listening for these small yet divine appointments I will miss out on being part of what God is doing as He faithfully saves the world.

Lord - help me to listen to and obey Your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jesus and the Holy Spirit

John 3:34
For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.

It seems that John is teaching here that Jesus' words are from God and that the Holy Spirit is the deliverer of God's message. God's message did not originate in Jesus but in His Heavenly Father through the Holy Spirit. This is another way that Jesus full humanity was fully expressed.
The lesson is that like us, Jesus had to listen for and to the Holy Spirit in order to receive God's will and direction for His life and ministry.

Check out these examples....
  1. Luke 2:27
    Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required,
  2. Luke 4:1
    Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert,
  3. Luke 4:14
    Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.
That means that Jesus was not simply setting an example for us when He got alone with God, prayed or got still in the garden. He too was listening to, waiting for, depending on the Holy Spirit. In other words, we can follow His example and pattern for listening.

Jesus, teach me to wait for, listen to and obey the Holy Spirit. Teach me to follow Jesus example of being still, quiet and alone with the Father. Sharpen my ears and soften my heart to hear and receive what You say. Amen.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


John 2:11,22,23
This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.
Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.
Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did.

John uses the word "believe" (Pisteuo in the Greek) or a form of it 86 times in his gospel. It is used 19 times in just the first four chapters! John 2 gives three tangible examples of how belief comes about. In verse 11 the disciples believe based on his WONDERS. He reveals His glory to them through His nature and person. Over 7 days or so Jesus' identity oozes out and their friendship is turned to faith. Later, in verse 22, the disciples believe based on the WORD of God. They recall the Old Testament prophesies and realize that Jesus is the fulfillment of these. Finally, the crowds in Jerusalem believed based on His WORKS and the man miracles of healing and life-change He performed.
The lesson here is that there are many paths of faith but all paths must converge in belief in Jesus Christ. He is the only doorway to salvation (John 1:7 & 12).

Jesus, thank You for revealing Yourself through Your wonders, Your Word and Your works. Deepen my faith and strengthen my belief in You. Help me reveal Your nature to others that they too may beleive in You. Amen.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Jesus is all...

John 1:4-5
In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

Jesus is life. This is not figurative, overly spiritual or metaphorical. In Jesus we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). He sustain us by his powerful word (Hebrews 1:3). We are alive; breathing, moving, responding, because of Him.
Jesus is the light. Not only is He the reason we have life, He is the light by which we receive eternal life. This too is not figurative or metaphorical. Jesus said of Himself, "I am the way the truth and the life, nobody comes to the Father but through me," (John 14:6). He gave His life and became the way to the Father.
Yet, in all this, the world has not understood this. Creation owes to Him everything from our breath and life to His revelation and our salvation - yet we forget.
To rightly live and receive this light means to recognize Jesus as the eternal God who gave His life on our behalf to provide for us eternal life. To rightly receive this means to live in this reality each day by profession and practice.
Is this my daily aim?

Jesus - I praise you and thank You for Your life and light. Help me each day to live into and live out this truth. Amen.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Song of Solomon 2:7 & 3:5
Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires.

Song of Solomon is an often misunderstood and even more under appreciated book of the Bible. The book reflects on the passionate relationship between Solomon and his bride. The book tracks with graphic detail their passion and desire for one another, their wedding day and night and the growing love of their marriage. In the midst of this passion, we find two identical passages admonishing the reader and followers to "not arouse or awaken love" before it's time.
I find it most interesting that in a book with such graphic sexuality, Solomon, the wisest man in all the Scriptures would take such pains to express the value of abstinence and sexual discipline. Throughout the remainder of the book we find that the discipline demonstrated by he and his bride only builds anticipation, enhances their wedding night and creates an irresistible bond between them.
Throughout the first four chapters of the book, Solomon lets the reader in on some of his secrets to remaining pure. In 2:15 he talks about catching the foxes, the subtle temptations that steal away their intimacy and the strength of their relationship. In 2:17 he talks about "fleeing" temptation and not sticking around when his desire becomes difficult to control. Throughout chapter 4 Solomon refers to his bride as his "sister." Solomon disciplines his actions by training his mind to think of his bride with the same purity and innocence as a sister.
These disciplines only serve to create a bond between Solomon and his bride that produces a beautiful and lasting fruit. In other words, purity has value both before and after marriage.

How wonderful it is that God in His infinite wisdom sought to teach us about love and sexuality as well as spirituality. There are no secrets to a great marraige... just wisdom received or wisdom rejected.

Lord - thank You for my sister my bride.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

whom do I regard?

Ecclesiastes 11:1-6
"Cast your bread upon the waters,
For you will find it after many days.
Give a serving to seven, and also to eight,
For you do not know what evil will be on the earth.
If the clouds are full of rain,
They empty themselves upon the earth;
And if a tree falls to the south or the north,
In the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie.
He who observes the wind will not sow,
And he who regards the clouds will not reap.
As you do not know what is the way of the wind,[a]
Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child,
So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.
In the morning sow your seed,
And in the evening do not withhold your hand;
For you do not know which will prosper,
Either this or that,
Or whether both alike will be good."

Whom do I regard with fear, respect and reverence? Do the events of life, difficulties and potential struggles dictate my behavior? Do I regard the wind and the rain greater than God? When I withhold a gift, reserve an act of service or silence a kind word, do I do so at the prompting of the Holy Spirit or because I fear something earthly? As long as I have both breath and ability, I must sow my seed and prepare for the harvest, trusting that God will produce and protect whatever He deems good and right. God cannot bless the seed I do not sow. So, I will hold nothing back and fear nothing but Him so that He too may hold nothing back in His blessing me.

God - let me fear nothing but You and regard nothing on this earth but Your Word and Your leading. Let me hold nothing back as You open up opportunities before me. Amen.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Purity & influence

Ecclesiastes 10:1
Dead flies putrefy[a] the perfumer’s ointment,
And cause it to give off a foul odor;
So does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor.

I've been given a position of honor and influence. My decisions and conduct are not my own but impact many others, many young impressionable people. One foolish decision will bring an odor to my ministry that will not quickly dissipate. The stink of my sin, selfishness, pride, arrogance and ignorance will rub off on my students, those entrusted to me. I must be wise, disciplined and ruthless to catch the flies of temptation before they drop into my life and ministry and dead, odorous sin. I must guard the ointment God is creating of my life and offer it back to Him as a sweet smelling sacrifice each day.

God - keep me pure. Help me to catch the flies of temptation before they stink up my life and ministry. Let my influence be pure and my ministry be a sweet smelling sacrifice to You. Amen.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rebuke & Praise

Ecclesiastes 7:5
It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise
Than for a man to hear the song of fools.

