Friday, June 29, 2007


This morning there are several verses about what you say, particularly with respect to a state of anger.
I need to be more careful about what I say - when I'm angry and when I'm not angry.  I think the Lord has revealed to me recently that I like to talk too much.  I suppose the root of the problem is selfishness (or at least egocentric) - I think what I have to say is important or interesting.  I don't think it is necessarily that I think what I have to say is more important or interesting than what someone else might think, but I just need to learn to exercise discretion.  On the one hand, I don't want to neglect saying something that is profitable for the listening group, but I certainly don't want to be talking for the sake of talking or saying something that is not beneficial.  I don't want people to think I'm egotistical because I don't talk very much, and I don't want people to think I'm and idiot or a babbler because I talk too much.
I need a sense of perspective or a metric of some kind.  I need to learn to say exactly what I should say - no more, no less.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your Word that guides and convicts.  I thank you for growing me by helping me become aware of another selfish behavior that needs sanctifying.  Lord, please give me wisdom in this area of speech.  Your Word is full of guiding truths; may I listen and implement your guidance.  Lord, help me know when to speak and what to say.  May my words be beneficial and glorify your Name.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Proverbs 28 and some Psalms
4 To reject the law is to praise the wicked;
      to obey the law is to fight them.
I was really convicted when I read this verse because I think "the law" includes speeding.  Ergo, when I speed (even if I'm only going two mph over the speed limit), I am praising the wicked.  That kills me inside, because God is the only one worthy of praise. (ouch! that stings a little.)
13 People who conceal their sins will not prosper,
      but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.
This is one of my favorite verses in Proverbs because it explains the Gospel so simply - it gets me every time.
Heavenly Father, I admit that I am a sinner, and I confess to you that I need you to save me from myself every day (especially from "little" sins I try to rationalize away like speeding).  I repent of my wicked ways, and I trust you for eternal and daily salvation.  I praise you for being merciful, and I thank you for your Grace.  Lord, help me be as bold as a lion for righteousness, even today.  I know that you will give me the strength to stand for what is right and to fight against evil, all for the glory of your Name.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Savior and Master.  Amen.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

wise wife and follow up from yesterday

As I was reading Proverbs 27:14 this morning, I was reminded of a personal anecdote.  My wife and I were on vacation with some friends, and I suggested that we tell someone "good morning," but it was pretty early.  My wife quoted verse 14, and we both laughed and went on our way.  As I recalled this circumstance, I was impressed that my wife spoke a wise word specific to our situation ( Proverbs 25:11), and I began to thank God for giving me such a wonderful wife who seeks the Lord, reads the Bible, and allows Him to make her wise.
Wouldn't you know it?  The very next verses:  Proverbs 27:15-16.  How funny!  I began to pray and thank God that He did not give me a nagging wife, but a loving, supportive, and sacrificial wife.
In my blog yesterday, I prayed that the Lord would guide me even when I don't "feel" His presence.  Well, it was "coincidentally" tested yesterday - only a few hours after I prayed that prayer.  This past November, I applied for a fellowship from EPA and submitted the application online to a separate governmental website (per instructions from EPA).  I discovered yesterday, that what I failed to notice was that I was supposed to be anticipating a special email from EPA within thirty days of my submittal, and that if I didn't receive this confirmation email, then I was supposed to contact them about my application.  Well, I didn't notice that I didn't get the email, so I didn't know to alert them, so they didn't review my application.  Therefore, ergo, hence, I didn't get a financial award, let alone a rejection letter.
When I found out, I sat there stunned for a few seconds (mainly because I think it is absolutely absurd (and simultaneously archetypal) that two government organizations can't execute a very simple communication of data.  But, above that, I simply must trust God that He is in control, and that it was His will that I not receive this fellowship.  " The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away."  And I would add, "and the Lord chooses not to give in the first place."  I must believe that God cares more about my long-term sanctification than my immediate satisfaction - He allowed it to happen for a purpose, and He will work through every circumstance in my life for His good will.
Heavenly Father, thank you for a wonderful wife.  I ask that you will continue to plant your Word in her heart and use it to sanctify each of us and our marriage.  Lord, thank you that you are in control.  Please help me not be anxious, but by prayer and petition present my requests before you and receive your peace that passes all understanding.  I pray this in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

