June 29, 2011

Dog's Life

This post is in response to a one word at a time blog carnival by Peter Pollock entitled Pets. For me that could easily have been Dogs. I am an unashamed dog person. We had a cat once. (It wasn't just my first cat, it was my last cat). But we are dog people. The two in the picture are the current generation: the Shepard was put to sleep last November at nearly 13; the Shepard/Retriever/Who knows what else mix is still with us at 15. Hard of hearing, shaky on her feet, a gimpy leg and possibly the onset of doggie dementia, but still with us. With her breeds and size, a human equivalent age that one normally only sees in the Book of Genesis anymore, but still with us.

The thing about dogs is they exhibit many of the qualities one would love to see in people; unconditional love, unswerving loyalty, and unabashed happiness when they enter your presence. The way we should be in the presence of the Lord, but are most often not.

I think that is why we grow so attached to them: the qualities they exhibit we know we should as well, yet they do not call us to task for it nor do they rub it in our faces (they are more likely to roll around on their backs in the grass than do that).

Dogs would make pretty darn fine people, but we would probably make miserable dogs.

June 28, 2011

Grace and The Sovereignty of God - Part IV

Thinking. Thinking. Thinking about God's grace and sovereignty.

This is an infinite topic because He is an infinite God. This is a finite blog series because I am a finite mind. But I am still not sure how long it will go on for.

But my thoughts now are on what I need to do as I live my life daily. How do I go about honoring Him and living it out in a life that has Christ as the central core? How do I make sure I am living the best I can to be pleasing to Him?

  • Patience - I need to live a life that recognizes His sovereignty and waits for His timing. I need to sit and listen to Him and make His will my timing, not the other way around.
  • Prudence - I need to live a life that is active in discerning and doing His will. I cannot sit back and wait for the Lord to drive me where He wants me to go, I need to follow hard after Him and go where He is directing me.
How do I balance the two? I am convinced that only through prayer can the discernment come to know when to wait and when to walk. If I am not listening for His voice, how can I expect to hear it? If I am not seeking Him in my life, how can I expect to see Him working in it?

Someone once told me the Lord does not steer a parked car. How true. I just hope I am wise enough to know to wait at times for the light to turn green.

June 27, 2011

Grace and The Sovereignty of God - Part III

Further thoughts regarding God's grace and sovereignty. One of the things I often hear is how can a loving God permit pain and suffering in the world.

I do not know all or necessarily any of the answer to that question, but here is how my recent thinking made me work through it (for now).

A loving God wants us to fully realize the joy that a close personal relationship with Him would bring, fueled by our faith and trust in Jesus and our desire to be obedient to the will of God that comes through that faith and trust. A loving God also allows us the freedom to make our own choices. I cannot fully reconcile God's sovereignty with the concept of personal accountability, but I do know we will stand in judgment one day (Hebrews 9:27), the results of which will depend whether we have trusted Christ or not. Lots more can be said about that. Lots more.

But moving on, I see pain and suffering in a fallen world being used to address two things:

  • Pride - as sinful beings in a fallen world, we do need to deal with our pride and how it can drive us away from God, away from His will, away from the joyous union with Him.
  • Dependence - as sinful beings in a fallen world, we need to come to terms that only dependence on Him will get us through to eternal salvation and security.
Pride cuts against dependence on God and drives us from it. maybe pain and suffering are actually a loving way to draw us to Him. 

It may sound cruel, but the temporary pain of a temporal life (even though it does not feel temporary when it is occurring) may be a loving way to draw us to the eternal joy of union woth God. 

We are after all sinful beings in need of saving from ourselves.

June 26, 2011

Grace and The Sovereignty of God - Part II

A good thing is happening here. I have been thinking a lot about grace, a lot about the sovereignty of God. I have written a little about my thoughts and that is making me think about it all the more. A good thing.

As I explore it a bit more two other thoughts begin to bubble up to the surface: acceptance and condemnation.

