Friday, December 31, 2010

Priest of God

Malachi, Revelation 21-22

 2:5 "The purpose of my covenant with the Levites was to bring life
and peace, and that is what I gave them. This required reverence from
them, and they greatly revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 They
passed on to the people the truth of the instructions they received
from me. They did not lie or cheat; they walked with me, living good
and righteous lives, and they turned many from lives of sin.  7 "The
words of a priest's lips should preserve knowledge of God, and people
should go to him for instruction, for the priest is the messenger of
the Lord of Heaven's Armies.

Heavenly Father, I want to be a priest for you. Lord, I want to be a
man of integrity and lead others to walk with you. Lord, please
annount me with the presence of your Holy Spirit so that I will be an
effective witness for Christ. I ask in the name of Jesus. Amen

Sunday, December 26, 2010

what am I working for?

Haggai, Revelation 14-15

Am I working for myself or for the LORD?  Am I working to build a name for myself or Christ?  Am I working to build my house or the Body of Christ?

 Hag 1:3 Then the Lord sent this message through the prophet Haggai: 4 "Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? ... 11 I have called for a drought on your fields and hills—a drought to wither the grain and grapes and olive trees and all your other crops, a drought to starve you and your livestock and to ruin everything you have worked so hard to get."

Heavenly Father, I want to invest in your Kingdom and the Body of Christ.  Lord, I want my life to be invested in your eternal glory, not wasted on temporary junk that only distracts me from you and your will.  Lord, please direct me and keep me focused on you.  I need you, Lord.  Please don't let me get carried away with myself.  May I only invest my energy and time in what you want me to.  I'm asking in the name of Jesus and for His Kingdom.  Amen.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Early discipleship

Zephaniah, Revelation 12-13

I've been thinking about Scott's new walk with Christ and the role of
older Brothers in helping him grow in Christ. As I was feeding Beau
at lunch today, I was impressed with a few analogies:

- You can't give them big bites, or they will choke. You can't
overwhelm a new Believer with a bunch of stuff to do. You have to make
sure they taste and see that the Lord is good.

- You want them to eat enough, but not too much. And you want to make
sure that they get a healthy blend of protein, fats, and carbs, and
plenty of exercise. Scripture reading, theology, encouragement,
communion, Scripture memory, prayer, giving, and good works have to be

- It is so rewarding to enjoy a meal together and see a child enjoy a
new flavor for the first time. Walking with a new believer and
seeing them grow is so encouraging and revitalizing to older Brothers.

Heavenly Father, thank you for letting us be involved in each others'
walks with Christ. Thank you for the Body. Lord, I want to be an
encouragement to other Brothers. Please use me. I pray in the name of
Christ. Amen.

Friday, December 24, 2010


Habakuk, Revelation 10-11

I am very thankful for a family that loves me and supports me. Brand
is such a devoted wife and mother, and she is so patient and
understanding with me. And I love to see my son grow and learn. Also,
I know that there are a lot of people that have trouble or tension
with there inlaws, but my inlaws have shown me much grace, and they
continue to love and support me in spite of my quirkiness.

Heavenly Father, thank you so much for a wonderful family. Thank you
for a supportive wife and a healthy son. Thank you for a loving
family. Please help me not take them for granted, and please help me
make good with the gifts that you have given me. I love you, Lord, and
I pray in the name of Jesus.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Micah 1-3, Revelation 4-5

A chorus of praise in Heaven:

4:8 ... 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."

5:8 And when [the Lamb] took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God's people. 9 And they sang a new song with these words:

   "You are worthy to take the scroll
      and break its seals and open it.
   For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God
      from every tribe and language and people and nation.
 10 And you have caused them to become
      a Kingdom of priests for our God.
      And they will reign[f] on the earth."

 11 Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. 12 And they sang in a mighty chorus:

   "Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered—
      to receive power and riches
   and wisdom and strength
      and honor and glory and blessing."

 13 And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang:

   "Blessing and honor and glory and power
      belong to the one sitting on the throne
      and to the Lamb forever and ever."

 14 And the four living beings said, "Amen!" And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped the Lamb.

Heavenly Father, please let me see you so that I will be focused on worshiping you instead of myself.  Lord, when I catch this glimpse of worship, I realize how disgusting it is for me to be selfish and worship myself.  Lord, nothing compares to you!  Please help me live in a way that pleases you and worships you.  Lord, I want to honor you and please you in this life so that worship in eternity will be even sweeter!  Praise and honor to the Triune God whose love is overwhelming and full of mercy and grace.  I love you, Lord.  Thank you for your love.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, the Lamb who was slain and who has won the victory over sin and death.  Amen.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

gold, garments, and ointment

Jonah 1-4, Revelation 1-3
Rev 3:15 "I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! 17 You say, 'I am rich. I have everything I want. I don't need a thing!' And you don't realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. 18 So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see.
A few questions:
  • How do you "buy" anything from Jesus?
  • What does "gold" represent?
  • What do "white garments" represent?
  • What does "eye ointment" represent?
Reading some commentaries, it seems like "purchasing" something from Jesus means that we pay the price by sacrificing our selfish desires and obeying through faith the Lord's will for our lives.  I think the gold represents our faith and His divinity.  By faith, we experience Him, and He molds us more into His image.  He purifies our faith and our sonship through fiery testing.  The white garments represent good works, done in faith, which He prepared in advance for us to do.  The anointing of ointment represents the anointing of the Holy Spirit, through Whom we experience Christ and testify to His resurrection and our rebirth.  To overcome in this phase of the Church, we must overcome our indifference and pride and pay the price to know Him and gain Him.

Heavenly Father, please show me how to buy gold, garments, and ointment.  Lord, I want to know you and break free from this selfish and apathetic soul-life.  Lord, I want to experience and share the ZOE life with others.  Lord, please sharpen my hearing to listen to you, and quicken my heart to obey.  Please use my life for your honor.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, the Alpha and the Omega.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Amos 1-3, 2 Peter 1-3

Over the last couple of weeks I have been more and more impressed that I need to be more integrated in discipleship - both mentoring and being mentored.  On Sunday, I spoke with our lead pastor about getting more involved, and I asked him to give me some direction on how I can do that.  We plan to have lunch tomorrow to discuss in more detail.

Yesterday I got to talk to one of my collegiate disciplers.  I was reminded how much I learned with him and how I need to be meeting with some older Brothers here locally.  I also need to stay caught up with the Brothers who have facilitated my growth over the years.

2 Pet. 1:3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world's corruption caused by human desires.

 5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God's promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

 8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your Church, the Body of Christ.  Thank you for the Brothers and Sisters who invest themselves in taking care of the other members of the Body.  Lord, I want to be one of those Brothers.  Please pour your love through me into the lives of others, and show me how to do that practically.  Lord, please lead me to the specific relationships that you want me to have so that I can mentor and be mentored in sharing your divine nature.  I love you, Lord.  Please do this for Christ.  Amen.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Daniel 5-7

Daniel 6:3 Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel's great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire. 4 Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn't find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy. ... 10 But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. 11 Then the officials went together to Daniel's house and found him praying and asking for God's help.

