Monday, April 30, 2007

hiatus and Melchizedek

I didn't record a blog Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.  Here is a summary of what went on during the hiatus: 
- God really helped me out on an exam on Friday.  There was no way I would have studied for the types of questions that were on the exam.  
- Saturday morning we went on a mini-vacation with some friends from church and ended up seeing several other people from school.  Saturday evening we had dinner with some other friends from church and had a great conversation about Biblical parenting. 
- Sunday morning we had a guest evangelist at our church, and the Lord moved powerfully during the service.  I want to be used by God like that - to help bring many into the Kingdom. 
- Sunday afternoon I helped a friend of a friend move into a second-floor apartment.  He is a minister in the Unity fellowship, and we had quite a discussion.  I am amazed at how similar many of his "emerging paradigm" statements/concepts are to "traditional paradigm," but fundamentally they do not hold Jesus Christ to be "uniquely divine" and the one and only way to "heaven."
Hebrews 5-8 is interesting stuff.  The Melchizedek type of Christ is rich with meaning. 
4 And no one can become a high priest simply because he wants such an honor. He must be called by God for this work, just as Aaron was. 5 That is why Christ did not honor himself by assuming he could become High Priest. No, he was chosen by God, who said to him, "You are my Son. Today I have become your Father."   6 And in another passage God said to him, "You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek."  7 While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. 8 Even though Jesus was God's Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. 9 In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him. 10 And God designated him to be a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 5:4-10)
2 Then Abraham took a tenth of all he had captured in battle and gave it to Melchizedek. The name Melchizedek means "king of justice," and king of Salem means "king of peace." 3 There is no record of his father or mother or any of his ancestors—no beginning or end to his life. He remains a priest forever, resembling the Son of God. (Hebrews 7:2-3)
Heavenly Father, I praise you for your infinite knowledge and power.  Thank you for reaching down to pull me out of sin and death through your Son, Jesus Christ.  Thank you that Jesus is my High Priest, the King of Justice, and the King of Peace.  Jesus, I pray that you will reign peace in my heart and that I will obey you.  Amen.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

doing what is right

Here is a very encouraging text about Christian living and what it means to do what is right:
11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. 15 You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them. You have the authority to correct them when necessary, so don't let anyone disregard what you say. (Titus 2:11-15)
1 Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. 2 They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.  3 Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other.  4 But—"When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. 6 He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7 Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life." 8 This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone. (Titus 3:1-8)
Heavenly Father, thank you for revealing your grace to me and saving me.  Lord, please help me continue to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures to live with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to you.  Jesus, thank you for giving your life to free us from every sin and cleanse us to be your holy people committed to doing good deeds.  Lord, help me be obedient and ready to do what is right.  I pray this in Jesus's powerful name.  Amen.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

evangelism - part deux

Proverbs 25, Luke 12, 2 Timothy 4, Titus 1

We ended our Bible study last night with a challenging discussion about personal evangelism, and each of us agreed to pray for opportunities and boldness to share the Gospel with those around us. Several Scriptures from today's reading speak directly to the charge of personal evangelism:

2 Timothy 4:2, 5, 17 - Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. ... 5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don't be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. ... 17 But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear.

Titus 1:1-3 - ... I have been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. 2 This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began. 3 And now at just the right time he has revealed this message, which we announce to everyone. It is by the command of God our Savior that I have been entrusted with this work for him.

Heavenly Father, thank you for stirring my heart to listen to your Word. Lord, please give me opportunities and boldness to share the Gospel Message. May I be prepared to speak by spending time in your Word each day. Lord, help me be aware and discerning of spiritual opportunities, and may I be faithful to plant the Gospel seeds. I pray in Jesus's Name. Amen.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

bit-O-honey, light, and dissociation

Proverbs 24, Luke 11, 2 Timothy 2, 2 Timothy 3

13 My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste. 14 In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short. (Prov. 24:13-14)

34 “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is bad, your body is filled with darkness. 35 Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. 36 If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.” (Luke 11:34-36)

3 Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. ... 21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work. 22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. (2 Timothy 2:3-4, 21-22)

You know that feeling you get when you are studying the Bible and God reveals something to you (e.g., the light bulb comes on in your brain)? That is "sweet" wisdom, and the great thing is that it isn't limited to your brain (Romans 12:1-2). As you continually search the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit metamorphosizes your eyes and the rest of dead sinful darkness into a spiritual floodlight. This elemental change of state induces an immiscibility with the world (Hebrews 12:1-2) . The question is, how sincere are you about dissociating from the world? Are you going to refuse to watch any television program that has even a hint of sexual immorality, or are you just going to pretend to be different and let Satan seduce you?

