God's Word is Powerful

God's Word is Powerful

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

YIKES! - CLOSER to 60 THAN to 50

As we come to the end of another year it is always important to stop and reflect on what God has done in us and through.  I try to take time to think about the things that have happened.  I like to reflect on the lessons learned through the hard and challenging things God has brought into my life.  This is also a time when I am overwhelmed with deep thankfulness to God for the amazing privilege I have of serving Him.  This year as I thought about these things I also realized, perhaps for the first time, in a meaningful way that I probably have fewer years in front of me than I do behind me. So as I was reading this Psalm the Lord challenged my heart. 

Psalm 92:12-15 (HCS) The righteous thrive like a palm tree and grow like a cedar tree in Lebanon. [13] Planted in the house of the LORD, they thrive in the courts of our God. [14] They will still bear fruit in old age, healthy and green, [15] to declare: “The LORD is just; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”

Here are several thoughts on these verses.  The godly will flourish and thrive like a well established trees. Like Palm trees which can be blown by the wind and bend almost parallel to the ground yet they keep spring back and keep on growing.  Or like cedars which were known in ancient Israel for their immense size.  So how are the righteous like Trees?   No matter what storm comes their way they are NOT shaken or uprooted they keep on growing.  WHY?  Perhaps because of where they are planted. They are planted in the house of God.  They THRIVE in the courts of the Temple.  This is poetic imagery as the Psalm tells us that the Righteous who are like trees are rooted and grounded in God and God alone.  That is why they are growing and why they are unshakeable.  The end result for the godly who have made God’s presence their continual pursuit is that they will bear fruit in old age.  Part of that fruit is to declare WHO God is and what He is like.  He is Just and Fair and He is the Solid ground on which I can stand when everything else around me is shaking and falling apart. 

PRAYER: Lord God please help me to sink my roots down deeply into You and Your WORD.  May I seek to live each moment with an awareness of Your presence in my life.  Please Lord Jesus, keep rooted and grounded in You and FRUITFUL for You.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Shadows - are interesting.  In very bright light they can be dark and seem almost solid.  When one of our daughters saw her shadow for the first time in bright sunlight at age two it scared her because she tried to get away from it and could not.  Later on as our girls got a lot older we would play shadow tag where you tried to step on someone’s shadow without allowing your own shadow be stepped on.  (For some reason I always lost - perhaps the sheer size of my shadow put me at a disadvantage.)  But one lesson I learned from shadow tag was that the closer you were to the person the easier it was to step on their shadow.  Let’s look at these verses together.

Psalm 91:1 (NLT) Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. [2] This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.

In the Old Testament the idea of God’s presence was described as being near to God in His Temple.  To be close to God required a physical nearness, in this case close enough for God to become their shelter.  The imagery gets even more vivid with the next phrase.  To “rest in the SHADOW of the Almighty.”  I know God does not cast a shadow - but if a person wanted to be in the shadow of Jesus they would have to be very close to Him.  The idea is the same.  If we want to REST in God we must be CLOSE to Him.  Close enough so that His shadow falls on us.  Wiersbe tells us that: “The safest place in the world is a shadow, if it is the shadow of the Almighty.”  And Spurgeon reminds us that: “Great nearness is in view - we must walk very close to a companion if we would have his shadow fall on us.”  If we are to pursue nearness to God, closeness with Him, and intimate relationship with our Lord it will require BEING CLOSE to Him.  How do we do that?  The primary way is to spend time with Him reading and meditating on the Bible.  And talking to Him about the things that we see in His Word and the things that are going on in our lives.  The end result of continually resting in God’s Presence -  in His shadow is seen in verse two.  Those who draw close to God can declare about the Lord that - He ALONE is MY refuge, He is MY place of safety, HE is MY God and I Trust Him.   

PRAYER: Lord Jesus help me to draw close to YOU and help me to rest in that closeness.  Help me to Remember as I rest in You that YOU are MY refuge and MY place of Safety.  Thank You Lord Jesus that You are MY God and that I can TRUST you Always.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Words are powerful they have the ability to convey feelings, ideas, as well as emotions.  When we think of these words MORE, SEPARATE, NOTHING.  These are strong words with deep emotions or feelings attached to them.  For example SEPARATE - I hate it when I travel because it separates me from Carol.  It is a necessary part of ministry but I hate those times of separation.   NOTHING - There is nothing further we can do your father is in God’s hands.  MORE - fixing that car is more trouble than it is worth.  There is power in words.  In our Wednesday afternoon men’s Bible study we were studying Romans 8:35-39.  Great verses that can challenge, encourage, comfort, and convict.  We spent time meditating on this passage during the week and then we shared those thoughts together. Here are some of what we shared from the meditation we did on these verses.