I think there is a connection between integrity and discipline.  Daniel was faithful in serving the Lord daily.  I have to learn how to walk with Christ and know Him better every day instead of getting busy with religious duties.

James 1:22 But don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don't obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

 26 If you claim to be religious but don't control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. 27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

Heavenly Father, please help me see Christ and serve you out of love instead of religion.  I want to know you and the power of your Holy Spirit.  Please fill my life with your presence and use me to accomplish your good purposes.  I love you, and I'm asking in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Monday, December 6, 2010

a little rusty

Daniel 3-4, James 1

Confessions:  It's been too long since I blogged, and I fell behind in my NT reading over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Resolve:  I want to be more self-controlled and a better spiritual leader of my family.  It's a tough balance, because I want to be consistent and disciplined, but I don't want it to be "religious".

Thanksgiving was a great time with my family and Brandi's family.  I went into the holiday with the intent of not being overly theological or argumentative, and the Lord blessed me with some great conversations.  I need to be that way all of the time.  I am thankful for:
- faith and salvation in Christ Jesus
- a family heritage of loving and serving the Lord
- a wife who loves the Lord, me, and our son
- a son who, on the whole, is healthy and growing
- a job where I can help people and use the gifts that God has given me
- a church where the leaders and most of the congregation are genuinely trying to figure out how to follow Christ
- a house that is warm during the winter and cool during the summer
- food to eat and clean water to drink.

In my reading this morning, I read the story of the Fiery Furnace and the boldness of three young men who feared the fire of God more than the fire of men:

 Daniel 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn't, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up."

I was reminded of a Shane & Shane song about Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: "O King, won't you burn us up in the furnace of your desire."  I think this couples well with another great verse that I read this morning:

James 1:2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

Heavenly Father, please burn up the chaff of my selfish flesh and self-righteousness.  Lord, please give me grace to fear you and look to you for rescue from my flesh, this world, and the devil.  As much as it scares me to ask this, I want to be pure so that my life will honor you.  Lord, please be gentle with me, but I know that you want me to be holy like you.  Thank you, Lord Jesus, for being my holiness.  Amen.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

for His glory and our benefit

Ezekiel 20-21, Hebrews 5

I think the following passage is one of the most concise summaries of the Old Testament and God's interaction with the nation of Israel.  I also think it contains two very important concepts: 1) that God cares about the communication of His character, and 2) that He cares about our welfare.

20:4 "Son of man, bring charges against them and condemn them. Make them realize how detestable the sins of their ancestors really were. 5 Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord: When I chose Israel—when I revealed myself to the descendants of Jacob in Egypt—I took a solemn oath that I, the Lord, would be their God. 6 I took a solemn oath that day that I would bring them out of Egypt to a land I had discovered and explored for them—a good land, a land flowing with milk and honey, the best of all lands anywhere. 7 Then I said to them, 'Each of you, get rid of the vile images you are so obsessed with. Do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt, for I am the Lord your God.'

 8 "But they rebelled against me and would not listen. They did not get rid of the vile images they were obsessed with, or forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I threatened to pour out my fury on them to satisfy my anger while they were still in Egypt. 9 But I didn't do it, for I acted to protect the honor of my name. I would not allow shame to be brought on my name among the surrounding nations who saw me reveal myself by bringing the Israelites out of Egypt. 10 So I brought them out of Egypt and led them into the wilderness. 11 There I gave them my decrees and regulations so they could find life by keeping them. 12 And I gave them my Sabbath days of rest as a sign between them and me. It was to remind them that I am the Lord, who had set them apart to be holy.

It is especially interesting to me that God instituted the Sabbath days of rest as a sign of His covenant and their holiness objective.  I wonder, as Christians not bound by the law, is the observance of a "weekly day of rest" still a sign of our covenant and holiness with God?

Heavenly Father, I need you. I am so weak and easily distracted like the Israelites.  I am sure that there is plenty of spiritual garbage in my life that makes you sick that I am not even aware of yet because you are being patient with me.  Lord, please turn my heart to you, and don't let me harden my heart like the Israelites did.  Lord, please help me stay connected to you and your life through Jesus Christ, my High Priest.  I ask in the name of Jesus and for the honor of your name.  Amen.

Friday, November 19, 2010

undivided heart

Ezekiel 11-13

11:19 And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart, 20 so they will obey my decrees and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God.

Heavenly Father, I feel like my heart is pulled in so many directions.  Lord, please give me a singleness of heart and mind to desire you and seek you only.  Lord, please take away my hard heart and give me a heart that wants to know you and walk with you all the time, every day.  Lord, please help me live a life that demonstrates that I am yours and you are mine.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Lord is Jealous for us

Ezekiel 8-10

(1) Idolatry, (2) sketches and (3) incense to other gods, (4) mourning for another god, (5) bowing and worshiping the sun... these are acts that the Israelites committed that provoked God's jealousy to allow them to be taken into captivity. 

I wonder what similar acts I commit in my heart and life. 

(1) Is there an idol in my heart (God's temple)?  What is the true focus of my heart, and is it purely and entirely devoted to Christ?  (2) What do I read/write/watch?  (3) Do I try to please anyone other than God with things that I do or say? (4) Do I get anxious about worldly things and obsess about climbing the social ladder or achieving the American dream?  (5) Do I focus more on pleasing creation or the Creator?

Heavenly Father, please purify my heart.  Lord, I want to serve you and desire you only. Lord, please deliver me from idolatry.  I want to trust you and know you deeper every day.  Please refresh me with a close relationship with you.  I'm asking in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

God hates sin

Ezekiel 5-7

 6:8 "But I will let a few of my people escape destruction, and they will be scattered among the nations of the world. 9 Then when they are exiled among the nations, they will remember me. They will recognize how hurt I am by their unfaithful hearts and lustful eyes that long for their idols. Then at last they will hate themselves for all their detestable sins. 10 They will know that I alone am the Lord and that I was serious when I said I would bring this calamity on them.

I am really getting tired of reading judgment after judgment (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, and now Ezekiel).  But I realize that there are several very important principles here.  First, God hates sin.  It hurts Him, and it literally hurt Jesus.  Second, God punishes sin (back to Jesus again).  Third, God is patient with us, even though we don't deserve His patience or mercy (back to Jesus again).  Finally, our appropriate response is a heart change to repent and turn to Him in loving obedience.