Heavenly Father, thank you for the Scriptures which are the breath of your immediate presence. Thank you for the sweetness of your wisdom and grace through Christ Jesus. Lord, make my life a floodlight that shows others the way to salvation by faith in Jesus. Father, please sanctify me by scraping off every crumb and smell of wordliness as I pursue you with committed Brothers. I ask these things in the powerful name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Proverbs 23, Luke 10, 1 Timothy 6, 2 Timothy 1

7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 8 So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don't be ashamed of me, either, even though I'm in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. 9 For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. 10 And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News. 11 And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News. 12 That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return. 13 Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. 14 Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you. (2 Timothy 1:7-14)

Heavenly Father, I praise you for being gracious and holy. I praise you for being fearless, powerful, loving, and self-disciplined, and I thank you for giving me your spirit. I praise you that you are able to guard what I have entrusted to you, and I thank you for revealing yourself to me. Lord, I pray that I would not be ashamed to tell others about Jesus Christ, and I pray that you will grow my trust in you and be bold in sharing the Gospel. Lord, please teach me to carefully guard the Truth you have revealed through the power of the Holy Spirit. I pray this in Jesus's Name. Amen.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

servant of Christ

What does it mean to be a servant of Christ?  I think it is when I have sacrificed my selfish pursuits to follow Him:
23 Then he said to the crowd, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.  (Luke 9:23-24)
As I consider what it means to be a young evangelistic graduate student and engineer, this passage gives me great encouragement:
7 Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives' tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. 8 "Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come." 9 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. 10 This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.  11 Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them. 12 Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 13 Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them. ... 15 Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.  (1 Tim. 4:7-16)
Heavenly Father, thank you for the Grace you have shown me by plucking me from certain destruction and birthing in me new LIFE!  Lord, teach me what it means to turn from myself, take up my cross daily, and follow you.  Lord, show me how to train for godliness and set an example for all believers in what I say, how I live and love.  Lord, please teach me the Truth so that I can teach others.  May you be honored and glorified, because you are worthy.  I pray in Jesus's name.  Amen.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

pray for salvation

As I have become more aware of the Arminianism versus Calvinism debate, I have wondered if it is of any use to pray for someone's salvation.  In the first extreme, it is entirely someone's choice, so there is nothing anyone can do about it besides that person.  In the second extreme, it is all up to God, and He has already made up His mind, so there is nothing anyone can do about it besides Him.  Today's scripture, however, teaches us to pray for all people - and the context suggests to pray regarding their salvation:
 1 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. 5 For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. 6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time. (1 Timothy 2:1-6)
Heavenly Father, I pray for people of all nations around the world - I pray that you will send Christians to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.  I pray that you will make people's hearts receptive to the Gospel message and that you will initiate Faith in their hearts.  I pray that you will bring into your Kingdom a wonderful harvest of souls through the missionaries that are faithfully sharing the story of Jesus Christ.  Lord, I know that it is only by your Grace that Jesus gave His life as a ransom to purchase our freedom.  I praise you for desiring that everyone be saved and understand the Truth of Jesus Christ.  It is in His name I pray.  Amen.

Friday, April 20, 2007

myth busted

Proverbs 20, Luke 7, 2 Thessalonians 3, 1 Timothy 1

There is a guy that occasionally rides the same bus I do and works in the building adjacent to mine. One time he saw me reading my Bible on the bus, and we had an interesting conversation about the authority of Scripture. Since then I have tried to be nice to him and call him by name when I see him. Well, today we rode the same bus, and as we were walking toward our buildings, I felt the Lord prompting me to ask him where he goes to church. So I did; it was a little abrupt (almost out of left field). He said he didn't go anywhere, but that he was a member of a Presbyterian church. Then he said, sort of jokingly, that he was a "closet Baptist," to which I chuckled. As we were separating ways, I quickly invited him to join me and my other friend who was walking with us because we just so happen to attend a Baptist church that is on our bus route. He smiled and said, "We'll talk about it."