  • With God's grace and sovereignty, you can accept people as they are.  Not necessarily accept what they are saying or doing, for that may be against God';s will. But accept them as people, and as a result, love them more as people. Not for what they do or say, but who they are. People, lost without a loving God unless they accept Christ as Savior, lost and unacceptable to all. That is, unacceptable without God's grace manifested in the atoning, substitutionary death of Jesus and His resurrection from the dead in victory over all.
  • With God's grace and sovereignty, there is no need to condemn anyone.  When you realize your own unacceptability but for His grace, you realize there is no one you should be condemning, as you are no better than they. When you accept the fullness of His sovereignty, you realize there is no need to do so, because He is in control and will square all things in His timing.
Faith and trust in Jesus as the sole way to your eternal salvation was the starting point of my journey into God's grace and sovereignty. Such a rich journey, such a long way more to go.

June 25, 2011

Grace and The Sovereignty of God

I have been doing more thinking than writing lately, a condition that is probably better for me in the long run. What I have spent a good deal of time thinking about is grace and God's sovereignty.

I have come to some preliminary conclusions. I say preliminary because of well what the conclusions are:

  • My study of grace and God's sovereignty is a life-long process: Now you see why my conclusions are preliminary, I do not believe you ever fully plumb the depths of either topic. The more I study, the more I meditate, the more I learn. And the farther I find I have to go.
  • I tend to try to limit God's sovereignty: At least I usually do. The more I worry about my little world or expand that worry to what is going on in the world, I am actually limiting the sovereignty of the Lord. He is in control, I usually do not have a clue as to what He is up to until after He has accomplished His purposes.
  • I need to keep the His grace and my living the Christian life separate: While I need to accept what He has willed, and do so with at least a minuscule measure of the grace Christ exhibited on earth, and the Father lavished on us from heaven; I do need to try to achieve all I am capable of in living in a Christ-like way. I should not accept what happens in the world without trying to do my part to influence and change it, but I cannot take the burden for righting all the world's problem. It is probably better if I just try to discern what role He has for me in my small corner of things.
So acceptance of His grace and sovereignty comes down to three things: faith, trust and obedience. Faith in God's character, trust that Christ is my salvation and obedience to His will. 

And I need to keep thinking about all of this daily.

May 2, 2011


This past Friday I completed the last course necessary to finish up my studies at seminary. It only took me three years to finish what is officially a one year full time course of study. I found study at seminary to be hard and the fact that I did not like being a student didn't make it any easier. I cannot imagine doing it and trying to learn Hebrew and Greek as well. And they are such useful languages to have in everyday conversation. 

It all becomes official next weekend (it can't be official yet, they haven't given me access to the alumni portion of the seminary website yet). Now I have the opportunity to audit classes (listen to lectures, no papers, no reading requirements, no exams. Why didn't I think of that sooner? Oh yeah, they wouldn't let me) and observe the classes I would have had to take had I stayed in the original degree program I was in. 

I never would have thought in 2008 that I would be working full time in ministry but I am. I never thought I would be working through seminary at a pace that it would take me 6 to 7 years to do what I thought I could knock off in 2 or 3, but it did, and that only worked because I reduced it to a one year requirement.  My hat's off to the men and women who do it in the officially allotted time. You are better than me, but chances are I am older than you. The mid-50's is not the ideal time to be a student in my book.

So what is next? Full time ministry, yes. That will continue. But also doing what I find the hardest thing of all to do. Being more like Christ as I move through the world. His standard of perfection is a struggle for me daily, and it is the thing I really wish to do well and do full time (unlike being a student).
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.  For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.Romans 7:18-19 (New King James Version)
Trying to meet His example, the standard He lived up to perfectly. That's what's up next. Trying to live a life He would have me live, doing it daily and not getting hung up in the book smarts and the study, but in people. Doing His will as I move along, and not worrying about the things I would have chosen to make important.

Funny thing is that has been what has been up next all along.