Heavenly Father, please forgive me of my sin.  Please forgive me of pride, lust, apathy, ungratefulness, and selfishness.  Lord, please purify my heart and turn the attention of my heart to you and your Kingdom.  Lord Jesus, I want to seek first your Kingdom and Righteousness.  Please show me what that looks like in the way that I spend my time, energy, and finances.  I love you, Lord, and I want to grow closer to you today.  Please reveal yourself to me and help me search for you with all of my heart.  Father, please answer these requests because Jesus is my Brother.  Amen.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ecuador follow up

Ezekiel 3-4, Hebrews 2

Last Thursday night in Ecuador, we had some good spiritual discussion with Scott (one of the team members who is a high school and college friend of Steve, one of our pastors at Paseo).  Later that evening, Scott was still responding and asking questions.  He asked me how long I had been a Christian.  I shared my story of how the Lord gave me faith at the age of seven.  I shared the ABCs of salvation (Admit, Believe, Commit), and at about 2:00am Friday morning, Steve led Scott in a prayer to the Lord for forgiveness and committing his live to Christ's control!  What a blessing to be a part!  I have had several great follow-up conversations with Scott already about discipleship (prayer, reading the Word, small group connection, etc.).

On Saturday night, it was my turn to lead the devotional time for our team.  Steve had asked us to read through Max Lucado's book, "Out Live Your Life", before the trip, and he assigned me to lead discussion from the final chapter.  In fact, this chapter helped me understand an important theological concept with respect to compassionate ministry.  Based on Matthew 25:34-40, when we serve people in loving obedience to the Holy Spirit, we are actually loving Christ Himself.

Interacting with the local church in El Recreo, I am impressed with their close sense of community, which I imagine to be similar to the early church.  I am excited about their long-term strategy to plant churches, train missionaries, and share the Gospel globally.

With respect to academic research, I saw several aspects of rainwater harvesting and gardening that I would like to pursue further.  As a Christian, I am drawn to pursue research in fields that help people.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity to go to Ecuador and give people clean water in the name of Jesus Christ.  Lord, please use our work as a catalyst for people to grow in faith in Christ.  Lord, please give me continued direction, and show me how to bless people locally.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ecuador update

Yesterday we had one of the most amazing visits! We went to an elderly couple's home who have been Christians for decades. Their faces radiated with the love and spirit of Christ! After we showed them how to use and maintain the filter, Giovanni asked how we could pray for them. Sister Ruth felt awkward because they haven't been to church in a while because they can't walk that far. Giovanni replied, "Sister, we are the Church. We are the body of Christ. This is Church."

As we were leaving, I noticed that Brother Carlos had several paintings in his living room. I asked him for permission to take this picture of his painting. (John 7:38 - one of my "life verses"!)

The Lord has blessed me so much through this trip!

Today we went to the poorest part of town that doesn't have addresses. The families were so grateful for the water filters.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity to be here in Ecuador. We are pretty tired, so please make the love of Christ shine through our faces and that we will speak His words. Please make us salt and light in this community and by your love transform parents, children, families, and neighborhoods. Please give people good health as a result of these filters so they will be able to go to school and keep good jobs. Lord, please empower the local church to be able to establish a network of discipleship relationships as a result of our work this week. Lord, please bless preparations for tomorrow night's celebration of clean water. Lord, it's all by your grace; please show yourself because of Christ Jesus. Amen.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Headed to Ecuador

Jeremiah 37-39, 1Thes.

Our team (Steve, Scott, Brandon, Britney, Travis, Roberta, and I) is
assembled at the airport in Miami. We should arrive in Ecuador this
evening. I am excited about working with this team. They are good

We've all been reading "Out Live Your Life" by Max Lucado in
preparation for our group Bible studies while we are there. It is a
very good book, and very challenging.

A few of things that I need to devote special efforts to growing are
more faithful and devoted prayer, more clear attention
conscienciousness to people, and more intentional investment in my

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for continuing to grow me. Please use me for your glory. I
can do nothing good on my own. It is only you who are good. May your
love flow through me. Please do this on behalf of Jesus.

Friday, November 5, 2010

too busy

Jeremiah 34-36

I have been too busy this week.  In part due to preparation for the trip to Ecuador.  In part because I don't know how to find a balance.  They say that the first semester is hard, but dang!  Discovering who I am as a professor is hard!

My previous blog was on Monday, Beau's birthday.  If Beau is going to be a holy man of God, then he is going to need a good role model, which means I have got to be more disciplined about being a disciple of Christ myself.

Heavenly Father, you are so kind and generous and loving.  Lord, please help me focus on you instead of me.  Lord, please draw me into you and teach me how to rest in you and trust you.  Lord, please give me wisdom to know how much I can handle and how much you have asked of me so that I can do what you want me to and honor you and not worry about pleasing people.  Lord, please give me a fresh perspective on life through this trip to Ecuador.  I need you, and of course, you know this better than I.  I love you, Lord, and I trust you.  May my life be given in service to bring you honor.  Please answer these requests because I am identified as one of your children by faith in your Son, Jesus the Christ.  Amen.

Monday, November 1, 2010

he will be a holy man of God, a warrior with beautiful feet

Jeremiah 24-26, Ephesians 1-6

Happy birthday, Beau!

I started this blog over a year ago - the day after we saw the sonogram and discovered that the Lord had blessed us with a son.  I have thought a lot about what I wanted to say that day, and I have realized that you can never say enough to completely express everything you want to communicate.  (I'm still a recovering perfectionist.)

 Psalm 127:3 Children are a gift from the Lord;
      they are a reward from him.
 4 Children born to a young man
      are like arrows in a warrior's hands.

As I think about Beau's wonderful life, I realize that I am a steward, and God is his owner.  By the Lord's grace, I will do all that I can to propel him to eternal life.  While I would like to think that I can push him or pull him to seek the Lord, I realize that really I need to be an agent of God as He fosters an internal desire with Beau to seek Christ.  This internal "spiritual gravity" is what will ultimately guide him.  My goal is to aim this "arrow" in the direction that the Lord desires for his life, and I trust that the Lord will control his trajectory.  I pray that the Lord will use me to teach Beau the two greatest commands at an early age - that He will be devoted to loving God with all of his heart, soul, mind, and strength and that his love for people would be genuine, obvious, and generous.

I pray that the Lord will use this "arrow" to advance the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and to strike a heavy blow to the kingdom of darkness.  I pray that Beau will be used to extend Christ's ministry:

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
   because the LORD has anointed me
   to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
   to proclaim freedom for the captives
   and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
   and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
   a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

I pray that he will I pray that Beau will be a fisher of men, like His Savior.  I pray that He will boldly proclaim the wonderful Message of Mercy and Grace through Faith in Christ:

Romans 10:13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

Heavenly Father, we continue to dedicate this boy to you.  Over and over, we give him back to you.  Daily, we want to take him for our own, but he is yours.  Lord, please grow him and use him for your glory.  Lord, please lead him to love you and follow you from an early age.  Lord, it's all grace; thank you for the opportunity to love Beau and walk with Him.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

sanctification of the heart

Jeremiah 15-17

Last night I attended the UNO U meeting on campus, and Mike spoke about envidia (envy).  I think envy is so closely connected to pride, and pride is buried so deep in the heart.  I want so badly for my heart to purely desire the Lord, and for everything else to be an outflow of His love through me.

17:7 "But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
      and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
 8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
      with roots that reach deep into the water.
   Such trees are not bothered by the heat
      or worried by long months of drought.
   Their leaves stay green,
      and they never stop producing fruit.

