Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Psalm 88, Proverbs 29

Ha!  I just realized that I skipped this reading a couple of days ago.  I must have been really sleepy the past two mornings.

This morning our Men's group completed our one-month study through sexual purity - The Purity Principle by Randy Alcorn; it was very good.  The main thing that I walked away with is that the Christian life is not the mitigation of sin, it is the assimilation of divinity.  And the expansion of Kingdom/Lordship of Christ occurs day by day, person to person.

Heavenly Father, please show me the grace of your favor today, and bless me with your presence so that I may be changed into your image for your glory.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Psalm 90, Proverbs 31

We had a great Global Impact Celebration this weekend.  We had missionaries from thirteen locations around the world, and one of the most helpful and valuable times was hearing a report from one of the teams in a closed country in South Asia that Brandi and I regularly pray for.  This report really helped me see how I can better pray for them.

I pray this verse from my reading in Psalms this morning:

 16 Let us, your servants, see you work again;
      let our children see your glory.

Every time I read Proverbs 31, I am so thankful that the Lord has blessed me with a Proverbs 31 wife.

As Brandi and I see the fields ready for the harvest, we pray that the Lord will call us where He desires us to be.  And we pray that the Lord will use our child to advance His Kingdom.

Heavenly Father, you are good, and you are the creator and God of this universe.  We pray that you will call more workers to the harvest, and we pray that you will use us and our children to accomplish your good will - for your glory.  Lord, thank you for such a sweet and strong wife who loves you and is growing in your Truth.  Lord, please guard my family, and continue to lead us along your path of righteousness for your namesake.  I pray that you will bless the missionaries, and especially those in closed countries, with your presence and power.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Friday, March 27, 2009

beautiful morning

Psalm 86, Proverbs 27

As we begin the Global Impact Celebration in our congregation this evening, I am reminded of God's heart for the nations:

 9 All the nations you made
      will come and bow before you, Lord;
      they will praise your holy name.
 10 For you are great and perform wonderful deeds.
      You alone are God.

Last night at our small group Bible study, we talked about the early church leaders distilling the whole Levitical law down to four points in Acts 15.  One of the guys in our group summarized, "God has written His law on our hearts." 

 11 Teach me your ways, O Lord,
      that I may live according to your truth!
   Grant me purity of heart,
      so that I may honor you.
 12 With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God.
      I will give glory to your name forever,
 13 for your love for me is very great.
      You have rescued me from the depths of death.

Who is the Lord?  What is He like?

 15 But you, O Lord,
      are a God of compassion and mercy,
   slow to get angry
      and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.

Heavenly Father, I praise you because you are compassionate and merciful.  This is your character.  You are patient and kind, overflowing with faithful and sacrificial love.  Dear Father, I beg you to teach me your ways and make me like you so that I may live out your character.  Lord, as my heart reflects my person, I ask you to purify my heart so that I may honor you.  I praise your name, Yahweh, because you are worthy to be praised forever.  Thank you for rescuing me from death and destruction.  Please use me as you rescue others and bring them to salvation so that all the nations may praise your name!  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

extending the analogy

Psalm 85, Proverbs 26

Brandi and I were discussing the growth of our baby last night (week 8), and this morning we were praying that He would take care of each of the developments this week.  Brandi prayed that the baby wouldn't get tangled up in the umbilical cord (which happened to a baby recently born in our Bible study group), and this sparked a connection to the analogy described on Tuesday: the umbilical cord is analogous to prayer.  Prayer is our life supply with God; it is the two-way communication with our Father.  Prayer is the mechanism by which we are united with God in accomplishing His good will.  As I consider the concept of prayer and this analogy, I realize that the Holy Spirit is intimately involved in our connection with the Father, especially through prayer.  I'm not exactly sure how that works into the analogy, but the Psalmist mentions this two-way interaction with God:

 6 Won't you revive us again,
      so your people can rejoice in you?
 7 Show us your unfailing love, O Lord,
      and grant us your salvation.
 8 I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying,
      for he speaks peace to his faithful people.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the privilege of prayer.  Lord, I pray that I will be quick to praise you and continually rejoice in who you are!  Yahweh, please continue to show us your unfailing love, as you have demonstrated through Christ our Lord.  May we listen attentively and sincerely to the peach you are speaking.  May we be faithful to your holy Word.  Holy Spirit, may we be sensitive to the prayer of Life that you pour through us.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Psalm 84, Proverbs 25

Psalm 84
 1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
      O Lord of Heaven's Armies.
 2 I long, yes, I faint with longing
      to enter the courts of the Lord.
   With my whole being, body and soul,
      I will shout joyfully to the living God.
 3 Even the sparrow finds a home,
      and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young
   at a place near your altar,
      O Lord of Heaven's Armies, my King and my God!
 4 What joy for those who can live in your house,
      always singing your praises.

