God's Word is Powerful

God's Word is Powerful

Thursday, July 28, 2011


In any given month I will get a number of phone calls or people coming to the church who have a sad story and what sounds like a legitimate need.  Those kinds of calls or visits are very difficult for me.  How in the world can I possibly know if the need is legitimate?  Are they really in need or are they just going down the list of churches and trying to find one that will give them what they want?  The hardest part in all of this is that I cannot see the heart or the motive behind what is being said.  Because of this I have been taken advantage of in the past.  And yet I still don’t know how to meet these situations in good way.  When it comes to the motiveS of the heart that is a difficult thing to understand.  I don’t always know what all the levels of my own motivation may be. That may be why I find prayer hard sometimes.  Especially when I know that what is in my heart and my innermost motivation is really what matters to God when I pray.   

James 4:2-3 (NLT) ...Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong...

James 4:2-3 (NET) You do not have because you do not ask; you ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, so you can spend it on your passions.

James 4:2-3 (NIV) ...You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

There are many aspects to prayer and prayer should always be first and foremost a way of spending time with our Lord Jesus.  When we are troubled, hurting, when we are in desperate shape to be able to get before the Lord and pour out our hearts to Him is an incredible blessing.  Prayer can also be where we ask for things from God.  We can ask for things for others or for ourselves.  James is speaking specifically to us as individuals and how we ask things of God.  Two things seem to have gone wrong.  First, people were NOT asking anything of God. So God did not answer since a request was never made.  The second, was that when people did ASK for something the motivation behind the request was WRONG.  The word pleasures is the Greek is the word for hedonism which means the pursuit of personal pleasure above everything else. The word SPEND means to squander. Davis put it this way: This is not the trusting child asking for a meal, but the greedy child asking for the best piece or the spoiled child demanding his or her own way.  So what is it that we need to do?  Stop praying until our MOTIVES are perfect?  NO because that will never happen this side of eternity.  But we can ask God to give us insight into our desires.  We can ask God to show us when we are being self-focused and selfish with our requests.  The ESV Notes give this insight: Bringing our request to God can have a purifying influence on our desires.  It may be that in the very act of asking for something totally selfish that the conviction of the Spirit of God will show us that we are wrong.  We can also ask ourselves the following questions.  Do I really need what I am asking for?  Am I asking for something that will honor God?  Why do I really want this?  Yes we must pray and ask or we will never receive. But when we ask it needs to be from an unselfish heart seeking God and His kingdom first.

Prayer:  Lord, please keep me from being selfish and self-absorbed as I pray.  Please Lord God sort out my twisted and sinful motives.  Bring the conviction of Your Holy Spirit on anything I am asking for in my life which is sinful.  Please help me to pray and ask  big things of You - but only those things which will continue the good work which You are doing in my life.

Monday, July 25, 2011

God is NOT Tightfisted

Have you ever heard the word “tightfisted”?  It means to be stingy, cheap, not generous, unwilling to give or share with others.  The picture in my mind is of a two year old who has two huge handfuls of candy a bowlful of it sitting in front of them and their mouthful.  Yet when Mom or Dad tell him to share he shakes his head and holds on tighter.  The difference between being generous and tightfisted is night and day.  During hard times financially it is always important to remember that GOD is NOT tightfisted ever.  Let look at these verses together.

Isaiah 26:3-4 (HCS) You will keep the mind that is DEPENDENT on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD God is an everlasting rock!

Psalm 145:16 (HCS) You OPEN Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.

When I am struggling and fearful about the things going on in my life.  I need to remember that the Lord God wants me to be totally DEPENDENT on Him.  That is impossible to do if I refuse to TRUST God.  None of us would say that we do not trust God.  But what are we saying when we give in to Fear, Doubt, or Anxiety?  I believe we are saying that we do not trust God completely.  We are not DEPENDENT on Him in fact we are acting independently or apart from Him. If we want the perfect peace that is promised then we MUST Trust and Depend on the Lord.  Why should we do this?  The imagery in Isaiah is that God is an everlasting rock.  In other words a rock that cannot be changed, a rock that will ALWAYS be there, a rock you can build on.  We also need to remember that the Lord is never TIGHTFISTED He is always open handed and wants to satisfy the DESIRES of those who are looking to Him as their eternal rock for His help and strength. 