 9 "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,
      and desperately wicked.

      Who really knows how bad it is?
 10 But I, the Lord, search all hearts
      and examine secret motives.

   I give all people their due rewards,
      according to what their actions deserve."

Heavenly Father, I want to know you, and I want you to search my heart.  I know that it is humbling to see what is really inside my heart, but I need you to clean me and purify my heart so that you will be pleased with me as you transform me into the image of Christ.  And I will enjoy you more and more as you purify my heart to desire you and nothing evil.  Please Lord; I need you.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, who died so that I could be saved.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Jeremiah 9-11, 1 Corinthians 9-11

It seems to me that one of the greatest challenges in life is to discern between our own selfish desires and our God-given desires, so that we may sacrifice our selfish desires in pursuit of knowing, enjoying, and honoring the Lord through His unfolding will for our lives.

 10:23 I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own.
      We are not able to plan our own course.
 24 So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle.
      Do not correct me in anger, for I would die.

Heavenly Father, you have bought my life with the precious blood of Christ.  I am not my own.  Lord, please lead me along the path that you have for me.  May I be faithful to "do the work" knowing that you are with me and guiding me.  May I be diligent to cooperate with you as you establish your Kingdom.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen

Monday, October 25, 2010

our sin grieves the Lord

Jeremiah 6-8, 1 Cor. 6-8

 J 7:8 "'Don't be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It's a lie! 9 Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, 10 and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, "We are safe!"—only to go right back to all those evils again? 11 Don't you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the Lord, have spoken! ...  30 "The people of Judah have sinned before my very eyes," says the Lord. "They have set up their abominable idols right in the Temple that bears my name, defiling it.

 8:4 "Jeremiah, say to the people, 'This is what the Lord says:   "'When people fall down, don't they get up again?
      When they discover they're on the wrong road, don't they turn back?
 5 Then why do these people stay on their self-destructive path?
      Why do the people of Jerusalem refuse to turn back?
   They cling tightly to their lies
      and will not turn around. ...
21 I hurt with the hurt of my people.
      I mourn and am overcome with grief.

Heavenly Father, I am sorry for hurting you with my selfishness and sin.  Lord, please forgive me of pride, lust, and apathy, and lead me to walk faithfully with you.  Lord, I want to honor you.  I pray that my life will demonstrate the Lordship of Jesus Christ and His character.  I pray in His name.  Amen.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Isaiah 65-66, 1 Corinthians 16

 16:1 Now regarding your question about the money being collected for God's people in Jerusalem. You should follow the same procedure I gave to the churches in Galatia. 2 On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned. Don't wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once.

Do you think Paul was asking the Corinthian church for their tithe, or do you think he was asking for an offering?  Do you think he asked them to give weekly because there is something special about giving every seven days, or do you think the people typically got paid their wages daily or weekly?

It seems to me that we are expected to give far beyond a tithe.  And it seems to me that we should give a tithe and offerings to various ministries as soon as we get paid.

Heavenly Father, thank you for blessing me with a paid vocation.  I pray that we will be a good steward with all of the resources that you have given us, especially our financial resources.  Lord, please grow our hearts to be cheerful, generous givers.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Isaiah 56-58

As I was waking up and getting ready this morning, I told the Lord that I didn't know how to fast and I asked Him to teach me.  Then in my devotional reading, I read Isaiah 58 - pretty much a direct answer to my prayer a few minutes earlier.

I think the point is that fasting is about your attitudes and actions 24/7.  Am I seeking the Lord and obeying Him all the time, all week long, every week? Or am I just pretending to seek Him when I am not eating and asking Him for a bunch of stuff and calling that fasting?  I guess the thing that I hadn't connected before is that the significance of fasting is not in the meals that I give up, but in the lifestyle that I live the rest of the week.  If I am truly seeking Him all week long, then He is pleased with my "fasting", and He does hear my prayers.

Heavenly Father, I want to love you more.  Lord, thank you for your Word this morning.  Lord, please mold my character into the mind and attitudes of Christ.  Lord, please bring me to a better practice of fasting.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Monday, October 18, 2010

another farming analogy

Isaiah 53-55

 55:10 "The rain and snow come down from the heavens
      and stay on the ground to water the earth.
   They cause the grain to grow,
      producing seed for the farmer
      and bread for the hungry.
 11 It is the same with my word.
      I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
   It will accomplish all I want it to,
      and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

Heavenly Father, please plant your Word in my heart and mind, and please use me to plant your Word in the hearts and minds of the people around me.  Lord, please wash me with your Word.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Only true God

Isaiah 43-44, 1 Cor. 6

43:7 Bring all who claim me as their God,
      for I have made them for my glory.
      It was I who created them.'" ...
10 "But you are my witnesses, O Israel!" says the Lord.
      "You are my servant.
   You have been chosen to know me, believe in me,
      and understand that I alone am God.
   There is no other God—
      there never has been, and there never will be.
 11 I, yes I, am the Lord,
      and there is no other Savior.
 12 First I predicted your rescue,
      then I saved you and proclaimed it to the world.
   No foreign god has ever done this.
      You are witnesses that I am the only God,"
      says the Lord.
 13 "From eternity to eternity I am God.
      No one can snatch anyone out of my hand.
      No one can undo what I have done."

 44:6 This is what the Lord says—Israel's King and Redeemer, the Lord of Heaven's Armies:

   "I am the First and the Last;
      there is no other God.
 7 Who is like me?
      Let him step forward and prove to you his power.
   Let him do as I have done since ancient times
      when I established a people and explained its future.
 8 Do not tremble; do not be afraid.
      Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago?
   You are my witnesses—is there any other God?
      No! There is no other Rock—not one!"

 24 This is what the Lord says—
      your Redeemer and Creator:
   "I am the Lord, who made all things.
      I alone stretched out the heavens.
   Who was with me
      when I made the earth?

Heavenly Father, I praise you because you are the one and only true God.  You are the Creator.  You are the only Savior.  You are the only Rock.  You are the LORD - Yahweh.  Lord, I want to know you and serve you.  I want to honor you and love you.  Please use me to bring glory to yourself.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Isaiah 41-42

I talked to my dad a little about discipleship the other day, and I've been thinking about it the last few days.  It seems like in many congregations in the States, much attention is given to the weekly corporate gatherings ("Sunday worship services").  While I do think these meetings are important and should have a balance between organizational structure and freedom to the Spirit's leadership, it is becoming more and more impressive to me that one-on-one discipleship is the essence of Christianity.  If you consider the Gospel accounts, how many of the stories are about Jesus in a "worship service" with his disciples, and how many of the stories are about Jesus spending quality time with his Disciples?  If you consider the Apostles' Acts and Letters, how much of their content is focused on community living and discipleship, and how much is focused on "worship services"? 

How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  How do you make disciples of all nations?  One disciple at a time.

The practical point is that I need to connect with a more mature Brother to challenge me to go deeper in my walk with Christ, and I need to be investing in some younger Brothers to challenge them to go to the next level in their discipleship.