I was amazed, first of all, that it seemed like I had a clear prompting from the Holy Spirit. Second, I was amazed that I had actually obeyed the Spirit and asked him where he went to church. Third, I was amazed at how simple it was - simple to obey, simple to tell, and simple to show Christ's love to this man. I think we Christians tend to sensationalize what it means to live an open lifestyle here in the States; we think it means we're going to get persecuted for saying anything religious. Well, I'm at one of the most atheistic and liberal schools in the country, and I just asked a guy where he goes to church, and he responded warmly to my invitation. How easy is it to ask someone where they go to church and invite them to join you? Easy, very easy. Myth Busted.

2 Thess. 3
1Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. 2And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. 3But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 4We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. 5May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance.

1 Tim. 1
15Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. 17Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Heavenly Father, thank you for being active in my daily life and relationships, and thank you for teaching me to obey the Holy Spirit's prompting. Lord, I ask that you help me pay attention to the opportunities you give me to show your love to people around me. Lord, I pray that your message will spread rapidly and be honored, and I pray that we will be delivered from wicked and evil men. Thank you for strengthening and protecting us from the evil one. Lord, continue to direct my heart as you use me as a testimony that others can believe you and experience eternal life. I pray that you will receive honor and glory for ever and ever. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

persecution and Second Coming

In 2 Thessalonians 1, Paul frankly explains the consequences of persecution:
4 We proudly tell God's other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering. 5 And God will use this persecution to show his justice and to make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering. 6 In his justice he will pay back those who persecute you.  7 And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don't know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power. 10 When he comes on that day, he will receive glory from his holy people—praise from all who believe. And this includes you, for you believed what we told you about him.
In 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul explains some of the events preceding the Lord's Second Coming:
3 Don't be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction. 4 He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.  5 Don't you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you? 6 And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. 7 For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. 8 Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the confident assurance of knowing that Christ is victorious over the Enemy!  I praise you that Satan doesn't even stand a chance against the God and Creator of the universe.  I pray that you will strengthen and give rest to the Saints who are being persecuted around the world, and that you will bring others into the Kingdom as a result of their testimony.  Lord, I pray that you will purify the Church in the United States and make us worthy of your Kingdom.  I pray in Jesus' Name.  Amen.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

rapturous reunion

Praise the Lord!  How encouraging it is to know that Jesus is coming back for us and that He wants us to spend eternity with Him.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
I love the end of 1 Thessalonians 5; I envision Paul saying these words like a coach at half-time of the championship game:
12 Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord's work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. 13 Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other. 14 Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.  15 See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. 16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 19 Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. 20 Do not scoff at prophecies, 21 but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. 22 Stay away from every kind of evil.  
23 Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. 24 God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful. ... 28 May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the promise of reunion with your Son Jesus Christ.  Lord, I ask that you make me holy in every way and that you make me blameless in spirit, body, and soul.  Lord, use me to minister and encourage others to follow your will.  I pray in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I have always perceived the 40-day fast that Jesus observed before the recorded "Temptation" as a weakening process, but recently I have come to think that perhaps this 40-day fast was actually strengthening spiritually while only weakening physically.  The object of the fast, then, would be to get your priorities straight ( e.g., "the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak).  This ties in with the scripture that says that "without faith, we cannot please God."  So, if Jesus did it, and if it is spiritually profitable (to get our focus, to force the flesh to submit to the spirit, to increase our faith), then why don't Christians systematically fast?  What is the appropriate frequency and duration of a personal fast?  You hear pastors preach about consistently reading your Bible, praying, tithing, etc.; why don't pastors preach about fasting?  It seems as though fasting is intimately couple with prayer as I read the scriptures.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your Word that is active in my heart.  I ask that you continue to convict me of sin and reveal to me ways that I can grow in faith.  Lord, I confess that I have a very poor understanding of fasting, and I ask that you guide me by the Holy Spirit to an accurate understanding and practice of fasting, so that you may be glorified in my submission to your Will and as I emulate Christ. I pray in the Name of Jesus.  Amen.