Psalm 78
 1 O my people, listen to my instructions.
      Open your ears to what I am saying,
    2 for I will speak to you in a parable.
   I will teach you hidden lessons from our past—
    3 stories we have heard and known,
      stories our ancestors handed down to us.
 4 We will not hide these truths from our children;
      we will tell the next generation
   about the glorious deeds of the Lord,
      about his power and his mighty wonders.
 5 For he issued his laws to Jacob;
      he gave his instructions to Israel.
   He commanded our ancestors
      to teach them to their children,
 6 so the next generation might know them—
      even the children not yet born—
      and they in turn will teach their own children.
 7 So each generation should set its hope anew on God,
      not forgetting his glorious miracles
      and obeying his commands.

As I think about the incredible opportunity of being a father, I will certainly teach my children about the Lord so that they will grow in knowledge, wisdom, and fear of the Lord.  But I think the best that I can do is "build our nest" in the presence of God so that our children will know Him personally!

Heavenly Father, I beg you to show mercy on me as a father.  May I walk in your presence, and may I lead my family in walking in your presence so that they may know you and your character.  Lord, please show us your grace and shine the light of your face upon us - even to this child not yet born.  I pray that they in turn will teach their own children of your loving kindness so that all nations may set their hope on you.  I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

pregnancy analogy

Psalm 83, Proverbs 24

As we have been progressing through the pregnancy, I have been thinking about analogies between pregnancy and our spiritual experience.  As Brandi was tracking her temperature each morning with a precise thermometer, she was able to observe the "implantation dip" in temperature that occurs as the embryo implants into the wall of the uterus.  I thought of an analogy where a person without Faith is like an unfertilized egg, but the moment of faith is like fertilization by the Holy Spirit - the moment of spiritual conception.  Then, as new baby in Christ is incorporated (implanted) into the Body of Christ (i.e., the Church), the "embryo" receives nourishment and growth.  This analogy emphasizes the necessity of getting new Christians "plugged in" to the local church so that they can begin to develop their appendages (spiritual gifts) and grow in the likeness of their Father and Mother (our Heavenly Father and Christ, respectively).  As the growth (sanctification) nears completion, the child is birthed into the Reality of Light (glorification in eternity).

Disclaimer:  I know that Jesus gave a spiritual analogy to birth in John 3, so I know that some of this analogy could be considered heresy.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of life, and thank you for breathing your spiritual life into us.  Lord, please continue to grow me me in the functions and gifts that you have for me within the Body of Christ.  May your name be praised, and may I live with hope for that future day of revealed glory.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Monday, March 23, 2009

God cares for the poor

Psalm 82, Proverbs 23

Psalm 82
 3 "Give justice to the poor and the orphan;
      uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute.
 4 Rescue the poor and helpless;
      deliver them from the grasp of evil people.

Proverbs 23
 10 Don't cheat your neighbor by moving the ancient boundary markers;
      don't take the land of defenseless orphans.
 11 For their Redeemer is strong;
      he himself will bring their charges against you.

Heavenly Father, I praise you because you are just and righteous.  I love you, and I thank you for loving everyone, especially the poor and helpless.  You are so kind, and your justice is trustworthy.  I pray that I will cooperate with you and take up your mission to preach the Good News to the poor and bind up the brokenhearted.  Lord, may you be glorified in me today.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, March 20, 2009

praise the Lord!

Psalm 79, Proverbs 20

 7 The godly walk with integrity;
      blessed are their children who follow them.

 11 Even children are known by the way they act,
      whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right.

 12 Ears to hear and eyes to see—
      both are gifts from the Lord.

I am one of the most blessed men in all the world!  The Lord has blessed us with a child, and we recognize that this is not our child but the Lord's child!

