Monday, June 30, 2008

deity of Christ

7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
9:6 For to us a child is born,
       to us a son is given,
       and the government will be on his shoulders.
       And he will be called
       Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
       Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 
   7 Of the increase of his government and peace
       there will be no end.
       He will reign on David's throne
       and over his kingdom,
       establishing and upholding it
       with justice and righteousness
       from that time on and forever.
       The zeal of the LORD Almighty
       will accomplish this
The tri-unity of the Godhead, and the full deity of Christ in particular, are shown in these passages.  It is obvious that these verses are speaking of Christ, and the names of Immanuel, Wonderful CounselorPrince of Peace are very meaningful, but ascribing to Christ the names of Mighty God and Everlasting Father expose part of the unity in identity of the Son and the Father.
Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
Heavenly Father, I praise you for the prophecy of your Son that reveals part of your mysterious unity.  I praise you that you are so supreme that I can not understand you.  I thank you that you are patient with me and reveal yourself to me so that I can try to understand you.  Lord, I pray that I would live in wonder and amazement of who you are.  I pray that you will be glorified in my life.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Friday, June 27, 2008

judgement and restoration

God's standard of holiness is perfection itself.  He holds us to that plumb line, as He illustrates to Amos.  Our deviation from His perfection is called sin.  The consequence of that sin is judgement, and in particular, death.  But God is love.  He loves us.  As in the Old Testament so it is in the New, He promises restoration to humble, repentant hearts.  What we see in the New Testament is the full revelation that the sin debt (death penalty) of any person may be payed by the shed blood of the innocent Jesus Christ.  Mercy and grace are extended to the humble heart.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your incredible mercy.  You are holy and perfect, and you require moral perfection, which I have ruined.  Thank you for your mercy and grace through the Lord Jesus Christ, who paid my death penalty.  I want to live for you - totally and completely.  You love me so much; may I share that love with people around the world.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


God's identity from 3:13 - "Lord, the LORD God Almighty"  is Adonay Yahweh Elohiym Tsebaah which means "Master of everything, Self-Existent and Eternal One, God Omnipotent, Chief of the armies of Heaven."
In case you don't understand Who He Is:
4:13 He who forms the mountains,
       creates the wind,
       and reveals his thoughts to man,
       he who turns dawn to darkness,
       and treads the high places of the earth—
       the LORD God Almighty is his name.
Here is a snapshot of how we are to respond to Him:
 5:13 Therefore the prudent man keeps quiet in such times,
       for the times are evil.
 14 Seek good, not evil,
       that you may live.
       Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you,
       just as you say he is.
 15 Hate evil, love good;
       maintain justice in the courts.
       Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy
       on the remnant of Joseph.
The Lord spoke judgement to the Israelites through the prophet Amos, and he identified the attitude of the people that characterized the turning point between following Him and turning away from Him:
 6:1 Woe to you who are complacent in Zion,
       and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria,
       you notable men of the foremost nation,
       to whom the people of Israel come!
So, I ask the question: What is the opposite of complacency?
Heavenly Father, I praise you that you are the Master of everything, you are the definition of existence, you are the one true God, you are in charge of every spiritual conflict.  You created this universe, and you desire for me to love good and hate evil.  Dear Father, please reveal yourself to me and express yourself through me.  I pray that I will never become complacent regarding your love; may I always desire to demonstrate my gratitude for the grace I have been given.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

life and pride

There were three points that spoke to me this morning.
First, we Believers are like the lepers in 2 Kings 7:
8 The men who had leprosy reached the edge of the camp and entered one of the tents. They ate and drank, and carried away silver, gold and clothes, and went off and hid them. They returned and entered another tent and took some things from it and hid them also.  9 Then they said to each other, "We're not doing right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let's go at once and report this ...
We need to share the good news because we were all doomed to die, but God has given us abundant life!
Second, there is a great analogy of the power of Christ's death to give us new life in 2 Kings 13:
21 Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man's body into Elisha's tomb. When the body touched Elisha's bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.
When the spiritually dead experience Christ's death, we are given new life!
Third, we must be so guarded against pride, as is illustrated by King Uzziah in 2 Chronicles 26:
4 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Amaziah had done. 5 He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the LORD, God gave him success. ... 16 But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.
Heavenly Father, please help me lead others to life everlasting.  Lord, I pray that I would be grateful for the new life that I have received from Christ's death, and I pray that you will keep me humble.  Please expose my pride to me so that I may repent and seek you with my whole heart.  I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Elisha's miracles