fools and close help

Proverbs 26 and some Psalms
Proverbs 26 says a lot about fools and lazy people.  The two that get me most are:
4 Don't answer the foolish arguments of fools,
      or you will become as foolish as they are. 
5 Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools,
      or they will become wise in their own estimation.
12 There is more hope for fools
      than for people who think they are wise.
While I don't think I am entirely foolish (because of Christ's redeeming work in me), I must (of course) heed the warning in verse 12.  In that context, when confronted with the foolish behavior of an individual (or a group of "fools," for that matter), I must be careful not to let their behavior rub off on me; but I can't just ignore the situation.  I have an obligation, as a Bible reading and believing Christian, to let the Holy Spirit speak through me.  I think this will vary by situation; sometimes it will be a bold rebuke, and other times it will be a soft, kind word - in each case guided by the Holy Spirit.
In the Psalms I read today, David spoke of God being near him and helping him.  I was talking with a Brother recently about not "feeling" God as much as I used to, and he suggested that perhaps it is simply the season of life we are in.  There were many times when David did not "feel" like God was near him - that God had abandoned him.  Of course, God had not abandoned him; God allowed him to go through that drought so that David would trust God by spirit and will, not by "feeling."  Perhaps that is what the Lord is trying to teach me these days - to walk with Him through the valley by faith, not by sight.
Heavenly Father, please help me.  I know that you are there, even when I don't feel you.  I place my trust and hope of eternal salvation in Christ Jesus, who is my LORD and master.  I confess that I am a sinful man in need of your continual guidance and direction, and I trust that you will guide me in your mysterious way - to grow my faith and glorify yourself through my life.  Lord, please guide me along your will for my life, especially when I don't feel you.  I ask these in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Monday, June 25, 2007

life that counts

Yesterday, we had an early patriotic celebration at our church.  Now, I was a bit weary of this, because sometimes they turn into a "look how great our country is" hullabaloo.  However, I was pleasantly pleased that our worship leader stated something like, "Today we celebrate the freedom that we have to gather together and worship, but our focus is on the Lord Jesus Christ."
The highlight of the service was the address from the guest speaker, Tim Lee.  He is a decorated war veteran, and he told his simple story of how the Lord gained control of his life.  His testimony was powerful, and his delivery was precise.  At the beginning of his address, he asked us to pray that the Lord would speak personally and specifically to each person.  In retrospect, I left with the strong desire to be as bold as Tim Lee in sharing his testimony and engaging people to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.  About 34 people professed faith in Jesus Christ at our church yesterday!
Also, he asked us to visit his website, which I did.  He recommends that we contact our congressmen about the restriction that Chaplains are not allowed to pray "in the name of Jesus."  So here is what I wrote:
Senator/Representative [last name]
As I understand it, there is a restriction that U.S. Armed Services Chaplains are not allowed to pray "in the name of Jesus."  This is clearly an infringement of our First Amendment rights: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech ..."
Therefore, please see to it that this restriction is abolished.
Sincerely and Respectfully,
[my name]
Heavenly Father,  thank you for encouraging me through the testimony of Tim Lee.  Father, I thank you that you are willing to go to drastic means to get a Believer's attention, and I thank you for getting Tim Lee's attention and my attention.  Father, please make me into a man that engages people like Tim Lee does.  Father, use me in a powerful way to reach people for Christ Jesus.  I pray this in the powerful name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Our Bible study was from Deut. 30 about repentance.  Not to be negative, but I have one subtle critique and a few reflective comments.
In one of the sub-points in the lesson, the following flowchart was presented:
-  man sins >> man repents >> God forgives and blesses
I think a more theologically accurate flowchart is a little more involved:
-  man sins >> God attones >> God initiates faith and repentance in man's heart >> man repents >> God forgives >> man dubbed "saint" and experiences fellowship with God
Of course, that is the generic flowchart of justification; we could augment the previous flowchart with the following two feedback loops (A or B) of sanctification (the termination of which is glorification):
-  God allows trial or temptation >> A) saint obeys and/or remains faithful >> God is glorified and saint is incrementally sanctified >> [loop]
-  God allows trial or temptation >> B) saint disobeys/sins >> God is not glorified, fellowship is inhibited, and saint reaps consequences >> God initiates reconciliation >> saint repents >> God forgives and restores fellowship >> [loop]
First, we had a substitute teacher in our Bible study this morning, and my wife and I made the following observations (by comparing this substitute to our usual teacher).  Our usual teacher implements the following instructive tools that significantly increase the effectiveness of the lesson:
 1) posing a balanced ration of open ended questions to the group at large and to small groups for dynamic, spontaneous discussion
 2) object lesson - a physical or visual demonstration of one of the core principles of the lesson
 3) humerous personal anecdotes (on topic, of course)
 4) simply walking around the room to maintain a dynamic setting
Second reflective comment (ties in with the flowcharts above):  compare Deuteronomy 30:11-20 with Romans 10:5-13.  Jesus is the "life" connection.  The answer to the most fundamental problem in each person's life is very near to them - it is in their heart and mouth.
Heavenly Father, thank you for making the way for us to be reconciled to you so that we could fellowship with you.  Jesus, thank you for your sacrifice that satisfied the wrath of God against me.  Spirit, teach me to walk in step with you so that I follow the A) flowchart instead of spinning my wheels in the B) flowchart.  Lord, I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Friday, June 22, 2007