PRAYER: Lord You and only You are my hope.  You never fail, You are never stingy, You open Your hand to bless.  Thank You that I can find Trust satisfaction ONLY in You.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Rose By ANY Other Name?

Imagine my shock, many years ago, when our oldest daughter informed us that she would love the complete works of William Shakespeare for Christmas.  My first though was where did I go wrong.  Just kidding - but I do have to admit I had tried to get through college without having to read any Shakespeare - so this request was a bit of a shock to my otherwise delicate system.  One of Shakespeare’s most famous quotes is this “What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  This is a reminder that an object (like a rose) maintains its essence even if it is called by another name.  In the Psalms many times we run across this kind of statement “to Your NAME give glory...” (Ps. 115:1).  As we look at the way the word NAME is used in the Psalms many times it is used as a synonym for God Himself. Let’s look at these verses together.

Psalm 9:10 (HCS) Those who know Your name trust in You because You have not abandoned those who seek You, Yahweh.

Psalm 9:10 (NLT)  Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O LORD, do not abandon those who search for you.

Holman OT Com: “To know God’s NAME is to have a personal, intimate relationship with God.” So to Know Your NAME means to KNOW God. The reason they could TRUST God is that they had a Relationship with God.  I have been in many situations where I have been asked to do something (like going up a ladder or crossing a narrow ledge) all the while trusting someone else to make sure I am safe as I do this.  I have to be honest there have been times when I did NOT trust the person. Why?  Because I did not know them.  However, my close friends or family could ask me to do just about anything and ask me to trust them and I would.  Why?  Because I have a relationship with them.  The close we are to God the more we will Trust Him.  Many times when we do not Trust God it is because we are not walking closely with Him.  It may be that because we are not walking closely with Him we do not believe what He has said in His word and we find it very DIFFICULT to Trust God.  I love the second part of the verse which bring it all together those who KNOW God Trust Him and God never ABANDONS those who SEEK after Him.  So if we want to truly Trust God no matter what is going on in our lives we need to Seek after Him - Pursue Him - walk Closely with Him.  Then and only then will we have the Confidence to TRUST Him.  Because as we get to Know Him through His Word, through our times of Prayer, we discover that God is Faithful and completely Trustworthy.

Prayer:  Lord, God help me to grow in my walk with You. May I come to know You on deeper and deeper levels.  Help me Lord Jesus to know you better so that I can TRUST You More.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

God is ALL I want - He is ALL I Need

The commercial said - “let’s face it none of us has ever wanted our gift to be smaller”.  I know that advertising is designed to create desire or even a desperate sense that you must have this thing.  But this commercial was so blatant that is sickened me.  Most stores at this time of the year are being set up in such a way that when you walk in the door you will see the latest the newest the fastest whatever... on display.  And of course they are ALL marked down or on special today.  The reality is that in our culture we are bombarded daily with message: you need this, you will feel better if you own this, you cannot live without this.  That is why this verse from Psalm 73 is such a challenge.
Psalm 73:25  (NLT) Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth.  

Psalm 73:25-26 (HCS) Who do I have in heaven but You? And I desire nothing on earth but You.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever.

If you take time to read the whole of Psalm 73 you will find that the Psalmist starts out lamenting the fact that the wicked seem to get whatever they want while the godly do not.  This of course makes him wonder if it is worth it all.  In vs. 16-17 the author confesses that the whole thing was very depressing until he went into God’s presence.  God gave him insight into the realities that the wicked will ultimately face.  At that point there is repentance on the part of the Psalmist which leads him to proclaim the truth he expresses in vs. 25.  Lord God You are ALL I want in life.  I do not want anything else on earth more than YOU.  Powerful words coming from someone who had been envious of the wealth and prosperity of the wicked.  Can we say that?  Can we say I desire NOTHING on earth but a deeper walk with Jesus?  In a very real sense the Psalmist has come to the end and faces the fact that without God there is NO HOPE for today or for eternity.  The psalmist goes on to say that his strength can come only from God.  God is his portion which refers to the land assigned to each Israelite family when they came into the promised land.  So the Psalmist using that imagery says GOD is better than the best portion of land in all of Israel. In a sense he was saying: “God is all I have, but He is also ALL I need.  He sustains me here, and afterward He will receive me into Heaven.” (Boice)   May we learn to say, even in our hectic me first society, God is ALL I want or NEED.