Romans 8:37 (NIV) ...in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

“We are MORE than the troubles that try us.  We are MORE than the sum total of our mistake riddled past.  We are more than the gnawing worries of unknown tomorrows. We are MORE than the mud we have been formed out of.  We are MORE.  We are MORE because He sent His only Son for us.  We are more for Christ Died and rose again FOR us.  We are MORE for He currently dwells in us. We are MORE than conquerors THROUGH HIM that loved us.  We are MORE!”  W. Codilla

Romans 8:38-39 (NLT) And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow - not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below - indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing, Nada, Zero, Zilch, Nobody, Naught...
Separate us, divide us, disconnect us, detach us, or split us, part us,
         From God’s Love EVER!  NOTHING!!!!  MK

PRAYER: Thank You Lord God that NOTHING can separate me from Your amazing Love for me.  Thank You that because of who You are I am MORE than a conqueror.  Please Lord God help me to live out the TRUTH these words in my life everyday. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I grew up in a church tradition that was fairly rigid.  Though my parents were very open about the fact that many of the things others tried to force on us were merely issues of preference it still made it hard for me as a teenager to begin to sort through what it would mean to live a God honoring life.  I did wrestle with questions like: Could I wear blue jeans to church? Could I read the New American Standard version of the Bible?  Could I go swimming on Sunday?  Those questions hardly seem important now.  But they caused some soul searching back then.  Of course the more I studied and learned and grew the more I realized that there were many areas of personal preference where godly Christians differed.  So as I meditated on 1 Peter 2:16 it made me think of the balance necessary to live the TRUTH of the Bible out in our everyday lives. As I thought about this verse I had to ask myself do I ever use my “freedom” as a way of covering over or making excuses for sinful behavior in my own life? 

1 Peter 2:16 (NIV) Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.

1 Peter 2:16 (JBP)  As free men you should never use your freedom as an excuse for doing something that is wrong, for you are at all times the servants of God.

If I am convinced that I have the “freedom” to watch TV that does NOT mean I have the freedom to watch things which dishonor God.  If I say because I have freedom to watch TV it really does not matter what I watch then I am ignoring what the Bible says about the kind of things I may look at (Ps. 101:3).  I could be using my FREEDOM as an excuse or cover-up for filling my eyes and mind with something sinful. 

1 Corinthians 10:23-24 (NIV) "Everything is permissible" - but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible" - but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

Here the thought of Freedom is explained in a different way.  I may have “freedom” to do a lot of things but the question really should be are those things BENEFICIAL and CONSTRUCTIVE?  In other words are they HELPFUL in my walk with the Lord?  Are they things which will lead me closer the Jesus?  Will these things lead me towards holiness or towards worldliness?  I should not be asking: do I have the FREEDOM to do this?  or ...watch that? or ...say this?  Instead I should ask: will doing this, saying this, watching this draw me into a closer more intimate walk with the my Jesus?  I Love this explanation from the Life Application Bible Commentary:  “Christian freedom does not mean that anything goes; believers are not free to do whatever they want or to use their freedom as a cover-up for evil.  In other words, believers must not hide behind their freedom in Christ in order to sin. We cannot use freedom and forgiveness as a cloaking device for self-indulgence, adultery, or poor spending habits.”

If I am truly seeking to be ALL that God has called me to be.  Then I will USE my “freedom” to consciously choose to SERVE God.  I will use my “freedom” to purposefully choose to serve my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I will not let “any unwholesome talk come out of my mouth” instead I will try to make sure that the things that I say and do will be “helpful for building OTHERS up according to their needs” (Eph. 4:29).  WHY?  Because I want what I say and do to be of help and encouragement to others and I do NOT want to grieve the Holy Spirit by my words or actions. (Eph. 4:30)

PRAYER:  Lord, God please help me to think of YOU first when I think about the “freedom” I have in living my life for You.  Please help me to think of the impact my words and actions may have on others and help me to seek to Honor You in the choices I make.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I Love Thanksgiving - for more reasons than the food and football. For me one of the joys of Thanksgiving is that I love being with family and friends. I enjoy being able to laugh and talk and share the good things God is doing in our lives. But even more important is the fact that we are a few days closer to Christmas.  I have officially been listening to Christmas music since the first of November. The tree is up and the house is decorated.  YEAH!  As far as shopping and presents that is just not as important to me as the awesome wonder of Christmas which I see in the beauty of the music and the lights.  For me it reminds me of sleeping in the living room by the Christmas tree when I was a kid, falling asleep, listening to Christmas music.  I am too old to sleep by the tree now, without a very thick air mattress, but I am still warmed by the wonder of Thanksgiving and Christmas which have so much more to do with our hearts and minds being focused on Jesus than anything else.  Let’s look at these great Christmas verses together.