Monday, April 16, 2007

different life

Luke 3:8 - Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.
Is my life proving that I have repented of my sins and turned to God?  Can people around me tell that I am different, or do I just have a spiritual fire-insurance policy?
Colossians 4:2-6
2 Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. 3 Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. 4 Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should. 5 Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.
Heavenly Father, please help me be devoted to alert and thankful prayer.  Please give me many opportunities to speak about forgiveness through Christ.  May I proclaim The Message as clearly as I should.  Please help me live wisely among unbelievers and make the most of every opportunity with gracious conversation that they may see the Hope that lies within me.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

light to the nations

I was really captivated by a connection between Luke 1 and Luke 2:
Prophecy about John the Baptist:  Luke 1:76-79
 76 "And you, my little son,
      will be called the prophet of the Most High,
      because you will prepare the way for the Lord.
  77 You will tell his people how to find salvation
      through forgiveness of their sins.
 78 Because of God's tender mercy,
      the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
      and to guide us to the path of peace."
Prophecy about Jesus Christ:  Luke 2:30-32
 30 I have seen your salvation,
 31 which you have prepared for all people.
 32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
      and he is the glory of your people Israel!"
Heavenly Father, please make me a man like John the Baptist.  I want to be used by you to "tell people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins."  Lord, thank you for the "morning light from heaven" that has broken upon us - a light to reveal God to the nations!  Lord, I want to share this Good News with the nations!  Please help me follow your will to "give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death."  May I guide them to our beautiful Saviour, Jesus Christ, Who is the "path of peace."  It is in His name that I pray.  Amen.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Christ is Supreme

There is way too much good stuff in these passages to comment on in this blog (not to mention that I skipped over some great nuggets yesterday).
Here are a few of the extremely dense sections:
Philippians 4:4-9
4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.  6 Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Colossians 1:15-29
15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
      He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
  16 for through him God created everything
      in the heavenly realms and on earth.
   He made the things we can see
      and the things we can't see—
   such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
      Everything was created through him and for him.
 17 He existed before anything else,
      and he holds all creation together.
  18 Christ is also the head of the church,
      which is his body.
   He is the beginning,
      supreme over all who rise from the dead.
      So he is first in everything.
  19 For God in all his fullness
      was pleased to live in Christ,
 20 and through him God reconciled
      everything to himself.
   He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
      by means of Christ's blood on the cross.

 21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.  23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don't drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God's servant to proclaim it. 

24 I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. 25 God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you. 26 This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God's people. 27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.  28 So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. 29 That's why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ's mighty power that works within me.
Heavenly Father, help me fix my thoughts on Christ and His gracious sacrifice.  May I be in perpetual gratitude for your merciful love, and may I live my life so that others will know the beauty of your grace, mercy, and love.  Soli Deo Gloria.  In the name of Christ Jesus.  Amen