There are three great miracles in this morning's reading.
First, a Gentile man comes to Elisha asking him to cure his leprosy.  Elisha tells him to wash in the water seven times.  I think it is a picture of faith, baptism, and obedience, justification, and sanctification.  Faith and baptism come first, but the seven fold repetition is symbolic of complete purification through the process of sanctification.
Second, some of Elisha's students were chopping down some wood to build a structure when an axhead went flying into the Jordan river.  Elisha threw a stick out on the water, the iron axhead floated, and the student picked it up off the top of the water.  I heard a pastor interpret it this way:  the stick represents the Cross of Christ which is miraculously able to save that which was lost.
Third, the king of Aram was attacking Israel, but the prophet Elijah was telling the king of Israel all of his military tactics, so the king of Aram decided to capture Elisha. 
15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked. 16 "Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them."  17 And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
Application:  I can walk in confidence knowing that Christ has paid my ransom and saved me from eternal destruction.  He is leading me through the purification process of sanctification to wash me clean of all my sinfulness.  Furthermore, He is with me every step of the way, and I know that His forces are protecting me from the enemy.
Heavenly Father, thank you for saving me by the miracle of Christ's death on the cross.  Thank you for promising to cleanse me and make me holy as you are holy.  Lord, please help me walk with you knowing that your forces are guarding my obedience to you.  May I remain faithful to you today.  I pray that you will bless me with the presence of your Spirit.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, June 23, 2008

spiritual entropy

Sometimes I wonder how people can slip away from genuine faith in God. For instance, King Joash led the people of Judah in a revival of dedication to the Lord under the leadership of priest Jehoiadah.  But shortly after Jehoiadah died, Joash started worshipping idols.  I think the examples from scripture and instances from my own experiences indicate that it is very, very easy to slip away from a genuine, dynamic relationship with the Lord.  It takes work, every single day to overcome the spiritual entropy of sin and the evil flesh lurking inside me.  I have to continually invest in killing the flesh, seeking God, and obeying Him.
Heavenly Father, help me to remain consistent in investing energy and work in pursuing you.  Please forgive me where I have failed you.  Wash me with your Holy Word.  Lord Jesus, I want to know you and the power of your Resurrection.  May I die to myself every day, and may you fill me with your Holy Spirit to accomplish your good will.  I pray that I will demonstrate your love today.  Fill me with your compassion and joy.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

young kings

This morning we studied the life of King Josiah in our Bible Life group.  I think King Josiah is my new favorite Bible character besides Jesus.  He consistently and passionately pursued the Lord.  What is impressive is that he began his rule at eight years old.
Similarly, King Joash began his reign at seven years old, and he had a godly advisor named Jehoiada.  He, like Josiah many years later, led the people in a recommitment to the covenant with Yahweh, repaired the Temple, and destroyed idol worship throughout the land.
I became a believer when I was seven years old on April 10.  I am impressed with the fact that children can know and understand God and follow him wholeheartedly.  When I become a father, I want to lead my children to pursue Christ wholeheartedly from an early age.
Also, I am really encouraged from the Bible Life group leadership meeting we had after church today.  There are several couples in our Bible Life that have volunteered to be "Growth Group" leaders, and I am excited about their ideas and desire to see us grow together as a family.
Heavenly Father, as you led Joash and Josiah to be faithful kings who led the people to follow you, would you draw me close to you and give me a passionate desire to seek you?  Would you please help me lead others in an authentic, wholehearted pursuit of you and your will.  I pray that you will humble me, expose me to my sin that I may repent and draw closer to you.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, June 20, 2008


2 Kings 2:1-25, 3:4-27, 8:16-29; 1 Kings 22:50; 2 Chronicles 21:1-2, 22:1-6

I don't understand how these kings of Israel and Judah can be so wicked and evil!  It seems like they would see either the blessing of obedience or the cursing of disobedience and decide to live righteously.  What really baffles me is how you can have a decent king like Jehoshaphat and then his son and grandson are knuckleheads!

Evil is so pervasive; it is lurking inside each of us.  Hence, it is my goal to deny myself and seek Christ every moment of every day.  Granted, I'm sure that I won't be able to do that, but it is still my goal.  The thing God has been working on me recently is really focusing on my attitude.  It is one thing to perform the "act" of obedience, but true obedience hinges on the attitude of the heart.  One question I have today is: when I recognize that my attitude is sour, how to I change it to be pleasing to God?