I wrestled with whether or not I should post this on my blog, and I came to the conclusion that if the purpose of this blog is to be a warm-fuzzy, feely-good, inspirational digest, then I shouldn't post this.  However, I decided that the purpose of this blog is to realistically document my sanctification, which includes lessons learned from conflict.  (Not surprisingly, the Bible exposes praise and blemishes quite frankly.)
I got into an argument with my wife last night - not an insignificant one, either.  Round and round we went (my wife and I are both the first-born of our siblings, so we are both pretty hard-headed) until, believe it or not, I made one particular comment that was quite hurtful and was exacerbated by the way it came across.  Now, after five years of marriage, we've had more than our fair share of conflict, so it's not like we're novices, but it was like she just dropped her boxing-gloves and quit.  I had crossed the event-horizon. 
Why did I do it?  Well, we all know the theological answer to that question - I'm a depraved human being, and I have been since I was conceived.  Existentially, I sinned in my anger.  I don't think there is anything morally wrong with arguing facts (even passionately), but I breached the status quo when I said what I said.
Soon thereafter, the Lord humbled my heart, and I apologized profusely (and rightly so, since I caused and provoked the conflict in the first place).  My wife is so merciful and forgiving; she forgives me over and over and over ...  I've made some really tragic mistakes in our marriage, but it is incredible how the Lord continues to give her grace to forgive me and move on.  I thank God for His consistent grace; indeed, it is new every morning.
The especially depressing thing to me is that I can never take it back.  Even though she has forgiven me, the scar still remains.  I pray that the Lord will heal her and restore her (as I know He can work miracles).  Praise the Lord, that He is faithful to work on me, day after day, even when my knuckleheadedness is especially pronounced.  I pray that he will continually turn my heart back to Him, for it is His work entirely that I progress towards reflecting His image.  Well, I certainly didn't look like Christ in this case (which compounds the tragedy because as a husband, I am supposed to be an example of Christ to the Church), but I pray that I learned a lesson here and that I don't repeat it in the future.  I am humbled that Christ died on the cross to bring reconciliation between the Father and the estranged children, and Christ works now, too, in my daily life - even to reconcile an obstinate husband to his wife.
Heavenly Father, please forgive me for my wicked behavior.  You have been so gracious and merciful to me - through Christ and through my wife.  Lord, please help me, for it is only by your grace that I may live as the husband you desire me to be.  What a wretched man I am; how in need of a Saviour.  Jesus, please save me from myself, and redeem my life from destruction.  Father, I beg you to sanctify me quickly so that I don't repeat this grievance and I can mature into a better husband.  Holy Spirit, please comfort my wife, and may she seek and find sufficiency in her relationship with You.  I pray this in the name of Christ Jesus.  Amen.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