Friday, April 13, 2007

youth; Hope of Resurrection

In the book of Proverbs, there are several references to youth that are coupled with challenging ultimatums.  Having recently been a youth (some might even still consider me a youth), I recall the precarious balance of unclear emotions, aspirations, and growing pains.  To that situation I call to attention the following verses from Proverbs 13:
1 A wise child accepts a parent's discipline;
      a mocker refuses to listen to correction.
3 Those who control their tongue will have a long life;
      opening your mouth can ruin everything.
5 The godly hate lies;
      the wicked cause shame and disgrace.
6 Godliness guards the path of the blameless,
      but the evil are misled by sin.
9 The life of the godly is full of light and joy,
      but the light of the wicked will be snuffed out. 
10 Pride leads to conflict;
      those who take advice are wise.
13 People who despise advice are asking for trouble;
      those who respect a command will succeed. 
14 The instruction of the wise is like a life-giving fountain;
      those who accept it avoid the snares of death.
18 If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace;
      if you accept correction, you will be honored. 
19 It is pleasant to see dreams come true,
      but fools refuse to turn from evil to attain them. 
20 Walk with the wise and become wise;
      associate with fools and get in trouble.
24 Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children.
      Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.
God teaches in scripture that children are to obey their parents.  We know that though parents are not perfect, the Lord will guide those parents who are seeking His will for their children.
Generically, one might assume that the topic of Christ's resurrection (recorded in Mark 16) and Paul's instruction in chapters 2 and 3 of his letter to the Church at Philippi are not directly related to the aforementioned topic of youthful guidance.  Here are a few comments about how I see these topics in tandem:
Speaking from my own personal experience, I know that as a youth I had many foolish thoughts in my head (Prov. 22:15).  Fortunately for me, my parents are God fearing people who obey the Word and discipline their children.  Of course, this implies that there is conflict (and sometimes often), but this is where we tie in to the Hope of Resurrection.  You see, it was impossible for us to make it to Heaven on our own; that's why Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life, and died on the Cross for the sin of every person in the world.  Not only is it amazing that He sacrificed Himself for us, but by the power of the Spirit, God raised Him from the grave!  Christ has conquered death through His obedience to the Father, so we have confident assurance that we will be raised to Life Eternally with Him in Heaven!  But furthermore, this seemingly abstract theological doctrine can be extended practically to our daily living: it is impossible for a child to grow up to be a godly man or woman on their own, but by the Grace of God, through the work of the Holy Spirit in our life, He raises these spiritually dead lives to Life in Christ Jesus!  Hence, through the "pain of death" ( i.e., discipline and obedience) we youth may be raised to walk a life that is pleasing to our Heavenly Father and our biological parents.
Heavenly Father, I thank you for sending your Son to purchase our spiritual freedom and give us the Hope of Life with you.  I thank you for your patience to work in our foolish hearts, and I thank you that your Holy Spirit is moving our hearts and refining us into holy people that Glorify your Name.  Father, I ask you to give us wisdom and a willingness to listen to advice and obey.  I pray for my brothers and sisters that they would honor and obey their parents so that they honor and obey You.  Though it may be painful, I ask you to continue to discipline us in love to lead us along your path of righteousness.  I pray in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Mark 15 records Jesus's "trial" before Pilate, His suffering, and His Crucifixion and death.  It irks me that Jesus had to suffer; I mean, it's bad enough that the Creator had to die for the creation, but did He really have to go through all of the mockery, flogging, abuse, and torture.  I suppose His suffering does validate the fervor of His obedience to the Father - it certainly wasn't flippant.
I was discussing with a Brother yesterday that, though it may seem almost sadistic, it is truly through suffering that people around us get a good view of what is inside us.  It is when we go through troubles and hardship (yea, even "trials and tribulations") that we realize we simply can not make it on our own - we recognize that we are incapable of surviving and that we truly need a Savior.  This recognition serves two purposes - one introspective and the other evangelistic.  First, the Holy Spirit uses this pain to sledge hammer our selfish pride of the flesh, which is an incremental adjustment of God's redemptive work of Sanctification ( i.e, making us holy, making us look like Jesus).  Second, people around us get a good observation (with almost all five senses) of how the Lord is supernaturally giving us His Grace to sustain us and make up for our deficient capability, which not only opens the door but even sets the focus on us so that we may Glorify His Name.
supporting documentation from Philippians 1:
1 This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus. I am writing to all of God's holy people in Philippi who belong to Christ Jesus , including the elders and deacons.  2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. ...
6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. ...
9 I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ's return. 11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God. ...
20 For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. 21 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. ...
27 Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. ...
29 For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.
Prayer (Phil. 1:9-11)
Heavenly Father, 
I pray that my love will overflow more and more, and that I will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want to understand what really matters, so that I may live a pure and blameless life until the day of Christ's return. May I always be filled with the fruit of my salvation—the righteous character produced in my life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to You.
Lord, please give me the proper attitude as you call me to suffer for the Name of Christ Jesus.  I pray that all glory and praise will go to you, my Savior.  I pray in Jesus's Name. Amen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