Luke 2:36-38 (NET) There was also a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old, having been married to her husband for seven years until his death. [37] She had lived as a widow since then for eighty-four years. She never left the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. [38] At that moment, she came up to them and began to give thanks to God and to speak about the child to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.

Luke 2:37-38 (JBP) She spent her whole life in the Temple and worshipped God night and day with fastings and prayers. [38] She came up at this very moment, praised God and spoke about Jesus to all those in Jerusalem who were expecting redemption.

Jesus was being presented at the Temple by Mary and Joseph. Simeon had just declared that Jesus was the Messiah, the Salvation God had promised.  At that point we meet Anna.  We are told that she is 84 yrs. old, a prophetess, who had been married for 7 years before she became a widow.  With no children that must have been a very long hard life.  As I meditated on these verses this week these three things became very clear.  1- Anna was ALWAYS seeking to be in God’s presence.  2- She worshipped and served God with PRAYER and FASTING day and night. 3- When she met Jesus she could NOT stop thanking God and telling others about Him.  What an amazing woman.  She had every reason to become self-focused maybe even bitter but she did not.  What an amazing testimony of God’s power and sustaining grace.  May we be like Anna in our own lives.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me to live my life consciously seeking You in any and every situation I face every day.  Please Lord help me to learn to more and more how to worship and serve You with Prayer and Fasting.  Please give me many more and chances to talk to others about YOU.  

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Have you ever been bitter?  Have you ever held on to your anger or the bad feelings you had towards someone refusing to let go?  Bitterness is one of those emotions which can do a real damage.  It flows out of our envy and anger and if we do not deal with it seriously bitterness can cripple us and keep us from enjoying our walk with the Lord Jesus.  Asaph, the writer of Psalm 73 is very honest about his own problems with bitterness.  He says that when he looked at the those who were arrogant and wealthy that he started to envy them. (73:3-7)  His envy and jealousy turned into bitterness as he wondered if it “pays” to live a godly life.  He found the answer while spending time with God. (73:16-17)  He began to realize that the wicked will answer to God in the end.  And as Asaph wrestles with this understanding he makes the following confession:

Psalm 73:21-22 (HCS)  When I became embittered and my innermost being was wounded, I was stupid and didn’t understand; I was an unthinking animal toward You.

Psalm 73:21-25 (NLT) Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. [22] I was so foolish and ignorant - I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. [23] Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. [24] You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. [25] Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth.   

That is quite the statement.  He describes the affects of bitterness as being wounded and torn up inside.  That is a good description of bitterness.  But the end result of bitterness on his relationship with God was even more astonishing.   Asaph says that his bitterness made him ignorant and kept him from understanding God.  So one truth that comes clearly through is that my attitude of anger or bitterness can keep me from knowing God in the way I long to.  The good news is that Asaph dealt with his bitterness and sought out God and realized that God was with him at ALL times leading and guiding him personally.  He now reminds himself that knowing God and being close to Him is BETTER than anything else.  Riches and wealth and ease of life cannot compare to having an intimate relationship with God.  So we must be aware of the danger: anger, envy, jealousy and bitterness keep us from drawing close to God.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus please help me to put aside all envy or jealously, to deal with any anger or bitterness in my life.  Help me to draw closer to You.  Help me to grow and to be able to say there is NOTHING on earth I want more than YOU.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I watched with fascination and a sense impatience as the crews ripped up 71 Hwy. and made it impossible for me to get home quickly.  It seemed to take forever before anything was even visible.  There was a lot of work that went into finding bedrock and then pouring the pillars and foundations for the bridge over 163rd St.  Why?  Why did they take so long going down and establishing a solid foundation?  It was because they wanted the bridge to stand when ALL the weight and vibration of thousands of cars and trucks a day started crossing it.  It certainly would have been easier and much quicker if they didn’t bother to pour the foundation of the bridge on solid rock.  But now that it is done and it is secure I am thankful for all the time and effort that went into it.  Jesus said spoke about building on solid rock.  Let’s look at them together.  

Luke 6:47-49 (HCS) I will show you what someone is like who comes to Me, hears My words, and acts on them: [48] He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well built. [49] But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The river crashed against it, and immediately it collapsed. And the destruction of that house was great!”

