Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Things that Matter

So you may walk in the way of goodness,
And keep to the paths of righteousness.
For the upright will dwell in the land,
And the blameless will remain in it;
But the wicked will be cut off from the earth,
And the unfaithful will be uprooted from it.
Proverbs 2:20-22

One of the cruelest lesson my children have had to learn is that of choice.  Whether that is the choice of what dessert they will have or what they will do with the last remaining hour before bed time regret over decisions is a regular part of my children’s lives.  So frequently I hear the words “I’m bored” an hour before bedtime, and “I want to do this one last thing!” the moment the clock tells us that bedtime has arrived.  Yet, no matter how much my children wish to fit one last thing into the day, it cannot be done.  That time has passed and the opportunity to spend that hour is gone.  One of the things that the book of Proverbs teaches us is that our choices and decisions matter.  By the grace of Christ we have the forgiveness of sins and the ability to start fresh each morning, but we are never going to be given the opportunity to go and relive the time we wasted yesterday.  We are never going to be able to unsay hurtful words, only apologize for them.  One of the key subtexts of the book of Proverbs is that our lives and decisions matter.  While Jesus paid the full price for our sin at the cross, He will still allow us to experience the effects of our actions here on earth – for positive or for negative. 

There is always grace for tomorrow, but there is no reliving today.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Advent 5: Jesus

When God came to earth it was not with great pomp and circumstance.  He moved the great power of Rome to call a census so that the Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, as He had promised.  He came to a poor young Jewish girl who lived in a small village.  God chose for the birthplace of Jesus a barn, or possibly a cave, where animals were kept.  Rather than being greeted by the greatest powers and authorities of the Earth He was greeted by humble shepherds and some wise men from afar.  Jesus humble birth shows us something very clearly.  Jesus came for everybody.  Jesus is God’s greatest gift.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Things Remembered

My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding…
Then you will understand the fear of the LORD,
And find the knowledge of God.
Proverbs 2:1-2,5

How many song lyrics can you bring  effortlessly to mind?  How many quotes from books, movies or television shows?  Important dates from history?  Statistics and trivia regarding your favorite sports team?  We carry around amazing amounts of information in the supercomputer that God placed carefully between our ears.  We make a choice what information to collect and pursue and what information to forget and avoid.  Often times we value information simply for its own sake (as with a song lyric or a sports fact)  and other times for what that information can do for us.  We will value what we retain.  If it is difficult to read the Bible, or retain and apply the word of God, the question to be asking is not how to do better, but why don’t I value God’s word and wisdom.  This is a question for reflection and prayer.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Advent 4: Love

The human race knows very little of love, yet we long for it so deeply.  Most often we see true love displayed in sacrifice.  The father who, for the love of his family, works hard each day to provide and care for them.  The mother who sacrifices countless nights of sleep in caring for young children.  The friend who sets aside their own agenda to come alongside us and help us in our moment of need.  Yet the greatest sacrifice ever made was by Jesus Christ.  The Hymn Love was When gives us these words:
Love was when God became a Man,
Locked in time and space, without rank or place;
Love was God born of Jewish kin;
Just a carpenter with some fishermen.
For Jesus Christ to law aside His rights as God and take on human flesh was the ultimate act of love.  That act, however, was only a beginning.  The same hymn continues in the third verse:
Love was when God became a Man,
Down where I could see Love that reached to me;
Love was God dying for my sin
And so trapped was I my whole world caved in.

This is the love of God for the lost and perishing world.  It is concrete and demonstrated within time.  There is no question that Christ’s love is meant to be at the very center of understanding the character and plan of God.  May we all know that we are infinitely loved this Christmas season.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Wisdom is Calling

Wisdom calls aloud outside;
She raises she raises her voice in the open squares.
She cries out in the chief concourses,
At the openings of the gates in the city
She speaks her words…
Proverbs 1:20-21

Advertising is a major portion of modern culture.  It is quite common for more money to spent on advertising than on the production of a product.  Not only that advertising has taken on whole new forms.  From junk mail to email, from billboards to internet banners, there is a never ending stream of advertising that we can see to the point where we almost cease to notice it.  The purpose of advertising is to tell people about a product, increase appetite for that product and then instruct people on how to get the product.  We may often think of wisdom as something being impossible to find.  The cliché for seeking wisdom is to find some hidden wise man on a far away mountain top.  But here we see a different picture.  Wisdom is not hiding she is ADVERTISING!  She is not hidden but available and taking appointments.  The only thing that makes her seem difficult find is that we love our own simplicity and folly more than we value God’s wisdom.  The idea that we must travel to find wisdom is a sales tactic of another saleswoman.  As with all good things God is far more willing to give than we are to ask (James 1:5).