Heavenly Father, thank you for showering us with blessings!  You are so kind and good, and your love continues to overflow in our lives!  Dear Father, I pray that you will make me a godly man of integrity, and please bless my children who follow me.  Please give me grace to demonstrate to this child the Love of the Father.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Psalm 75, Proverbs 16

The Lord gave me this thought this morning:

The degree of His deliverance is proportional to the depth of my desperation.

Heavenly Father, I call on your name for Salvation! You alone are God, and you alone are able to save me from my wretched state. Please crush my pride and expose my true need for you. May I realize my desperate need for your salvation. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, through whom salvation comes. Amen.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Psalm 72, Proverbs 13

Yesterday I had the chance to have spiritual conversation with several people.  With my friend Eric, we looked at John 10 and studied how Jesus Christ is 1) the Gate, 2) the Good Shepherd, and 3) the Son of God (God and Man). 

When I caught the bus to head to the coffee shop to meet my Brother Joel, I sat next to my Brother David, and we talked about our pastor being called by the Lord to another church and how the leaders of our church are seeking the Lord's will for our congregation.  When I got to the coffee shop, I ran into my Brothers Ryan and Kyle, and I had a brief conversation with them about the same thing. 

With my Brother Joel (who had a cup of decaf), I thanked him for giving me a distilation of truth in our previous discussion, which has had a strong impact on me.  He had basically sumarized that the Christian experience is fundamentally LOVE - agape love with God and agape love with people.  He also shared about how the Lord is leading him in music - creatively and technically. 

My cousin and Brother Neill is a pastor at a church not too far away, and he was coming through town, so he spent the night with us.  We had a chance to visit, and he shared that he is leading his congregation through this process:  1) experience the presence of God, 2) by which we are necessarily and consequently changed - in heart and action, 3) so that we can and will bless others.

What does all of this boil down to?  WORSHIP!  King David explains in the final psalm attributed to him in the Book of Psalm:

 17 May the king's name endure forever;
      may it continue as long as the sun shines.
   May all nations be blessed through him
      and bring him praise.

And who might he be refering to?  Just in case there was any question:

 18 Praise the Lord God, the God of Israel,
      who alone does such wonderful things.
 19 Praise his glorious name forever!
      Let the whole earth be filled with his glory.
   Amen and amen!

Heavenly Father, I praise you because you alone are good and you alone do wonderful things.  Lord, I will praise your name today and tomorrow and the next day and the day after that for the rest of my life and forever because you are good!  May the whole earth be filled with your Glory!  May the Light of Jesus Christ shine through your Body the Church as we share the Good News of the Gospel with every nation so that every nation can praise you for who you are!  Lord, according to your mercy, may I stand in your presence and be changed - transformed in spirit, soul, and body so that I can love you with all of me.  May I love other people as you have loved us - sacrificially.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ - the King of Glory.  Amen.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

knowing Him

Psalm 71, Proverbs 12

 14 But I will keep on hoping for your help;
      I will praise you more and more.
 15 I will tell everyone about your righteousness.
      All day long I will proclaim your saving power,
      though I am not skilled with words.
 16 I will praise your mighty deeds, O Sovereign Lord.
      I will tell everyone that you alone are just.

I think it is easy for us to approach this text objectively and intellectually, but I want to experience the heart of these words!  I want to subjectively experience the Lord and know Him so that I can honestly say these things!

Heavenly Father, thank you for revealing yourself to me through your Word and through prayer.  Father, I pray that you will continue to reveal yourself to me and let me experience you.  Lord, I want to know you and love you.  I pray that I will grow in hoping in you.  Lord, may I praise you all day long because you are so alive in my life.  Father, you alone are just.  I love you, and I want to know you more.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Psalm 70, Proverbs 11

I don't show enough joy.  If you think about all of the ways that God has blessed me (e.g., salvation, wife, godly family, church, friends, vocation, home, food, air, etc.), why am I not running up and down the streets exclaiming how great He is?

4 But may all who search for you
      be filled with joy and gladness in you.
   May those who love your salvation
      repeatedly shout, "God is great!"

As I consider my current state, I think that it would be spiritually profitable for me to get more sleep.