Heavenly Father, I am a disciple of Christ, and I need to go to the next level.  I need to be engaged.  Lord, please arrange relationships and connections for me to be under another Brother's guidance and at the same time lead some other Brothers deeper with you.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ and for His Kingdom.  Amen.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Isaiah 39-40

How easy it is to be distracted and drawn toward any thing other than the Lord!  Nothing even compares to Him, so how is it so easy to be distracted from pursuing Him?

 40:18 To whom, then, will you compare God?
       What image will you compare him to?  ...
 25 "To whom will you compare me?
       Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One.  ...
 28 Do you not know?
       Have you not heard?
       The LORD is the everlasting God,
       the Creator of the ends of the earth.
       He will not grow tired or weary,
       and his understanding no one can fathom.

Heavenly Father, I am sorry that I am so easily distracted from you.  Lord, please help me focus on you and pursue you.  Lord, deliver me from the business of my life and all of the things that I think I need to accomplish.  Lord, please let me simply put my faith, hope, and love in you and trust you to carry me.  Lord, may my life be spent as a pleasing offering to you.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Isaiah 32-33, Romans 14

As Brandi and I were hiking a trail in the Franklin Mountain State Park this morning, I was reminded of some spiritual analogies between hiking and our walk with Christ:
  • He is our guide, and
    • we need to watch Him closely and follow close behind Him.
    • we need to listen carefully to Him as He tells us where the trustworthy footholds and handgrips are.
    • as we are going along, we need to learn His character, not just His directional instructions.
  • We make the ascent with a team, and
    • we help others along.
    • we let others help us.
    • we take care of each other.
    • we enjoy each others' company.
  • The trail is challenging, and
    • the safe path is narrow.
    • we need to know the climber's manual for safe climbing principles.
    • we need to take rest breaks along the way.
    • we need to pause and look beyond the trail to see the scenery around us.
    • we need to enjoy the journey, because the quintessence of the journey is to know Christ, not just to get to the destination.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity to walk with Christ into eternity.  Lord, thank you for a wonderful wife who is such a great climbing partner.  Lord, please draw us to you, and I pray that we will help others in our walk together.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

a little folding of the hands

Isaiah 28-29

I still haven't figured this one out:

 Isa 28:12 God has told his people,
   "Here is a place of rest;
      let the weary rest here.
   This is a place of quiet rest."

Matt 11:28 Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light."

Practically, how do you balance these two passages with the following?

Col 3:23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men ...

Prov 6:9
How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
       When will you get up from your sleep?

 10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
       a little folding of the hands to rest-

 11 and poverty will come on you like a bandit
       and scarcity like an armed man.

How do I know when I am not working hard enough to honor the Lord, and how do I know when I am a slacker?  How do you know how much work you should invest in the startup of a new job?  I feel like I am working way too much, but at the same time I am falling further and further behind at work.  How do I reconcile these?

Heavenly Father, please give me clear wisdom and discernment to correctly see my vocation through your perspective.  Lord, I want to work for you with all my heart.  And I don't want to be a slacker, but Lord, I need some rest.  I know that you will carry me; please show me how to live a balanced, sustainable life.  I love you, Lord, and I want my life to count for eternity.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

hope in Christ and the Resurrection

Isaiah 26-27

 19 But those who die in the Lord will live;
      their bodies will rise again!
   Those who sleep in the earth
      will rise up and sing for joy!
   For your life-giving light will fall like dew
      on your people in the place of the dead!

I can see why the Apostle Paul was confident that Christ's resurrection was a fulfillment of this Scripture and a guarantee of the bodily resurrection of everyone at the end of time. 

Heavenly Father, thank you for the hope that I have to spend eternity with you, and the knowledge that you will completely resolve all justice, conflict, and impurity.  Lord, please help me live expectantly for Christ's return.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

business and focus

Isaiah 23-25

I feel like it is kind of foggy in my brain.  I have so many things to do at work (preparing for lectures, meeting people, developing a research plan, and a never-ending influx of emails).  And I want to be a good father and husband and spend quality time with my family.  I am praying for balance and focus on the correct priorities.

 25:9 In that day the people will proclaim,
   "This is our God!
      We trusted in him, and he saved us!
   This is the Lord, in whom we trusted.
      Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!"

I want to live for That Day (which coul be today), but sometimes it is difficult to sort out what will have eternal consequences and what won't.  I want to live by walking with the spirit instead of accomplishing a list of tasks.

Heavenly Father, I need your salvation.  Practical salvation.  I need you to rescue me from emails and my to-do list.  Lord, I need you to focus my heart's desire on loving you and loving others.  Lord, please help me view my vocation through the lens of a walk with you through which you accomplish ministry, evangelism, and discipleship.  I love you, Lord.  Please help me.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

challenges of the Church

Isaiah 9-10, Romans 10

I listened to a sermon series by David Jeremiah last Friday on my drive back to the flatland, and I was reminded of how brief our remaining time might be before Christ returns.  Considering Jesus's commission to make disciples of all nations, it seems to me that we have some big challenges of efficiently and effectively communicating the Gospel of Jesus Christ and facilitating growth in faith among: (1) people who have never heard the Gospel of Jesus, (2) people who think they have heard the Gospel of Jesus but have really heard a warped or perverted "gospel" (e.g., most of the people in the US that call themselves "christians"), and (3) people among other major religions (e.g., Muslims, Mormons, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.).

Rom 10:9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. 11 As the Scriptures tell us, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced." 12 Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. 13 For "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." 14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, "How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!"

Heavenly Father, please use me to share the Gospel, truth, light, hope, love, faith, and life of Jesus Christ with everyone around me so that people will experience your mercy and grace and the abundant life that Jesus promises.  Lord, please grow my faith, and help me be a disciple maker.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

pay attention

Isaiah 5-6

The Lord was telling the nation of Israel (through the prophet Isaiah) how they had turned away from Him and were just party animals, but it is the last part of this verse that is particularly sobering:

5:12 They furnish wine and lovely music at their grand parties—
      lyre and harp, tambourine and flute—
   but they never think about the Lord
      or notice what he is doing.

It is scary to me, because I think it is easy for me to get busy in my job and taking care of my family.  Not that I shouldn't concentrate on my job and my family, but those efforts should be outflows of my devotion to the Lord.  I need to focus on Him - knowing Him and walking with Him.  I want to think about Him all of the time so that He is poured out into every aspect of my life.

6:1 It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. ...

 8 Then I heard the Lord asking, "Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?"

   I said, "Here I am. Send me."