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Advent 3: Joy

While the Christmas season is a joyous time for many, the stress and busyness of the season can sometimes distract us from the joy we have in Christ.  For many the holidays can be a time of loneliness and missing our lost loved ones.  However, we find in Scripture that the only source of true joy is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.  True and permanent joy flows naturally from knowing and believing the truth that God valued each of us so highly that he would send Jesus, His only begotten Son, to die for our sins and to reveal God most clearly to us.  While many things will make us happy this Christmas season Christ alone gives us joy.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Company You Keep

My son, if sinners entice you,
Do not consent.
Proverbs 1:10

It is so easy to be deceived.  When a person is tried in a court of law, they are tried for a crime.  They are tried for their choices and actions.  If found guilty they are then punished for that crime.  We may wish to ask them their motivation, but a great deal of the time the person on trial is there simply because they threw in their lot with the wrong crowd.  We are limited little beings and we get to choose with whom we will spend our time, but make no mistake – we will be shaped by the people with whom we associate.  This warning works in the reverse, as well.  A student of average intelligence who chooses to spend time with good students often performs closer in grades to the company which he has chosen.  The question is there for each of us.  With whom do we choose to associate?  This is a seemingly small choice with monumental consequences. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Advent 2: Peace

Christmas can certainly be a time of chaos and busyness.  With gifts to buy, parties to attend, church activities and family activities it can easily start to feel as if a vacation is needed after surviving the Christmas season.  However, celebrating Christmas is a celebration of peace – The Peace of God.  Consider those precious Christmas moments when the soft glow from the lights on the tree illuminates the while snow peacefully falls outside.   In the person of Jesus Christ we see very God made man.  Jesus came to earth for the very specific purpose of providing a peace with God that mankind had no way of creating, earning or maintaining.  Peace with God can only be found through Jesus Christ, because of His death on the cross to pay for the sin which separates us from God.  It is only because we are clothed in His righteousness that we may have peace with the righteous God of love.  Because Jesus dealt with the sin problem we also look forward to a time when His peace will rule on and over the entire earth.  We look to Jesus and see all of the peace we can ever know, and we look forward to seeing His peace manifested upon the earth.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Advent: Hope

Christmas is a special time of anticipation.  It seems as soon as autumn sets in our minds begin to drift towards Christmas day.  We may look forward to the songs or to the lights and decorations.  We may look forward to the exchange of gifts, or holiday parties.  We may even spend a sweet moment anticipating a Christmas meal shared with loved ones.  Whatever we look forward to each holiday season it is a time to remember that Jesus Christ, the long promised Messiah was anticipated for thousands of years.  As soon as sin entered the world the Lord made the promise of the coming Savior (Genesis 3:15).  From that day forward men and women who trusted God longed to see His provided Savior.  For years they waited, hoped and prayed and then Jesus came to the earth.  Simeon – a man who longed to see the Savior prayed this prayer of joy when he first saw the baby Jesus:

29"Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
31Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
And the glory of Your people Israel."
Luke 2:29-32 NASB

The Fear of the Lord

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.” - Proverbs 1:7

I have worked at several large companies over the years.  There is one scenario that I saw repeatedly that never ceased to surprise me.  I call it the lesson of the overconfident underling.  This would happen when someone at the lower level  of the company would get fed up with their lot in life and then would decide that they were going to take it to the boss.  They would go in with all of their pride, their reasons and their anger.  They finally had the privilege of “telling the boss off.”  There were only ever two results that I ever noticed to follow.  Either, the employee was humbled to find out that their small part in the company was actually not as important as they had thought, or the employee “won the fight” and was fired.  In these cases the universal attitude of the employee was a lack of appropriate  reverence and respect (fear) for the boss either led to them to be a fool growing towards wisdom (as in the case of the employee who was humbled) or of the loss of their situation (as with the employee who was fired).

