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.