March 25, 2011

Humble Exaltation

Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

The parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. My thoughts for today are pretty short and to the point (for me at least):

You can choose to exalt yourself by comparing yourself to others or humble yourself by comparing yourself to God.

That's all I got today.

March 23, 2011

Goal Set/Goal Start

Yesterday I wrote about goals, Me goals and Kingdom goals. As I reflected on that through the day and into the evening, I realized that there is a me goal that makes sense to me. If I a doing something with myself or for myself for the furtherance of a Kingdom goal (let it always be a Big K focus), it could be a blessing in my life.

Yesterday I started what I hope is going to be a real and lasting attempt at an regular program of exercise and diet to lead to weight loss and better health. I have needed to do this for years and just have not wanted to get started. I pray I did last night and that I stick to it. I committed to it last week, but it was not until last night that I think I figured out why. It is not just for my benefit (but in the case of personal health, that is a darn good me goal), but it is truly a Kingdom goal.

God gave me this body and this life here on earth, I now pursue His will. How could I seek to do it without planning to have the maximum energy level to do it with? With the best possible health I can manage? (Ultimately leaving the decision of what that level is to Him, with me just doing my part to maintain it the best I can)

So for me, I need to think of exercise as a Kingdom goal, for it is quite clear I am not one of those unbalanced people who actually enjoy working out.

I hope I am up to the task He has given me, for I have let Him down before. But if the focus is Him and not me, it should be a whole lot easier to try to run this particular race.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (New King James Version)

March 22, 2011

What Am I Doing?

The current edition of Blog Carnival has me focusing on one word - Goals. (The first goal being to actually write something here and post it this morning).

It made me think think not about what goals I currently have, but what goals should I be setting.

Me Goals

I hope I have reached a point in my life that I am spending a minimum of time chasing things that are only for my benefit. I hope my material goals are more about sustenance than about success as I used to define it. (For I could define it in the past by three words: Me. Me. Me.) When I think about "me" now, I want to focus on things like keeping myself healthy and keep me walking with the Lord and walking in His Word. I am hoping my spiritual sustenance is much more important to me now than my physical sustenance. I realize that the spiritual will last longer (for eternity) and will feed me so much better. And this leads me to the second set of goals I hope to be pursuing more diligently.

Kingdom Goals:

By kingdom I mean big "K" (His Kingdom) and not little "k" (Me. Me. Me.) I am in His Word to study and share, not just reflect on internally but to deepen relationships with others by sharing His Word and what it means in my life; sharing His Word and what it can mean in the life of another if they accept Jesus as the only way to their salvation. Am I sharing the Gospel, fulfilling His commands that I do so in love, as He loved me? Have I made Christ the central focus of my life? Do I know that deep in my heart? More importantly, do others see and know that?

The Bottom Line:

If I am not doing things that are big K focused, I am wasting my time, and that is time He has given me to spend here, so I am wasting His time in a way.

I only have so much time here to work in His Kingdom to share it with others.

If I focus more on Him, I will focus more on others, and will focus much less on myself.

I think that is a pretty good goal to strive for.

March 21, 2011

I Can Do It

For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach.
Deuteronomy 30:11 (New American Standard Bible)

The Lord will not ask me to do what I cannot do; He may very well ask me to do what I think I cannot do. There is a huge difference between those two.

What I always have to remember is that He is sovereign and His will be done. When I struggle with His will, it is because of my sinful nature, my doubts and my desires which make me think I cannot do what he wants me to do.

Of course I can, and we both know it (and He knew it long before I did).

The will of God is not beyond my grasp, but He will stretch me more than I think I can to be obedient to His will.

I need always remember who is actually in control around here.

And  it isn't me.

March 10, 2011

Good Riddance

But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall come about that those whom you let remain of them will become as pricks in your eyes and as thorns in your sides, and they will trouble you in the land in which you live. And as I plan to do to them, so I will do to you.
Numbers 33:55-56 (New American Standard Bible)

As the Lord readied the nation of Israel to possess the land He had promised them, He gave very specific instructions as to what to do with the current inhabitants. The Lord knew what these would do to the nation if allowed to stay, and indeed what happened to Israel after they played the harlot to the false gods.