The question the first builder asked is what will it take to build a house that will not collapse if an unexpected storm or flood hits it?  The answer of course is that it takes a LOT of hard work to build a house properly so that it can withstand the flood.  Anyone can throw up a house quickly that has no chance of surviving.  But if a house is to survive then the hard work of digging down to bedrock must take place.  The foundation must be laid carefully on that rock.  From that point things can be built on a foundation that will last no matter what.  In contrast the person who built the house that will not last did not do the hard work required they quickly built the house without doing any of the hard work on the foundation.  The point Jesus is making is that obedience to His Word is about hard work.  It is not just hearing and mentally agreeing with what is said.  It is hearing, understanding, and obeying.  Obedience is the hard part - it is the digging of the foundation way down to the rock it is slowly building the foundation and then the rest of the structure.  Obeying Jesus will mean we will have to do hard things - say no to ourselves and our own selfish desires and to say yes to God and His plan for our lives.  It will mean doing the hard work of continuing to obey God’s Word even if nobody else does.  The result may not be seen for awhile.  But eventually when the storms of life hit only those who have done the hard work of laying their foundation of obedience on Jesus the solid rock will stand.  Those who have not done the hard work of Obedience find it much easier to give up when the storms of life come crashing down on them.  Obedience is Hard work but worth it when we face the struggles of life.  So am I building wisely in my life? Am I seeking to lay the foundation of Obedience to God and His Word in my life?  If not then I am building without a foundation and it will very hard to face the difficulties hardships of life. 

PRAYER: Lord Jesus thank You for calling me to Obedience.  Help me to be willing to do the hard work of OBEYING Your Word no matter what. My I never take the shortcut thinking that I can get by without a firm foundation of Obedience to You.  Help me to weather the storms resting firmly on You. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Well I held off as long as I could.  I tried (not too hard) but I could not hold out one more day so I started playing Christmas music today.  Now it is not that I am for the commercialization of Christmas.  I hate that.  But I love Christmas.  I love the fact that Christmas, for the Christian, is the celebration of the coming of Jesus - the LONG awaited Messiah and Savior.  I love the fact that God’s Grace is seen in such a humble package.  I love the fact that God’s blessings were poured out on sinful desperately needy world in the poorest of circumstances.  So imagine Nat King Cole singing O Little Town of Bethlehem or Manheim Steam Roller playing Silent Night in the background as you read these verses today.  

Psalm 67:1-2 (HCS)  May God be gracious to us and bless us; look on us with favor so that Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.

As I was meditating on this Psalm this morning I was moved by the SO THAT part of these verses.  We all long for God to be gracious to us to bless us and to pour out His Favor on us.  But this Psalm gives the reason WHY we should pray like this.  We want God to do this so that others may see that God’s WAY is the ONLY WAY.  We want others to see that God has spoken and that salvation comes ONLY from God - and ONLY on His terms.  God told Abraham that through him all the nations of the earth would be blessed.  This Psalm is calling for God’s blessings and favor as an object lesson for others to see the goodness of God.  The point is not to enjoy God’s blessings and keep them for ourselves.  We are to enjoy God’s grace and favor poured out on us so that we can invite others to enjoy God’s Grace and Favor as well.  It is not a me first selfish kind of prayer.  This is a prayer that says as You are blessing me I will BLESS others with what YOU have given.  

PRAYER: Lord God please pour out Your grace and favor on us.  May we see Your blessings clearly SO THAT  You may be KNOWN.  Not just by us personally, but by the whole Open Door Bible Church Family, by our neighbors and friends in Belton, Raymore, Peculiar, and Grandview.  Lord God make your SALVATION known through us!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Anyone who wishes can visit London and go to Buckingham palace to watch the changing of the guard. However, to get in to see the Queen of England is impossible for the average person.  There are many people who make sure that only those who have been granted an audience with her majesty can enter the presence of the Queen.  So I will never see the queen of England.  But what is truly astonishing is that as a believer I have the incredible privilege of entering the presence the Sovereign King of the Universe  at ANY TIME. It has not always been that way.  As a matter of fact Nadab and Abihu, who were sons of Aaron the High Priest of Israel, made the mistake of thinking they could enter God’s presence anytime they felt like it. As a result God destroyed them both for their sin and arrogance.  God then went on to put in place the Old Testament Law which made it clear that only the High Priest could enter His presence in the Tabernacle and that was ONCE a year on the Day of Atonement after he offered ALL the proper sacrifices.  Keep that context in mind as we look at these verses together.

Hebrews 10:19-25 (NLT) And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. [20] By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. [21] And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, [22] let us  go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. [23] Let us  hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. [24] Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. [25] And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