PRAYER: Lord God in my heart I long to be able to say that You and You ALONE are ALL that I WANT or need.  Please Lord Jesus help me to Look to You for Strength and help.  Please Lord help me to Desire NOTHING and NO ON more than YOU!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Speaking with Grace AND Truth

I will never forget the phone call.  It was over 30 years ago now.  I was a young pastor facing some difficult problems and trying desperately to say and do the right thing.  But the minute I said it I knew I had blown it.  No, I did not swear or curse.  I did not say something untrue.  What I did was say something true in a very ungracious way.  I said something that came out of my own desire to protect some one else but it caused serious consequences.  That event made me realize the truth of the statement “Words Mean Things”.  The things we say have power and the way we say them has impact on others.  Even when we speak the Truth we can do it in ways that wound and are harmful. Sometimes it is the Truth itself that wounds and godly friends may say hard things to us seeking our good and growth in godliness (Prov. 27:6).  But many times it is they way that we speak the Truth that harms others.  One of the best reminders of this difficult balance comes from the apostle John who tells us that Jesus came from the Father full of GRACE and TRUTH.  As we look at these verses remember that Words Mean Things and they have IMPACT others.

Matthew 12:35-36 (NIV) The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. [36] But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 

Psalm 19:14 (NIV) May the words of my mouth and the MEDITATION of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Where do our words come from?  They come from our hearts and our thoughts.  We speak from the depths of what we have stored up inside.  These verses in Matthew remind us that ALL the things that we say are things for which we must answer some day to God.  I love the challenge in the Holman N. T. Commentary: “Words are so easy to produce that we can forget how powerful they are. They have great potential for building up as well as tearing down. They can be used to advance God's kingdom, or to attack it...  Words must be used with care. Careless words are like loaded guns that are handled recklessly.”   That is why it is important for us to remember Words Mean Things - Words Have Impact.  How we say something is critically important.  We must not use the excuse that because something is True we can say it carelessly without any thought to how those words may be received.  For someday we will ANSWER to God for every word carelessly or recklessly spoken.  That is why David’s prayer in Psalm 19 is a great way to start each day.  May my Words and Heart be focused on You o Lord God.

PRAYER:  Lord, please help me today to accept the responsibility of speaking Words in ways that honor You.  May I learn to speak the TRUTH but in ways that demonstrate Your Grace.  Lord may my heart and mind be fixed on You and may the Words I speak reflect You to others.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Nobody wanted Joe on their team. The captains took turns picking people and the last captain to  pick ended up with Joe.  I’m sure he must have wondered why nobody wanted him. Have you ever felt like that?  Have you ever felt that nobody wanted you or was interested in you?  I have applied for jobs and been turned down many times for all kinds of reasons.  And when you have been rejected time after time it gets discouraging and you wonder why nobody sees your value and worth.  That is why Ephesians 1 is so encouraging to me as a Christian.  This chapter is full of incredible theology and amazing truths. But I want to focus on the following on the following verses briefly. 
Ephesians 1:4 (NIV) For he chose us in him before the creation of the world...

Ephesians 1:5  (NIV)... In love [5] he predestined us to be adopted... 

Ephesians 1:11  (NET) In Christ we too have been claimed as God’s own possession...

No matter what is happening around me, no matter what I may be feeling if I am born again and I have put my faith and Trust in Jesus these amazing verses say some powerful things. God chose me before the world was even in existence.  That is something that should boggle our minds.  The God of the Universe CHOSE ME.  The next verse goes on to make clear that out of God’s incredible Love He chose us to be adopted.  On one level the word predestined means that the decision to adopt me was made way ahead of time (marked out beforehand).  But adopted means to be brought into the family with all the rights of sons.  The next word is found in the NET translation of vs. 11 which sais we have been “claimed as God’s own possession”.  It is possible that others do not see my worth or value but God has claimed me as His OWN.  What an incredible God He chose me, Adopted me, and Claimed me.  We must also remember that God made all of this possible by crushing His own Son.  Jesus paid the price for our sins so that we could be chosen, adopted, and claimed.  That should take our breath away. What an amazing God we have.