The Lord knows what is good for us to have, what is right to be in our lives. If He wants something removed, I should move swiftly to do so. it will sting and prick me until I do.

Obedience is a blessing. For I will never master what the Lord would rid me of.

March 9, 2011

Glory and Joy

For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.
1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 (New American Standard Bible)
In his book Simple Prayers, Ken Boa directly relates this to passage the people who he has the privilege to have a ministry with.

I have to admit, I do not often think that way, but I like where Dr. Boa has taken this. Clearly the glory and joy in our life should be from God, all joy emanates from pleasing Him, all glory should be His, and His alone.

But can a source of it in our lives come from ministering to people He loves, working that they may grow closer to Him as he draws them in, using us as His tools?

Oh yeah, it sure can.

So by ministering to others, I can generation a continual source of glory and joy in my life. By being obedient, I can be rewarded through His love with more than I can ever generate on my own.

My joy.

His glory.

That works for me.

March 8, 2011

Be Careful

As I read through Numbers 28, the laws for offerings laid down by the Lord for the nation of Israel, I am most struck by a warning He gives at the very beginning of that chapter. 

You shall be careful to present my offering...

Through Jesus we now can approach the throne of grace in gladness, and boldly, for we are His children, redeemed by the sacrifice of our Savior. We have access any time, for any matter.

But I know that I, like many, probably take that for granted much of the time.

Yes, we have unlimited access. Yes, He is concerned about all that concerns us. Yes. He loves us and wants us to approach Him.

But do we always do it with the reverence and awe, with the praise and thankfulness that we should?

I cannot say that I do, after all I am a sinful being in a fallen world; it took the death of His Son for me to be able to come before Him, acceptable in His sight.

Yes, I want to come before my Father continuously, for both praise and worship, to ask for wisdom and mercy.

But let me never take it for granted.

For where would I be if He took me for granted?

March 7, 2011

All My Other Stuff

We spent yesterday visiting with friends who attend Reunion Church down at the Dallas Convention Center. Before the service at the church, we visited with them at a small worship service with The Men of Nehemiah. I'll leave it to you if you want to go and read up on this really cool ministry. One of the big things I got out of it is that when you have nothing but Jesus to hold onto in your life, you love Him with your all, and you are not afraid to show it.

Makes me think about whether my stuff ever gets in the way of loving Jesus the way these men love Him, and showing it the way that they do.

It also makes me realize that we sometimes have a whole lot to learn from people that society often looks down upon, in this case men who are dealing with issues of poverty, homelessness,substance abuse, crime and violence. Dealing with the aftermath.

But loving Jesus with a passion and a dependence that is sometimes missing amongst those of us who have other stuff to cling to, and not just Jesus.

It was a refreshing and sobering reminder to keep the main thing the main thing:

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2 (NASB)

March 5, 2011

How Do You Fit In?

A woman's leadership ministry is not where you would expect to find me. I am not a woman (nor have I ever played one on TV). But I have been privileged through the world of social media to meet some of the women starting a new ministry, LeadHer, and I am hoping to support them as I can. We are  hopeful at the ministry I work at, EvanTell, to be able to provide really good evangelism training and teaching materials. To come alongside these women in ministry to partner and provide their evangelism training needs. That is what we do, that is what we like to do. And we try to do it as well as possible. Thrilled to be able to develop a partnership between EvanTell and LeadHer.

But I wanted to offer support as a Christian man to as group of Christian women starting off on following hard after the Lord and working in His harvest. As I thought about blogging in support I decided to talk to the men who support the women who are getting this off the ground.

Encourage. Applaud. Support.