Our earthly authorities and supervisors are all terribly fallible.  They can be wrong, misinformed and mistaken.  Yet, God is never wrong, misinformed or mistaken.  Our understanding of this reality, and our humility and submission to Him through all circumstances and instances of life will determine the quality of our time on this planet.  Fear of the Lord and humility lead to wisdom.  Pride and arrogance lead to destruction.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Very Good

God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.  And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.  Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts.  By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 
Genesis 1:31-2:2

Six times God surveyed what He had created and found it good.  Yet now, having completed this universe and created man in His own image to manage that creation the verdict changes.  Upon completion God sees that the whole system is very good.  God was pleased by the finished work of His hands.  As any artist or craftsman knows; that pleasure comes from the fact that His perfect artwork reflected His character – His power, His love, His artistry and His love.  It was “very good” now because it reflected the Creator more clearly now than it had at any given point.  When Sin entered this world the mirror of Creation became a less effective tool to see the character of God.  Death and decay did not destroy all the beauty of the earth, but it did make it harsh, dangerous, and even cruel.  No longer can we look at the created world around us and see a perfect illustration of the Creator.  God’s love was too great to allow His beloved children to die, alienated from Him.  He revealed Himself through His Son Jesus Christ – “the visible expression of the invisible God”.  He revealed himself through His word – The Bible.  He reveals Himself through the amazing power of His Holy Spirit at work on the heart of every living being – convicting the unbeliever and indwelling the believer.  Though many of the things that were created to make Him known have been fractured His purpose has not been thwarted.  At the end of all things Christ Jesus will stand upon the redeemed earth – victorious!  By His provision at the Cross – we who humbly accept His grace will stand with Him.  Not because of the works which we have done, but because of His amazing Grace.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Command to Care

God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 
Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and everything that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so.
Genesis 1:28-30 NASB

I remember when my parents gave me my first guitar.  I had wanted one for some time, I had invested time learning to play on my dad’s guitar.  When my parents gave me my own guitar it came with a solemn charge.  This was a gift, but it was expected that this gift would be taken care of.  It was a way to show appreciation.  I was not just being given a gift, but I was being given a gift that needed to be maintained and was meant to be used for a specific purpose.  God created mankind to fill, care for, and enjoy His amazing creation of planet earth.  This charge was repeated to Noah and his descendants after the great flood (Genesis 9:1-4).  This planet is a special charge for humanity.  To discover what God has made and how to best support it as it supports us by God’s provision.  Just as my parents’ charge to me to care for my first guitar was really for my greatest good, so caring for this amazing planet is an important part of the charge of every believer.  We were never meant to abdicate our management of this domain either in the sense of abusing it, or in the sense of worshipping it and thinking that the earth would be better off without us.  We are meant to interact responsibly with our physical environment, appreciating and enjoying the great gift that it is to us from our loving Heavenly Father.  And yes, I still have my first guitar, and it still gets played, enjoyed and maintained.  

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Image of God

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:26-27

God had created a beautiful and wonderful paradise.  Truly, we cannot even imagine what the earth looked like, and how it functioned at this point.  Before sin’s stain had entered the world there was no death, nor was there catastrophe, nor destruction.  The plans and the animals of both land and sea worked together in a perfect and harmonious system.  A person’s faculties could reach their end simply seeking to imagine this wonderful world.  Yet, God’s creation still awaited its pinnacle.  God intended this new and beautiful creation to be ruled by a type of creature who bore His own image.  Upon examining the wonders of the natural world it is expected that we will be awestruck and impressed.  Yet the greater miracle is the place of humanity in that marvelous creation. 

