Thursday, May 30, 2013

A solid foundation and sweet sleep...

 The LORD by wisdom founded the earth;
  by understanding he established the heavens;
 by his knowledge the deeps broke open,
  and the clouds drop down the dew.
 My son, do not lose sight of these—
  keep sound wisdom and discretion,
 and they will be life for your soul
  and adornment for your neck.
 Then you will walk on your way securely,
  and your foot will not stumble.
 If you lie down, you will not be afraid;
  when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

(Proverbs 3:19-24 ESV)
Wisdom is an essential ingredient in life.  It is evident in what God has made - both in the world and in the hearts of men.  He is All-Wise, and we can see it.  We tend to throw wisdom away - to discard it as unessential.  But it is vital to our present and future welfare.  If we live unwisely, it has devastating results.  Today, may we seek wisdom and choose to follow her voice.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


 Sometimes the less said, the better. 
So I will let this scripture speak on its own
Simply see what it says about getting understanding:

My son, if you receive my words
  and treasure up my commandments with you,
 making your ear attentive to wisdom
  and inclining your heart to understanding;
 yes, if you call out for insight
  and raise your voice for understanding,
 if you seek it like silver
  and search for it as for hidden treasures,
 then you will understand the fear of the LORD
  and find the knowledge of God.
 For the LORD gives wisdom;
  from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
  he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
 guarding the paths of justice
  and watching over the way of his saints.
 Then you will understand righteousness and justice
  and equity, every good path;
 for wisdom will come into your heart,
  and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
 discretion will watch over you,
  understanding will guard you,

(Proverbs 2:1-11 ESV)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Is anybody listening???

 Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
  in the markets she raises her voice;
 at the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
  at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
 “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
 How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
  and fools hate knowledge?

(Proverbs 1:20-22 ESV)
Like a town crier, Wisdom is calling out - sometimes bringing important news, sometimes a warning - most of the time, being ignored.  Often, reading the news or listening to people, I wonder: "Can they hear the voice of wisdom?  Is there any fear of God in their hearts?  Do they have a clue?"  All the more reason we need to prove wisdom true, and sing in tune with Her, and give voice to the truth of God.  May we listen, learn, and let others know.

Monday, May 27, 2013

fear, not foolishness...

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;fools despise wisdom and instruction. 

Rejection.  God knows it well.  He is waiting with all the wisdom we need - all the knowledge and skil necessary to navigate life, but we are too proud to stop and ask directions.  We are so foolish we not only ignore Him, we despise His wisdom.  May we turn from our foolishness to His wisdom and instruction.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Running to tell...

Acts 8:1-5 And Saul approved of his execution.And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. 
The harassment, beating, and imprisonment had turned into all-out persecution.  The church was on the run.  But this was not a great plan gone amuck; this was the plan - to go and tell.  The apostles and other believers were on the run - telling, telling the Good News of the Christ.  Never stopped.  What a lesson for us.  As we remember those who have sacrificed for our national freedom, let us also remember those who have sacrificed for our freedom in Christ - laying down their lives to spread the Word.  Thank you.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Poor listeners...

Acts 5:40-42 and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus. 
One might thinks that the apostles had a hearing problem.  Did they not hear the council warn them NOT to preach in Jesus' name?  Didn't they know they  were making the powers-to-be look bad, incriminating them in the death of Jesus? Yes they heard, but the voice of God was much stronger and clearer; they needed to obey Him.  So do we.  If we truly believe Jesus is worthy of glory and honor and our faith, then we will want to be deemed worthy to suffer for Him in living out and sharing the Gospel.  He is worthy. Are we?

Friday, May 24, 2013


Acts 4:23-30 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,“‘Why did the Gentiles rage,and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves,and the rulers were gathered together,against the Lord and against his Anointed’— for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 
I love this prayer.  As we see the increased pressure against freedom to share our faith - by military chaplains and in public settings, we need to call out to our Creator, cling to the truths of scripture, and ask for a compassionate boldness to not be afraid or ashamed of the Gospel.  It is a prayer that the Truth will prevail and God will be glorified.  It also gives us a construct for how we can pray for those across the world who truly are being persecuted for their faith and testimony, being imprisoned, beaten, and even giving their lives.  We call out to You, Sovereign Lord!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Not alone...

 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.
 (John 17:14-18 ESV)
Jesus knew full well what His apostles were in for.  He had come with the truth and the world had by and large rejected Him and His word.  As they went out and shared the truth with others they would need protection.  What protection do we have.  Must we take a gun and a Bible?  (Sometimes a temptation, I must admit...)  What He has given us is the truth and the presence of His Holy Spirit to proclaim it, live it, and trust Him.  We are not alone by any means, even if we cannot see Him or His truth prevailing.  We can count on Him.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Take heart...