Heavenly Father, I want to glorify you with my attitude and my actions.  Lord, I recognize that it is easy to slip away from you; it is easy for me to become focused on myself even though you have been so good to me.  Lord, please keep my attitude pure in your eyes.  I pray that you will fill me with your love and grace.  I want to love you with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

love Him

Psalm 49, 83, 91; 1 Kings 22:47-49; 2 Chronicles 20:35-37; 2 Kings 1:2-18; 2 Kings 3:1-3

Yesterday evening a Brother that works with me related some thoughts that were shared at a Bible study about Mary and Martha.  The priority function in our relationship to Christ is to love and adore Him; serving flows out of that priority.

This ties in to some verses from Psalm 91:

9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—
       even the LORD, who is my refuge-

 10 then no harm will befall you,
       no disaster will come near your tent.

 11 For he will command his angels concerning you
       to guard you in all your ways;

 12 they will lift you up in their hands,
       so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

 13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
       you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

 14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
       I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
       I will be with him in trouble,
       I will deliver him and honor him.

 16 With long life will I satisfy him
       and show him my salvation."

Application:  As easy as it is to be consumed with the business of life (even "good" things) there is nothing more important than my attitude towards Christ.  I am working today to remain conscious of actively loving Him all day long.

Heavenly Father, I pray that you will pour yourself into me.  I pray that I will not be so focused on all of the things that I think need to be completed.  Help me let your words dwell in me richly.  Help me abide in you.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, the True Vine.  Amen.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Valley of Beracah

Wow! This story from 2 Chronicles 20 is so true of the Believer's experience: 
  1. big armies came against Judah;
  2. King Jehoshaphat assembed the people of Judah and led them in a prayer of humility and total reliance on Yahweh;
  3. Yahweh promised to defeat the attacking armies; 
  4. the people of Judah marched out against the armies singing praises to Yahweh;
  5. Yahweh caused the attacking armies to turn on each other and demolish each other
I love these verses:
15 He said: "Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.' "
 18 Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD. 19 Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the LORD, the God of Israel, with very loud voice.
 20 Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, "Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful." 21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
       "Give thanks to the LORD,
       for his love endures forever."
 22 As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.
Heavenly Father, I am nothing without you.  You are the source of life.  Jesus Christ is the vine and you are the vinedresser.  Please show your power in my life as I sing your praises.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Ahab was a wicked king (and married to an extremely wicked queen).  Yet, God is so incredibly merciful.  God spoke judgement on the house of Ahab through the prophet Elijah.
21:25 (There was never a man like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, urged on by Jezebel his wife. 26 He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the LORD drove out before Israel.) 
 27 When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly.
 28 Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite: 29 "Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son."
  1. judgement
  2. repentance
  3. mercy
Just like that.  The point that Ronnie made in our Bible study Sunday morning was that we are all sinners under judgement, and we receive grace and mercy by faith in Jesus Christ.  God's Word (as well as His character) is true and unchanging.  He is patient and kind, desiring that we will repent.
The challenge is to repent immediately upon every single sin.  Of course this is impossible because our natural self desires to sin, but the Holy Spirit reveals our mistakes and leads us to crucify the flesh.
Heavenly Father, I praise you that you are a God of mercy.  You are holy and just, and you are always fair in your decisions.  Yet, you are loving and kind, and you have made a way through the perfect shed blood of Jesus Christ.  I pray that you will lead me to repentance every time I grieve you.  Holy Spirit, I pray that you will soften my heart and mind to listen and obey.  I pray that my actions and attitudes will glorify you and that I will repent when they don't.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Psalm 104, 114, 115; 1 Kings 20

I learned a lot this past week. It was a growing week.

I was in Atlanta this past Monday through Wednesday for a technical/professional conference, and I gave a presentation on Tuesday morning. The Lord helped me give a good presentation and field the questions pretty well, for which I am very thankful. The conference was also very helpful for me to learn more about the subject of my research and meet others who are researching similar topics. I was also challenged by the committee that oversees my research funding to get more data! But perhaps the greatest blessing was the opportunity to spend a significant amount of time with my office mate, co-researcher, and friend (Younggy). Over the past two years I have had friendly and polite conversations with him, but I feel like this past week allowed us an environment and time to joke and relax, which grew our friendship even more. I have a great deal of respect for Younggy.