How well do I take rebuke and correction? If rebuke is better than praise then I should seek out the one and avoid the other. Rebuke or correction lead to introspection, change and improvement if take to heart. Praise, if taken to heart, only blinds us to what must be changed and paralyzes us to change it. Given both I find that I often assign merit or lack of merit based my feelings rather than on the intrinsic value of both types of feedback. In other words, I attribute wisdom to the source of praise and folly to the source of rebuke. I deceive myself into thinking and believing that praise is good. This is pride and does me no good. When rebuked or corrected I must seek out the wisdom within it and apply it to my life. When praised, I must resist taking it to heart and remind myself with sober-judgment that I am not quite what I ought to be. I must humbly recognize the truth and rigorously apply it to my life.

Father - humble me. Give me a heart and ear for correction. Help me avoid flattery and resist the deception of praise. Make me sober-minded that I may continue to grow in You. Amen.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Greedy worship

Ecclesiastes 5:1

Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.

Far too often I come to worship casually. I enter the presence of God with worries, distractions, agendas and a false notion that I have something to offer God. He is holy, perfect and has no want or need... especially one that I can fill. Yet I come with a posture that says I am there for Him, for His glory, for His gain. I am no offering before God, not with what I bring. When I come into the presence of God for worship, I must enter through the gates of confession, releasing to God and asking forgiveness for all that holds me back from Him. My offering at His alter should not be time, treasures or talents alone, but more importantly a broken and contrite heart; the sacrifice of obedience. Rather than take a posture of giving, I should come greedy. I should be greedy for His voice, His word, His presence, His touch, His forgiveness, His healing, His work. I am not there for Him, in His abundant grace He is there for me. Not that I or anyone else deserve this, this He does in spite of us, not because of us. Therefore, as long as God has made Himself available to me; I will come hungry to hear, to be filled, to be broken, to be forgiven, to be convicted, to be changed.

Holy God - let me come into Your presence prudently, humbly and greedy to receive what You have offered so graciously. Amen.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Strong marriage

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:

If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?

Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

It's interesting how Solomon applies himself to evaluate life and finds that all is meaningless under the sun... except this. We were made for one another. In fact, during creation, the only thing God said was not "good" was for man to be alone. And while this passage does not speak directly concerning the type of relationship Solomon has in mind, I don't think it would be too much to suggest that the best application is to marriage. In marriage, partners share profit (vs 9), provisions (vs 10), passion (vs 11) and protection (vs 12). Partners who share these foundational principles will find great reward, happiness and fulfillment in their relationships. However, even the most perfect couples will face trials and struggles. The key to a rewarding, happy, fulfilling and ENDURING marriage is found at the end of verse 12... "a cord of three strands." If husband and wife weave into their marriage the person of Jesus Christ, their covenant will endure even the most difficult of trials. This is because Jesus ads an example of love, a strength of commitment, a depth of sacrifice and a breadth of forgiveness that we alone cannot muster. To make this a reality, couples must weave God into their relationship daily through prayer, Scripture, worship, meditation, service and sacrifice. It is not enough to wrap a marriage in the stuff of God, only giving the appearance of divine strength. God must be at the core as well as wrapped around our lives.

How have I been doing at daily weaving God into my marriage?

God - help me to focus more of our time together on You in prayer, Scripture. Help me wash my bride with the water of the Word (Eph. 5:26) and present her to You daily as a bride without spot or blemish. Let my words be marked by praise and thanksgiving. Let my actions be Christ-like; serving and sacrificial. Help me to weave you into our marriage more and more each day. Amen.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Under the Son...

Ecclesiastes 2:11
Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done
And on the labor in which I had toiled;
And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.
There was no profit under the sun.

Most people spend the majority of their lives laboring for things "under the sun." The man who knows Jesus Christ will labor for things "under the Son." Nothing under the sun will last; all things under the Son will last forever.

Mark 8:36
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?

Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Luke 18:29-30
"I tell you the truth," Jesus said to them, "no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life."

Galatians 6:8
The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

Father - teach me to labor for things that will last, things of the Spirit, things of Your kingdom, things that bring honor and glory to Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Hebrews 13:5
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Am I content wit the the things I have? Am I happy and satisfied with my stuff, my life, my comfort level? If the answer is no, then I am focused on the wrong thing - me rather than Jesus Christ. His presence is blessing beyond measure and as my heavenly Father, He will never let me be in need. So when I find myself in want, when I find myself hungry for stuff, status or security (Heb. 13:9), when I covet; I will discipline myself to focus on Jesus and give thanks for the immeasurable, incomparable blessings I already have (Heb. 13:15). I will remind myself of the emptiness of earthly pursuits and the reward of remembering others in need (Heb 13:1-3). By this, my conduct will be pure and honoring to God who sustains me by His presence and His Word (13:5).

Father - make me content. Amen.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

God's discipline...

Hebrews 12:7-11
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

How do I respond to the discipline of God? Do I even recognize it or do I presume that most earthly trials are simply that - earthly? Do I complain when life gets difficult or do I rejoice that God has counted me as a son and that He is conforming me to His likeness? Do I resent God for the things He has kept from me, as a child throws a tantrum for a parent who withholds out of protection? Do I let discipline run its course to "peaceable fruit of righteousness" or do I pout and rot in my own self-pity?
No discipline is fun, but it is all good when it comes from the hand of our Heavenly Father.

Father - humble me. Help me to recognize Your discipline in my life. Give me the strength to receive it. Help me to trust in Your provision and Your withholding; knowing that I am being conformed to the image of my Heavenly Father. Drive away bitterness and resentment that I may not rot but produce the fruit of righteousness. Amen.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Faith & Proof

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Faith is evidence and substance. Too often we think of faith as theory, ethereal and intangible; blind leaps, guttural prompts, hunches and hints. According to Hebrews 11, faith is very tangible. The terms evidence and substance point to a solid proof, as in a court of law, that would validate one's claim or testimony. The lives of the saints listed hereafter were commended for having such faith, the solid proof and evidence of the Truth of God. It was their ability to delay gratification, defer reward, deny themselves ,defy logic, define devotion and display spiritual truths in physical ways. These acts of devotion are proof to both the saints and a skeptical world that the things hoped in are real. By them, these elders obtained a good and trustworthy testimony (Heb. 11:2).
What is the testimony of my life and faith? is there enough evidence in my speech and conduct to prove of the truths I profess? Do I live for myself or for the spiritual truths I believe in?

Father - Help me to honor You in my devotion and obedience to the Truths of Your Word. Give me the strength to deny myself and defer to the hope of heaven each moment of each day. Make me more disciplined to be a testimony to the skeptics around me of the truths I profess. Let my life be the evidence they need. Amen.

Friday, October 30, 2009

This scares me...

Hebrews 10:26-31
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”says the Lord. And again, “The LORD will judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

This scares me.
No deep thoughts today, just a lot of confession.