John 16:32-33 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” 
Christ was about to face the most difficult day ever, yet He took heart in the presence of the Father. He was at peace in the fiercest storm, and He calls on us to do the same.  As we live in this world, dark and running from God, we will experience turbulence to be sure.  But He calms the waters and takes us safely through.  He has overcome, and through Him, we may too.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Words of Warning...

 “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.
 “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.

(John 16:1-4 ESV)
Persecution.  Suffering.  Sacrifice.  Martyrdom.   On what was to be a solemn, yet joyful occasion, Jesus dropped some very disturbing promises.  What will happen when we take the good news of great joy to a sinful world?  Many will not be so happy.  There will be resistance and opposition, even violence.  But this does not catch Christ by surprise, nor should it us.  What happens to us when we are in the dark and someone suddenly turns the light on full blast?  We beg for it to be turned back off; we yell at the one who turned it on; we would rather stay in darkness, at least at first.  We should not be surprised or discouraged, but continue to love, proclaim and pray.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hostile territory

 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
(John 15:18-19 ESV)
In His challenge to the apostles in the upper room, Jesus was preparing them for being sent out into the world.  As His ambassadors, they would often be viewed more like enemy invaders - not because they were physically threatening people, but because they were a spiritual threat to the forces of darkness.  If we are truly living for and speaking for Christ, we can expect push-back, even violence at times, as the world reacts to the truth.  When you love darkness, you end up hating the light. We are to be the light of the world.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Gift

 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4 ESV)
Today we celebrate Pentecost, the day the Father and the Son sent the Spirit, the promised Gift.  With Him we receive so much: the words the and the power to bear witness to the Gospel, the conviction and cleansing of sin, the wisdom and guidance to follow the will of God.  Yet, like many gifts we have received, we put Him in some obscure place in our lives and miss out on so many more things God has for us.  Today, let us celebrate Him; let us listen to His voice.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sent with the Sent One

John 20:21-22 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 
Jesus had promised the Holy Spirit would be sent, but He's not the only one being sent. He sent the apostles and has sent us out to proclaim the Good News.  He has also sent us His peace as we so often are overwhelmed by the great need in the world around us.  We forget that His news trumps the need.  May we receive the call and the gifts He gives to carry it ou.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Of course...

 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. (John 16:12-14 ESV)
One of the big questions in the apostles' minds must of been: "How will we know what to do?"  They had followed Jesus; now He was going away and leaving them with ministry.  How would they know what to do?  The Holy Spirit would guide them, and He will guide us.  We can know what to do, when we need to know it.  That's where we often balk - we want to know it all NOW. But they could not handle it all at once, and neither can we.  In His time, in His way. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Helping us handle the truth...

 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
(John 16:7-11 ESV)
As seen earlier, the Holy Spirit is referred to as the Spirit of Truth.  As such one of the ways He can help us is to handle the conviction He brings, the truth about who we are, what we have done, and Who can help us get right with God.  As the famous movie quote says "You can't handle the truth!"  But the Holy Spirit helps us handle the truth about our sin, and convince us of Who Christ is and what He does for those who trust in Him."  How we need that ministry of the Holy Spirit!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

It's a must....

John 15:26: "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning."
Jesus kept bringing it up: the Counselor, Comforter, Helper was coming.  It would bring so much: guidance, power, encouragement.  But His coming infers something else: He was coming to tell; therefore, we must tell.  Having him means having the commission to tell others about Christ.  Any other lifestyle is an abuse of that relationship, a misuse of this Gift God has given us.  It was part of the plan all along: The work of Christ, then the testimony about it by His followers.  But take heart, "Greater is He Who is in you." Through Him we can do this.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Having a memory...

 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:25-26 ESV)
We forget.  We forget our keys, our promises, even to pick up our kids from the nursery. The things we should remember, we forget.  That is a common problem, even among God's people. God always had to tell the people of Israel to remember - remember they had been slaves in Egypt, remember the Covenant He had with them, remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.  The Holy Spirit is worth having just for this reason alone (and so many more!) - He helps us remember God's word and will.  May we let Him do what He does so well today - Remind us of God's Presence, plan and power in our lives.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Who we need most...

John 14:15-17 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 
Jesus promised us what we need most - the truth.  It is interesting that this is the first of the many blessings He promises - before comfort or power or anything else - we need the Truth. And that is the basic nature of the Holy Spirit, as opposed to the Father of all Lies, who speaks non-stop to the world around us.  How we need the Spirit of Truth to speak to and through us.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Loving like He loved...