Thursday afternoon I took my wife to seek the Chronicles of Narnia - Prince Caspian (which was fantastic!), and I am impressed with how easy it is to make a big impact on my relationship with my wife. I am sincerely trying to consistently show her the love of Jesus Christ.

Thursday evening I tried to help my friend Pat check the brakes and replace the coolant hoses on his car. What I thought was going to be a two hour effort ended up being about four hours of minimal success that made him late to a social event where he was the center of attention. I felt really bad, but he was very gracious about it. I was very impressed with how he just enjoys life - whatever he's doing. He really enjoys getting to know people. After considering my friendship with Younggy and Pat (and my wife, for that matter), I realize that I am just way to uptight about stuff. I need to be more easy going. Fortunately, I got to hang out with friends from school, and I had a great time hanging out with Younggy and Pat. It was a nice follow up.

Yesterday morning we studied the book of Jonah in our Bible Life Group. The frictional application was to evaluate how I have prejudices against people and how God loves them. Granted, there are some very wicked people, and it might be easy for me to consider myself better than them because of my orthodoxy and orthopraxy, but the reality is that I am just as sinful as the next guy, and it is only by faith in Jesus Christ that I may be forgiven.

Our Pastor preached on Romans 10 yesterday morning. He charged us with (simply) sharing the Gospel. "In order for people to HEAR the Gospel, I must SHARE the Gospel." Here is the truth: people can't believe unless they've heard - so let's share the Gospel!

I called and talked to my Dad a couple of times yesterday (Father's Day). I really miss seeing him. He is a strong man: spiritually, physically, intellectually, and emotionally. He taught me the Scriptures as a child, took me to church, introduced me to Christ, demonstrated the Father's love, and taught us to work hard. We had lot of fun with my Dad. Just this morning I was standing outside with my dog, and the weather reminded me of home. How I miss that place!

Heavenly Father, thank you for my friends. Thank you for what you are teaching me through my relationships with others. Thank you for my wife, and thank you for your Word, which is always true. Thank you for my Dad who emulates you. I pray that you will continue to grow him to love you with all of his heart, mind, soul, and strength. Lord, please help me be a more easy going person. Please help me love others like you love them - no prejudices. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, June 13, 2008


My wife and I went to see the Chronicles of Narnia - Prince Caspian movie.  It was very good.  The movie was a little slow in the beginning, but the spiritual truths are so powerful.  The most outstanding scene to me was when Lucy is standing at the end of a wooden bridge in bold opposition to a huge army.  She was not bold because of her confidence in herself but only confidence in Aslan with whom she was standing.  It was such a moving picture of how helpless we are but how bold we can be when we know Christ closely.
Similarly, King Asa (son of Abijah, son of Rehoboam, son of Solomon, Son of David) ruled in Judah with a good heart.  He desired to seek God, and he made some very bold statements and actions that demonstrated his reliance on Yahweh.  I think these verses in 2 Chronicles 14 provide a very similar picture to the battle scene in Narnia:
 9 Zerah the Cushite marched out against them with a vast army and three hundred chariots, and came as far as Mareshah. 10 Asa went out to meet him, and they took up battle positions in the Valley of Zephathah near Mareshah.
 11 Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said, "LORD, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. O LORD, you are our God; do not let man prevail against you."
 12 The LORD struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushites fled, 13 and Asa and his army pursued them as far as Gerar. Such a great number of Cushites fell that they could not recover; they were crushed before the LORD and his forces. The men of Judah carried off a large amount of plunder.
Consequently, Asa was able to lead Judah in a revival of dedication to the Lord:
10 They assembled at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa's reign. 11 At that time they sacrificed to the LORD seven hundred head of cattle and seven thousand sheep and goats from the plunder they had brought back. 12 They entered into a covenant to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul. 13 All who would not seek the LORD, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman. 14 They took an oath to the LORD with loud acclamation, with shouting and with trumpets and horns. 15 All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the LORD gave them rest on every side.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I would seek you and know you.  I pray that I will search for you and love you with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength.  Lord, please lead me in your path of righteousness for your namesake.  Father, I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection.  Lord, please lead me to be bold because of my closeness to you and especially humble so that I can be close to you.  Lord, I ask that you deliver me from the enemy and win the victory.  I praise you because you are able and willing.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

do not waiver

1 Kings 12-13:34; 2 Chronicles 10:1-19, 11:1-4,13-17

Solomon's son Rehoboam was a knucklehead.  His wise advisers told him to be kind to the people, but he was harsh instead.  Thus, God used this situation to tear away ten tribes of Israel from Judah.