Last night at Perspectives, I was burdened by the statistics about how many people have not heard the Gospel ("unreached people groups"):  http://www.peoplegroups.org/Downloads.aspx

Heavenly Father, thank you for blessing me in so many ways.  Thank you for Jesus Christ and His sacrifice that saves me from death.  Lord, thank you for for a sweet wife, a godly family, and friends that really care.  Lord, thank you for spiritual gifts and for putting us in a congregation where we can use our gifts among those who have a heart for all nations to hear the Gospel.  Dear Father and Master of the Harvest, I ask you to release more workers to share the Gospel, especially to those who have never heard of the saving love of Jesus Christ.  Lord, please use me.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

experiencing the victory

Psalm 69, Proverbs 10

This morning at the men's Bible study at our church, one of our pastors drew a sketch/illustration that is very helpful.  He drew a little stick figure person walking along a timeline with God existing inside/outside time-space and Satan confined within time.  As God sets up a goal of Victory ahead of us in time, Satan throws out landmines of temptation and handgrenades of hurt between us and Victory, but as we are faithful to rely on God's grace through faith and the power of the Holy Spirit, we come through the trials and temptations to experience victory.  This is HOPE!  I continue to persevere because I know that God is in control and because He WILL bring me into VICTORY because of Jesus Christ!  Hallelujah!  King David said:

13 But I keep praying to you, Lord,
      hoping this time you will show me favor.
   In your unfailing love, O God,
      answer my prayer with your sure salvation.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your grace and your promises on which I hope.  Lord, I know that you are faithful, and you are bringing me into the Victory of Jesus Christ!  God, you are so good, and your love endures forever.  Empower me to be an overcomer, even today.  I ask in the powerful name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, March 9, 2009

heavy heart

Psalm 68, Proverbs 9

Yesterday, our pastor announced that he is "going to preach in view of a call" at a church in Florida next week.  That is the formal way for saying that he is switching churches.  He is a godly man, and I have a lot of respect for him.  I know that he has earnestly fasted and prayed about this, so I know that this is God's will for his life.  I am sad to see him go, but I know that the Lord has good things in store for our congregation, and I pray that we will grow during this transition time.

Honestly though, I am more disappointed in the fact that our pastor had recently confided in some of the "leaders" of our congregation regarding his move, and they were not faithful to his confidence.  This saddens me because I know the integrity of our pastor, and I know he trusted those in whom he confided.  You see, one of the painful facts about gossip is that it is a cancer in the Body of Christ.  It keeps spreading under the deceit of trust, but it is actually betrayal.  And this betrayal ultimately undermines trust.

But in spite of these disheartening things, I am reminded by the Psalmist to consider instead the glory of the Lord and to set my thoughts on Him:

 19 Praise the Lord; praise God our savior!
      For each day he carries us in his arms.
 20 Our God is a God who saves!
      The Sovereign Lord rescues us from death.

Heavenly Father, thank you for carrying us in your arms.  I praise you because you are good, and I thank you for saving us from our destructive selves.  Lord God, please rescue our congregation from the death of gossip, and I pray that you will convict the gossipers in our congregation and lead them to repentance.  Dear Father, I trust that you will sanctify us, and I ask you to mature us into the likeness of Christ, in whose name I pray.  Amen.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Psalm 65, Proverbs 6

The joy and hope of Salvation:

 3 Though we are overwhelmed by our sins,
      you forgive them all.
 4 What joy for those you choose to bring near,
      those who live in your holy courts.
   What festivities await us
      inside your holy Temple.
 5 You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds,
      O God our savior.
   You are the hope of everyone on earth,
      even those who sail on distant seas.

I love Scriptures that relate to the farm:

 9 You take care of the earth and water it,
      making it rich and fertile.
   The river of God has plenty of water;
      it provides a bountiful harvest of grain,
      for you have ordered it so.
 10 You drench the plowed ground with rain,
      melting the clods and leveling the ridges.
   You soften the earth with showers
      and bless its abundant crops.
 11 You crown the year with a bountiful harvest;
      even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.
 12 The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture,
      and the hillsides blossom with joy.
 13 The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep,
      and the valleys are carpeted with grain.
      They all shout and sing for joy!

As I read about the faithfulness of God to care for the earth, I pray that the Lord will bless the fields and crops that my dad and my brother farm.  But as I read this Scripture, I think the soil represents my heart, the rain represents His spirit, and the crops represent the Fruit of the Spirit - crops of righteousness.