 But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.
 I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

 (2 Corinthians 8:7-9 ESV)
The call to sacrificial love is sacred.  Christ demonstrated it through the greatest sacrifice ever.  If we seek to please the Lord, through our study, our zeal, our testimony and faithful lifestyle, why would we NOT seek to please Him through loving sacrifice.  We are so rich in His love. Why hoard it?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

An Eternal Love

John 17:24-26 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” 
Christ came to show God's love, to share His love, and to impart His love to us.  He offers to bring us into this relationship which is eternal, which began before time, and will never end.  He loved us so much He wants us to experience that love.  Why would we ever refuse that?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Love that's worth it...

John 15:9-13 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 
Christ calls us, yes, commands us to love one another.  What can convince us that His command is worth following?  Besides that fact that He has proven over and over that what He says is truth, if we follow His commandment, we will have His joy.  Sleep through the storm on the sea kind of joy, unshaken by threats against your life kind of joy, not worrying about having a place to lay your head kind of joy, because you know the Father so well, you know He has it all under control.  His love, His joy.  A package deal.  An unbelievable deal.  It's more than worth it. Let us love one another.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Talk is cheap...

 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me. (John 14:21-24 ESV)
The four letter word fills the airwaves during midday and primetime.  Love.  "I love you." Never has a word been more overused and abused than it has in our society.  Love has become the free-for-all for however you feel.  Not so with Jesus. Love is like a Marine Sargent, requiring our obedience.  If we truly love Him, we will want to obey Him.  Our desire will be His pleasure.  We will show our love.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

God loved, man loved...

 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. (John 3:16-19 ESV)
Love is the right thing, as long as the object of your love is the right thing.  God made us and loved us. That's right.  We are made by God and love the darkness instead of His light. Not right.  We have twisted love in every way: who or what we love, how we love, and why we love.  There is no true love without the love of God.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Timing is everything...

 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35 ESV)
We call it The Great Commandment. And indeed it is. When did Jesus give it, and why then?  It was at a very critical moment in the upper room, after the feet-washing, and just after Judas left to betray Him.  It was like now Jesus could call their session to order and get down to business, and the first order of business was to lay down the ground rules of how they would do things.  Rule #1 is to love as He has loved us.  That's enough to knock your socks off without going to rule number 2.  But is it feasible?  Is He right in telling us to do so?  If we all love Him, and have a relationship with Him, (since the traitor has left the room...) can we not challenge each other to love as He has loved?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

For the joy...

 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.  Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:23, 24 ESV)
Joy. That elusive state of knowing all is well no matter what is going on around us - knowing God so well that we can face life head-on.  Where does it come from?  Like all spiritual blessings - from Him.  How do we get there? Ask.  Talk to the Father through the Son.  Ask. Not just for stuff, but for answers, for wisdom, for the sake of knowing Him.  It comes from a life walked by faith and talked with Him. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

When we pray... and when we don't...

 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
(Acts 4:31 ESV)
The apostles and other believers had started right - gathered in prayer to seek God's direction. And He had blessed - not only on Pentecost, but day after day.  A "typical day" was when they went to the temple, spoke of Jesus, got arrested, were warned not to do it again, and then went back to pray. In their prayers they praised God for Who He is, as well as what He had done. And they prayed that they might have the boldness they needed to keep on going. And He gave it.  And when they prayed, He answered.  When we don't pray, we miss all those things. We cannot afford not to pray.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Losing heart...

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.  Luke 18:1
Jesus kept bringing it up: "...and by the way, don't forget to pray."  Through His example, His exhortations, and His illustrations, He kept reminding us to pray all the way.  He knows us so well.  We are prone to "lose heart," to give up, to stop praying.  May we hear Him tell us today: "Pray and do not lose heart."

Thursday, May 2, 2013

For the third time...

 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:23-24 ESV)
When Jesus made this statement, it was the third time in the upper room discussion He had said such a thing.  When Jesus says something twice, listen up, but when He says it three times, really listen! The promise of answered prayer; the joy we all seek - it comes when we take the time and give our trust to Him in prayer.  He guarantees it. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

How to be ready for the next thing...

 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. (Acts 2:1 ESV)
Ignoring the pesky chapter break between Acts 1 & 2, it flows that the Apostles and other believers were continuing to pray together, and take little steps of obedience as the Lord led and answered their prayers. This "set them up" for the next big thing - not just the receiving of the promised Holy Spirit, but also the reward of prayerfully waiting - having God use them in a recognizable way.  This is the way, the only way, to be ready for what God has for us - to patiently and prayerfully pray, trust and obey..