New ministry can be scary, because while God knows the path, we are just learning it.So be there for the women you love and support them. Proverbs 27:17 talks about iron sharpening iron. In this case, be the steel in their lives to support them as they throw in with total trust in the Lord. They believe, but help them in their unbelief. (Mark 9:24)

Because they are fallible. They are sinful in their nature. They are human.

Just like you. Just like me.

And they need our help. Just like we need theirs.

And they deserve our help.

Probably more than we do.

They have to depend completely on the Lord, just like us.

So men, get behind them, get on board.

Let her LeadHer.

February 21, 2011

In Control

Do it seem to you that this world is beginning to get dangerously close to spinning out of control? Are events starting to take on a pace and a sense of urgency that leads you to think that what is happening is going to continue to either spiral down or spin flying out?

 Egypt. Libya. Iran. Wisconsin. What is going on?

As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" And Jesus answered and said to them, "See to it that no one misleads you. "For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will mislead many. "You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs."
Matthew 24:3-8 (NASB)
Now I am not saying that this is the beginning of the end. I am smart enough to know that in every age, people can look at events and feel like saying "The end is near."
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
Matthew 24:36 (NASB)
What I do know is the following:

  • God is in control
  • Jesus is coming back
  • Nothing surprises God
He is in control, even if we think everything is out of control. He is in control, although we may not understand what is going on day to day. But we can know what is ultimately going to happen at some point in the future, whether we are here to witness it or it is to be faced by some future generation.

That is a peace of heart, soul and mind I can get no where else but with God and faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

Who is in control of your world?

February 18, 2011

The Nuggets on the Mount

The class I am taking at seminary is a harmony of the gospels called The Life of Christ on Earth. It is a incredible lecture series taught by an incredible professor that is deepening my understanding of the Lord. Given the winter we have had in DFW, we have missed three classes, so we are moving fast in what appears to be the attempt to get back on track (I had thought we would have make up days, but have not heard anything yet about that).

The other day we spent time in The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5- 7, as well as the much shorter passage in Luke 6. The fact that it was probably a sermon on a plain given the number of people involved is another story for another day (see Luke 6:17). There is so much in that teaching you could probably dedicate a whole semester just to that. We moved more quickly than I would have liked, and my head felt like it would burst open and my brain would spill out like a rotten tomato. Or maybe I would have found out my brain is a rotten tomato. It surely feels that way at times when I try to fully grasp what the Word is telling me.

Here is a brief summary of The Sermon based on my lecture notes:

  • The beatitudes of Matthew 5 are characteristics of the truly righteous; the woes of Luke 6 compare godly righteous to the ungodly practices of men.
  • Being salt of the earth should create a thirst for righteousness.
  • That which generates thoughts of violating God's Law is a violation in and of itself.
  • The holiness of God is the true test of righteousness.
  • Right things done out of the wrong motives is not righteousness.
  • Righteousness can only be obtained through the narrow gate of Christ.
  • Stand on the rock of Jesus you are in His Kingdom; stand on the sand of man you are out.
These are just some brief nuggets, but they brought some clarity to me in walking through The Sermon on the Mount. There is so much more, why don't you get into it yourself and have a go?

I just wanted to share a littler bit of what I am hearing and learning.

February 17, 2011

Dead Weight

Now I don't know, but I been told it's hard to run with the weight of gold,
Other hand I have heard it said, it's just as hard with the weight of lead.
Grateful Dead - "New Speedway Boogie"
Weight is weight, especially as you deal with material things in terms of the spiritual realm. Whatever stuff I am carrying around in this world, chances are I am hauling a lot of dead weight as I approach the next. 

It turns out that most of what we value in this life is ultimately of no value. You cannot take it with you, all you can do is leave it to others who can't take it along either. It is ultimately useless.(Unless you leave to people to use in a way that brings the people, not the stuff, into the next life. But that as they say, is another story for another day). And if it is useless, it all weighs the same, it is all way too much.

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Luke 12:32-34 (NASB)

As usual, God's word sums things up very well. Our treasure is where our heart is. If it is hauling dead weight, our heart will tend to be dead to the things that really matter. 