point of need

Proverbs 21 and some Psalms
This morning I left the apartment to go meet a Brother for coffee, but my pickup wouldn't start.  It's been acting up for several months now, but it has always started after some arbitrary time of repetitious attempted ignitions.  Trying to maintain patience and a good attitude (it had been several weeks since I met with him on account of his honeymoon to Hawaii and my trip to Disney World, so I was excited about meeting with this Brother), I pulled the car around and tried to jump it.  After getting dirty with the jumper cables and an annoying duration of attempted ignitions, it finally started - but I was aggravated with the delay that was going to make me late and frustrated with an uncooperative piece of machinery.
On the way over to the coffee shop, still sleepy and trying to control my mood, I felt like the Lord was impressing me to be ready to listen to my Brother - that God was going to speak to me through him.  When I arrived at the coffee shop, my Brother was excited to see me and could tell that something was wrong with me.  After his inquiring, I briefly related to him the aggravation and we moved on with catching up.  He and His wife are seeking the Lord's will regarding career decisions, and I was humbled by his confidence in the Lord's sovereignty.  God truly worked through several seemingly random, chaotic events in his life and his wife's life to get their attention so that they would seek His will.
Throughout the subsequent conversation, I was really impressed by several things my Brother said regarding: (1) glorifying the Lord, (2) cycles of life and maturity, and (3) prayer. 
I was truly humbled as I realized that I have very quickly become too obsessed with my academic research.  Bruce Wilkinson talks about how the Lord gives us a dream, and then leads us through battles against giants in the desert valley to strip the dream from our selfish possession and give it back to the Lord.  I think that is where I am right now.  I must give up this dream as my own, and realize that it is God's dream that He will accomplish in my life as I am faithful to His call.  The point my Brother made is that the focus of my life has become the things that I am doing (work, family, ministry, etc.) instead of focusing on glorifying God and finding my satisfaction in Him alone.
The next thing that really impressed me was how my Brother was aware of the Lord leading him through cycles of life.  He recognized that he had been in a similar place in his life before, and the Lord is using this time to grow him into the next level of maturity.  My Brother spoke some very wise words of realizing that he has grown, and that he can not expect to think, operate, or especially feel the same way he did five years ago.  That was a different time, place, and he was less mature.  As we progress in our faith, we must realize that we are in constant flux.  We are ever changing in the image of Christ, and this leads us more toward a total and utter dependence on the Lord.  I have been unconsciously wrestling with these principles the last few weeks, but this conversation was incredibly poignant to help me consciously verbalize this transition into manhood and accepting the new life that comes with maturity.  The tangential point that my Brother made is that we all drift from the Lord - even mature Christians; it's just that the method and magnitude if deviation varies with maturity.  I must continually seek reconciliation with the Lord and ask Him to turn my heart back toward Him ( Psalm 80)
One practical point of friction is prayer.  A thought that has been bouncing around in my head the last couple of months is, "What is my next step of growth in faith?"  I have known the answer, but I haven't really acknowledged it to the point that I'm willing to seriously commit to it - until this morning.  The bottom line is that my prayer life needs to grow.  In the words of E.M. Bounds, I need to devote myself to the "business of prayer" and not settle for this shallow mockery of scriptural prayer that I have been practicing.  First of all, I need to have a consistent time of daily genuine prayer time, and secondly, I need to stay in an attitude of prayer all day.  I truly believe that it is through prayer that God significantly changes my heart and accomplishes His will in my life.
As you can tell by the length of this blog, this conversation had a huge impact on my life perspective because God met me at my point of need and spoke audibly to me through my Brother.  Praise the Lord that He is so merciful and gracious!
To follow it up, there were several verses that confirmed this conversation:
Proverbs 21
1 The king's heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord;
      he guides it wherever he pleases.
30 No human wisdom or understanding or plan
      can stand against the Lord
31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle,
      but the victory belongs to the Lord.
Psalm 21
1 How the king rejoices in your strength, O Lord!
      He shouts with joy because you give him victory.
2 For you have given him his heart's desire;
      you have withheld nothing he requested.
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
      because of your unfailing love.
   Because of your great compassion,
      blot out the stain of my sins.
2 Wash me clean from my guilt.
      Purify me from my sin.
3 For I recognize my rebellion;
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
      Renew a loyal spirit within me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
      and make me willing to obey you.
15 Unseal my lips, O Lord,
      that my mouth may praise you.
17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
      You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
Heavenly Father, thank you for speaking to me so loudly this morning.  Thank you for being intimately involved in my life and faithful to your objective to mature me into the image of Christ.  Lord, thank you for taking care of details and leading me along your path.  Father, may I be faithful to you, and may I glorify your Name - for you are worthy of all praise.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Redeemer.  Amen.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