PRAYER: Lord God thank You for choosing, adopting, and claiming me as Your own. Thank You that I belong to You.  Help me Lord God when I am discouraged or down or when I wonder about myself to remember the TRUTH of Your word and to Rejoice in Who I am because of What You have done.  

Who am I? That the Lord of all the earth,
Would care to know my name, would care to feel my hurt.
Who am I? That the bright and morning star,
Would choose to light the way, For my ever wandering heart?

Not because of who I am, but because of what you've done.
Not because of what I've done, but because of who you are.

I am a flower quickly fading, Here today and gone tomorrow.
A wave tossed in the ocean, a vapor in  the wind.
Still you hear me when I'm calling, Lord you catch me when I'm falling,
And you told me who I am.     I am yours.    I am yours.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Our Words IMPACT Others

I enjoy college basketball at this time of the year.  I enjoy watching my favorite teams.  I may even venture an opinion about who will win from time to time.  But if I were to say that the Butler Bulldogs from Indiana WILL win the NCAA tournament this year and if it turned out to be wrong it really would not matter that much.  Those words do not have a lot of importance.  If I said that I was NOT allergic to penicillin when the opposite is true then those words could have rather serious consequences.   The words we say do matter.  The older that I have gotten the more aware I have become that my words have meaning and impact on others.  Especially the things that I say about God.  Those are the most important words that I speak.  I am also more conscious of the fact that my Words flow from my thoughts.  They come right out of what is going on inside my heart and head. So let’s take a look at these verse together.

[God said this to Job’s three friends after they had spoken many wrong things about God]

 Job 42:7 (NET) ...My anger is stirred up against you and your two friends, because you have not spoken about me what is right, as my servant Job has.

God is VERY interested in what people say about Him.  It would appear that one way to get God mad at you very quickly is to say wrong and incorrect things to others about Him.  That is something He clearly does not like.

Where do our words come from? 
Matthew 12:34 (NAS) For the mouth speaks out of that which FILLS the heart.

 Jesus said that we speak out of the fullness of our hearts.  Or put another way the things that overflow from our thoughts and minds come out in our words.  That is why when we are angry, stressed out, or depressed, if we dwell on those things our words will reflect what is going on in our hearts. 

How can we Learn to Speak what is right and good especially about God?
Psalm 40:8 (NET) I want to do what pleases you, my God. Your law dominates my thoughts.”

 Psalm 40:8 (NLT)I take joy in doing your will...for your instructions are written on my heart.

 Psalm 37:31 (NET) The law of their God controls their thinking; their feet do not slip.

 What is it that DOMINATES our thoughts?  The news?  The pressures of family or work?  Problems with our parents, kids, or spouse?  Psalm 40:8 sais that the writer wanted to please God and for that reason God’s Law, dominated his thoughts.  Because he wanted to DO God’s will he wanted God’s word to be WRITTEN on his heart.  So if we want to do what God wants us to do, including speaking accurately about Him, then His WORD must Dominate our thinking.  It should be the starting and ending point.  God’s Word is the place we must return to in order to check the accuracy of our thinking, words, and actions.  Now in Psalm 37 the writer says that if God’s Word  CONTROLS their thinking they will NOT SLIP.  The wording is slightly different but the same truth comes through.  If we want to keep from stumbling and falling in our walk with the Lord Jesus, His WORD will have to CONTROL our Thinking.  How does that happen?  Only by being in the Word of God as much as we can.  We should be reading it, memorizing it, listening to teaching about it, studying it, seeking to think about what it says (meditating) and Most of all living it out in our lives every day.

PRAYER:  Lord God please keep me IN YOUR WORD - may it Dominate and Control my thinking.  May I surrender to You and What Your Word says and live in daily obedience to it.  

Monday, July 11, 2011

Where Does Evil Come From?

Traveling in Mexico and visiting Missionaries was a remarkable experience for me.  I loved spending time with God’s very special servants.  But seeing the country where I was born and have loved for many years going through the turmoil that they are experiencing was deeply troubling to me.  In many cases those who are committing the violent acts are doing so purposely to send a message to others who are committing equally hideous acts.  As I read about or hear about some of what has happened I can’t help but think of how evil and devastating it all is.  A couple of questions come to mind for me: Where does this kind of evil come from and is there any hope?  Let’s look at these verses together.

