Friday, December 18, 2009

identity of Christ

John 11, Revelation 22

Jesus is:
  • the Resurrection and the Life
  • the Messiah
  • the Son of God
  • the One who has come into the world from God
  • the Healer
  • the Source of the water of life
  • the Lamb
  • the Light
  • the Judge
  • the Alpha and the Omega
  • the First and the Last
  • the Beginning and the End
  • the root and offspring of David
  • the Bright Morning Star
  • the Lord
He is coming soon!  May we be ready for his return:
Rev 22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life.
Heavenly Father, please prepare me for Christ's return.  I pray that I will live in constant longing expectation for His return.  Holy Spirit, please purify me and wash my robe.  May the words of my mouth and the meditation be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

knowing His voice

John 10, Revelation 21
Jn 10:3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. 5 They won't follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don't know his voice... 8 All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them... 14 "I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. 16... They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd... 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
It is not enough to know about Him; we must know Him.  We must listen to His voice and follow Him.  I think I was in middle school when I first heard the quote, "Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship."  It is ironic that we say that, but we don't live it.  I feel like I don't know Jesus very well at all.

One day, though... one day, we will be united with Him, and we will enjoy His company forever!
Rev 21:22 I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light.
Heavenly Father, please turn my heart to you.  Lord, please teach me to listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd.  I want to know you and follow you.  Lord, I am ashamed of how much time and resources I have wasted in searching for my own pastures.  Please draw me near to you, and I trust that you will guide me into green pastures.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, my Good Shepherd.  Amen.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Light of the world

John 8, Revelation 19

As we think about Christmas time, I am sickened more every year by the materialism and secularization of Christmas.  A lot of us run around stressed and aggravated trying to spend money that we don't have to buy a bunch of stuff that people really don't need.  What if we focused on Jesus more and Santa less?  What if we spent a fraction of our Christmas budget on orphans and widows?  What if we genuinely showed the love, light, and life of Jesus Christ?
 Jn 8:12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, "I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life."
Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us and sending your only Son to ransom us from sin and death!  Lord, I pray that you will receive honor and praise, and that Jesus would be exalted in our hearts and in public during Christmas.  Lord, please shine the light of your Son through me.  Please forgive me for being fearful and anxious.  Please fill me with your joy and peace so that others can see the truth of Jesus Christ lived out in practical, tangible ways in my life.  I love you, Lord.  Please give me the right attitude and focus during Christmas.  Please use me to advance your Kingdom.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, the Light of the world.  Amen.

Monday, December 14, 2009

joy and peace

John 7, Revelation 18

Yesterday, a guest preacher shared from Luke 2.  He briefly reviewed many of the miracles surrounding the birth of Christ.  But what I really appreciated was his focus on what the angels spoke to the shepherds and the application of how the miracle of Christmas changes our lives:
- removing fear
- bringing joy
- bringing peace

If we would simply live in the power of the Spirit - without fear, with great joy, and with His peace - we would not only experience the abundant life that Christ promises, but we wouldn't have a problem explaining the Gospel as a relationship with God by faith in Jesus (as opposed to a system of rules to follow).

Jn 7:37 On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, "Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, 'Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'"

Heavenly Father, please help me walk in the Victory of Christ Jesus.  Lord, please show me practically how I can live without fear.  I pray that the joy of my salvation will bubble up and overflow rivers of living water.  Lord, thank you for peace with you through Christ, and may I demonstrate your peace with those around me.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Friday, December 11, 2009

tough week

John 4, Revelation 15

Monday I got an email from a Sister who had a family member who had a friend that was planning to have an abortion on Friday (today).  She felt like the Lord was leading her to get involved and be willing to adopt this child.  So, we have been praying for the Lord to work a miracle in this lady's heart to bring her to faith in Jesus Christ and to keep the baby.  I have always believed abortion is wrong, but it is so painful when you know of a particular individual.

Tuesday afternoon one of my Brothers called me and told me that he had been unfaithful to his wife, and he confessed to her that evening.  It's a mess.  I really want to punch him in the face.  But I've been where he is, so I just pray for him a lot.  I pray that the Lord will break him and show him his sin in the light of the Cross - both the pain of God's holy wrath on Christ, and the forgiveness that we have because of it.  I pray that the Lord will get a hold of him like he got hold of me.  For some reason, it wasn't until I had totally screwed everything up that I really cried out for the Lord to rescue me.  This situation has helped me remember the intensity of Brandi's pain and the magnitude of the Lord's work to lead her to forgive me and reconcile our marriage.

Wednesday I got an email from another Brother, and he told me that his thesis adviser told him the thesis committee wasn't going to let him defend his proposal this semester because they didn't think he was ready yet.  I can imagine how crushed I would be.  Even more tragically, his wife, who was several months pregnant in their first pregnancy, miscarried their first the same day.

So my heart has been pretty heavy this week.  I pray Eph. 3:14-21 over these situations.  May my focus always be on you, Lord.