Holy Father -
I sin willfully. I have counted common the blood of Christ and His covenant. I've grown comfortable with with thought of a gracious God and ignored Your justice, holiness and wrath toward sin. Forgive me God. Fill me with a holy fear and give me a right view of You. Let my heart break before I sin, not after. I want to be wrecked by the thought of disobedience, and not just the guilt of it. Let me now be counted with Your adversaries but fully embrace You, the living God. Forgive me and strengthen me to obey.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Perfect forgiveness

Hebrews 9:14 (CEV)
But Christ was sinless, and he offered himself as an eternal and spiritual sacrifice to God. That's why his blood is much more powerful and makes our consciences clear. Now we can serve the living God and no longer do things that lead to death.

The sacrifice of Christ Himself purifies not only our sinful flesh, but also the soul and even the conscience. His blood does not simply cover over our sins as did the blood of bulls and lambs. His blood penetrates our sinful flesh and purifies us completely. We don't have to wonder if or worry that the sacrifice would be sufficient or that the ceremony would be sanctified. Because our eternal, perfect High Priest has not only performed the ceremony but also become the sacrifice, we can know for certain that we are forgiven. I don't have to fret over the letter of the law, unidentified sin or meeting some pious standard. I can live in a confidence that comes by faith because it is His work completely, not my own - even in part. I am clean by the perfect blood of Jesus and can enter into His heavenly tabernacle, His presence, without worry in service before the Living God.

Father - set me free from wonder, worry, doubt and personal effort. I know these truths but at times my faith is weak. Strengthen my faith so that it is only and always only in You. Cleanse my guilty conscience daily that I may enter your presence with confidence and boldly serve You. Amen.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

No excuse, all access pass to God

Hebrews 8:10-12
This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
11No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,'
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more."

Here are four marks of the fulfillment of God's new covenant with His people in His restored kingdom. First, by the Holy Spirit, God's Word is written on our hearts rather than on stone tablets as the Ten Commandments. Second, we are granted a direct relationship with God and are no longer required to go through a human priesthood in order to connect with Him. Third, we no longer need Pharisees, Sadducees and prophets to interpret and teach God's Word for His Holy Spirit dwells within us and illuminates Christ, reminding us of His teaching (John 14:26). Finally, there is no need for a sacrificial system or tradition because the Lamb of God has paid a perfect and eternal sacrifice for sin; past, present and future. All of the tools and traditions once required to connect with God have been replaced by a direct, personal and powerful relationship with God Himself through Jesus Christ. There is now no excuse for not connecting with Him; He has removed every barrier. There is no guilt, shame, ignorance or impurity that can keep me from my Creator.

Father - draw me close to You daily and remind me of this access. Forgive and remove my guilt, shame and timidity and let me come boldly before Your throne. I want to know You more. Amen.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Our Perfect High Priest

Hebrews 7:24-27
but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
26Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

Because Jesus is human, He can stand in our place and intercede for us.
Because Jesus is sinless, He is able to pay for the sins of others.
Because Jesus is eternally God, He is able to pay an eternal price for all the sins, of every human, for all of time.

When Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no once comes to the Father except through me," (John 14:6) He was revealing this exact ministry as our great and perfect High Priest.

Jesus - help me to appreciate more Your role and ministry as my perfect High Priest. May I come to You more in prayer, with tithes and offerings and in confession that I might find grace and mercy in my time of need. Amen.

Friday, October 23, 2009

sin, guilt & maturity

Hebrews 6:1
"Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death,[a] and of faith in God"

While the doctrines of God and forgiveness, and the practices of confession and repentance are important and foundational, we must go beyond them. we must strive for full obedience, conforming to the image of Christ - living in the hope of salvation and not the guilt of our sin (6:19). Through a mature understanding of Christ's complete work on the cross and genuinely avoiding sin - we can live in this hope, free from a guilty conscience from which Christ has set us free(Heb. 10:22). But if our sin is repetitive or we are paralyzed by guilt, we will never reach the fullness of salvation's blessing in this life.

Father - help me leave behind my sin and guilt and pursue perfection and maturity in You. Amen.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Jesus' Humanity

Hebrews 5:8-9
"though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him"

Jesus, the Son of God, "learned obedience?" He was "perfected?" How can an omniscient and perfect God learn and be made perfect? I think we often take lightly the humanity of Jesus. He however did not (Phil. 2:5-8). He did not take advantage of His deity in order to make easier His humanity. Instead, He fully identified with us in every way - yet was without sin (Heb. 4:12-14). By His suffering and very human struggles, He is able to identify with our weaknesses and is worthy to become our High Priest, representing humanity and bearing our concerns before the Father. By His faithful obedience and endurance in this life, Jesus became the perfect example that we must follow. By His faithful obedience and endurance, He became the perfect and worthy substitute for humanity. Were He not to have suffered or struggled, He could not have accurately or adequately stood in our place or taken our penalty. He has endured to much... for me.

Father - let me demonstrate this enduring faithfulness in the things I suffer as I follow You, the author and perfecter of my faith. Amen.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Hebrews 4:11
Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.

The rest offered us in Jesus Christ is so much greater than the rest offered to Israel in the Old Testament. Their Sabbath was a day and even Jubilee only a year (Leviticus 25) but the rest awarded those who know Jesus us eternal and perfect. we therefore must be diligent to enter that rest by genuine faith. The diligence spoken of here is not about works or effort but about enduring faith. We are to resist doubtful, callous, indifferent, apathetic, fruitless faith (which is no faith at all) by focusing on the written Word of God for instruction (Heb. 4:12) and the Word of God made flesh for inspiration (Heb. 4:14-15). When we focus on Jesus and His Word we find hope and grace and mercy to help us in our time of need to diligently enter that rest. If we lose sight of Jesus or turn our eyes away from His Word we, like the Israelites, will wander aimlessly and miss His rest.

Father - give me eyes for You and Your Word. Let me diligently focus on You and find the fullness of Your promised rest at the end of this life. Until then, may I work diligently to help others discover that same rest. Amen.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

calling in step with one another

Hebrews 3:13
"but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."

I think most people would wince a bit at the word choice here; to "exhort" one another daily. I bet that would be exasperating to be constantly exhorted, daily. But a closer look at the Greek word behind exhort reveals something very beautiful, comforting and encouraging. In fact, at times, the word is translated encourage or comfort. The actual Greek word is "parakaleo." It is a combination of two words, "para" which means along side or in step with, and "kaleo" which means to call. So the literal translation might read "call each other in step daily." It is also the exact word that Jesus used to describe the Holy Spirit in John 14-16.

John 14:16
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

John 14:26
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 15:26
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

John 16:7
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

In other words, the writer of Hebrews is calling us to be a type of Holy Spirit in the one another's lives. We are to convict, convince, comfort, correct and convey God's message to one another - daily. We are called to call others in step with the Holy Spirit as we walk with Him.

How am I doing at coming along side of my friends and family and calling them to walk closer with Jesus? How am I doing at allowing others to call me closer? Do I let days go by without comforting or encouraging other believers? Do I let sin linger without conviction or confession? Do I let opportunities to convey the Word of God slip past in silence? If so, I am allowing sin to harden my heart and the heart of others. I am choosing to fall out of step with the Holy Spirit.