Heavenly Father, thank you for your kindness and your mercy.  Lord, you are so patient with me; please help me focus on you.  Lord, I want to see you and hear you.  Lord, may I be a faithful messenger of the Gospel.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Monday, September 27, 2010

the Gospel in Isaiah

Isaiah 3-4, Romans 11

Isa 1:16 Wash yourselves and be clean!
      Get your sins out of my sight.
      Give up your evil ways.
 17 Learn to do good.
      Seek justice.
   Help the oppressed.
      Defend the cause of orphans.
      Fight for the rights of widows.
"Come now, let's settle this,"
      says the Lord.
   "Though your sins are like scarlet,
      I will make them as white as snow.
   Though they are red like crimson,
      I will make them as white as wool.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your mercy and grace.  Lord, please wash me with your Word, and give me faith to obey you.  Lord, please use me to extend the ministry of Christ. May I practice good deeds for your honor.  May I seek justice in my heart, life, and community.  Lord, may I be a champion for the oppressed, orphan, and widow.  Lord, please use me to shine in the darkness.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

¿Cuánto nos ama! (How He loves us!)

Song of Songs 1-3, Romans 9

Last night I attended an on-campus collegiate worship service that is led by a Christian student organization called UNO U.  I have volunteered to be a faculty sponsor for this group.  One of the cool things about this ministry is that the worship service is in the physical sciences building on Wednesday night, and the whole service is in Spanish!  (I only understood about 5% of what was said, but hey, that's a start, right?)  I did recognize one of the songs; it was David Crowder's "Oh, how He loves us", but translated to Spanish.  I was very impressed with the magnitude of God's love, and how His love transcends language and culture - He loved the WHOLE WORLD so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus.

Rom 8:35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? ... 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Heavenly Father, your love is amazing!  You are so kind and merciful.  Lord, please expand my appreciation of your love, and please grow your love for others in me.  May I continue to grow in knowing and enjoying your eternal love through Christ, and may I be a conduit and expression of your love to others.  Te amo, Señor Jesús!  Muchas gracias por tu amor! ¿Cuánto nos ama! I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Ecclesiastes 10-12, Romans 8

As I have been reading through Romans, I have realized a few principles.  First, it seems to me like Romans 4 indicates that Abraham was justified prior to circumcision.  So, if baptism is the New Covenant replacement of circumcision, then perhaps baptism is not necessary for justification.  Also, taking the example of the life of Christ Jesus, His baptism was the initiation of His public ministry.  Perhaps baptism is the commissioning of each Believer as an ambassador of Christ.

Furthermore, Romans 6 indicates that, through baptism, we are united with Christ's death.  Consequently, Romans 6 and 7 explain that by our unity with Christ, we have died to sin and the law, respectively.

I have also been reading a book about "mindfulness" and meditation, written by a Buddhist.  It is very interesting, and the author has pointed out several truths, especially the selfishness and egotism of our human nature.  From what I understand, the basic concept of "mindfulness" is to be aware of our motives and feelings, both in meditation, and as we act and react throughout each day.  Unfortunately, I don't think a person can actually do that completely; I think we need the Holy Spirit to sanctify our conscience so that we can see the true spiritual reality.  But I do agree that we must actively work to set our minds on the Spirit so that the Lord will grow the character and mind of Christ in us.

Rom 8:5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

Heavenly Father, please teach me to set my mind on the Spirit so that I may experience the Life and Peace of Christ.  Lord, please train my thinking to be spiritual instead of carnal.  Lord, please transform my mind so that I view the world through your eternal love, will, and plan.  Father, please show me the next step of your plan for me in my life so that I will be efficiently cooperating with you for your glory and my enjoyment.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Monday, September 20, 2010

all work and no play

Ecc. 4-6, Romans 5

 5:18 Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. 19 And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. 20 God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.

I realize that I've been working too hard.  It is tough to find a balance between working hard at the beginning of a job so that I can get things rolling, but the truth is, I need to make sure that I am operating sustainably.  I need to make sure that I am getting appropriate nutrition, rest, and exercise.  I have stressed myself out the last few weeks.  I need to chill out, trust God to provide, and enjoy the life that the Lord has given me.

Heavenly Father, teach me to number my days.  I love you, and I want to walk with you.  I don't want my ambition to be focused on anything other than knowing Christ and living the life that you want for me.  I want to walk with you.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

snow in the summer

Proverbs 25-26, Romans 4

25:13 Trustworthy messengers refresh like snow in summer.
      They revive the spirit of their employer.

26:1 Honor is no more associated with fools
      than snow with summer or rain with harvest.

I remember one time it snowed at the end of April my sophomore year in college (it may have even been the beginning of May).  I was in my fifth-floor dorm room working on homework with some buddies, and I looked out the window into the courtyard and thought I must have been imagining things.  But sure enough, it was 70 or 80 degrees outside, and here it was large white snowflakes gently swirling and falling to the ground!  Indeed, it was one of the most refreshing moments.  I smiled about it for the rest of the week.

Heavenly Father, may I be an honest man of integrity.  Lord, I pray that I will be a faithful messenger.  May I never be foolish, and may I honor you because of the character of Christ in me.  I pray in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

plans and victory

Proverbs 19-21, Romans 3

 19:21 You can make many plans,
      but the Lord's purpose will prevail.

It seems like it is in my best interest to cooperate with the Lord.  If I'm running around doing whatever I want, then I am just wasting a lot of time and energy.  Alternatively, if I get with His program, then I ramp up, do my best, and trust Him for the Victory:

 21:30 No human wisdom or understanding or plan
      can stand against the Lord.

 31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle,
      but the victory belongs to the Lord.

Heavenly Father, please give me faith and endurance.  Lord, please draw me to you.  I want to know you and walk with you.  Lord, I want to cooperate with you; I don't want to waste my life on things that won't count in eternity.  Lord, please give me focus and determination to obey you - singleminded obedience.  I love you, Lord.  Please give me rest in your will.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Monday, September 13, 2010

joy in vocation

Proverbs 16-18, 1 Cor. 7-8

Last Thursday and Friday, I attended a technical conference in DC.  I learned a lot, but I was very intimidated by how much other people know.  I realized that this type of fear is fundamentally driven by pride.  I need to have faith and trust the Lord to lead me to where he wants me to be.

Yesterday morning, Greg challenged us from Micah 6:8 to know God's heart and act justly.  He challenged us to do something about the injustices around us.  Specifically, I was challenged to financially support evangelical agencies that provide clean water and sanitation.

Yesterday afternoon through this morning, I have been focusing on being joyful and trusting the Lord instead of being anxious and worried about what I'm supposed to be doing.  I think I need to meditate on Prov. 3:5-6 and 16:3 and 9.

Heavenly Father, I love you, and I am sorry that my attention has been focused on my labor instead of my God.  Lord, please forgive me and deliver me from fear and worry to faith and obedience.  I pray that as your joy flows through me, I will be salt and light to the people around me.  May I never forget that my vocation is simply a vehicle to bless others and make disciples.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

seeking wisdom

Proverbs 3-5, Romans 1, 1 Cor 3

My dad taught me these verses when I was a kid:

 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
      do not depend on your own understanding.
 6 Seek his will in all you do,
      and he will show you which path to take.

This has become one of my favorites (I have it on the background of my computer desktop):

 4:18 The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
      which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.

I am traveling to DC today for a research development meeting, and as I continue to ask the Lord to refine the vision that He has for me, I am encouraged by these verses (both spiritually and professionally, if it is possible to distinguish):

 4:25 Look straight ahead,
      and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
 26 Mark out a straight path for your feet;
      stay on the safe path.
 27 Don't get sidetracked;
      keep your feet from following evil.