light shine upon us

Proverbs 20 and some Psalms
Psalm 110 is Messianic prophecy. 
I really enjoyed the focus of Psalm 20 and Psalm 50 on the name of the Lord and His sovereignty.  And in that context, I really appreciated some of the verses from Psalm 80:
1 Please listen, O Shepherd of Israel,
      you who lead Joseph's descendants like a flock.
   O God, enthroned above the cherubim,
      display your radiant glory
    2 to Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh.
   Show us your mighty power.
      Come to rescue us!
3 Turn us again to yourself, O God.
      Make your face shine down upon us.
      Only then will we be saved.
7 Turn us again to yourself, O God of Heaven's Armies.
      Make your face shine down upon us.
      Only then will we be saved.
14 Come back, we beg you, O God of Heaven's Armies.
      Look down from heaven and see our plight.
   Take care of this grapevine
    15 that you yourself have planted,
      this son you have raised for yourself.
17 Strengthen the man you love,
      the son of your choice.
18 Then we will never abandon you again.
      Revive us so we can call on your name once more. 
19 Turn us again to yourself, O Lord God of Heaven's Armies.
      Make your face shine down upon us.
      Only then will we be saved.
Heavenly Father, please turn my heart toward you - I confess that it drifts away so quickly.  I ask that you turn me back to you every morning.  Lord, it is only by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ that I may be saved.  God, please make your face shine upon me; may your light radiate through my life.  Father, please forgive me and set me square upon the path of righteousness.  Lord, please glorify yourself through this "branch" as I abide in the grapevine of Jesus Christ.  May I be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's prompting.  I ask these in the name of the Righteous Son, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

mouth and heart

Proverbs 19 and some Psalms
I love David's prayer:
Psalm 19:14
   May the words of my mouth
      and the meditation of my heart
   be pleasing to you,
      O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
And the Lord will change me into a new person of whom this is true:
Psalm 49:3
   For my words are wise,
      and my thoughts are filled with insight.
Heavenly Father, please change me into a new person.  My flesh is disgusting - always wanting to whine and say mean things, always wanting to sin.  But I know that you are molding me into the image of Christ so that my words will be wise, and my thoughts will be of you.  Lord, I beg you, please heal me, and redeem my life from destruction!  I ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Monday, June 18, 2007


Verses 21-22 really stood out to me today:
21 The tongue can bring death or life;
      those who love to talk will reap the consequences.
22 The man who finds a wife finds a treasure,
      and he receives favor from the Lord.
I think you can evaluate these two verses independently and jointly.  The first point is pretty clear, our words (to anyone) have a powerful effect.  This is something that the Lord has been teaching me for several months now, and I pray that I will learn this quickly, because the consequences are binary.  Second, it is simply true that my wife is a great treasure from the Lord, and He has thoroughly blessed me through her.  Third, I need to be very careful what I say to my wife, because kind and loving words will encourage life, but hasty or cruel words will kill her.
Heavenly Father, thank you for blessing me with a wonderful wife.  Lord, I pray that you will grow her more into the image of Christ, and that she will obey your will.  Lord, I pray that you will help me treat her with kindness, respect, and love - with tender words of affection that promote life.  Lord, please help me know when to speak and when not to speak, and when I do speak, help me know what to say and what not to say.  Lord, may the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you.  I pray this in Jesus's name.  Amen.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day

Proverbs 17:6
Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged;
parents are the pride of their children.
The Lord blessed me with a wonderful father.  My dad taught me the Scriptures from childhood, he led me to a relationship with Jesus Christ, and he has been an example of what a Biblical man, husband, and father should be. 
I am proud of my father.  It's ironic how he was my hero as a child, he annoyed me when I was a teenager, and now I respect him even more than I did when I was a child.  My father invested his life in mine; similar to how the Father invests in mine.  Perhaps I am most thankful to my dad for being a good example of the Father.
I think Father's Day serves several purposes. The first, and perhaps most obvious, is that my dad feels special and receives verbal affirmation today.  The second, and perhaps generally overlooked, is that I conciously recognize how blessed I am to have the father I do.  I know a lot of dads have a shirt, cap, trophy, baseball, or some other object that says something like "world's best dad," but my dad is such a well rounded person that I just don't see how anyone could be a better dad.
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me such a wonderful earthly father.  Lord, you have taught me so much through him.  Father, I pray that you will continue to bless him and grow him.  Lord, I pray that you will reveal yourself to him so that he will know you more deeply.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Disney World