Father, may I always obey Your calling to Your side and obediently call others to fall in step with Your Holy Spirit. Let not my heart be hardened by sin but instead let me be the comforter that my brothers and sisters need. Let my heart be soft to the call of others and to the call of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Perfect through suffering

Hebrews 2:10
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

The more I study Scripture, the more I am amazed, inspired by and drawn to the humanity of Jesus. By this, Christ identified with us, but by it we too may identify with Him. Beyond flesh and blood, we share with Christ in the human experience of suffering; living a life less than God intended for us, being fully exposed to the consequences of sin and a world distorted by it. My own suffering (as relatively light as it is) often produces in me compromise, selfishness and more sin. However Christ's suffering produced in Him (and consequently in humanity) perfection. Through suffering He earned the right to redeem us, He earned the right to be our captain, our leader and example in suffering, and He earned the glory of God as an earthly Son. As a man, He is the author, perfecter and champion of our salvation. This He has done in His humanity, not relying on His deity, not exploiting His divinity, so that I may follow Him (Phil. 2:5-8).

Jesus, help me keep my eyes on You that I too may be made perfect in my suffering. Give me the strength and discipline to endure and conform to Your image in me as I suffer - that You may be glorified. Amen.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Incomparable God

Hebrews 1:3
The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Jesus Christ is the exact image of God, the perfect reflection of His glory and the powerful personification of the Word of God, sustaining all things eternally from creation to completion. Jesus is not simply god-like or godly. Jesus is not just a temporary or earthly representation of deity. He is not just one of many sons of God. He is the only, eternal, perfect creator God in human flesh; fully and completely God and man. We use words like incarnation, trinity and hypostatic union to describe the amazing nature of Jesus Christ but all fall short. While there are analogies for nearly every other spiritual truth in Scripture, there is nothing even attempted or worthy to attempt to describe the wonder and beauty of Jesus Christ.

Jesus - You alone are awesome. There is no one, nothing like You. You are above and beyond all human understanding and yet you have condescended to meet us and have made Yourself accessible and knowable by sinful people like me. Thank You seems so inadequate. Jesus, give me the strength and self-discipline to thank you with my life and obedience each day. Amen.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I love my bride

Proverbs 31:1-31
10 A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 "Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all."
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

I've often said that I got married for all the wrong reasons to just the right girl. What a blessing it was to find that the fun, charming, intoxicating and beautiful girl I fell in love with over 16 years ago is also a hard worker, an amazing mother, a great cook, wise with money, resourceful, kind to those in need, tender to my needs and a wise teacher and guide to other moms and children.
Each day I am more impressed by, addicted to and grateful for the bride I have been given. I have been truly blessed beyond rubies and riches with a virtuous wife.

Father - thank you for Jocelyn my bride. Help me to become the husband she needs and deserves. Give me eyes to see her needs and desires and blind me from my own. Give me a heart that beats and breaks with hers. Give me a mind to understand who she is and those things that cannot be said. Strengthen me to care for her and make me more disciplined each day to sacrifice who I am for who she is becoming. Amen.

Monday, October 12, 2009

the Proverbial Incarnation... if you will

Proverbs 30:4-5
Who has ascended into heaven, or descended?
Who has gathered the wind in His fists?
Who has bound the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is His name, and what is His Son’s name,
If you know?
Every word of God is pure;
He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.

I don't think it would be a stretch of Scripture to suggest that this passage is a prophetic picture of the incarnation and the vary nature of Jesus Christ. He is the only one who has both descended and ascended from heaven, eternal and uncreated (Ephesians 4:7-10). He was there at creation, took part in the process and His Word holds all things together (Colossians 1:15-17 & Hebrews 1:3). He is the vary image of God and the Son of God wrapped in human flesh (John 1:14). I am particularly drawn to the term "Word" and its personification in the following line.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God in the flesh, has been revealed in so many ways; through creation, through the Word of God (the Holy Scriptures), the Wisdom of life (as revealed through Proverbs), through miracles and family relationships (He is the Son of God, the firstborn among brothers). When we come to understand the vast revelation of the Son and His unique relationship with us through the incarnation, then and only then will we stand secure in this life, able to trust fully in God who loved us enough to identify with us in this journey called life.

Thank You Jesus for taking on flesh, for descending and identifying with our weaknesses that we might identify with Your strength (Heb. 4:14-16). Thank You for revealing Yourself so clearly so that we might know You and trust You in this life. Amen.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

obedience & endurance: the revelation of God in silence

Proverbs 29:18
Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint;
but blessed is he who keeps the law.

When it becomes difficult to see God moving and working in the trials of life, when His direction and plan seem unclear at best, when our prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling, people often abandon His ways and neglect their spiritual disciplines. These are not the times to get lazy or self-serving in our practices but a call to even greater discipline. God reveals Himself in the midst of trial when we faithfully endure hardship, identifying with His Son Jesus Christ through obedience and perseverance. This is not because God wills for us to suffer (though it is a part of His will), but because there is true blessing, joy, peace and contentment in participating in the divine nature of Christ by joining Him is His suffering.

Romans 8:17
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

2 Corinthians 1:5
For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

Philippians 3:10
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

1 Peter 4:13
But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

Revelation, blessing, joy, peace and contentment come through suffering by obedience and endurance when we join Christ in His suffering and identify with Him.

Father, grant me the discipline to endure and obey even when I don't see or understand Your will for my life. Teach me to be faithful and to identify Your presence and blessing in obedience. Let me know Your presence in trials and be content to have You with me there, even if I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. Let me be content to identify with Your Son Jesus Christ and to be a tool of revelation for others. Let me take Joy in this alone. Amen.

Friday, October 2, 2009

eyes for the poor

Proverbs 28:27
He who gives to the poor will lack nothing,
but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.

How often have I turned my eyes away from the poor and needy? I often refused to make eye contact (or any other contact) with the man at the end of the off-ramp, the bell ringer at the grocery store or even the emotionally needy person that comes to my church seeking compassion and comfort. I do this party because I don't want to give up what I've been given and party because I don't want to be confronted with or burdened by the weightier things of life.
But the natural and spiritual consequences of such hardness of heart are severe. Spiritually, God removes His hand of blessing and will not hear my cry or prayer when I am in need (prov. 28:9). Naturally, we miss the opportunities to join God in His work, to be conformed to His image, to develop His heart of mercy and to experience His provision. Consequently, we become numb and dull to the exact relationship that we have been created for; we become isolated and lonely.
But if we lock eyes with the poor we lock eyes with Christ himself and invite both natural and spiritual blessings into our lives.

Matthew 25:37-40
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Lord, soften my heart and turn my eyes to the needs of the poor. Teach me to see You and serve You every day. Amen.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Reputation matters

Proverbs 27:17
The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold,
And a man is valued by what others say of him.