Humanity was designed to represent God in this Creation, caring for it and looking after it through moment by moment reliance upon Him.  Humanity was created and given this amazing domain.  Humanity alone was impressed with the very image of God – a finite reflection of His infinite power, will and majesty.  Humanity failed to fulfill God’s desire and plan, but in His grace God provided a provision for all of our failures.  This original mandate will finally be fulfilled when Jesus Christ sets foot again upon this earth and rules and regulates it, at long last, with all of the wisdom and power that is needed.  God gave a command for mankind’s mission upon this earth, and then provided for that mission to be completed.  All to His glory, all in the person and work of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Beasts of the Earth

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so.  God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. 
Genesis 1:24-25 NASB

In looking at the many and varied creatures that crawl upon the land we see a God who is infinitely creative and given to remarkable detail.  The creatures that crawl upon the earth show such an amazing creativity that we struggle even to comprehend it.  These animals move in different ways, reproduce in different ways and survive in different ways.  Each unique creature has enough complexity to consume countless human lifetimes just to understand what God has provided these creatures in order to display the wonder of His magnificence.  A camel has a unique structure to hold water and to survive in harsh desert climates that would destroy most others.  A polar bear has entirely different set of provided biological equipment to survive in the frigid tundra.  Each of these creatures has shown itself to have purpose within the great and amazing context of the interconnected system of continuing life on planet earth.  Beauty, strength, speed and resourcefulness that surpasses human ability show themselves time and time again and remind us of the amazing Creator who loves and cares for us.  Yet, it is man alone whom God created to live in a special and unique relationship with Him.  All of these amazing creatures, in all of their great variety, are a vivid testament to God’s power and limitless intelligence.  It is this God who desires to be in an active relationship with every human being, and in spite of the myriads of human failures God makes Himself readily available to us through Jesus Christ, His Son.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Swimming Wonders

Then God said, "Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens." God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day. Genesis 1:20-23 NASB
My son, Finnegan, started it all.  He decided that he was interested in sea creatures.  Whale sharks were the most interesting and everything else in the ocean was interesting by proximity.  I think the first mystery was the massive size of many of the greater sea creatures, but the adventure was only beginning.  First evening story time became dedicated exclusively to reading about sea creatures, and then even our entertainment hours began to be consumed by deep sea documentaries.  What is most lovely and remarkable about each of these amazing creatures is how beautiful and complex they are.  They fill the depths of the ocean with amazing bio-luminescence and interconnected systems of living and functioning together that until very recently went totally unnoticed by humanity.  To see these creatures that were created with such beauty and magnificence and such purposeful planning even though many would never be seen by human eyes is remarkable.  It is another demonstration of the greatness of God to have created a world that will intrigue and impress us with its wonder and magnificence until we are face to face with Him...and even still all of the beauty of the created earth is only a reflection of the wonder of His infinite and matchless character expressed most fully in the person of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Turning on the Lights

Then God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and season and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so.  Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night.  He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and  to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.  So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.  Genesis 1:14-19

It is mind blowing to think that God created light before creating the light makers.  I remember being haunted as a child by the atheist eschatology. Sitting in class and being told that our star would one day burn down and die, long before that taking all life off of the planet earth without so much as a sound.  I found the very thought appalling that some future generation of people would be slowly burned, or frozen to death while all human existence fizzled off no more meaningless than a candle that had run our of wick.  Upon noticing that I was trouble the teacher asked me what was wrong.  I replied that I was sad that everyone would die.  She tried to assure me with the words, "You'll already be long dead by then.  So don't worry about it!"  So that is what it is to live in spiritual darkness.  The world understands their dependence upon the "light givers" but would rather resign themselves to absolute meaninglessness and loss than risk seeing the light Creator! It is amazing for us to look up at the stars.  The beautiful pictures of the stars that are so far beyond our ability to see with the natural eye is beyond breathtaking.  The Hubble Telescope shows some of the amazing and beautiful formations that have been tucked away since God created the world.  When He formed those beautiful structures and formations was He thinking of us?  Did He think how amazed and mystified we would be as we saw the distant star formations that are invisible to the naked eye?  Or were we not even apart of the thought, did He just make them because they reflect something of the beauty, creativity and order that flow forth from His being?  I don't know, but what I do know is this: all of that beauty and wonder merited a single statement in Scripture: "He made the stars also."  God then proceeded to reveal pages and pages about Himself and His love for mankind.  It is amazing to think that the angels of heaven could see those "star structures" up close, but they marvel at what God is doing in every person who has trusted Jesus Christ.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Growing Things

Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth"; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according ot its kind. and God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day. Genesis 1:11-13