life in the Light

My wife and I had a great visit with one of my friends and colleagues who invited us over for dinner last night.  We discussed what it means and how to have Faith in Jesus, along with some of the differences between a Christian's life and that of an unbeliever.  Dinner was wonderful, and the conversation was thoroughly deep with substantial breadth.  Not surprisingly, my scripture reading this morning ties in quite well (through no bias of my own, I'm sure).
Mark 14:60-62
60 Then the high priest stood up before the others and asked Jesus, "Well, aren't you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?" 61 But Jesus was silent and made no reply. Then the high priest asked him, "Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?" 62 Jesus said, "I A m. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God's right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven."
Not only did Jesus answer the question by affirming that He was, in fact, the Messiah and the Son of God, but also wrapped up in His reply He told them in no uncertain terms, "I AM GOD!" (Ex. 3:14)
How, then, are we supposed to live by Faith in response to Christ's identity as the Messiah, Son of God, and Deity?  Well, I'm glad you asked, because several of the scriptures in Ephesians tell us plainly:
Ephesians 4:21-24
21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
Ephesians 5:1-2, 15-20
1 Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. 2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. ... 15 So be careful how you live. Don't live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don't act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don't be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus, the God-Man, Messiah, Son of God to pay the price for my freedom.  I pray that I will live according to Jesus's example and walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit's direction.  Please help me be disciplined and discerning, aware of how I can make the most of every opportunity to glorify You.   I pray in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Alive with Christ

Proverbs 10, Mark 13, Ephesians 2, Ephesians 3

In Mark 13, Jesus tells us about the end times. When I read this passage, I have a great sense of urgency - we need to share the Gospel with those around us! We need to be living holy lives! It is easy to become complacent and distracted with worldly things, so we must remember Christ tells us:

32 "However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. 33 And since you don't know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert! 34 "The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. 35 You, too, must keep watch! For you don't know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. 36 Don't let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. 37 I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!" - Mark 13:32-37

One of my favorite passages:

1 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God's anger, just like everyone else. 4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God's grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. 8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. - Ephesians 2:1-10

Heavenly Father,
I pray that from Your glorious, unlimited resources You will empower us with inner strength through Your Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in our hearts as we trust in him, and our roots will grow down into Your love and keep us strong. And may we have the power to understand, as all Your people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep Your love is. May we experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then we will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from You. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:16-21)

Monday, April 9, 2007

challenging thoughts

Galatians 6:17 ... For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus.
Do I have proof that I serve Christ?  If I just fell dead right now while I was typing this blog, would anyone know that I'm a Christian besides the people that see me at church?  Am I truly living or only existing?  If someone scrutinized my weekly time schedule, would they see that I belong to Jesus?  If someone read a transcript of all the words I said last week, would they know I follow Christ?  Would there be a substantial difference between my speech at church and my speech the remainder of the week?  If someone analyzed my financial statement, would they know that I bring God's tithe and give offerings to expand God's Kingdom?
Honestly, what is my next step of Faith?  What is the next thing I need to work on in my walk with Christ?  Well, I know I need to be more bold about sharing the Gospel of Christ with everyone around me (which will obviously induce some friction in my relationships).  I know I need to be more kind to my wife so that I show the way Christ loves the Church.  I know I need to have a more systematic prayer life.  I need to memorize more scripture.  I need to seek God's guidance on the proper balance between work and ministry.
Heavenly Father, are you pleased with me?  I ask you to grow me to where you want me to be.  Please make me aware of the things I am doing that you disapprove of.  Please show me what my next step of Faith is.  Please show me how and where you are leading me.  Help me follow you faithfully.  I ask in Jesus's Name.  Amen.

Sunday, April 8, 2007


I love Proverbs 8 because "Wisdom" is calling out for people to listen, and there are several parallels to Christ.  Verse 35 is pretty succinct:
35 For whoever finds me finds life
      and receives favor from the Lord.
Mark 11:22-25 is intriguing because it makes it clear that God will forgive us as we forgive others, and it makes me wonder if I really can "ask for anything" in faith.
From a song we sang this morning at church:
Verse 1
I once was fatherless,
a stranger with no hope;
Your kindness wakened me,
Awakened me, from my sleep

Verse 2
Your love it beckons deeply,
a call to come and die.
By grace now I will come
And take this life, take your life.