Jeroboam was a knucklehead.  God took the kingdom away from Rehoboam (as He told Jeroboam that He would), and then Jeroboam manufactured two golden idols and led the people to worship idols.

A bold prophet was a knucklehead.  God gave him a specific word of prophecy to speak to Jeroboam for his wicked behavior, and the man obeyed.  God also told him not to eat or drink in that place, and he even resisted the temptation to do so.  But when someone lied and said, "God told me you could eat with me.", the man of God suffered the consequences of not obeying what God told him directly.

Heavenly Father, thank you for revealing your truth to me.  Please do not allow me to waiver from your plan and your guidance for me.  Lord, please help me listen and obey.  I pray that you will be glorified by my obedience to your word - not self-righteous religion but sincere gratitude.  I pray that you will show me today how I can follow you more closely.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

burn out

2:17 So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 18 I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the work into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. 20 So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. 21 For a man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then he must leave all he owns to someone who has not worked for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. 22 What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? 23 All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless.

 24 A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? 26 To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

I can see why Solomon was so cynical; He was distracted from the True Pursuit!  He became distracted from knowing and serving Yahweh, and he even built places of worship for detestable idols.  He thought there was something to be gained for himself, and he experienced burn out because it was all SELF motivated.  "How can I please myself?"  How meaningless!  The only thing of value is to be precisely what God wants you to be and to cooperate with Him as He works through us to accomplish His good will.  It is all for His glory!
Heavenly Father, I pray that I would not seek to know you and serve you and be pleased with Who You Are and what You do.  I pray that I will never be distracted as Solomon was.  Please keep me close to you.  May my love for you continue to grow.  May I seek to honor and please you only, never my self.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Friday, June 6, 2008

noble wife, blessed man

Proverbs 31:10-31 describes the wife of noble character.  I find that my wife already satisfies so many of the characteristics listed here, and she continues to grow in grace and love.  In addition to moral, intellectual, and physical strength, she is simply a sweet person!  I enjoy her companionship so much!
I have no idea how blessed I am.  I can't imagine all of the difficulties and heartaches I would have experienced had the Lord not blessed me with such a wonderful wife.  In fact, I think I have taken for granted much of her love and the blessings the Lord has given me through her.
Recently I have given much more consideration to how I am doing as a husband.  I find myself lacking in compassion, sensitivity, and gestures of love.  It is my goal to love her as Christ loves the Church, which of course is impossible.  I have not made near the effort I should have.  One thing that would help is a consistent and conscious attitude to demonstrate love - in every dealing with her.  I need to treat her more tenderly.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the blessing of a Proverbs 31 wife.  Lord, please help me love her as Christ loves the Church, which will only occur miraculously as you pour your love through me.  Father, please lift up my wife, protect her, guard her, draw her to know you better, and empower her to do your will.  I pray that you will continue to bless her and grow her.  May she give you all the glory of her life, and may I grow to love her more truly.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


28:13 He who conceals his sins does not prosper,
       but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
 14 Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD,
       but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.
 18 He whose walk is blameless is kept safe,
       but he whose ways are perverse will suddenly fall.
29:23 A man's pride brings him low,
       but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.
30:2 "I am the most ignorant of men;
       I do not have a man's understanding.
 3 I have not learned wisdom,
       nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.
 4 Who has gone up to heaven and come down?
       Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands?
       Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak?
       Who has established all the ends of the earth?
       What is his name, and the name of his son?
       Tell me if you know!
 5 "Every word of God is flawless;
       he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
This morning one of our pastors spoke from 1 Corinthians 9:19 and Philippians 2:3-8 about being submissive leaders.  This ties in with the concept of humility.
It is my sincere goal to be a servant to my wife.  I confess that I have not done a good job of it this so far, but I hope to improve.  I will try to make practical steps toward being a servant with a good attitude to my wife.
Heavenly Father, I praise you for your holiness.  Thank you for Christ's perfect example of humility and service.  I pray that you will help me demonstrate Christ's sacrificial love, submissive obedience to your will, and humility, especially to my wife.  Lord, please help me humble myself before you with a cheerful attitude towards obedience.  Lord, please teach me and help me live a holy, blameless life that honors you.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