We can now come BOLDLY into God’s very presence - not because we deserved it or have earned it but because Jesus has opened up the way by His own blood.  When He died on the cross Jesus cried it is finished and then died.  At that precise moment the Veil in the Temple was torn from TOP to bottom.  These verse explain why God ripped the veil.  Jesus had opened the WAY for us into God’s presence.  So we can boldly and confidently enter God’s presence. We can do this because Jesus opened the way by His own Blood and because He is our High Priest.  Our response is spelled out clearly.  Since those things are TRUE: We MUST draw near to God - We MUST Hold Firmly to the TRUTH we profess because God is COMPLETELY Trustworthy - We MUST NEVER give up meeting together but instead seek ways to encourage and motivate each other to honor God by the way we live.  
PRAYER: Thank You Father that I can come confidently into Your presence at anytime and be welcomed all because of what Jesus did for me.  Thank you Lord Jesus that You came and willingly paid for ALL my sins with your blood.  Please Lord God help me to be a constant source of encouragement to my brothers and sisters.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I absolutely HATE waiting in lines.  Whether it is the grocery store or the bank or being backed up in traffic on the highway.  I hate to wait.  I’m sure a huge part of that is my sinful nature.  I really do not want to wait for my breakfast burrito I want it ready to go when I ask for it.   So naturally God has worked on that area in my life.  Down through the years I have been challenged by His Word, by an amazing wife, and three great daughters.  The message has been the same “it is NOT about You.”  On some level we ALL have to learn that Truth.   However, that being said when I go into an emergency room with my finger half severed I really hope I don’t have to take a number and wait.  One of things that makes me grateful for the fact that we have a Sovereign and Infinite God is that when I am struggling, hurting, or facing temptation God does NOT say... hang on I have to wait on these other people first... take a number and sit down I will get to you.  Let’s look at these verses together.

Hebrews 4:14-15 (NLT) So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. [15] This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin

Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV) 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. [15] 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. [16] 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.

We have a High Priest - Jesus - who intercedes for us with God.  He is on our side, He pleads our case, and He welcomes us into God’s presence.  The reason He can and does intercede for us is that He offered Himself up as the perfect Sacrifice - shedding His own blood - for OUR sins.  So that we would not have to pay the price for our own sins which would have meant death and eternity in hell.  But Jesus paid the price by dying in our place.  He then rose again ascended into heaven and sat down at God’s right hand.  That is WHERE He is RIGHT NOW interceding for us.  That is also WHY He can say come boldly into God’s presence.  Because He has opened up the way and paid the price for our sins.  They no longer come between us and God.  Jesus paid for them completely.  I love the fact that the ...verb translated let us come - or -  Let us then approach  can be translated to indicate ongoing action: let us continually come.” (NLT Notes)  That is very comforting to me because today I will need to go to the Throne of Grace over and over for help.  I love the fact I do not have to stand in line, that there is no wait, that I don’t have to do anything but come.  I can come boldly NOT arrogantly into His presence with my woundedness, my neediness, with my questions, doubts, and fears and He is ALWAYS ready to hear and to help. I  can KEEP ON COMING over and over and over because Jesus has opened the way and made it possible for me to come.  I also love the fact that God is sitting on the THRONE of GRACE.  What does that mean?  It means that God in ALL of His Power, Majesty, reigns from the position of Grace.  His throne is ALL grace - that is why I can come in the first place.      

PRAYER: Thank You Lord God that I can come to You with my struggles, fears, and failures.  Thank You for Your Mercy and Your Grace.  Thank You that you Understand and that You give me Your help so that I can be victorious over those things that Trouble and Tempt me. Thank my Lord God that Your throne is ALL GRACE and that You invite me to come ANYTIME.  Thank You for Your Mercy and Forgiveness as well as Your ongoing empowering everyday Grace. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Have you ever watched someone’s eyes? If you are with someone and suddenly they look past you and their eyes move, you know that they are looking at someone or something that is behind you. How do you know that they are looking somewhere else? By the fact that they are no longer focused on you and what you are doing together. I love the encouragement from the book of Hebrews. We are reminded that the only way that we can live a life that honors Jesus is to make sure that we are focused on HIM.

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV) ...since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. [2] Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. [3] Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Where are my eyes fixed? Where is my focus? If we seek to honor Christ in our lives; if we want to persevere and faithfully follow Him, then Jesus must be our focus. Consider Him...consider means to think about, reflect on, or to mull over. What or who are we to consider? We are to reflect on and think about Jesus and the way in which HE lived. We are to seek encouragement, and strength from His example.  John Piper said it this way:  “Our emotions are governed in large measure by what we consider what we dwell on with our minds. For example, Jesus told us to overcome the emotion of anxiety by what we consider: ‘Do not be anxious... Consider the ravens... Consider the lilies..." (A Godward Life Vol 1 p. 229)

PRAYER: Lord, help me to look to You and Your example. In every situation which I face today, help me to think about how You would react and to seek Your help in acting and reacting in the same way.


When something really awful happens to me or someone I love - it is on my heart and in my mind and I find it hard to quit thinking about it.  There are times when I will sit and try to figure out ways to change the situation or methods of helping the person who is struggling.  A few times when I have felt that I was under attack personally by someone I found it hard to think clearly or to sleep well.  We all react differently to hard things in our lives.  Each of us will react in some way when a son or daughter is hurting, or when a friend or relative turns against us and slanders us to others.  For many it will mean having a hard time sleeping as thoughts and emotions churn away in our minds.  That is why this Psalm is such a challenge.  Let’s look at it together.

