Monday, November 30, 2009

eternal purpose

Luke 17, Revelation 4

The end is near:

Lk 17:26 "When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah's day. 27 In those days, the people enjoyed banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 "And the world will be as it was in the days of Lot. People went about their daily business—eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building—29 until the morning Lot left Sodom. Then fire and burning sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.30 Yes, it will be 'business as usual' right up to the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

Q: And what will the elect be doing for eternity? 
A: We will be celebrating the inexhaustible attributes of the Lord.

Rev 4:8 Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying,

   "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty—
      the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come."

 9 Whenever the living beings give glory and honor and thanks to the one sitting on the throne (the one who lives forever and ever), 10 the twenty-four elders fall down and worship the one sitting on the throne (the one who lives forever and ever). And they lay their crowns before the throne and say,

 11 "You are worthy, O Lord our God,
      to receive glory and honor and power.
   For you created all things,
      and they exist because you created what you pleased."

Our eternal purpose is to please His will.

Heavenly Father, you are worthy of praise beyond what I can give.  You are worthy of my exhausting praise.  I can't wait to see you and be overwhelmed in awe.  Lord, please draw me close to you now so that I will live a life of worship.  Please show me how to give you glory, honor, and power.  May you be pleased with my life as you consume my life in the life of your Son, Jesus.  I pray in His name.  Amen.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Luke 10, 1 Peter 5

Lk 10 17 When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, "Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!"

 18 "Yes," he told them, "I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! 19 Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. 20 But don't rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven."

Question:  Does that delegated spiritual authority apply only to the Apostles or to every believer?

1 Jn 5:4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 5 And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

I don't know exactly what that victory looks like, but I think it is a lot more aggressive against the enemy than our congregation demonstrates.

Heavenly Father, I believe that Jesus is the Christ and that He is your Son.  I believe that you are mysteriously one with Christ and the Holy Spirit, in a way that I can't understand.  Lord, I want to trust you with childlike faith.  Please use me, Lord.  Please pour your love and life through me, and show me what an appropriate exercise of Christ's authority looks like.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, my Victor!  Amen.

Friday, November 20, 2009

living in fellowship

Luke 7, 1 John 2

24 So you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will remain in fellowship with the Son and with the Father. 25 And in this fellowship we enjoy the eternal life he promised us. ... 27 But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don't need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ. 28 And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame.

Do I really know Him, or do I just pretend to talk to Him?  Do I talk with Him, or do I just talk at Him?  Do I enjoy spending time with the Father, Son, and Spirit?  Or, would I rather watch television?  Do I know His heart?  Do I know what He wants and likes?

From these verses it seems like I should have a conversation with God all day long, and all of my life happens in the context of my conversation with Him.

Heavenly Father, you are good and kind, and your love is so amazing that Jesus died to take away the sins of the WHOLE WORLD!  Lord God, I want to fellowship with you today.  I want to live in fellowship.  I want to want to be with you more than anything else in this world.  I want to love you with all of my heart, soul, and spirit.  I want my conversation with you to control my attitude and response to everything that happens today.  Lord, please give me grace to see you and obey you.  May you be honored by my lifestyle; not because of my righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, the Righteous.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

global warming

Luke 5, 2 Peter 3

The Lord is perfect in His Justice:

2 Pt. 3:7 And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed. ... 9The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment. 11 Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, 12 looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames.

How are we supposed to respond to that?

13 But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God's righteousness. 14 And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight. 15 And remember, the Lord's patience gives people time to be saved.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your patience.  Thank you for your love.  I praise you because you are perfectly righteous.  I am humbled that you have spared me from your holy wrath.  Lord, please show me the things in my life that grieve you, and deliver me from them through the grace of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Luke 4, 2 Peter 2

Interesting correlation:

Lk 3:2 Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests. At this time a message from God came to John son of Zechariah, who was living in the wilderness. 3 Then John went from place to place on both sides of the Jordan River, preaching that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven.