glory and humility

25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; 
      to search out a matter is the glory of kings.
God has certainly concealed a matter or two; the fact that we can't look far enough into the heaven's or small enough within an atom shows how much He has concealed.  To God be the glory!  His creativity is beyond measure.
That doesn't stop me from enjoying figuring stuff out that He created.  In fact, I see myself (as the researching graduate student that I am) as an investigator of God's creativity.  How can enjoy discovering the way God has designed this universe, and how can I help people along the way?
25:6 Do not exalt yourself in the king's presence,
       and do not claim a place among great men;
 7 it is better for him to say to you, "Come up here,"
       than for him to humiliate you before a nobleman.
 27 It is not good to eat too much honey,
       nor is it honorable to seek one's own honor.
27:2 Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
       someone else, and not your own lips.
 21 The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
       but man is tested by the praise he receives.
Pride usually sneaks up on you.  I need to make sure that everything I say is humble.  I also need to develop a strategy for redirecting praise from people to God without it sounding cliche.  For instance, when someone gives me a compliment, I could simply say, "Hallelujah!", which means, "Praise Yahweh!", but not everyone knows Hebrew, and it might freak some people out.  Alternatively, I could simply say, "Praise God!", but that phrase has been abused, so you don't know if people really mean it or not.  I suppose I could say something more involved, such as, "Well, God has blessed me with this opportunity to ..."
By the way, Solomon was also a chemist:
25:20 Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day,
       or like vinegar poured on soda,
       is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.
Heavenly Father, I praise you for your infinite creativity!  Thank you for the opportunity to discover the universe you created.  I pray that you will use me to discover useful things that can help people around the world.  Lord, please humble me.  I confess that my pride hinders my relationship with you.  I pray, Father, that you will draw me close to you and let me see how small I am and how great you are so that I will live humbly.  Lord, please help me appropriately redirect all praise to you.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Heart for God

22:17 Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise;
       apply your heart to what I teach,
 18 for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart
       and have all of them ready on your lips.
 19 So that your trust may be in the LORD,
       I teach you today, even you.
23:15 My son, if your heart is wise,
       then my heart will be glad;
 16 my inmost being will rejoice
       when your lips speak what is right.
 17 Do not let your heart envy sinners,
       but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD.
 18 There is surely a future hope for you,
       and your hope will not be cut off.
 19 Listen, my son, and be wise,
       and keep your heart on the right path.
It's not about a bunch of do's and don'ts, it's about my heart.  How is my heart conditioned towards Him.  He is Yahweh, the creator of the universe, infinite in Holiness and Love.  He is the guardian of my life; He is the potter, and I am the clay.
Christ said that those who have been forgiven much have loved much (case studies: King David and King Hezekiah).  Indeed, the Lord has forgiven me a great deal; He has shown me much mercy and grace.  I pray that I will be forever thankful of the debt that has been paid by Christ.
Heavenly Father, I want to seek you with all of my heart.  Teach me to trust you and live according to your person.  I pray that I will always be zealous for fearing you.  I pray that I will hope in you only, that I will be wise according to your Word, and that you will keep my heart on your path of righteousness for your namesake.  Empower me to be an overcomer for your glory. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, June 2, 2008

pure heart

Yesterday we studied Isaiah 6 in our Bible Life, and the main point that I walked away with was how infinitely Holy God is and how I am not holy.  He desires that I should be Holy, and He guarantees that at some point I will be made Holy.  The goal is for me to become Holy as He is Holy.  So, there were a few verses in today's reading that reverberated this theme:
19:21 Many are the plans in a man's heart,
       but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.
    23 The fear of the LORD leads to life:
       Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.
20:5 The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters,
       but a man of understanding draws them out.
    7 The righteous man leads a blameless life;
       blessed are his children after him.
    9 Who can say, "I have kept my heart pure;
       I am clean and without sin"?
    24 A man's steps are directed by the LORD.
       How then can anyone understand his own way?
    27 The lamp of the LORD searches the spirit of a man;
       it searches out his inmost being.
21:1 The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD;
       he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.
    2 All a man's ways seem right to him,
       but the LORD weighs the heart.
    3 To do what is right and just
       is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
I really want to work with God on my attitude.  I want to consciously be striving for holiness in my thoughts and desires.  Two of my previous scripture memory verses are:
2 Corinthians 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Philippians 2:14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
Heavenly Father, I praise you for being infinitely holy.  You are perfect and right and just.  Thank you for revealing yourself to me.  I pray that you will show me who I am so that I can repent and change more into your likeness of purity.  I pray that you will show me how my thoughts and attitudes need to change, and I pray that you will give me the mind and love of Christ so that you will be pleased with me.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.