PSALM 3:1-8  (NLT) A psalm of David, regarding the time David fled from his son Absalom.
[1] O Lord, I have so many enemies; so many are against me. [2] So many are saying, "God will never rescue him!" [3] But you, O Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts my head high. [4] I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain.  [5] I lay down and slept. I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me. [6] I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side.  [7] Arise, O Lord! Rescue me, my God! Slap all my enemies in the face! Shatter the teeth of the wicked! [8] Victory comes from you, O Lord. May your blessings rest on your people.

The title of the Psalm tells us WHO wrote it and when it takes place.  Absalom had slandered his father, King David, and rebelled against him.  He had gathered and army of traitors around him and he was trying to hunt down and kill his father.  With very short notice David had to pack up and run for his life. He went into hiding until Absalom could be caught or killed.  The heartbreak in this was awful for him.   He loved Absalom and yet his son was doing something evil.  The anxiety and fear for himself and for his son must have been terrible.  Yet in the middle of all of this David remembers that God is his protection his SHIELD.  David remembers that God is the one who answers when he cries out to Him.  So he can sleep with confidence, peacefully, knowing that God is watching over him.  He trusts God enough in the middle of this terrible crisis to sleep and let God handle the problem.  I wonder how many times have I lost sleep because I did not TRUST God?  How many times have I stayed up trying to figure out a way that I could make it all work out rather than casting myself on God and His Mercy?  What an amazing lesson. In he midst of the chaos and turmoil caused by Absalom, David sleeps and Trusts God to take care of him.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you that You are TOTALLY TRUSTWORTHY.  Thank You that You are in Control even when it seems that ALL of the things around me are spinning out of control.  Help me to put everything that I am facing, all those things which cause me to worry into YOUR hands and to trust You to do what is best. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011


One of the disadvantages of global TV coverage or the Internet is that things that happen in other places of the world come right into our homes.  I have to admit there are times when I just don’t want to hear one more world leader blustering and threatening.  When I hear a national leader bullying another nation,  when I hear world leaders speak as if there is no God or as if there were many gods,  I get very, very weary of it all.  It does however, remind me that someday God will RULE.  It helps me to remember that no matter what the nations may say - no matter what they believe - GOD is still SOVEREIGN over the nations.  Let’s look at these verses together.

PSALM 2:1-4  (NLT) Why do the nations rage? Why do the people waste their time with futile plans? [2] The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one. [3] "Let us break their chains," they cry, "and free ourselves from this slavery." [4] But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them.  

Psalm 2 is called Messianic Psalms because of the references to the coming Messiah.  It is also quoted in the New Testament carrying through that same theme.  In verses 1-3 the nations are making plans to rebel against God.  (Perhaps a prophetic reference to some of things mentioned in the book of Revelation.) However, I love God’s response.  He sees the nations and knows their plans and simply laughs at them.  They cannot catch God by surprise and they do not have the power to attack God no matter what their plan may be.  Why does God laugh at the nations from his throne? The Life Application Bible Note says this:  "It is the laughter of a father when his three-year-old boasts that he or she can outrun him or beat him in a wrestling match. The father knows the boundaries of power of his little child, and God knows the boundaries of power of the nations. Every nation is limited, but God is transcendent. If you have to choose between confidence in God and confidence in any nation, choose God.  ...God is all-powerful. He created the world, and knew about the empires of the earth long before they came into being (Daniel 2:26-45). But pride and power cause nations and leaders to rebel against God and try to break free of him. Our world has many leaders who boast of their power, who rant and rave against God and his people, who promise to take over and form their own empires. But God laughs because any power they have comes from him, and he can also take it from them. We need not fear the boasts of tyrants - they are in God’s hands."

PRAYER: Lord, I am so grateful that I cannot fool You, or take You by surprise.  Lord, please help me to remember that You have all the power necessary.   You can do ANYTHING  that must be done in this world and my life. Lord, help me to TRUST YOU and YOU alone.  Help me not to put confidence in myself or my own efforts but to humbly submit to You and Your plans for my life.  

Friday, September 30, 2011


Well, here we are it is almost October. The weather makes me think that Fall has finally come. I love the changing seasons, the constant progression from Spring to Summer, to Fall, to Winter. I have to admit though, I wouldn’t miss winter all that much if it disappeared. But Winter is a great contrast for Spring; and when Winter changes to Spring, I love watching everything come alive again.  When it comes to the promises of God, I’m so Glad they do not change. Every promise that God has made - He has kept. There is not one example of something He promised that He had to take back or change. What an amazing God we have! Let’s look together at what this verse says about God’s promises.