(Proverbs 27 is the friendship chapter)

Reputation matters. I find it's "cool" for kids to say, "I don't care what people say about me." It's popular, but foolish. They think it demonstrates confidence, independence and strength but it really reveals a self-centered, arrogant isolation. We are meant for one another, to live in community and to make a difference in the lives of one another.
If our motives are pure but our actions are not perceived the same, we suffer. If i set out to do good in a sloppy manner, I only make a mess. If my good intentions do not lead to good deeds I'll never find good will. For this reason we must be diligent to work hard as if working for God and not for man (Col. 3:23). We must present ourselves as ones "approved by God, workmen who need not be ashamed" (2 Tim. 2:15). The result is not only favor with God but also favor with men. Even Jesus "grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man," (Luke 2:52).
Finally, if our motives are pure and our actions follow, our reputations become valuable currency by which we are able to accomplish God's agenda in this life.

Father - guide me to establish a worthy reputation and let my heart be tested by what others say of my character and ethic. May I honor You. Amen

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wise Words...

Proverbs 25:11-12
word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.
Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold
Is a wise rebuker to an obedient ear.

I'm not sure what "apples of gold in settings of silver" is supposed to mean but it sounds good. What I do know is that it is impossible to speak fit words without being knee-deep in prayer and eyeball-deep in God's Word. Fit, wise words do not come from impulsive, prideful, self-centered human beings like me.

Make my eyes hunger more for Your Word.
Make my ears to hear from Your Spirit.
Make my mind to discern Your wisdom.
Make my heart to deny my own inclinations.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Proverbs 24:12
If you say, “Surely we did not know this,”
Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it?
He who keeps your soul, does He not know it?
And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?

There is no plea of ignorance before God on the day of judgment. When God weighs our hearts and souls we will be saved or condemned by our deeds, not our knowledge or lack there-of. "For since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities... have been clearly seen through what has been made so that men are without excuse," (Romans 1:20). Jesus Christ, the Son of God has come to demonstrate to us the way of life and display for us the depth of His love for us (1 John 5:13). And all of the Holy Scriptures have been written so that we may know God's will for our salvation and how He has set out to accomplish it (1 John 5:20). With Creation, the Son of God and the Holy Scriptures all perpetually displaying God's truth... there is no excuse for ignorance on the day of judgment. "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness," (2 Peter 1:3).
So those of us who have come to know Him must continue to hunger and thirst for knowing Him. We must grow in grace and love according to His revelation of truth. And we must join the testimony of creation, the Son and the Scriptures for those who have yet to know Him. For we are not only responsible to know Him, but also to make Him known; there is no excuse for silence either.

Father - instruct my heart and let me hear from You daily. Fill me with Your knowledge and wisdom to overflowing that I may be a testimony to those who have not yet come to know You. Make me prudent and wise that all my deeds may honor You and edify those around me. Amen.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Proverbs 23:17-18
Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day; For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off.

What am I zealous for? What does my mind dwell on throughout my day? Where are my eyes drawn? How do I spend my free time? This is my desire. It doesn't matter much what I say I desire, my investment reveals the true treasure of my heart.

Matthew 6:19-21
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Colossians 3:2
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

Where I invest my time, my thoughts, my wealth and my resources, there is my destiny. The return on investment will be consistent with what I invest in. If I invest in earthly things, how can I expect anything more than earthly results? However if I invest in heavenly things, if I focus on knowing Christ and honoring Him, I can expect eternal blessings. I have hope of so much more.

Father - make my heart desire to know You, to fear You and to honor You above all else. Remind me to invest my time, thoughts and treasures in that which lasts. Fill me with Your hope and keep me from getting distracted by the things of this world. Amen.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Righteousness & Sacrifice

Proverbs 21:3
To do righteousness and justice
Is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

Where in my life have I justified my behavior, decisions and thoughts by my sacrifice?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My greatest blessing and lesson for my kids...

Proverbs 20:7
The righteous man walks in his integrity;
His children are blessed after him.

Righteousness and integrity bless generations in three unique ways. First, God rewards the righteous and His blessings will fill the house of a man of integrity up to a thousand generations (Exodus 20:5-6). God's very presence, His loving-kindness and favor dwell with those whose walk is blameless (Psalm 101:6). My children will know the presence of God because of the blessing that follows my righteousness.
Second, my children will be blessed to have an example of godliness before them as they develop their identity. I can give my impressionable children no greater gift than an example and lesson in integrity and righteousness.
Finally, integrity and righteousness bear earthly consequences that are expounded on greatly in Proverbs. By wisdom, patience, honesty, prudence, generosity, forgiveness and so on... my home will have peace, sustenance, security, wealth and earthly favor.
There is no greater lesson or blessing I can pass onto my children than my own righteousness and intimate walk with Jesus.

Father, make me a man of integrity and righteousness for my children's sake. Amen.

Monday, September 21, 2009

God's Treasure

Proverbs 19:17
He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD,
And He will pay back what he has given.

God's heart is found with the poor. All throughout the Scriptures we find His blessing and instruction to be in favor of the humble, the hurting, the hungry, the harassed, the helpless, the homeless and the heartbroken. So when our hearts are drawn to those in need, we are bring drawn by and to God Himself. Lending time, resources and dollars to those in need is the same as lending to the Lord. We can lend confidently and boldly without worry because of Him. We don't have to worry about how the gift will be viewed, received, spent, appreciated or replenished. He is the surety for our giving and His pockets are eternally deep. I'll never outgive God's ability to bless me in return.
So where is my heart found? Do I have a generous heart for those in need? Do I treasure those whom God treasures? Does my calendar and checkbook prove it?

Father, break my heart for what breaks Yours. Let me generously give to the people You treasure. Bless me that I may be a blessing. Amen.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Name of the Lord

Proverbs 18:10-11
The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe.
The rich man’s wealth is his strong city,
And like a high wall in his own esteem.

The name of the Lord is provider, protector, comfort, defender, redeemer, rewarder, savior and so much more. If the Lord is for me, who can be against me? (Rom. 8:31). I only need to utter the name of the Lord in prayer to be found in the safety of His strong tower - no matter where I am on the battlefield. His name miraculously transports my spirit and standing to His presence, His safety, His security.
The rich man however depends on his wealth and possessions for security and deliverance. To him they are his city - but they only seem secure. Like the walls of a city they can be scaled and topple first - but the towers stand strong. Wealth comes and goes, blessings fade, even the Lord gives and takes away; but the name of the Lord lasts forever, blessed be the Name of the Lord (Job 1:21, Psalm 135:13).
The wise man will learn and meditate on the Name of the Lord. In times of trouble he will be saved in every way.

Father, teach me to know Your name, to rest in Your identity, to lean on your reputation - not my own. Be my strong tower, my refuge, my comfort and my salvation. Amen.

A few Hebrew names of God to meditate on...