Lk 4:1 Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, 2 where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry. ... 14 Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit's power. Reports about him spread quickly through the whole region. 15 He taught regularly in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

I think there is something to this wilderness business.

Heavenly Father, please help me seek you.  Lord, I want to hear from you, and if that means going out into the wilderness, then so be it.  Holy Spirit, please fill me and use me.  May I teach your truth and demonstrate the authority of Christ, to the glory of God.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Luke 3, 2 Peter 1

I love it when my two chapters pair up like this:

Lk 3:21 One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, "You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy."

2 Pet. 1:16 For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes 17 when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, "This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy." 18We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain.

What struck me was "his majestic splendor".  I wish I would focus on the majestic splendor of Christ instead of myself and the complications of this world.

I applied for three faculty positions today: Penn State, UT El Paso, and Clemson.  I think I will apply to some others within a month or so.  I pray that the Lord will lead us where He wants us and that we will be obedient to follow Him.

The Lord put me on the bus with Herb this morning.  We had another great conversation about Jesus.  Herb just finished reading Matthew, and he didn't like all of the stuff about judgment.  He said it seemed like Jesus was threatening everyone with hell.  I told him that the default state for all of us is going to hell because we are all sinful.  I told him that the Perfect Justice and Holiness of God is reconciled with His Infinite Mercy in the person and work of Jesus Christ.  Herb said that he liked the Old Testament, but he doesn't know what to think about the New Testament.  I suggested that he read the book of Hebrews next because it refers so much to the Old Testament (and because it clearly explains the atonement of Christ!).

Heavenly Father, I praise you.  Lord Jesus, I praise you.  Holy Spirit, I praise you.  You are glorious and majestic, and your love never ends.  Please draw me close to you, speak to me, and lead me to follow you.  Lord, I love you.  Please pour out your love on Herb and bring him to faith in Jesus Christ.  Lord, please continue to give me opportunity to share the love and light of Jesus Christ.  I pray in the majestic name of Christ.  Amen.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Mark 16, 1 Peter 3

The fundamental purpose of all of creation is to worship our creator:

Mk. 1619 When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God's right hand.

1 Pet. 3:15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. ... 22 Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority.

My worship is so shallow and insincere.  I am more focused on my daily/weekly responsibilities than the One who created me and sustains my life.  Should not my every waking thought be meditating on the Lord and His goodness toward me?  Isn't the Resurrection of Jesus Christ sufficiently amazing to preoccupy my conscious for the rest of eternity?  Why then, am I so focused on the temporary things in this brief age?  How do I train my heart and mind to consistently and fervently worship Christ my Creator and Savior?  Then it would be perfectly natural for people to inquire of my obsession with God and His love for us.

Dear Heavenly Father, please forgive me for my pathetic worship.  You deserve so much more.  Please forgive me for the idolatry that plagues my daily life.  May you be the one true God in my life.  Dear Lord, please take me to the next level with you.  Jesus, I want to know you, hear your voice, love you, worship you, and obey you.  Holy Spirit, I want to continually walk in your presence, continually bearing your fruit, continually shining your light.  Lord, please soften my heart; make my conscious tender to want you and know you above all else.  Lord, may I genuinely be hungry and thirsty for you.  Please empty me of my self, and fill me with you, Lord.  You are so wonderful and beautiful.  Your kindness is impossible to understand.  Lord, please change my life so that I am clearly worshiping you.  I pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Mark 14, 1 Peter 1

1 Pet. 1:15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, "You must be holy because I am holy."

I used to think that "being holy" was all about righteousness.  The goal of living holy lives is not to gain more righteousness, but to be more like Christ - His Character, His Spirit.

Heavenly Father, please make me a holy man.  Lord, please help me raise my son to be a holy man.  May you be honored as you continue to change me from the inside to be a holy man.  I pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose blood purchased my redemption.  Amen.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

watching for Him

Mark 13, James 5

His return is closer than ever before!