I have spent too much time in the past hauling trash around in my life. Sad to say, I still do a good deal of it. Hopefully not as much, not as much.

That is where the grace of God comes in. He hauled the Cross so I would not have to worry able hauling dead weight. For without Him, that's all everything else is.

February 15, 2011

His (In)visible Presence

For throughout all their journeys, the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel.Exodus 40:38 (NASB)

Throughout their desert wanderings the nation of Israel had the visible presence of God in their midst. Cloud and fire was with them, cloud and fire led them through. It was a visible manifestation of His sovereign presence that gave them the direction they needed to take. Yet still they stumbled, even in His very presence. You could say the nation of Israel stumbled their way through the Old Testament. Complaining about the food, the water, whatever. Gaining their freedom in God's presence by His visible Hand and complaining about leeks and onions. Getting up every morning to pick up the very bread baked by God and grumbling about something.

I am convinced we would do no better than they did, so no smirking or feeling superior.

We do not have His visible presence, but we do have Him anchored in our life. He is not visible, but He is not hidden, not shrouded form us. He can very much be the center of our life. If we have trusted Jesus as our Savior, as the only means of our salvation, we have the indwelt Holy Spirit in our lives. So we have a better deal than Israel, not just God with us but in us. And even with that, we still stumble through our sinful and sin filled lives (I told you no smirking).We stumble, but He is there to catch us.

Good thing, as it is the only way I am getting through it all is that He did and continues to do the work I cannot and never will be able to do; being perfect before a Holy God. Trusting in the Son to reach the Father whom He revealed to us, doing it all through the agency of the Holy Spirit.

Good thing He is who He is, because of who I am and will always be.

February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day

I am writing this to the one person who probably will never see it. My partner for life, my closest friend, my wife. She will not see it because she isn’t into the whole internet and social media thing (a friend opened her facebook account for her. In about two years, she has never been on it herself).

But that doesn’t make her any less special to me, that doesn't change how I feel about her.

That is what makes her my wife.

Lu, this is for you.

I couldn’t love you more if I tried; I cannot be made to love you less.

February 11, 2011

The Burning Continues

As I worked through a bible study I am participating in on line, I was struck with the thought today of how easily I can get annoyed, or upset, or angry with things that I feel are done against me.
Burning indignation has seized me because of the wicked, Who forsake Your law.
Psalm 119:53 (NASB)
But do I burn with such intensity when I see the actions that people take that go against God? I have to admit, my fires burn hotter for the same slights against myself more times than they rage for what is done against His holy name and sovereign will.

So I need better fire control, not necessarily fire prevention. I want the burn to be hot, but for the Lord not for myself. More of a controlled burn, anger under control, an indignation for what is righteous and ignored, not a self righteous indignation for what I feel for me.

I also need to thank Barry at who am i? for pointing out a couple of days ago that however hot our fire burns, we must not lose sight of Jesus. 

Always let your fire illume and not obscure you sight of the Lord.

February 10, 2011


Here I am, living in the DFW area and just surviving my 5th snow day from work, and 3rd from school in the matter of a week and a half (We didn't do this good as children growing up in NYC), dealing with temperatures in the teens, thinking about warmer weather (like the 60's to 70's we are supposed to have in a couple of days).

Thinking about how quickly we will forget the ice and the cold when we are in the throes of some 100+ degree summer days. Makes me think of how long God remembers in comparison to how long we do not. Of what He chooses to forget as opposed to what we cannot seem to remember:
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
 When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me.
 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.
 and did not remember the LORD their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side.
 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
This is just a small sampling of what you can find between the covers of your Bible. 

He chooses to remember His promises, we choose to forget what He has done for us. And in order for us to live in eternal harmony with Him, we are not going to remember all the junk of our earthly past.

We remember to forget; He chooses to forget to remember.