Adonai-Jehovah -- The Lord our Sovereign
El-Elyon -- The Lord Most High
El-Olam -- The Everlasting God
El-Shaddai -- The God Who is Sufficient for the Needs of His People
Jehovah-Elohim -- The Eternal Creator
Jehovah-Jireh -- The Lord our Provider
Jehovah-Nissi -- The Lord our Banner
Jehovah-Ropheka -- The Lord our Healer
Jehovah-Shalom -- The Lord our Peace
Jehovah-Tsidkenu -- The Lord our Righteousness
Jehovah-Mekaddishkem -- The Lord our Sanctifier
Jehovah-Sabaoth -- The Lord of Hosts
Jehovah-Shammah -- The Lord is Present
Jehovah-Rohi -- The Lord our Shepherd
Jehovah-Hoseenu -- The Lord our Maker
Jehovah-Eloheenu -- The Lord our God

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


These verses from Proverbs 17 seem to be very relevant to my life right now as our 15 year old foster-daughter, whom we are in the process of adopting, impulsively, angrily and vindictively decided she no longer wanted to live with us. Because of DCFS protocol, this this decision is irreversible, painful to us and devastating to her life and future. We are trusting God to keep her and care for her. She'll always be our daughter in our hearts.

Proverbs 17:1
Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
than a house full of feasting, with strife.

Proverbs 17:3
The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but the LORD tests the heart.

Proverbs 17:14
Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;
so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.

Proverbs 17:24
A discerning man keeps wisdom in view,
but a fool's eyes wander to the ends of the earth.

Proverbs 17:27
A man of knowledge uses words with restraint,
and a man of understanding is even-tempered.

Lord, grant me peace, purity of heart, patience, wisdom, quietness and calm. Let my heart and thoughts be guided only by You, enlightened by Your Word and a blessing to those entrusted to me. Amen.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Trusting God

Proverbs 16:1-3
The preparations of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
But the LORD weighs the spirits.
Commit your works to the LORD,
And your thoughts will be established.

If I am diligent to prepare my heart in prayer and God's Word, committing my ways to Him and seeking His guidance, He will answer, He will care for my words, my heart and my thoughts. When life gets crazy, confusing, painful or frustrating I don't have to figure things out on my own. I can rely on the sovereign God to intervene and pick up where my abilities and understanding leave off. In fact, I must trust God. My ways only seem right to me. I need His help to sort things out and discover His will. What a comfort to know that He has promised to reveal His will and that I don't have to rely on my ways. The best and most assuring truth of this passage is that God is fully worthy to be trusted and He will be faithful to answer me.

Lord, guard and guide my heart and thoughts and words. Deepen my trust in You. Let me not seek my own ways but instead Your will. Let me do what is right in Your eyes. Let my words and thoughts and heart please You. Amen.

Friday, September 11, 2009

God's heart interest

Proverbs 15:8
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
But the prayer of the upright is His delight.

God is interested in my heart. If my heart is bent toward evil it does not matter what my hands bring to Him. No sacrifice, service or ritual could satisfy God's demand for righteousness. Posturing and false piety only makes my standing with a Holy God more dangerous. This is hypocrisy; fresh water cannot flow from a salty heart and good fruit cannot come from a rotten tree (James 3:10-12).
Conversely, to those whose hearts are righteous, God delights - even desires to answer their prayers. His heart interest in the righteous is their heart's desire (Psalm 37:4). The prayers uttered from a heart of righteousness are a sweet sacrifice to the Lord, more valuable than riches and sacrifice.
So, how is my heart?

Lord - purify by heart and let my prayers be a sweet smelling sacrifice to You in which You can delight. Amen.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Proverbs 14:21 & 31
He who despises his neighbor sins;
But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he....
He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker,
But he who honors Him has mercy on the needy.

Much is revealed about a person bu looking at how he or she approaches the poor; be it financially, physically, socially, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. If I neglect the poor, I fail to recognize the image of God in which they were created. Furthermore, I disregard their value and the truth by which it is assigned; the redemptive work or Christ in his death and resurrection. If a person truly understands and values the creative and redemptive work of God it will be reflected in how he or she treats the poor.
Not only does mercy reflect one's heart fro God, but it also fills it. The unmerciful are filled with selfishness, pride, judgmentalism, fear, envy and the like. But happiness and contentment fill those whose view of God leads them to mercy. They are filled to the point of overflowing. Ultimately, the secret to happiness and contentment is to know and pass on the great mercy of our creator and redeemer.

Father - make me more merciful, generous, patient and understanding. Fill me to the point of overflowing with happiness and contentment that I may honor You even more in how I care for those in need. Amen.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Correction & Humility

Proverbs 13:18
Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction,
But he who regards a rebuke will be honored.

Two things stand out to me in this proverb. First, Solomon does not suggest that honor comes to those who do not need correction or rebuke. Life is not about perfection or performance but about humility and growth. Wisdom is humility, not perfection.
Second, the fool despises gentle correction while the wise man can receive even strong discipline or rebuke. Receiving correction is not about the strength or sting of the rebuke but about the heart of the one receiving it.
To illustrate the difference, think of how some people approach traffic cops. Some people get angry at being asked to redirect their route or stop for cross traffic; gentle correction. Yet a wise man will even receive and appreciate a traffic ticket when he has erred.
I want to be the kind of man who receives and appreciates even the strongest rebuke so that I may be honored and I may honor my Lord.

Father - humble me and make me wise to receive correction and honest rebuke. Teach me to be teachable and accountable. Amen.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Upside-down Economics

Proverbs 11:24-25
There is one who scatters, yet increases more;
And there is one who withholds more than is right,
But it leads to poverty.
The generous soul will be made rich,
And he who waters will also be watered himself.

God's principles of economics and resource management seem so upside-down from the worlds. The world says store up for later. God says scatter and water generously. The world says poverty comes from saving little, God says poverty comes from giving little. The world says provide for your future, God says provide for your neighbors.

I think what I like most about this proverbs is the analogies to sowing seed, planting, watering and nurturing. It reminds me that I should be investing in living things, growing things, people. When I turn my resources toward my neighbor I too am watered, nurtured and rewarded with joy when I give.

These proverbs are true because God is the Great Gardener who makes all seed grow. We may sow, water and tend the soil but God alone brings growth (1 Cor. 3:6-8).

Father, teach me to be more generous with all that You have given me. Help me scatter generously and reap abundantly as I give... that I may give more. Let me be a testimony to the world of Your provision and faithfulness. Amen.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Truth hearers and truth speakers

Proverbs 10:8 & 17
The wise in heart will receive commands,
But a prating fool will fall.
He who keeps instruction is in the way of life,
But he who refuses correction goes astray.

How well one receives instruction from others is an accurate example of how one also receives instruction from the Lord. If I cannot obey the visible authorities in my life, how can I expect to obey the invisible, divine authority in my life? If my heart is hard or stiff toward those who love me enough to speak truth and warning into my life, then I will never recognize the truth and guidance of a loving God who gave His Only Son for me. However if I humbly and reverently submit to the authorities and truth speakers God has placed in my life, I hear from Him. The wise heart recognizes how God works through others and submits out of the fear of the Lord. This is wisdom and life.