Psalm 36:1-4 (NET)  An evil man is rebellious to the core.  He does not fear God, [2] for he is too PROUD to recognize and give up his sin. [3] The words he speaks are sinful and deceitful; he does not care about doing what is wise and right. [4] He plans ways to sin while he lies in bed; he is committed to a sinful lifestyle; he does not reject what is evil.

Psalm 36:1-2 (NLT) Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts... [2] In their blind conceit, they cannot see how wicked they really are.

Psalm 36 gives us an insight into EVIL and how it impacts men’s hearts.  We see that the evil man is rebellious to the core - that is to say on the very deepest level there is NO FEAR of God.  He does not see what he is doing as wrong or evil.  He does not see himself as God sees him.  Perhaps he denies that God even exists.  His PRIDE and arrogance make him look at his own power and what He can get away with.  He never thinks that someday he may be held accountable by God.  The Net Bible Note puts it this way: “His rebellious attitude makes him reject any notion that God will hold him accountable. His attitude also prevents him from recognizing and renouncing his sinful ways.”  So the evil person has a heart that is in rebellion against God - he does not think that he will ever have to answer for his actions or his words. (vs. 3)   When we hear of some evil act being committed, many times our minds recoil in horror from it and wonder how anyone could be so ruthless, so evil.  Verse 4 tells us this is what the evil person does; he thinks and plans ways to continue to do more evil.  Why?  He is committed to a sinful lifestyle.  This is the direction he is going and he has NO plan to turn away from the evil in which he is involved. He does NOT REJECT evil in any way. On one level evil comes from the hearts of evil men.  Is there hope?  YES?  There is hope for anyone and everyone who will come to the cross of Jesus.  The Apostle Paul persecuted and put Christians to death before he came face to face with the resurrected Lord Jesus.  So how should we respond to evil when we encounter it or hear about it?  We can look at our own lives and seek to turn away from evil in all its forms.  We can pray that:

1- We would live lives committed to godliness
2- God would convict us of SIN and evil in our own lives so that we renounce it and turn to Him
3- God would protect His people from Evil
4- God would draw many people to Himself as a result of the evil things that are happening
5- God would grant repentance and deliverance from evil to those who are bound by it

PRAYER:  Lord God, help me to FEAR YOU, to be in Awe of You, and to see the wonder of Your grace and mercy towards me.  Help me to recognize my own sin and to turn away from it.  Help me to grow stronger in my walk with You.  May I be COMMITTED to living a GODLY LIFESTYLE. 

The BEST Team Does NOT Always Win

One of the hardest things in sports to understand is how a team that nobody thinks can win beats a team that nobody thinks can lose.  The fact is that the strongest - the tallest - the fittest - do not always win the game.  It happens in sports and it happens in life.  As a matter of fact many times in Israel’s history they were NOT the strongest or the most powerful nation or army and yet they won resounding victories.  When they left Egypt they were not an army trained in warfare they had no chance against the well trained Egyptian army.  Yet God destroyed the Egyptians and all Israel had to do was TRUST Him and watch. The same thing happened over and over in Israel’s history.  And the same thing is true for us as Christians in our walk with God. Let’s look at these verses together.

Psalm 20:7 (NET) Some trust in chariots and others in horses, but we depend [trust] on the LORD our God.

When David wrote this verse chariots and horses were considered almost invincible in wars that were fought primarily on foot with swords, spears, and arrows.  He was reminding the people that it did not matter that they did not have chariots and horses.  Their enemy was trusting in their weapons and techniques of war thinking that their chariots and horses made them strong. David was reminding them that GOD was the one who made them strong God was the one who would give them the victory. 

Psalm 44:3 (NLT)  They did not conquer the land with their swords; it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory. It was your right hand and strong arm and the blinding light from your face that helped them, for you loved them.

This Psalm was a reminder to the people that they did NOT defeat their enemies because of their strength or their skill with swords.  The victory came to them because of God’s Power and Strength.  They were able to defeat their enemies because God loved them and fought for them.