February 9, 2011

Avoiding A Spiritual Caldera

Caldera. I like that word today. A caldera is a basin like depression formed by the explosion or collapse of the center of a volcano. You have all the heat and energy and activity. Then the bottom falls out of the top and you have a caldera. A kind of sunken look, a mere shadow of the former power and energy you once saw flowing from that volcano, when it was full in its' passion and activity and rocking the world immediately around it.

Doesn't sound like a good idea to have a spiritual caldera, does it? Who wants a collapse, when we need the fires to be burning as hot today as when we came to faith in Jesus, as hot tomorrow and each day until He comes back or calls us home.

I clearly want to keep the fire stoked, don't you? So I am in the Word daily, recently I started participating in an on-line bible study (my first) on Psalm 119 with some really cool and very godly women (and a guy or two), I work at an  evangelism training and outreach ministry, I attend seminary part time, I try to focus hard on my prayer life.

I am stoking my fires as best I know how right now. (Know how right now. How now, brown cow? Not sure where that came from. Possibly a mini-caldera, an attention implosion.) I am a little shy of 8 years into my faith walk, and I want to make sure that fore keeps burning bright. 

I know it isn't about the volume of activity but the level of intensity. So I am trying to do all these things as deeply, as sincerely, with as much fire as I can. I hope I am succeeding. I will keep going. I choose to avoid the caldera of a cooling passion for the Lord. I want the fire kept hot so I am stoked for the Lord, but that the fire also burns away what is worthless in my life, what is worthless in the pursuit of the Lord and the giving to Him of all glory.

I hope you are doing things to keep your fires stoked up to their full potential. Anything less than a blazing bonfire is not giving God the glory He so richly deserves from each and every one of us.

We (I) are open to suggestions as I (we) keep stoking things up at our (my) end.

February 8, 2011


I was prompted, convicted or just made to get off my duff and blog about renewal today. Kudos to PeterPollock.com for putting this on the table today.
I think about what it takes for me in the spiritual sense. A willingness on my part to pursue it. A willingness on the Lord’s part to offer it freely and continuously to me. In fact, renewal makes me think of another word.
His, not mine. For His offer stands 24/7, while my desire and drive to pursue it wanes daily. It makes me think of another word.
His again, not mine. He is willing to keep after me and bring me into the fold. He will not give up on me now that He has made me His. Which brings up one more word.
All His. He would do this all for me even after he knows who I really am.
So renewal really has little to do with me, and is all about Him. It has to be that way or it really isn’t going to work in my life.

January 10, 2011

Is He Ashamed of You?

But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. 
Hebrews 11:16 (English Standard Version)
Is God ashamed of you? Is He ashamed of me? I find that a very disturbing thought, probably because I have often given Him a good reason to be ashamed of me. Reading this verse as part of my morning prayer and reflection brought some tears to my eyes, as I thought about all He has done for me, and how I often give Him a reason to be ashamed.

And it brought even more tears when I thought that it is love and patience that He shows to me; not anger, not dismay, not frustration at how I behave.

Today I will think a lot about the city He has prepared for me, I will think about how I live and how I need to try to make Him have so much less opportunity to feel ashamed.

January 8, 2011

Desire Meeting Need

I was struck in my readings in the Bible this morning (in Job) and in my prayer and reflection that my relationship with God is based on a beautiful blending of desire and need. His desire, my need.

He desires that I understand enough about Him to live my life in accordance with His will, for that was what He created me for. He doesn't need me to understand Him, nor frankly, does He need to to live according to His will. But I need to. He desires it, and I need it.

He desires that I be with Him for all eternity and sent His Son to die for my sin and make me acceptable in His eyes to spend eternity in His presence. I need that. He desires it, and I need it.

I think it is a most marvelous part of His sovereign will that His desires for me match up with my needs for Him. That as a result I would seek what He so dearly wants me to have. 

And through the death of His Son on my behalf, He made possible, in the only way possible, for my needs to be met most completely.

God's timing and His plans are perfect, for He is sovereign and perfect.

And I am perfectly fine with that.