Sin has lost it's power,
death has lost it's sting.
From the grave you've risen

Into marvelous light I'm running,
Out of darkness, out of shame.
By the cross you are the truth,
You are the life, you are the way

Verse 3
My dead heart now is beating,
My deepest stains now clean.
Your breath fills up my lungs.
Now I'm free. Now I'm free!
Heavenly Father, thank you for the promise of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.  Thank you for the hope of life forever with you because of the resurrection of your Son.  Please help me walk in the light.  Please help me live life to the fullest and show others the way.  I pray in Jesus's Name. Amen.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

obey and live

Proverbs 7:1-3
 1 Follow my advice, my son;
      always treasure my commands.
 2 Obey my commands and live!
      Guard my instructions as you guard your own eyes.
 3 Tie them on your fingers as a reminder.
      Write them deep within your heart.
Mark 10:26-27
26 The disciples were astounded. "Then who in the world can be saved?" they asked.
27 Jesus looked at them intently and said, "Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God."
Galatians 2:20
20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 3:24-29
26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God's promise to Abraham belongs to you.
Heavenly Father, thank you for Christ's death which provided The Way to eternal life, because without you it is impossible for me to manufacture my own salvation.  Help me obey your commands and live!  Help me live so that my old self is crucified and Christ lives in me.  I know this is only possible by Faith in Christ - trusting your love and grace.  Thank you for the promise of being a Child of God through faith in Jesus.  Thank you for baptising me into life with Christ.  I pray that my life will be an example of your joy and peace.  I pray in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Good Friday

Proverbs 6, Mark 9, 2 Corinthians 13, Galatians 1

Proverbs 6:23 - For these commands and this teaching are a lamp to light the way ahead of you. The correction of discipline is the way to life.

Why didn't Jesus, when driving out all evil spirits, command the evil spirit leave that person "and never enter him again" like He did in Mark 9:25? Was it just implied in all the other cases, or did this boy get an extra special blessing when Jesus drove the demon out of him?

Sometimes we give the Jews (particularly the Pharisees) a hard time about not realizing Jesus was the Messiah. However, in Mark 9:31, Jesus tells His disciple's plainly that He will be betrayed, killed, and raised on the third day. But in Mark 9:32 we see that even His own disciples didn't understand what He meant. Wow, it is scary how much we can know about Christ and even be around Jesus without really knowing Him and His Will. How then, are we able to understand Him? It is only by His gracious self-revelation coupled with His promise in Jeremiah 29:
12 'Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
13 'You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
14 'I will be found by you,' declares the LORD

Paul's conclusion of 2 Corinthians has several strong statements:
3 I will give you all the proof you want that Christ speaks through me. Christ is not weak when he deals with you; he is powerful among you. 4 Although he was crucified in weakness, he now lives by the power of God. We, too, are weak, just as Christ was, but when we deal with you we will be alive with him and will have God's power. 5 Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.

8 For we cannot oppose the truth, but must always stand for the truth. 9 ... We pray that you will become mature. ... 11 Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. ... 14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Paul's introduction to Galatians has a wonderful summary of the Gospel that is fitting for this Good Friday:
3 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 4 Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live. 5 All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.

As I think about Christ's betrayal and crucifixion, I am reminded of Isaiah 53.

Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son to die on the cross for my sins. Thank you, Jesus, for paying the debt that I could not pay - a debt that you did not owe. May I be overwhelmed by your incredible mercy and grace - the love that you have so benevolently demonstrated. May I live in response to this immeasurable gift you have given. May I live to glorify your Name, because all glory belongs to the One True God, forever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, April 5, 2007


Jeremiah 9:23-24 ties in well with the theme of 2 Cor. 11-12:
 23 This is what the Lord says:
   "Don't let the wise boast in their wisdom,
      or the powerful boast in their power,
      or the rich boast in their riches.
 24 But those who wish to boast
      should boast in this alone:
   that they truly know me and understand that I am the L ord
      who demonstrates unfailing love
      and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth,
   and that I delight in these things.
      I, the Lord , have spoken!
Here are a couple of related verses:
2 Cor. 11:30 - If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am.
2 Cor. 12:5-10
 5 ... I will boast only about my weaknesses. 6 If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won't do it, because I don't want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, 7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.   8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That's why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Heavenly Father, help me glorify your name only!  You are the only one worthy of praise and honor.  Please help me see you more clearly so that I will be overwhelmed by how great you are and how small I am.  Help me see that you are the only thing worth boasting about.  Help me trust you when I am suffering for Christ; help me see that your grace is all I need.  I pray that you will get all the glory from my life.  I pray in the Name of Jesus.  Amen.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007


Proverbs 4:18-27 is solid!
In Mark 7, Jesus teaches about inner purity.  Interestingly, He provides an illustration that giving "religiously" instead of taking care of your parents is wrong.
Curiously enough, 2 Cor. 9 also speaks about giving:
6 Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. "For God loves a person who gives cheerfully." 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 9 As the Scriptures say,

   "They share freely and give generously to the poor.
      Their good deeds will be remembered forever."