Romans 8:31 (NET)  What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

These things? are the description Paul gave in chpts. 5-8 of all the ways that we are blessed IN CHRIST.  Then he asks: If God is for us (and HE is FOR US...then) who can be against us?  The answer expected is NO ONE.  Not that we don’t have enemies. Not that Satan does not want to destroy every Christian he can.  But the fact is if God is on our side and Satan is powerless against God.  When Jesus died and Rose again He won once and for all the victory.  So who can be against us? NOBODY.  The practical implications of these verses in our lives is huge.  Many times we think if we can just find one more technique or method then we will do better spiritually.  Or if our church would just try this new approach or program then we would really grow and see amazing things.  But the fact of the matter is that personally and as a church family victory, strength, and growth come from God not techniques, programs and methods.  Yes we must pursue excellence in the things that we do.  Yes programs and methods can be helpful in our walk with God.  But we must be diligent in seeking after Him.  If God is FOR US it does not matter who may be against.  We can Trust Him Not the latest fad, technique or program.   

PRAYER Lord God no matter what is happening Your Power and Strength are the ONLY source of Victory.  Lord help me, help our church, to seek Your Power, Your Strength, Your help.  Oh Lord may it be clear that You are working in us and through us.  Please Lord God turn Your Power loose - show that You ALONE are GOD. 


“Words mean things.”  That statement reminds me that the things I say matter and that they have impact on others.  Hopefully remembering that statement helps me to think before I speak so that I do not hurt someone else with my words.  Another statement that is important when trying to figure out what someone else is saying is “Context is Important.”  Especially when we are trying to understand what a verse in the Bible means.  The actual words are full of meaning but the context historically many times gives us a deeper insight into what the writer was saying.  Let’s look at these verses together.

Psalm 57:7 (ESV) My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast. I will sing and make melody.

Psalm 57:7 (NET)  I am determined, O God. I am determined. I will sing and praise you.

The Hebrew word for Steadfast or Determined comes from the idea of having a Steadfast heart.  The “heart” was considered the center of a persons will where a person make decisions.  So Determined really captures what David was saying here.  To say I am DETERMINED I will sing praise to You sounds good and it may even challenge us a little.  However, if we look carefully at this Psalm and the context of when it was written helps us to see the determination of David.  The heading over the Psalm tells us that David wrote this when he was running from King Saul who was trying to kill him.  As David was hiding out in a cave he wrote these incredible words.  I am determined. I will sing and praise you.  Now that is blows me away.  When I am struggling and hurting most of the time I’m not all that interested in singing praise to God.  I might actually be a whole lot more interested in complaining or whining.  Yet David shows us what God wants us to do when we are struggling and hurting... sing praises to HIM.    WHY?  Why does David do this?  

 Psalm 57:10-11 (NLT) For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens. May your glory shine over all the earth

David is willing to Sing praise to God even while he is hiding in a cave to save his life because he believes God’s Love NEVER FAILS.  He understands that God is FAITHFUL and that God can be Trusted no matter what the circumstances may be. 

PRAYER:  Lord God thank you that you are the Faithful Unfailing God of the Universe.  Thank You that I can Trust You no matter what I’m going through.  Please help me to praise You no matter what is going on.  May I see past the difficulty, trial, or struggle.  Help me to be able to Praise YOU no matter what. 