Proverbs 10-16
My wife and I went to Disney World to celebrate our 5 year anniversary.  It was a very effective vacation because I forgot all of my academic responsibilities and stresses for at least 72 hours, and I have returned with a renewed energy for allowing God to work through the daily activities along the path towards a big goal (eating an elephant one bite at a time).
I was reminded of several significant points on this trip:
1.  God has blessed me so incredibly!  My wife is incredible, I have wonderful career oportunities, I have a great family background, and on and on and on ...
2.  My wife is the sweetest woman and such a strong individual.  I really want to share the rest of my life with her in an effort to grow together in the Father's Will.  I feel like this vacation really refreshed my appreciation for her personality and enjoying life with her.
3.  The political foundation of this country is based on Scriptural principles. Period. 
Heavenly Father, thank you for blessing me so abundantly.  God, thank you for giving me the opportunity to take a vacation with my wife and celebrate the life that you are giving us.  Lord, please help me be the husband I should be, and please help me focus on giving you control over all the details of my life.  Lord, please help me stand boldly in society for the Scriptural truths on which this country was founded.  I pray this in Jesus's name.  Amen.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

life is short

Proverbs 9 and some Psalms
One section out of Psalm 39 really resonated inside me this morning:
 4 "Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
      Remind me that my days are numbered—
      how fleeting my life is.
 5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
      My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
      at best, each of us is but a breath."

I hear older people say that life goes by fast, but here it is in Scripture.  The question is, what am I going to do with this brief life?  Am I going to waste it on selfish pursuits, or am I going to seek God and ask Him to do something incredible in my life?  Well, the latter sounds much more thrilling.
Heavenly Father, please help me not get stuck in a rut and focused on myself.  Lord, please help me keep my eyes fixed on you and your eternal nature, in which case I realize how brief my time is here on earth.  Jesus, I want you to be LORD of my life, and I want to keep in step with the Spirit.  God, I pray that you will do something incredible in my life - that you will use me in a mighty way to glorify your name.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Redeemer.  Amen.

Friday, June 8, 2007

searching for Christ

Proverbs 8 and some Psalms
I met with a Brother this morning, and it was very refreshing.  He told me about his trip to Puerto Rico to speak at a conference for college students.  In his first address, he spoke about the Lord's work of creation and his foreknowledge of conforming the Believers to the image of His Son.  This is His fundamental objective, that we become the likeness of Christ - taking on His very Mind.
In that context, I related my experience of seeing Christ as the Wisdom of God throughout Proverbs.  I don't think it is stretching scripture to see how 1 Corinthians 1 explains that Christ is the Wisdom of God and it paints a clear picture of Christ throughout the book of Proverbs.  I know some people might think I am being liberal with interpretation, but is this not our goal - that we find Christ in every page of Scripture and know Him more intimately ( e.g., Jesus's explanations on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24). 
I once heard a quote by C. H. Spurgeon about finding Christ in every Scripture, so I did a little web-search and came across this sermon (which doesn't include that quote but is along the same lines): entitled, "The Lamb of God in Scripture."  Then I ran accross one of his morning devotionals  that sounds a lot like the quote I heard.  Both are stirring to read.
Heavenly Father, thank you for revealing yourself to me through your Son.  Lord, I pray that your Holy Spirit will guide me into all truth as I seek to find Christ in every page of Scripture - that I may gain Christ and be found in Him.  Lord, please grow me to be a person who is obsessed with Christ Jesus - that He would be all that consumes me, and for your glory.  I ask this in Jesus's name. Amen.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

delight and nations

Proverbs 7 and some Psalms
 3 Trust in the Lord and do good.
      Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
  4 Take delight in the Lord,
      and he will give you your heart's desires. 
 5 Commit everything you do to the Lord.
      Trust him, and he will help you.
I have heard verse 4 used as an argument that God gives each of us unique talents and desires that we are supposed to utilize for His glory, but I think that is flipping the order of the verse.  I think more precisely, as we draw near to God, He draws near to us and changes our desires to match His ( James 4:4-10).  But what does it mean to "delight in the LORD" anyway?  Seriously, I want to know.
Psalm 67 is a great passage about missions and God shining His light among the nations.  My wife and I have felt the Lord stirring our hearts to show compassion to people around the world that do not know Him.  It is refreshing to see an Old Testament text outlining God's plan to save the whole world.
Heavenly Father, teach me to delight in you.  I don't know what that means exactly, but I want to delight in you and watch you change me into the man you want me to be.  Lord, I commit everything to you: wife, family, work, future, and past.  Jesus, I want my life to count for taking your light to the nations.  Lord, please prepare me today for how you will use me in the future to share the Gospel story with the nations.  I pray this in Jesus's Name.  Amen.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