Whenever spring comes around I am reminded that it is time again to cut and water the grass, and pull weeds.  This becomes a regular demand on my time for the next several months.  Yet, the labor that is expected to properly order my lawn should never distract me from the miracle of God's creation of vegetation.  At this point in the creation week nothing had been made that would reproduce by itself.  Pause for a moment and think that within each blade of grass and fruit tree that God made that day were the seeds that would go down through the generations of time and become the trees and plants that we see today.  God created a system of beautiful plants and flowers that would be so productive in their seed making and surrounding systems that they would cover the earth.  Through this amazing creation of self perpetuating plant life the worlds supply of breathable air would be kept in balance.  Through this creation all living creatures would have something upon which to feed and nourish themselves.  How remarkable that God provided this great world of plants and trees to make a world that was ready to sustain each and every one of us.  Next time we crunch into an apple or a tasty carrot may we remember that those things didn't just happen, nor did they just happen to be delicious, healthy and abundant throughout the earth.  That was a grace gift of Almighty God before He created all of the animals and humans who would rely upon that amazing provision.  

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Land

"Then God said, "Let the waters under the heavens be gather together into one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so.  And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas.  And God saw that it was good."  Genesis 1:9-10

Anyone who has spent time in the ocean knows that water is powerful.  As children we make small waterways and watch as the water carries more and more sand away.  When we stand in the ocean a wave that is not even waste high can knock us off of our feet completely!  In more tragic cases a tsunami can bury and destroy entire cities in a matter of almost no time at all.  Yet, God simply spoke the word and all of the waters the world yeilded to His command and receded to reveal dry land.  For us to move such a great amount of water would be absurdly impossible, but for God this was just a simple act of clearing a canvas.  For what does the master Artist clear such a canvas?  Did He consider as He brought forth the dry ground that He would form some of that freshly cleared soil into the form of mankind?  It is amazing think that that earth that the Lord brought forth would one day walk walk upon it, sit upon it, rest upon it.  One day he would look down upon that soil from a cross where He would hang to redeem that which He created.  That same earth now groans in anticipation of the return of its Lord and Creator, who alone can remove the curse of sin from its form and function

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Sky

Then God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters." Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so.  And God called the firmament heaven.  So the evening and the morning were the second day." Genesis 1:6-8

As a child I remember lying on my back and staring up at the sky.  Day or night this practice never failed to amaze me.  Whether looking out into a beautiful deep blue, clouds or out into an endless sea of stars there seems to be something amazing about that expanse that the Lord God spoke into place to divide the waters from the waters.  I wonder what an angel looking on at God's work in Creation week would think.  God had made this gigantic galaxy and in some corner of it He made this tiny ball that He had filled with water.  Then He made some space in between the waters to put things.  I wonder of the angels were curious as to what he would do with that little bit of space.  Could they have imagined that He was clearing a space for plants and birds, elephants and elk?  Could they have dared to think that He was creating an environment to place little creatures that would be both spirit and animal?  Would it be possible to even dream that He would imprint His very own image upon those creatures?  Yet more amazing that Jesus Christ, the Son of God would take on that form and die to restore them to Himself.  After that, that little space of sky that God created on the second day would be the medium through which Christ would be raised up into heaven to sit down at the right hand of God.  That very same sky will one day contain the returning King and hosts of His saints, saved by Grace.  All this is possible only because God cleared a little space between the waters.

Monday, April 6, 2015


Then God said, "Let there be light", and there was light. Genesis 1:3

We usually take light totally for granted. Yet light is not just assumed by God as He explains His creation process to us. Light was created. When we see light it usually means that something amount of energy is being used. A candle wick is burning, a log is on fire, gas is exploding, or electricity is running and slowly burning out a glass encased coil.  We need a source of energy to make light, yet God spoke and the amazing mysterious particle/wave that would be neccessary for living things to perceive the world around them flowed forth without any natural source.  For a time, the universe was lit not by the thousands of lamps which God hung in the sky, each with their fuel supply predetermined to burn exactly as long as His plan demands, but by God Himself.  Light flows forth from Who He is. When Jesus entered into our Spiritual darkness the same thing occured (John 1) No more hunting about for spiritual matches and burning our fingertips trying to view the spiritual landscape.  The Light entered the world and because of Him, mankind can see again.  By the way, if you have trusted in Him, you will one day inhabit a world where there is no need for light that burns again (Revelation 22:5). I am excited to see that light.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Holy Week