Same Old Same Old

Do you ever feel like you are doing the same thing everyday?  You get up, you go to work, you eat, you sleep, you interact with family, friends, and co-workers and then you do it all over again.  Many times we do fall into routines.  Most of the time there really nothing wrong with that as long as we are not merely going through the motions.  When we just go through the motions then all we are really doing is coasting along without making much of an effort in life.  That is when there is a problem.  We are not supposed to ignore God or the people he puts us in contact with.  And the minute we start to merely go through the motions, coasting without thinking about it, that is what we are doing. If we just go through the motions at work we need to ask ourselves is my employer getting all that he deserves?  Am I representing the Lord well in the way that I work for him or her?  If I coast in my relationships with others and put no effort into them am I really doing what God has called me to do?  I am supposed to be salt and light no matter where I am and I cannot do that just going through the motions. If we coast in our walk with God and don’t put any effort or passion into seeking after Him then we are not walking in a way that honors and pleases Him.  Let’s look at the challenge from these verses. 
2 Chronicles 19:9, 11 (NLT) These were his instructions to them: You must always act in the fear of the LORD, with faithfulness and an undivided heart.  [11]...Take courage as you fulfill your duties...
2 Chronicles 19:9, 11 (NET) He commanded them: “Carry out your duties with respect for the LORD, with honesty, and with pure motives.   [11] ...Confidently carry out your duties! ...
The context is that King Jehoshaphat has appointed Levites and Priests to settle disputes and decide cases between the people. As he did this he gave them this challenge.  In applying God’s Law in all situations FEAR the Lord - Respect and Reverence Him - as you seek to do the job you have been given.  They were to step forward with Courage and Confidence and do what God had set before them to do.  I don’t think it is to much of a stretch to apply that same challenge to us in our own lives.  The Lord calls you and me to follow Him and to carry out our duties with RESPECT for the Lord.  My duties are all those things which I need to do each day at work or at home.  My duties also include all my interactions with others.  I must also do my job, go to school, take care of my family with the same high ideals.  I must act with honesty and with pure motives. That last one is so hard because my heart is twisted and I can’t always say my motives are pure. But that is the challenge.  So after we have spent time with the Lord and after we have done our best to make sure our heart is right with Him and with others then we can step forward Confidently (confidence in Him) knowing that these are the duties or the calling which He has given us. 
PRAYER:  Lord God thank you that you fill my life each day with the challenge of living in a way that shows I Reverence and Honor You.  Please Lord God help me to FAITHFULLY do those things which you put before me to accomplish today.  Please help me to do them honestly, and from pure motives.  Lord God no matter what I am facing today give me the ability to Confidently do everything You ask me to do in a way that makes You look good.    

Plop Plop Plop

There I was sitting on the deck at the table under the big maple tree in our backyard.  I really enjoy those early mornings as read and meditate on God’s Word.  I can hear the sounds of birds and the wind in the trees.  But on this day every now and then something would come fluttering down onto the table, pieces of dried grass and twigs, then there was to plop of something like mud. This was not what I was expecting,  it had never happened before.  So I looked up in the tree and from where I was sitting straight up around 40 feet two birds were building a nest and as the birds worked on in bits an pieces of various things were hitting the table.  Although I had the right to sit there, and nobody could force me to move, I had to decide if it was really wise to continue sitting there.  After getting plopped on a couple of more times I decided that I would move until the nest building was officially over.  Paul reminds us as Christians that though we may have a lot of freedom in our lives not everything leads to godliness. 
1 Corinthians 6:12 (JBP)  As a Christian I may do anything, but that does not mean that everything is good for me. I may do everything, but I must not be a slave of anything.
1 Corinthians 6:12 (HCS) “Everything is permissible for me,” but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible for me,” but I will not be brought under the control of anything.
1 Corinthians 10:23-24 (JBP)  As I have said before, the Christian position is this: I may do anything, but everything is not useful. Yes, I may do anything but everything is not constructive. [24] Let no man, then, set his own advantage as his objective, but rather the good of his neighbor.

1 Corinthians 10:23-24 (HCS) “Everything is permissible,” but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible,” but not everything builds up. [24] No one should seek his own good, but the good of the other person.

Although I have freedom to do many things as a Christian.  The one thing I must be careful of is that I never become a SLAVE of those things which I wish to do.  It is easy to let things get out of balance in our lives.  I love to read and I enjoy spy thrillers and westerns but if ALL I do is sit around and lose myself in that fantasy world it can become a stumbling block to me and rob me of a close walk with the Lord Jesus.  That is why Paul says: “You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” (1 Cor. 6:20)  Another challenge for us when thinking through the freedom we have in Christ comes from a series of questions later in the book. No matter what the activity may be we should ask:  Is it Helpful?  Does it Build up? Is it Useful?  Is it Constructive? Does this help me seek the GOOD of others first?  If not then I must be very careful.  Jesus died for me to forgive me  - SO THAT - I could live for Him and Honor HIM in my daily life.  If I choose to do those things which do not build up, those things which enslave me, then I am NOT honoring Jesus Christ in my body as I should.
PRAYER:  Lord Jesus, please help me to measure everything that I do in light of Your Word.  Thank You for the Freedom I have to enjoy all things.  Please keep me from using that freedom to become enslaved to anything but You.  May YOU be my only Master.  Please Lord use Your Word and Your Spirit to make me more and more sensitive to those things in my life which do NOT honor You.