 10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.  11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. 12 So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the [people you give to] will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.  13 As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. 14 And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. 15 Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!

Heavenly Father, thank you for giving the greatest gift of all - your Son Jesus Christ!  Please show me how you want me to give, and teach me to obey the Holy Spirit's leadership in my life.  I pray that I will glorify You in my giving, and that you will be pleased with my cheerful attitude.  I pray that I will always give in humble adoration of Christ's sacrificial death.  I pray in Jesus's Name.  Amen.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

boldness to preach

Proverbs 3:5-6 is one of my dad's favorite passages:
 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
      do not depend on your own understanding.
 6 Seek his will in all you do,
      and he will show you which path to take.
 7 Don't be impressed with your own wisdom.
      Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Mark 6 was particularly interesting this morning.  Jesus was rejected at Nazareth because everyone there thought they knew exactly who He was, "and [Jesus] was amazed at their unbelief."  I think this demonstrates His humanity and deity.  From a divine perspective He knew that their hearts were unbelieving, but from a human perspective He was amazed that they wouldn't believe Him because of their preconceived notions ( i.e., selfish pride and indignation).
Perhaps the most challenging verse this morning was Mark 6:12:
12 So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God.
Jesus sent out the disciples, and they obeyed Him.  They simply told "everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God".  Christ has given us the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20, but do we obey like the disciples did?
Heavenly Father, thank you for showing us the simplicity of obedience.  Help me humbly trust in You with all my heart.  Teach me to fear you and turn from evil.  Lord, give me boldness to preach the Gospel of Christ to everyone I meet.  Please give me boldness to share the simple, life-changing truths of repentance and Faith.  I pray in Jesus's Name.  Amen.

Monday, April 2, 2007


Mark 5 begins immediately after Jesus calms the storm with the disciples, and as soon as they pull up to shore they encounter a dangerous demon-possessed man, whom Jesus heals (of course).  I think if I was a Disciple, at that point there would be no doubt in my mind that Jesus really is the Messiah.  What can He not control?  He further proves His power with the healings recorded in Mark 5. 
As I read the story of Jesus raising Jairus's daughter from the dead, I noticed a contrasting feature between miraculous healings by Christ's versus miraculous healings involving the Disciples.  Whenever the Disciple's heal someone, they pray and/or command "in Jesus's Name," but Jesus simply commanded her to get up.  Hence, this is another proof that Jesus is deity - He Is God!
I think this is a great passage of scripture to meditate on during Passion week:
2 Corinthians 5:11 Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too.  ... 14 ... Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. 
16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!  
18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, "Come back to God!" 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Christ to pay for my debt that I could not pay - a debt that He did not owe.  Teach me to understand my fearful responsibility to You, as you have taken away my old life and made me a new creation in Christ Jesus.  Help me be an ambassador for Christ - to share the Good News with everyone around me.  I pray in Jesus's Name. Amen.

Sunday, April 1, 2007


Proverbs 1:1-7 encourages me because God knows I need continuous help to learn to be like Him.
Mark 4 includes several of Jesus's parables:  (1) the story of the farmer scattering seed, (2) the illustration of the lamp, (3) the illustration of the growing seed, and (4) the illustration of the mustard seed.  Most of the time when I hear parables (1) and (3), the focus is on the seed and the soil, but today I was intrigued with the farmer.  As my wife and I are considering becoming missionaries, I am encouraged by the faithfulness of the farmer to spread the seed (the Gospel).  The farmer invests his life in planting, cultivating, and harvesting.  I want my life to count like that.
I was also encouraged by several verses in 2 Corinthians -
3:18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
4:5 You see, we don't go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, "Let there be light in the darkness," has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.  7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.   8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
Heavenly Father, please give me boldness to share the Gospel.  Help me be faithful to plant, cultivate, and harvest according to your Will.  Please help others see the Light of Life in me.  Please help me walk according to the Spirit's leadership and know that as I experience difficulties, it is so that you may be glorified.  I pray in Jesus's name. Amen.