2 Corinthians 1:20 (ESV) For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.

2 Corinthians 1:20 (NLT) For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” ascends to God for his glory.

God has already answered YES to the promises which He made in His Word. So, when we pray for those things which He has promised, we can celebrate our agreement with God by saying Amen.  “Amen is a word taken straight over into Greek from Hebrew without any translation just like it has come into English and most other languages without any translation. In Hebrew it was a very strong affirmation - a formal, solemn, earnest I agree, or I affirm what you just said or This is true. Most simply ‘Amen’ means a very earnest YES in the context of addressing God.” ...AMEN means, Yes Lord, you can do it. It means, Yes, Lord, you are powerful. Yes, Lord, you are merciful. Yes, Lord, all future grace comes from you and has been confirmed in Christ. Amen is an exclamation point of hope after a prayer for help.” (Future Grace - Piper pg. 100,106)

PRAYER: Lord, may I believe your promises and Trust You to fulfill them. Lord God, help me to Celebrate the fact that I can come into Your very presence through prayer, and that with You there is ALWAYS hope.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Another politician got caught in a lie.  Who?  That is not the point I’m trying to make.  The problem is that for the most part, politicians who do something wrong, seldom pay the penalty for what they have done.  It has to be pretty extreme for them to be forced out of office and it is only rarely that they actually go to jail.  On some level that upsets me.  It should.  Injustice and sinful disobedience of the Law should not be something that we put up with.  There have been times I have cried out to the Lord in prayer and say O God they have gotten away with it.  The answer that comes back from scripture is clear - NO they have not.  Let’s look at these verses together.

2 Peter 3:10-13 (NIV) But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. [11] Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives [12] as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. [13] But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

The Day of the Lord - is the beginning of the end.  It will be the start of God’s judgment of sin and the start of eternity.  Peter tells us that the day of the Lord will come  - sometimes we move so quickly into the rest of the verses that we miss this phrase and how important it is.  Peter is telling us this day WILL COME there is NO doubt.  Then he tells how it come and what it will be like.  But the fact is that DAY will come.  It will come in God’s perfect time.  How should the assurance that this day WILL come impact us?  It should cause us to live HOLY and GODLY lives.  It should cause us to look forward EAGERLY to the return of our Lord Jesus.  WHY?  Because the new heaven and new earth will be OUR home.  They will be the home of the righteous - those who have been made holy through the cross of Jesus.  So as we look forward to THAT DAY when perfect Justice will prevail, THAT DAY when we will see and enjoy God’s Rule over the Universe, THAT DAY when there will be no more sin, or struggles, or suffering let us Honor Jesus Christ NOW TODAY by the way that we Think, Talk, and Act.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I’m ready for You to come.  I long for that day when I will no longer have to struggle to live the godly and holy life that I want to live.   I want to see Your glory and be in complete and total AWE of You as I fall before You.  Until then May I live with You as my Focus.  May I live out the TRUTH of Your Word in practical real ways.  Help me to be godly and holy as I walk with You in the Yoke.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


HALT - stands for Hungry Angry Lonely Tired.  Why is that important.  Because when we experiencing any one of those things we are in a situation where we have to be even more careful of what we think about, what we say, and what we do.  Just think back in your own life when was the last time that you were really unkind with your words?  When was the last time that you were self-focused and self absorbed in your thinking?  Were they times when you were struggling with one of these things HALT?  When I think back to some times when I have done or said things for which I later had to repent and ask forgiveness - many times it was because I had given in to something which was made worse by being either Hungry Angry Lonely or Tired.  That is why this verse is such a good verse to remember. 

Psalm 39:1 (HCS) I said, “I will guard my ways so that I may not sin with my tongue...

The word WAYS is a rich word with a depth of meaning.  It means direction - Train a child in the WAY he should go Prov.  22:6.  It means BEHAVIOR - ...all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. Gen 6:12.  It means to LIFESTYLE - ...or stand in the way of sinners... Ps. 1:1 
Why do I go into all of this?  Because as I read this verse I realized that the writer was making a connection between how we live and the way that we talk.  He was showing that there is a link between the direction we are going in life and the vocabulary that comes out of our mouths.  He is saying that our lifestyle impacts the way that we speak. So to take the verse literally we are to watch or guard our ways - SO THAT - we do NOT sin with our words. I think guarding our WAYS will mean being careful and aware that when we are Hungry Angry Lonely or Tired.  Why? We may be in a weakened state physically, emotionally or spiritually.  So it will be easier to stumble and fall in our thoughts, Words, or Actions.  That is why this is such a powerful verse.  It is not just saying watch your mouth or don’t say bad things.  It telling us to WATCH YOUR LIFE because the way that you live will impact the things that come out of your mouth.  

PRAYER: Lord God please help me to be more and more aware of the way that I live and how that will impact the WAY that I speak.  Please Lord I do want the words that come out of my mouth to be pleasing to You.  So help me to Guard the WAY that I live.  May I be following You closely and walking with You so that my lifestyle and my vocabulary are impacted by You and not the things going on around me. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Have You Ever Been ABANDONED?