Lord - open my ears and soften my heart to the instruction and correction from truth speakers in my life. Amen.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hate Evil?

Proverbs 8:13
The fear of the LORD is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverse mouth I hate.

Most of my life I have not hated evil or sin. I have disliked some evil and tolerated other. However, hate evil I have not. I have hated the consequences but never seemed to be wise enough to draw that hate back to the rood cause, sin. And in looking here at what Solomon associates with evil; pride, arrogance, perversion,... I must admit that I have more often embraced evil than hated it.
It is only recently that I have come to understand hatred of sin and evil. I've seen kids in my ministry ripped apart by a parent's selfishness, sin and divorce. I have seen marriages of those I love disintegrate under the poisons of greed, lust, resentment and arrogance. I have seen ambition, dishonesty, independence and secrecy topple the strongest of businesses. I've seen power, pride, fear, apathy and ignorance crumble our nations strong economy. I've finally begun to see sin and evil for what it is and I can say now that I truly hate them.I'm still not sure what to do about it or if my hatred really comes from a fear of the Lord or simply my own agitation... but I'm on that road. I want to know Him, to fear Him, to hate evil and to live according to the truth of this passage.

God - teach me to fear You. Teach me to hate evil. Teach me to know what to do about it. Amen.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Proverbs 7:4
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
And call understanding your nearest kin,

What is my relationship with my sister and nearest of kin to be like that God would call me to relate to wisdom similarly?
My sister I love, honor, respect, guard protect and defend. I treat her with preference, priority, purity, loyalty and dignity.
My nearest of kin, the Bible says, is to be where I turn in time of need. My nearest of kin is protection, provision, peace, rest and favor. I am to rely on family in the same way that my sister relies on me.
Therefore, I am to protect, guard, honor and cherish wisdom as I rely on it for my protection, provision and peace. there is therefore a cyclical and progressive relationship here that we are commanded to pursue; the more we honor wisdom, the more wisdom honors us, the more we guard wisdom, the more it guards us.

Father, teach me to pursue wisdom with honor, respect, prudence and preference so that I may find her protection, provision, preference and peace in my time of need. amen.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sight & Trust

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

In every instance of life we have two option; to see things as they appear or to see God. There is very little else. We will either focus on this imperfect world through the lenses of our own sin-stained emotions, ambitions and impressions or we will focus on the unchanging, perfect character of God. Either we will trust in our own limited understanding of life or we will trust in the power and wisdom of the eternally perfect Creator. This choice determines our path.

Lord, blind me from my own understanding and cause me to acknowledge You. Do not let me trust in my own understanding but instead trust fully in your goodness and sovereignty in my life. Keep my foot on Your path and do not let me stumble. Amen.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Firstfruits & "so"

Proverbs 3:9-10
Honor the LORD with your possessions,
And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
So your barns will be filled with plenty,
And your vats will overflow with new wine.

In this passage I am most intrigued by the word "so." I wonder exactly what Solomon is trying to teach here. On the one hand, he could be saying that our motivation for giving God our firstfruits or "tithing" should be our own blessing. It is possible that God in His wisdom leverages our natural human hungers and desires to establish in us His Holy habits. We don't have to start our pattern of giving with high and lofty ideas; we can be very human and still honor God. On the other hand, Solomon may be saying that God cannot or will not bless us until we learn to give to Him the firstfruits of our lives. Giving to the Lord may be the avenue God has chosen for our blessing. Selfishness and hording then become the roadblock to God's best for us.
Either way, giving to the Lord is the critical link between our natural human desires and God's natural desire to bless His children. When we give, we bring out God's best for our best.

God - make me more generous toward Your work. Let me give to You so that I may be blessed and so that I may display to the world around me what a life surrendered to You looks like. amen

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fear of the Lord

Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Proverbs 1:23
If you had responded to my rebuke,
I would have poured out my heart to you
and made my thoughts known to you.
Proverbs 2:6-9
For the LORD gives wisdom,
and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds victory in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.
Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.

All wisdom, knowledge, security and provision is founded on the fear of the Lord. To fear the Lord begins with a right, healthy, holy and overwhelming sense of God's character and is critical for hearing his rebuke and turning from evil. It is significant to notice that rebuke follows the fear of the Lord, not righteousness. This passage presumes that we all sin and are tempted into sin. The fear of the Lord enables us to respond to God's rebuke and receive His Spirit, wisdom, knowledge and understanding. When we respond in reverence and repentance these blessings are the result; righteousness is the ultimate outcome. Then, and only then, will we be able to discern justice, equity and every good path.
So, how much do I fear the Lord? How right, healthy, holy and overwhelming is my sense of God's character? How well do I respond to His rebuke?

Most Holy God, deepen my understanding of who You are that I may learn to fear You. May I tremble and turn at Your rebuke. Humble me and let me come to know wisdom, righteousness, justice, equity and every good path. Amen.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Theme Verse for Youth Ministry

Titus 2:6-8
Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

Who are those who oppose?
The students I teach?
Their parents?

Young people need an example. Even more than another lecture, teens need a living, breathing, genuine display of the truth we teach. If our lives do not match the love we profess... if our actions don't support the advice we give... if our relationships don't reflect the righteousness we demand, then we out to be ashamed; we fail.

Lord, let my life and actions and relationships reflect Your truth. Let everything I say and do point my kids to You. Let Your Spirit be seen in me. Amen

Monday, July 6, 2009

Marks of Godliness

Titus 1:15-16
"To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work."

True godliness is not revealed by a list of religious rituals or pious tasks checked off. Godliness is not about jumping through hoops or avoiding certain cultural Christian taboos. Godliness is not cavalier confidence or allowance to do whatever one pleases in the name of Christian liberty and for the sake of forgiveness.
True godliness is about knowing God in a manner that produces both conscience and love. A godly conscience is demonstrated by holiness, avoidance of sin and clear personal boundaries based on the internal leading of the Holy Spirit. Love is demonstrated by submission to one another out of reverence for Christ; leading to sacrifice, service and good works. These marks of godliness are the fruit of a mind that hungers to know God, to feed on His word and to hear from His Spirit.
Can I recognize these marks in my life? Can I identify these hungers within me? Is my confidence in rituals and religiosity or is it rooted in a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ? Am I listening to the Holy Spirit moment by moment or am I following my own hungers and my own set of religious expectations?