'On the first day you shall have a holy assembly, and another holy assembly on the seventh day; no work at all shall be done on them, except what must be eaten by every person, that alone may be prepared by you. Exodus 12:16 NASB

There is a great deal packed into the little word "holy".  While pages could be spent considering the various implications of this one small word the core meaning of the word is: "to be set apart, separated, or other".  When we are told that our God is Holy it is not just a statement that He is unique in His righteousness (though He is set apart by His perfect righteousness), it is truly a statement that God exists totally independently of this created world.  For Israel God also set apart (declared "holy") several days in their calendar.  From Sabbaths, to the feasts (such as The Day of Atonement and The Feast of Tabernacles), to entire years (such as the Sabbath year and the Year of Jubilee).  For the Church God declared no such holy days, and thus our "Holy Week" is a week set apart by believers down through church history who longed to place the remembrance of Jesus' last week of earthly life into the calendar.  While God certainly is not keeping score of our Holy Week observations, He is certainly pleased whenever we set our gaze and our minds on the Savior.  May we do that precise thing this "Holy Week" and continue to do so until He returns.

Monday, March 23, 2015


The earth was without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:2

I love watching flowers grow each spring. Seeds turn into sprouts, which turn into stalks, which bring forth buds, which bloom into beautiful and fragrant flowers.  The flowers are beautiful, and they come through a process that is beautiful. I needn't even compare that with the beauty of seeing a loving couple, then a pregnant woman, then that couple holding their child and watching that child grow to maturity...it is too beautiful.  Genesis 1:2 shows that God, the inventor of time, meant for it to be used. Even before the entrance of sin into the world process was part of God's plan. He took time to create the world, carefully and lovingly shaping its every feature and aspect. He took time to redeem the world after man's sin brought destruction, decay and death. Leading up slowly, year by year, generation by generation up to the full revelation of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. When God put on flesh He did not bypass the process of growth the physical maturity. God, who seems always to create by process, would then not be out of order in re-creating by process. This is what we see. Every Christian is in a marathon journey towards conformity with the character and life of Jesus Christ. It can be painful, frustrating, even unnerving. However, it is a beautiful process. It is beautiful because of the One who is doing the work.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Creator

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth." Genesis 1:1

Henry Morris once said that anyone who believes this verse will have no trouble believing the rest of the Bible. In this verse there is so much to be found. God created everything from nothing. It shows His limitless power. God created a world so beautiful. It shows His artistry and love. God created time, space and matter before any of those things existed. God's innovation is beyond comprehension to us. God didn't succomb to order and structure, reason and logic...He created and what He created dictated all of those necessaries as a mere result of what God had done.  When we discover how atoms hold together or how planets revolve and fly through space without colliding we are only observing what God designed. This is the God who loves us. This is the God who sent His Son to die for us. This is the God who promises salvation to all who believe in His Son and His payment for our sin.

Friday, March 13, 2015

All Things

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

We can't seem to help it.  The worst happens and we begin to pull our hair, wring our hands and cry out in despair, "God, why are you doing this to me?"  I have heard this cry on the lips of mature believers who have walked with the Lord for years, baby believers who just met the Lord, unbelievers and myself.  When we go through the trial, experience the loss, and feel the sting of pain we can hardly help but wonder what the Lord is all about in letting us go through something so difficult.  It takes a step of faith.  While we may not get to see what is going on, and may never understand in this lifetime what "good" this trial will be used for it will draw those who love God closer to Him.  The challenge to trust in those times seems the greatest, but the reward of trust at those times is also the greatest.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Settled Around the Tabernacle

"Everyone of the children of Israel shall camp by his own standard, beside the emblems of his father's house; they shall camp some distance from the tabernacle of meeting." -Numbers 2:2 NKJV

It is difficult to imagine moving and ordering the thousands of people of Israel though the time in the desert. Yet, there was order, and that order had great meaning.  The tribes were set up around a centerpiece: the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was the place where God designed to meet man. There the sacrifices would be made.  There the Ark of the Testimony sat. There the bronze laver, there the show bread. Each of these things pointed to Jesus Christ.  The Tabernacle was the place where the Holy God would meet with sinful man. This was the center of their camp. Each tribe was given a place around the tabernacle. Their relationship to God was the center of their existence; bothe corporately and individually.