Have you ever felt abandoned, left behind?  When I was in High School I went on a short Term Missions project to Europe.  We had been told over and over and over - “do not ever get on the bus or go anywhere without your passport, and the list of addresses of the places we are staying.”  We were also warned “if you are late for getting back to the bus you will be left behind and you will be expected to catch up with us at your own expense.”  Then we were reminded one more time to always carry our documents.  Sure enough early in the trip my friend did not get back to the bus on time.  When he got to the spot where the bus was supposed to be - we were gone.  Here he was in a foreign country and everyone he knew had left him.  (Yes, it was his own fault - but that is how he felt).  It took him a couple of days to finally catch up with us.  Imagine what it would be like to be left behind and never be able to find those who left you again.  That is the emotion that David is capturing in verse ten.

PSALM 27:10-14 Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.  [11] Teach me how to live, O Lord. Lead me along the path of honesty, for my enemies are waiting for me to fall. [12] Do not let me fall into their hands. For they accuse me of things I've never done and breathe out violence against me.  [13] Yet I am confident that I will see the Lord's goodness while I am here in the land of the living. [14] Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. (NLT) 

As horrible as it would be to be abandoned our Mother or Father or even a close friend.  GOD never Abandons us.  What an amazing thing.  God never turns away from us and just leaves us.  So if we are feeling distant and God seems a long ways off.  Guess who moved?  It was not God.  David asks God to teach him how to live and he asks God to lead him on the right and true path.  David brings his fears to God and then goes on to state his confidence in God’s Goodness.  Many times when we struggle it is because we do not believe God’s goodness is for us. We believe He is good - to others - but we do not believe He is good when it comes to us.  Part of that is the way our selfish hearts define what is good.  The other part is that we need to speak to ourselves the way David did.  He challenges himself and us by saying WAIT PATIENTLY for the Lord.  No matter what we face no matter how difficult a situation may seem we are supposed to TRUST the Lord and WAIT PATIENTLY for Him to act.  It is always worse when we try to act or live on our own without God. 

Prayer: Lord Your Goodness is awe inspiring.  When I get discouraged or down help me to go back and think about Your Goodness to me.  Lord, patience is not something I am good at but I do want to Trust You.  Help me to grow and to learn in my ability to TRUST You and to WAIT for You to act.  Help me NEVER to be in rush to do things in my own way or in my own strength.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Many years ago Carol and I knew a young woman who was raised in a Christian family and accepted Jesus as Savior at a young age.  However, as a professional pursuing a career she ran into a number of obstacles and hardships which cause her a lot of heartache.  She prayed and sought God but when nothing “changed” she walked away from church - and to this day is only marginally following God.  Why did this happen?  She grew up being told that when you have troubles and problems you go to God and He will fix them.  Not only that if you do what God says you will be blessed and be successful in your life. If you have struggles they can be handled quickly and easily by asking God to take care it all.  The problem with coming to God in that way is that it is very demanding.  It also makes us the ones who decide what we need and want.  For many people who were raised like this if God does not come through in the way that we want Him to then they feel betrayed or angry and many of them drift away from God.  Let’s look at these verses together. 

Romans 8:31-32 (NIV) What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Romans 8:28 (NIV) And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

I love verses 31-32 which encourage me and remind me that God is on my side.  It reminds me that nobody can fight against me successfully because they would be fighting God who is on MY SIDE.  It also reminds me that GOD gave His Son - Jesus died for me. If God was willing to do that then He must be willing to give me so much more.  Isn’t that what the ALL THINGS means?  Verse 28 uses that same word ALL THINGS but in a little different way.  Here the implication is that even in BAD things God is working for our good.  This is harder for us and we are not as interested in ALL THINGS working out for good if it means we have to struggle, or go through really difficult things.  It is so much easier to move on to vs. 32 and dwell on God graciously giving us ALL THINGS.  It is important to remember God blesses us in MANY different ways.  Part of His blessing, part of the good things He graciously gives us may be hardship and difficulty which has the potential to draw us into a more intimate relationship with Him - if we will embrace the hard things as coming from Him for a good purpose. John Piper comments: “God takes ALL THINGS and makes them serve our ultimate good.  It does not mean we get everything our imperfect hearts demand.  It does mean that we get what is good for us.” (God is the Gospel Pg. 124)  The ESV Study Bible: “God weaves everything together for good for his children. The ‘good’ in this context does not refer to earthly comfort but conformity to Christ, closer fellowship with God, bearing good fruit for the kingdom, and final glorification.”

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You that You are Sovereign and in control of all things.  Thank you that even the hard and difficult things in my life can be used by You for my good and Your glory.  Please Lord, help me to embrace Your work in my life, draw me closer to you, help me to see Your goodness and grace in all that happens.