Heavenly Father, I praise you because you are the hope of every individual from every nation.  Lord, you cause us to shout for joy because you are so good!  Father, I pray that you will soften the soil of my heart with daily Spiritual rain.  May the condition of my heart be fertile soil so that your Word will be planted, take root, grow, and produce a great harvest!  Lord, I pray that you will help me share the blessing of you with others.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Psalm 64, Proverbs 5

As I read in Proverbs about the foolishness and death of sexual immorality, and as I read in Psalms about the wicked attacking the righteous, I am reminded that we are in a battle for our souls and minds.  The devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but praise God because Jesus has defeated him!  This battle is for life and death - it is mortal combat!

10 The godly will rejoice in the Lord
      and find shelter in him.
   And those who do what is right
      will praise him.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the victory in Christ Jesus!  Lord, I praise you because you are so loving and kind, and I rejoice in you because your love is better than life.  Lord, may I find shelter in you.  I pray that I will do what is right out of love for you, and that you will continue to crush Satan under the feet of the Church.  Hallelujah!   I pray in the victorious name of Jesus Christ, the Lamb whose death killed Death.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

better than life

Psalm 63, Proverbs 4

These verses from Psalms are a part of my memory collection, and I pray that they become more and more true:

 1 O God, you are my God;
      I earnestly search for you.
   My soul thirsts for you;
      my whole body longs for you
   in this parched and weary land
      where there is no water.
 2 I have seen you in your sanctuary
      and gazed upon your power and glory.
 3 Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
      how I praise you!

The next verse is important this morning because we will study the Lord's Model Prayer on Sunday, and I feel like this gives insight into what prayer is - communion with God:

 4 I will praise you as long as I live,
      lifting up my hands to you in prayer.

But the verses that really convict me this morning are these:

 5 You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
      I will praise you with songs of joy.
 6 I lie awake thinking of you,
      meditating on you through the night.

Do I really find in Him my ultimate satisfaction - better than food?  Do I constantly praise Him with songs of genuine joy, or am I just the "obedient" older son of the Christ's parable?  Am I so totally in love with God that I stay awake at night thinking of how glorious He is?

Heavenly Father, I love you, but I want to love you more.  I need to love you more.  You love me with a crazy love, an obscene love, and I pray that my love for you will reflect your love.  Dear Father, you are so kind and good; may I contemplate your goodness.  I pray that you will put songs of joy inside me.  May I glorify your name among the nations.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

hope and salvation

Psalm 62, Proverbs 3

Whew!  Man, I love Psalm 62!  It gets me pumped!

 1 I wait quietly before God,
      for my victory comes from him.
 2 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
      my fortress where I will never be shaken. ...
 5 Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
      for my hope is in him.
 6 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
      my fortress where I will not be shaken.
 7 My victory and honor come from God alone.
      He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
 8 O my people, trust in him at all times.
      Pour out your heart to him,
      for God is our refuge.

This morning we had a great time at our first meeting on the study of The Purity Principle by Randy Alcorn.  The Purity Principle is simple:

"Purity is always smart.  Impurity is always stupid."

A quote that a guy at our table shared this morning:

"What you do in moderation, your children will do in excess."

Two points that I walked away with this morning:
  • What motivates us to Purity?
  • Love for God and love for my wife
  • Fear of God and His wrath
  • Reward and blessings of righteousness
  • If you don't kill impurity, it will kill you.  This is mortal combat.
Heavenly Father, you are so gracious and kind.  You are so wonderful and loving.  Lord, thank you for being my hope, my salvation, and my refuge.  Lord, please help me build my life on the Rock of Jesus Christ because in you I will never be shaken.  Lord, please advance your Kingdom in me and through me today.  I love you, and I bless your name.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, March 2, 2009


Psalm 61, Proverbs 2

We had a great weekend teaching Bible studies at my Brother's church.  I had the opportunity to hang out with four high school guys, and I was humbled as I got to know them.  I'm so stinking proud; it's disgusting.

As I consider all of the stuff that I need to accomplish in the very near term, and as I consider the task of completing my degree, I am entirely overwhelmed.  I pray that I will begin to understand these verses:

 1 O God, listen to my cry!
      Hear my prayer!
 2 From the ends of the earth,
      I cry to you for help
      when my heart is overwhelmed.
   Lead me to the towering rock of safety,
    3 for you are my safe refuge,
      a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.
 4 Let me live forever in your sanctuary,
      safe beneath the shelter of your wings!

Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity to try to minister to the students this weekend.  Lord, I ask that you continue to grow them in faith, hope, and love.   Lord, please help me.  I am really overwhelmed by my responsibilities.  Please let me find shelter in you.  Lord, please empower me to do your will.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.