M 13:26 Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory. ... 29 In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that his return is very near, right at the door. ... 32 "However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. 33 And since you don't know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!

 34 "The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. 35 You, too, must keep watch! For you don't know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. 36 Don't let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. 37 I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!"

J 5:7 Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord's return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. 8 You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.

Heavenly Father, please help me keep my eyes on Christ.  Lord, I want to walk with you and be in step with the Holy Spirit so that I will celebrate and not groan when I see Christ return.  Lord, may I live to honor you and please you.  I want to be a faithful servant.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, the One I am watching for.  Amen.

Monday, November 9, 2009

first day back

Mark 12, James 4

Well, I've been back at work for about an hour, and it is amazing how much I miss my wife and son already.

The Lord continues to impress on me the significance of these verses:

Mk 12:29 Jesus replied, "The most important commandment is this: 'Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. 30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.' 31 The second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these."

The fundamental characteristic of our relationship with God and man is LOVE!

I was also impressed this morning with the need to continually confess and repent from sin:

J 4:6 But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say,

   "God opposes the proud
      but favors the humble."

 7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 9 Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

The pride of our flesh just keeps growing.  We must continually confess and repent so that the Lord will mow it down.  It doesn't take weeds very long to produce seeds, so you have to keep chopping them down and uprooting them.

Heavenly Father, please forgive me for the pride that keeps growing inside me.  Lord, please teach me how to regularly humble myself before you so that I can draw close to you because I need you to draw close to me.  I am fragile and empty, and I need you to hold me and fill me with yourself.  Oh Lord, please fill me with your agape love - love for you and love for others.  May others see the joy and peace that you have given me because of the way that I love.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, who shows what love really is.  Amen.

Friday, November 6, 2009

looking at Him

Mark 9, James 1

7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him." 8 Suddenly, when they looked around, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus with them.

Last night I was looking at Beau looking at me.  I've heard that they can only see clearly within several inches of his face.  I was thinking of the analogy to our spiritual walk.  Our spiritual vision is often so blurry; we have to get so close to the Lord to see Him.

This morning, I was sitting next to Beau on the floor in the sunshine, and as he was looking at me, he smiled just for a second!  As I was relishing the joy that flooded my heart, the thought occurred to me, "I bet our Heavenly Father receives so much joy when we are pleased and smiling at Him!

Oh, that we would gaze upon Christ, who is the perfect picture of God!  (Heb. 12:2)

Heavenly Father, teach me to delight in you.  I love you, Lord, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Mark 7, Hebrews 12

As I was gazing at my beautiful son today, I wondered, do you think that our Heavenly Father looks at us that way?  Thinking about gazing:

Heb. 12:2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith ...

It is so simple, you know?  Just fix our eyes on Him - loving Him, trusting Him, obeying Him, and enjoying His beauty.

Heavenly Father, please turn my heart to you.  Father, I can't imagine your love toward me.  Please fill me with your love.  May I love you with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength.  Please help me see you, and may I stay gazing in awe of your beauty and majesty.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

going home

Mark 6, Hebrews 11

We brought Beau home to our humble apartment this afternoon about 2:00pm.  As reassuring as it is to be in the care of nurses and physicians, it's kind of pestering after a couple of days.  It is so nice to be home and peacefully celebrating and enjoying our son.  I read the Scriptures to Brandi and Beau this morning in the hospital, and as I sat down to log some thoughts from the day, I noticed a connection with both of the passages we read and our homecoming.

  Mk. 6:1 Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown. 2 The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, "Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?" 3 Then they scoffed, "He's just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us." They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.

 4 Then Jesus told them, "A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family." 5 And because of their unbelief, he couldn't do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 And he was amazed at their unbelief.