Rev 15:3 And they were singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:

   "Great and marvelous are your works,
      O Lord God, the Almighty.
   Just and true are your ways,
      O King of the nations.
 4 Who will not fear you, Lord,
      and glorify your name?
      For you alone are holy.
   All nations will come and worship before you,
      for your righteous deeds have been revealed."

Heavenly Father, I love you.  And I want to love you more.  I want to enjoy you more every day.  Lord, please give me spiritual eyes to see you so that I can be genuinely awestruck by you.  Lord, would you please show your power in these situations.  Lord, please show grace and mercy, and give peace.  I pray that we will drink from the Living Water, and that you will flow through us for your glory.  May your name be praised among the nations.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


John 1, Revelation 12

I really don't understand why my son gets fussy in the evenings.  He has no trouble sleeping all day, but for some reason when Brandi and I want to go to bed about 10, he starts getting fussy.  So, I've been asking the Lord to let him sleep.  I don't understand why He wouldn't want that for Brandi, Beau, and me. I was talking to Ken about it this morning, and he told me that he's been there, too, wondering if he was praying with the wrong motives or attitude. 

I know this is egocentric thinking, but maybe the Lord is letting Beau be fussy to make me more compassionate and patient.

Heavenly Father, please soften my heart toward you.  Lord, I love you.  Thank you for blessing me with a wonderful wife and healthy son.  Lord, please help me have the right attitude and not be frustrated with lack of sleep.  Lord, I pray that I will be a good example for my son.  May the Light of your Son shine through me.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Friday, December 4, 2009

this generation shall not pass away

Luke 21, Revelation 8

Last night at Bible study, we ended up "randomly" talking about the Luke 21 Scripture passage that I read this morning.  Part of our discussion concerned the "this generation shall not pass away" statement in Jesus's prophecy.  I was trying to remember what I had thought of before about this passage, and after consulting some commentaries this morning, I remembered that I think His statement is fulfilled short-term literally and long-term spiritually.  In the short-term, within 40 years of Christ's statement, the city of Jerusalem was literally demolished (so there were still people living from when Jesus made that prophecy).  In the long-term, the Jewish race (which can also be reasonably interpreted from the greek word for "generation") will not pass away before the age of the Gentiles is completed.

Again, it is a sobering reminder to be diligent in our love and pursuit of the Lord Jesus:

25 "And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. 26People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. 28 So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!"

 29 Then he gave them this illustration: "Notice the fig tree, or any other tree. 30 When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. 31 In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near. 32 I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things have taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.

 34 "Watch out! Don't let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don't let that day catch you unaware, 35 like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. 36 Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man."

Heavenly Father, I praise you for your sovereignty.  I trust that you will accomplish all that you have set out to do.  May my heart be guarded against this world and soft toward you.  May I continue to grow and look forward to Christ's return.  I pray that I will be ready on that day to welcome Him and that He will be pleased with my life.  This is only by your grace, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, my Salvation.  Amen.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Luke 20, Revelation 7

My wife is awesome!  She is so devoted and faithful.  Her loyalty is incredible.  She sacrificially loves people, especially her family.  I am amazed at how diligently she works at mothering Beau.  Even though deprived of sleep, she still gladly takes care of Beau.  She feeds him, holds him, and changes his diapers - all with a grateful attitude toward God for blessing us with a son.  She pours her love into Beau.  She is a perfect example of what the Lord meant when He said, "Love your neighbor as yourself."

As I consider how much energy Brandi invests in Beau, I am reminded of the spiritual analogy of the Church taking care of "infant" Believers.  I am saddened by how little "mothering" I have seen in new Believers in the congregations that I have been a part of.  I think the "infant" stage of discipleship requires an enormous investment of time and energy in feeding them the Word and helping them stay clean.

Heavenly Father, thank you for my sweet wife.  I am amazed at how devoted she is to you, me, and Beau.  May you receive honor and glory and praise from her lifestyle.  Lord, please give us a vision of how the Church should care for new Believers.  Help us change our paradigm to see the importance of discipleship, especially in the "infant" stage.  And please help our congregation grow in discipleship.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, for the advancement of your Kingdom and the strengthening of His Body.  Amen.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Luke 18, Revelation 5

I never noticed before that the rich man that inquired of Jesus about eternal life was a religious leader.  I thought that in the Old Testament, God said that He was the inheritance of the priests and Levites.  So, how did he get rich?  Maybe it is irrelevant, but I think it applies to a lot of Americans.  I am very frustrated with the materialism that plagues me and so many other people in this country.  But this morning, I realize that there is hope.  It is impossible for us to get past our materialism, but God can break through!

Heavenly Father, please deliver us from the materialism that blinds us from seeing you and your Kingdom clearly.  Lord, please be gracious to us and bring salvation in spite of our worldly desires.  Lord Jesus, we praise you for being worthy to open the scroll and break the seals.  May my prayers be pleasing incense to you.  May you receive glory and honor and power.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.