Heavenly Father, I am ignorant and foolish.  Lord, please teach me to fear you and seek wisdom.  I want to know the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  I want to be in unity with you and obedient to the vision that you have for me.  Lord, please give me clarity of thought, and may I guard my heart against pride, lust, and laziness.  Lord, I want to honor you and enjoy you.  Please fill me with your love, peace, joy, light, and life.  I pray that you will use me to bless others in the name of Jesus Christ, and it is in His name that I pray.  Amen.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Proverbs 1-2, Acts 28, 1 Cor. 2

Prov. 1:1 These are the proverbs of Solomon, David's son, king of Israel. 2 Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. ...  7 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

 2:1 My child, listen to what I say,
      and treasure my commands.
 2 Tune your ears to wisdom,
      and concentrate on understanding.
 3 Cry out for insight,
      and ask for understanding.
 4 Search for them as you would for silver;
      seek them like hidden treasures.
 5 Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
      and you will gain knowledge of God.
 6 For the Lord grants wisdom!
      From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. ...
 9 Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair,
      and you will find the right way to go.
 10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
      and knowledge will fill you with joy.
 11 Wise choices will watch over you.
      Understanding will keep you safe.

 1 Cor. 2:6 Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten. 7 No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. ... 12 And we have received God's Spirit (not the world's spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. ... 16... But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.

Heavenly Father, I praise you for your glorious and mysterious plan for Jesus to become human so that your Spirit could enter humanity.  Lord, please grant me wisdom to walk with you.  Lord, I want to know Christ and operate with the mind of Christ.  I want to live in grace and faith, according to the power of your Holy Spirit.  May I be obedient to the Lordship of Christ today.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Monday, September 6, 2010

holy expectation

Psalm 148-150, Acts 27, 1 Corinthians 1

2 I am writing to God's church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours. ... 7 Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8 He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 9 God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. ... 30 God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.

I want to live a holy life by the power of the Holy Spirit.  I want to be consciously waiting for Christ's return - all the time.  I want to live like I am united with Christ.

Heavenly Father, thank you for calling me to holiness in Christ.  Thank you, Lord, for salvation in Christ.  Please grow me, Father.  Please purify me and use me as a holy man in your Kingdom.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Friday, September 3, 2010

pure desire

Psalm 140-142

 142:5 Then I pray to you, O Lord.
      I say, "You are my place of refuge.
      You are all I really want in life.

Heavenly Father, you are my refuge.  Lord Jesus, you are my Savior.  Holy Spirit, you are my comfort and strength.  Lord, please purify my desires!  I want to want you only.  I want you to be the center of my life, and everything else an outflow of your Life, Love, and Light.  Lord Jesus, you are the vine, and and I am a branch; I will just shrivel up and die if I don't abide in you.  Lord, please help me stay connected.  Heavenly Father, please prune me (as painful as that might be) so that I can bear fruit.  Holy Spirit, please produce your fruit in me for your glory.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Purpose and process

Psalm 137-139

The Lord has His purposes for me.  I may not know what they are, but I can be confident that "He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

 137:8 The Lord will work out his plans for my life—
      for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.
      Don't abandon me, for you made me.

139:13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
      and knit me together in my mother's womb.
 14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
      Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
 15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
      as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
 16 You saw me before I was born.
      Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
   Every moment was laid out
      before a single day had passed. 17 How precious are your thoughts about me,[c] O God.
      They cannot be numbered!

And if the Lord is going to take me from where I am to where He wants me to be, then I must participate in His purification process:

 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
      test me and know my anxious thoughts.
 24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
      and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

I used to think that all of the heinous sins offended God.  Well, of course, they do!  But I am beginning to realize that anything that steals my attention and time from the Lord offends Him, because it is an idol.  Even my desire to do a good job at work is an idol if I am more focused on that than on loving and worshipping Him.

Heavenly Father, I trust you with my life.  I trust that you have designed me with a specific purpose and vision in mind, and I want to follow you and walk with you along this path that you have given me.  Lord, please draw me into you.  Please forgive me of lust, pride, and worry, and show me all of the things in my life that distract me from knowing and loving you.  I love you, and I want to love you more.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

praise and thanks; worship

Psalm 135-136

 135:1 Praise the Lord!

   Praise the name of the Lord!
      Praise him, you who serve the Lord,

 136:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
         His faithful love endures forever.

Something that the Lord has been dealing with me is what I am working for. Is it really for Him? Or do I deep inside really want the glory for myself? Thinking of Heb 12:1-2, am I striving dutifully to fulfill responsibilities? Or am I joyfully longing to be with Christ? Am I joyfully walking with Him, since He is not only the Prize, but He is the Way. Am I experiencing Him daily, and full of His Spirit?  Am I really loving Him?  Am I really worshipping Him, or am I going through the motions?

Heavenly Father, I want to love you with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength.  I feel like I am so far from that.  Lord, please let me experience you and love you.  I want to know you, Lord.  I want to walk with you.  I am tired of working.  I want to LIVE!  Fill me with your LIFE!  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Psalm 132-134

132:7 Let us go to the sanctuary of the Lord;
      let us worship at the footstool of his throne. ...
9 May your priests be clothed in godliness;
      may your loyal servants sing for joy.

134:1 Oh, praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord,
      you who serve at night in the house of the Lord.
 2 Lift up holy hands in prayer,
      and praise the Lord.

How do we go to His sanctuary?  How do we worship at his footstool?  Maybe several ways are: gathering together as the Body of Christ, being clothed in the Righteousness of Christ, singing for joy, praising the Lord, and praying.

Heavenly Father, I want to praise you.  I want my life to praise you.  Thank you for clothing me with the Righteousness of Christ.  Lord, please help me focus on you and obeying you.  Lord, I want to honor you.  I pray that I will continually sing for joy because of your amazing love and grace.  May I be a faithful prayer warrior.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Psalm 129-131

 130:5 I am counting on the Lord;
      yes, I am counting on him.
      I have put my hope in his word.
 6 I long for the Lord
      more than sentries long for the dawn,
      yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.

 131:2 Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself,
      like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother's milk.
      Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.

There are two aspects of spiritual maturity here that I see that I need.  First, I need to desire to know God.  It seems pretty simple, but I want to consistently (moment by moment) desire to know Him.  Not just do a bunch of religious stuff.

Second, I need to set my mind on the Spirit and take control of my emotions.  I need to know the promises of the Lord and His character so that I will not be a spiritual baby anymore.  I think that a deep, abiding joy will begin to flow out of me as I faithfully stay my mind and emotions on the Lord's goodness.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your kindness and love towards me.  I want to desire you more than the sentries long for the dawn.  Please help me focus on you and knowing you so that my mind and emotions will be stable.  Please use me to lead others to know your love and kindness.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Psalm 120-122

121:2 My help comes from the Lord,
      who made heaven and earth! ...
 5 The Lord himself watches over you!
      The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. ...
 7 The Lord keeps you from all harm
      and watches over your life.
 8 The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
      both now and forever.