Father, deepen my love and intimacy with You. Let me come to know You more. Produce in me a pure conscience and genuine love as I submit to You and others, reflecting Your glory. Let my faith and godliness be pure. Amen.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


2 Timothy 4:8
Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

The crown of righteousness is reserved for all who have endured suffering, lived righteously and diligently served God's kingdom anticipating His immanent return. This means that ministry must take on a sense of urgency, as if this race could end around any corner and especially the next one. Imagine a race in which the runners bend the last curve to reveal the white tape and rather than burst into an all out sprint to win the race, each one begins to stroll casually. Ridiculous! Yet many believers run the race of faith in such a manner. They have grown content with the kingdom as it is and have no sense of urgency about its coming. Their walk and ministry is marked by convenience and comfort as they patiently wait for opportunities to arrive. It's almost as if their storing up something for after the finish line! We cannot run this way. We must run the race with perseverance and urgency, pursuing the prize of righteousness, disciplining our body, mind and spirit to push past opposition and obstacles and to honor His kingdom (1 Cor. 9:24-27). Without this sense of urgency, the race marked out before us is nothing more than a stroll in the park, lacking path, purpose and prize.
Do I live with such urgency? Do I serve when it's not convenient? Do I give and sacrifice when I'm already spent? Do I create opportunities when all obvious paths are blocked? Am I living like the end is right around the next corner?

God, grant me a sense of urgency about my life, ministry and relationships. Let me leave nothing on the track of life but reach the finish line fully spent with no regrets and nothing left but the victors' crown of righteousness. Amen.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Empty faith...

2 Timothy 3:1,5
(1)But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: (2) For men will be... (5)having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

Godliness can take on many forms; religion, ritual, piety, appearance, membership, participation, tradition, speech and language, symbolism, even religious positions of authority. However, godliness without the power of God is empty, vein and pointless. True godliness comes with tremendous power.
Does my form of godliness contain great power? Do I deny or believe that God will answer my prayers in miraculous ways? Does He? Do I deny or proclaim His Word, the Gospel of Truth with boldness expecting others to come to repentance and salvation? Do they? Do I deny or claim the power of the Holy Spirit within me to life a private and public life of purity that is above reproach? Do I? Do I deny or reflect the image of God within me, displaying His ongoing work of sanctification through servanthood and sacrifice so that others are blessed? Are they?
If my prayers, proclamation, personal purity and provisions for others do not obviously drip with the power of God resulting in changed lives I must question my form of godliness. If my world doesn't change, if my family doesn't grow, if my church doesn't thrive, if my influence doesn't expand if my suffering doesn't deepen (2 Timothy 3:12)... if my life lacks obvious power, I must question God's presence within it.

Father, fill me with Your presence and power that I may know Your Spirit is within me and others may experience You power through me. Let my form of Godliness match what You desire to fill. Amen.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Amazing Creation

About a month ago I purchased a new toy; the Nikon D60.

It's a digital SLR camera with a ton of amazing features. I can adjust the shutter speed, aperture, focus, lighting, flash, picture quality and about a dozen other things before I even snap a picture. As I prepare to take the picture, it will tell me whether my settings are off or need to be adjusted for better picture. It has a number of automatic settings on it so that when I want to be lazy it does all the work for me and takes great pictures. And if, for some odd reason, I don't like the picture I took, I can open edit it right on the camera! I can adjust the lighting contrast, size, color cast and a dozen other options. The final shot is sure to be breathtaking.

However, while taking these pictures I noticed something I consider pretty amazing. With all the amazing technology, features and flexibility of this camera, it still could not begin to capture all the depth, color, light, contrast, focus and panorama of my unaided eye. How could anyone possible deny the existence of a creator God with the wisdom, brilliance, creativity and intentionality found in the human eye?

What an amazing creation; what an amazing creator.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Loving, sharing, enduring...

2 Timothy 2:10
"Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory."

Paul endured chains, prison, beatings, stoning and so much more all for the sake of Christ's elect (2 Cor. 9:23-28). What do I endure? What am I willing to endure?
I'm often dissuaded by tiredness, awkwardness, cynicism, cultural etiquette, my busy schedule and my own comfort. I know this is wrong. If I truly loved my neighbor as myself I would push past my shallow, pathetic, self-centered excuses and share with them the greatest news of eternal glory. This is what drove Paul's passion for sharing the Gospel; love for Christ's elect. Since there is no way of knowing who is and who is not God's elect this side of heaven, Paul loved and served everyone whose path he crossed (1 Cor. 9:19-22). I ind that I am more in love with my own comfort or reputation than with those who are dying and in jeopardy of eternal suffering or those who may be God's own children. This is why Jesus instructed His disciples that anyone who desires to follow him must "deny himself, take up his cross DAILY and follow Him" (Matthew 16:24). If I am not denying myself daily, am I really following Jesus? If I do not love my neighbor enough to share the Gospel, do I really love Jesus?

God - help me develop a deeper love for the lost. Teach me to deny myself and follow You. Change my heart so that I am willing to endure all things for the sake of Your elect. Amen.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


2 Timothy 1:12b & 14
"Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day."
"Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us."

This is a rarely taught yet profound and comforting truth. When we come to Christ, He is not entrusting Himself to us but we are entrusting ourselves to Him. In other words, I am not adding God to my life but instead adding my life to God, my whole life. I am not capable to be trusted with Him on my own. Therefore, what God has entrusted to me (the Gospel, Truth, love, faith) He keeps by the power of His Spirit within me. "For God did not give us spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind," (2 Timothy 1:7). I don't have to live in fear of judgment, condemnation or weakness because by His Spirit, power and love I am kept secure by the Father. I will not be tempted beyond what I can handle (1 Cor. 10:13) and I cannot be touche by the evil one (1 John 5:18). By His Spirit and the deposit of faith in me, I have victory over the world (1 John 5:4-5). My deposit in God has paid an overwhelming dividend in me that is guaranteed until He returns (Phil. 1:6 too). For I am convinced that He is able to do all this and more for me, His child, His friend, His servant, His own. Praise God! Amen.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


1 Timothy 6:6
"But godliness with contentment is great gain."

Hebrews 13:5
"Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Philippians 4:11 & 19
"Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:....
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

Contentment is so underrated. I'm not certain but I don't think I've ever heard a sermon on contentment. I have heard it used as a side note or sub-point for something seemingly more important; materialism, greed, worry, etc, but never as the main idea.
However it seems that contentment might just be one of the most important Christian virtues upon which many others are built. Contentment promotes gratitude, patience, generosity, faith, peace, joy, goodness, and so much more. Contentment defeats greed, materialism, pride, ambition, complaining, quarreling, selfishness, etc.
So what is the secret to contentment? How do I learn, "in whatever state I am, to be content?" Contentment begins with the promises of God: "I will never leave you nor forsake you," "my God will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus," and so many more. Upon this foundation we lay trust. Trust, not only in what is to come, but also on what has come and is, that it is from God. He is sovereign and gives to His own what is necessary for His will and our benefit (Luke 12:22-28). Upon this foundation we also lay hope and train our minds to focus on what is greater; the kingdom of God (Luke 12:29-34). We must seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; refusing to be distracted by the cares of this life. We have been granted an eternity of blessing and goodness. Contentment is to live in light of this for a short season called life.

Father - solidify Your promises in my mind and life that I might be content in all circumstances, trusting in You and living each day in the hope of Your kingdom. Amen.