Isn't it ironic that the King of Glory returned to His hometown, and instead of celebrating Him and enjoying Him, they mocked Him and refused to believe in Him.  I've been sitting here on the couch holding my son and thinking about how beautiful he is.  How much more will I enjoy Christ and gaze at His beauty when we are finally Home with Him!

In fact, our hope in experiencing that homecoming should have profound practical implications on the way we live.  The fulfillment of all of God's promises will be complete on that day that we stand in the presence of our loving Father and our Brother and Savior Jesus Christ:

Heb. 11:13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Not that we shouldn't enjoy the temporary blessings that the Lord has given us, but we should leverage everything for the joy of that homecoming day with our Heavenly family.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your kindness in blessing me with a son and the joy of bringing him home.  Lord, thank you for a wonderful wife who loves you and shows your love to me and my son.  Please help me live my life in constant expectation of Christ's return and the joy of being home with you in heaven.  Lord, please continue to grow my faith in you, and may my faith be evidence for others to see you and experience your mercy and grace.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Monday, November 2, 2009

joy comes in the morning!

Mark 5, Hebrews 10

It is amazing how much more sympathetically I view passages regarding concerned parents, even though I have only been able to hold my son for a couple of days.  I can imagine that if Jairus was fearful of his daughter's critical condition, he would beg the Lord for healing.  It is so reassuring to know that the Lord is compassionate - He is not only able to heal, He desires to heal!

We have experienced the Lord so much through Beau's birth.  The Lord has provided several great nurses.  Heidi was one of our labor and delivery nurses, and she was an integral part of Brandi's successful natural childbirth.  We know that God blessed us through her, and we pray that we were a testimony of Christ's love to her.  We prayed before hand that we would experience and show the love of Christ through the labor and delivery process, and I believe that the Lord was gracious to shine His light through us.  When we transferred to postpartum, Nancy was such a gentle, yet direct, caretaker.  At the end of her shift, she told us that she could tell that we are Believers and that she is also a follower of Christ!

Brandi and I are blown away by the love and compassion of the Body of Christ.  Our biological and spiritual families have supported us tremendously through this experience.  One of the sweetest memories of this weekend was praying over my son with my parents and Brandi's parents about an hour and a half after he was born.  It has also been wonderful to get so many visits, phone calls, and emails.  We have been especially touched by our Bible Life group who has arranged to bring us meals for several weeks, and many of whom have come to pray with us here in the hospital.  We can truly see the love of Jesus Christ through all of this.

I am also amazed at how strong my wife is.  We prayed for the Lord's strength, and He provided.  He is faithful to supply those who call on His name in humility.  I believe that the Lord used Brandi to strengthen me, and He used me to strengthen Brandi.  It is a feedback loop.  The Lord has blessed me with such a strong partner in ministering.  I feel like I have grown so much this weekend already - even more grace!

As I watch my wife feed my son, I am reminded of the analogy of the "motherly" Church with a "newborn" Believer.  My wife has to learn how to feed my son, and there are some techniques that she can employ to make feeding more efficient and effective.  And my son has to learn how to feed, also.  Both are learning and growing.  Similarly, the Church has to continue to learn the skills of training new Believers to be Disciples, and new Believers have to learn how to be Disciples. And as the Church continues to drink from the Living Water, the "milk" is graciously supplied to the Believers who come to the Body to grow.

Heavenly Father, your goodness and kindness to me are overwhelming.  I am humbled by your grace.  Dear Lord, please use me to bring honor and glory to your name.  Please forgive me where I am selfish, and mold me into the selfless servant that Jesus Christ is.  May I experience and share the love, light, and life of Jesus Christ.  I pray in His name.  Amen.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

It's a boy!

The Lord has blessed us with our first child - a son!  William Beau was born at 12:01am this morning (Nov. 1) and weighed in at 3.572 kg (7 lb 14 oz) and 0.501 m (19.75 in).  Brandi and Beau are doing great!  We are so thankful!  Praise the Lord!