sleeping in

Proverbs 6 and some Psalms
Of course, God custom tailored my experience with the Word this morning.  I set the alarm for 5:50 (the usual time), but ended up sleeping in until 7:30.  Proverbs 6 says:
 6 Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones.
      Learn from their ways and become wise!
 7 Though they have no prince
      or governor or ruler to make them work,
 8 they labor hard all summer,
      gathering food for the winter.
 9 But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep?
      When will you wake up?
 10 A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,
      a little folding of the hands to rest—
 11 then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;
      scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.
Ouch!  So here is the question:  Where is the appropriate point of balance between sleeping all the time like a "lazybones" versus unhealthy sleep deprivation?  Or is there such thing as spiritually unhealthy sleep deprivation?  Do we get bonus points in Heaven for the least number of hours we slept (like a golf game)?
On the note of working hard during the summer, I have an enormous amount of work to accomplish on my research (literature review and laboratory experimentation).  It is one of those things that emulates the sanctification process; I must trust in the Lord's divine sovereignty but also work as hard as I can.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your Word being applicable to daily living.  Lord, I pray that you will show me the appropriate amount of sleep you want me to have, and give me the grace to operate in that regime if it is less than my flesh desires.  Lord, please help me with my research, because I know that you will receive glory from me doing a good job and honoring your name.  I pray this in Jesus's name.  Amen.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


Proverbs 5 and some Psalms
As I was walking from the bus stop to my office this morning with my friend (who became a believer several months ago), he related to me one of his recent experiences.  He told me that he was sitting on the bus and noticed someone reading the Bible next to him, and he thought he would strike up a simple conversation like I do.  So, my friend leaned over and asked him what he was reading and subsequently where he went to church, and my friend discovered the man was a Mormon!  He said, "Shane does this left and right, and I get a Mormon!" 
Of course, I was very encouraged by his boldness to engage someone about their faith, and in fact, it gives me even more boldness to look for opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others.  I am amazed at how I didn't even prompt or obligate him to do it; he simply saw me do it with him and a few other people on the bus, so he naturally replicated the behavior!
Heavenly Father, thank you for authoring faith in my friend.  Lord, thank you for growing his knowledge of you and his boldness to tell others about you.  Holy Spirit, I pray that you will continue to guide him into all truth, and that he would be a servant of Christ.  Lord, I am humbled that you would use me to teach him; Father please correct me and show me the way so that others will not stumble because of me.  Lord, please give me this day - a victory in the name of Jesus Christ, for it is in His name that I pray. Amen.

Monday, June 4, 2007

miscellaneous thoughts

Proverbs 4 and some Psalms
My brother was married two days ago.  I realized during the ceremony that with each wedding I attend, I appreciate more my wife and the significance of marriage.  I think it is important that the groom first gives the bride a ring because it is Christ who first loved us, and this is theologically significant. (Romans 5:6-8, John 15:16)
The pastor gave a challenge to husbands/fathers yesterday, and one of the questions was, "Does your family hear you say, 'I love God'?"  Sadly, I must answer "no."  Upon discussing this with my wife, we came to the conclusion that it is not enough to simply read and memorize scripture, pray, and attend church, for this is what the pharisees did, and they were lost without a clue.  Rather, it is the humble and intimate attitude of King David that God honored by revealing His close presence.
Hence, I seek to augment this blog that as of yet is predominantly impersonal providential truth, to include more of my personal experience of Him and my quest to sincerely love him with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength.
Heavenly Father, thank you for teaching me to love you more even through a wedding ceremony.  Lord, I pray that my marriage will honor you and show the love of Christ and the Church, recognizing that it is only possible by your grace.  God, I love you, and I want to love you more.  I want to be known as one who loves God and his wife.  I want to be characterized by love, because love is from you only.  Lord, please teach me and grow me into the man you desire.  Lord, please give me direction today.  Lord, may I seek wisdom as diligently as Proverbs 4 instructs.  Lord, may you be glorified in my life.  I pray this in Jesus's name.  Amen.