He doesn't keep anything bad from ever happening, but He measures everything so that He knows that we can handle it with His strength.  This morning, I was listening to praise music on the drive to the office, and I realized that the fact that Jesus conquered the grave is HUGE!  Every other conflict is trivial.  If only I could walk in His Victory every moment.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your kindness and love.  Lord, thank you for Life and Victory in Christ Jesus.  Lord, please draw me close to you.  Thank you for watching over me and my family.  Lord, may we be used for your Kingdom.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

finite perfection

Psalm 119:89-176

 148 I stay awake through the night,
      thinking about your promise.

OK, honestly, I wasn't thinking about His promise.  I was thinking about why He wouldn't let my son just GO TO SLEEP!

This one is pretty sweet:

 96 Even perfection has its limits,
      but your commands have no limit.

As I thought about it, the perfection of any finite thing is finite.  That is, theoretically, perfection of any finite thing could eventually be accomplished.  I used to describe God's holiness by saying that "God is completely perfect".  However, "perfection has its limits", but the holiness of God is apparently infinite. 

How is it that we can spend FOREVER in ETERNITY worshiping Him and celebrating all of His amazing attributes (holiness, goodness, kindness, love, etc.)?  How can a two-dimensional object ever enjoy all of a three-dimensional space?  I think we will be perpetually swimming in the sustained, peaceful joy of His radiant Light.

Heavenly Father, please purify me and draw me into you.  Lord, may I gain more of you today, and may you gain more of me.  Lord, I can't do everything that is expected of me, and certainly not everything that is asked of me.  Please give me wisdom to know how to follow you, and may I keep in step with your Spirit.  Lord Jesus, I pray that you will be the Goal and the Prize that I pursue, and I pray that you will be the Way for me.  I love you, and I need you.  Please use my life for your glory and honor.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Psalm 119:1-88, Acts 22

  9 How can a young person stay pure?
      By obeying your word.
 10 I have tried hard to find you—
      don't let me wander from your commands.
 11 I have hidden your word in my heart,
      that I might not sin against you.
 12 I praise you, O Lord;
      teach me your decrees. ...
 57 Lord, you are mine!
      I promise to obey your words! ...
 67 I used to wander off until you disciplined me;
      but now I closely follow your word. ...
 71 My suffering was good for me,
      for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees. ...
 79 Let me be united with all who fear you,
      with those who know your laws.
 80 May I be blameless in keeping your decrees;
      then I will never be ashamed.

Heavenly Father, please purify me with your Word.  Lord, I pray that I will meditate on your Word and experience your Word.  I believe that Jesus Christ is the Eternal Word, and am His disciple.  Lord, please cleanse me and use me for your perfect Will.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

walking in His presence

Psalm 116-118

 116:3 Death wrapped its ropes around me;
      the terrors of the grave overtook me.
      I saw only trouble and sorrow.
 4 Then I called on the name of the Lord:
      "Please, Lord, save me!"
 5 How kind the Lord is! How good he is!
      So merciful, this God of ours!
 6 The Lord protects those of childlike faith;
      I was facing death, and he saved me.
 7 Let my soul be at rest again,
      for the Lord has been good to me.
 8 He has saved me from death,
      my eyes from tears,
      my feet from stumbling.
 9 And so I walk in the Lord's presence
      as I live here on earth!

This reminds me of Galatians 5:

 16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. ... 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives.

I don't know how to make this a measurable goal, but my goal is to better listen to the Holy Spirit every day.  I want to be consciously aware of His presence and guidance every day.  I want to ask, listen, and obey - daily, hourly, minute-by-minute!

Heavenly Father, please draw me close to you.  Thank you for saving me from death and destruction, and thank you for giving me the Victory in Christ Jesus.  I pray that I will faithfully serve you and that you will be pleased and honored by my life.  Please purify the attitudes of my heart and the thoughts of my mind to dwell on you and be filled with you so that I will overflow your very Life!  I pray that others will sense your presence in my life and be drawn to you because "your faithful love endures forever".  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Monday, August 23, 2010

first day of school

Psalm 113-115

Today is the first day of school for me as a professor.  As I was getting nervous last night, Brandi started telling me about some of her first days of school as a student and as a teacher.  I realized that most people are nervous on the first day.  But I also realized that the Lord has taken care of me at every step along the way, and I know that He will continue to carry me on. 

115:1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us
       but to your name be the glory,
       because of your love and faithfulness.

Last night, I was praying that the Lord would pour His Living Water through me, and that I would be a blessing to my students and the faculty with whom I work.  I believe that the Scripture that I read this morning was a confirmation:

 114:7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
      at the presence of the God of Jacob.
 8 He turned the rock into a pool of water;
      yes, a spring of water flowed from solid rock.

Heavenly Father, you have been so kind to me in so many ways.  Thank you for grace and mercy through Christ Jesus.  Thank you for giving me an education and a job to use that education.  Thank you for my supportive wife and family.  Thank you for the opportunity to be used by you to bless others.  May your Living Water flow through me.  I praise you, Lord, and I love you.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Friday, August 20, 2010

faithfulness and unfaithfulness

Psalm 105-106

 105:1 Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name;
       make known among the nations what he has done.

 2 Sing to him, sing praise to him;
       tell of all his wonderful acts.

 3 Glory in his holy name;
       let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.

 4 Look to the LORD and his strength;
       seek his face always.

 5 Remember the wonders he has done,
       his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,

 6 O descendants of Abraham his servant,
       O sons of Jacob, his chosen ones.

 7 He is the LORD our God;
       his judgments are in all the earth.

 8 He remembers his covenant forever,
       the word he commanded, for a thousand generations,

 9 the covenant he made with Abraham,
       the oath he swore to Isaac.

The Lord is so faithful, but we are so unfaithful:

106:6 We have sinned, even as our fathers did;
       we have done wrong and acted wickedly. ...
19 At Horeb they made a calf
       and worshiped an idol cast from metal.

 20 They exchanged their Glory
       for an image of a bull, which eats grass.

 21 They forgot the God who saved them,
       who had done great things in Egypt, ...

 39 They defiled themselves by what they did;
       by their deeds they prostituted themselves.

But, the Lord is still faithful:

 43 Many times he delivered them,
       but they were bent on rebellion
       and they wasted away in their sin.

 44 But he took note of their distress
       when he heard their cry;

 45 for their sake he remembered his covenant
       and out of his great love he relented.

 46 He caused them to be pitied
       by all who held them captive.

 47 Save us, O LORD our God,
       and gather us from the nations,
       that we may give thanks to your holy name
       and glory in your praise.

Heavenly Father, you are so faithful!  Your love for us is amazing.  Lord, I am so sorry for trading my relationship with you for worthless things this world tempts us with.  Lord, please purify me and my desires so that I will desire you and seek your face always.  Lord, I want to know you and love you with my whole heart, mind, soul, and strength.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.