Everything in the tabernacle is a picture of all that Christ came to accomplish.  Now we spiritually must mimic what God had Israel display physically. We must gather ourselves around the One who "tabernacled" among us. (John 1:14). Our relationship to Him the source of our unity and our direction. If you long for greater unity in the Church you must settle around the One who, alone, sits at the center.

Remembering His Return

Therefore be patient, brethren, until coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently until it receives the early and latter rain.  You also be patient.  Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. -James 5:7-8 NKJV

Once on my high school cross country team a friend of mine decided he was really going to get ahead.  He put his head down and ran as fast as he had ever run in a race. When the team finished the race we looked around for my friend.  We found out later that he had been disqualified. Having lost sight of the goal he ignored the course markers and ran wildly off course...quickly! It is easy for us to do this spiritually.  We can try to put our head down to charge through our lives.  Yet, the word regularly beckons us to be mindful of Christ's return for us. We are not called to simply know about it, but to call it regularly to our attention. This anticipation sets our course, sets our priorities, and gives us the much needed patience that only comes from a proper perspective.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Living and Active

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 NASB

While most of us today do not have a great deal of experience with swords, we do use knives quite often.  Around the kitchen, in the workshop and out camping we have plenty of use for a good sharp blade.  It is quite easy to lose track of things and cut yourself with a very sharp blade.  If the blade is quite sharp there is a sort of delay between the cutting and the pain and the blood coming forth.  It is easy to see how a good sword could do its work with great speed. 

The Bible is like that.  It is the only book on earth that is so vitally powerful. While many books may cut into the depths of our thoughts and feelings, only the word of God cuts right down to the point where our soul (our self consciousness) and our spirit (our God consciousness) meet.  The word of God is the only "blade" that is so sharp that it can cut so deep and edify us on the most important and needed level.  All we need to do is to pick it up and this tool, like a scalpel in the Surgeon's hand, the Lord will use that word to transform your life.  All we need do is pick it up, read it, and apply it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Feeling Judged

For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."
John 3:20-21 NASB

Nobody likes to feel "judged" by others.  We have all met people who we feel are terribly judgmental and critical.  However, there are other times when the feeling of being judged has little or nothing to do with the person we view as "judging" us.  When we walk after the flesh the Holy Spirit convicts us, and that conviction even intensifies when we are in the presence of a fellow believer who is walking in the Light.  Rather than running from that conviction let us embrace it.  It is a wonderful opportunity to return to fellowship with the Lord.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

Trustworthy Words

It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.
1 Timothy 1:15

We generally consider something to be trustworthy when it is tested and tried.  Whether a tool, an idea, or a trustworthy friend we don't generally regard something as trustworthy until it has undergone testing.  While we may not doubt the gospel, that is still a far cry from trusting in Jesus and His payment for my sin.  This simple verse gives a remarkable picture of a life affected by the Good News of Jesus Christ.  First, this simple saying was familiar to Paul- readily and regularly called to mind.  He accepts this Good News and urges others to do the same.   The message is plain - Jesus Christ alone is the Savior.  The need - man's sin.  Finally, the humility of Paul which doesn't flaunt his accomplishments, but rather places himself in the same place of need as all of the rest of humanity.  That is good news for every believer, every day, and good news that everyone who does not yet know Him must also hear.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Seeking Seriously

"You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13 NASB

I generally put my keys down in the same place, along with my wallet and my phone.  Yet it never fails that when I am in a hurry, or going somewhere important, one of these three vital items will go missing.  Then the mad search begins.  I rely upon these three items to go most anywhere - when they are missing I search with a fury and desperation virtually unknown in the rest of my life.  God tells us what He desires from mankind.  He desired it from Adam and Eve, from Abraham,from the children of Israel and He desires it from us.  That we would understand how much He loves us, how much we need Him and then seek Him accordingly.  When we know how much we are loved, and how great our need, we will seek Him with our intellect, or emotions, and our volition.