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.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

the Lord's character

Psalm 103-104

Do you want to know who the Lord is?  Do you want to know what He is like?  What is His character?

103:8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
       slow to anger, abounding in love.

 9 He will not always accuse,
       nor will he harbor his anger forever;

 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
       or repay us according to our iniquities.

 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
       so great is his love for those who fear him;

 12 as far as the east is from the west,
       so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

 13 As a father has compassion on his children,
       so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;

Heavenly Father, may my whole life praise you.  I pray that my heart, mind, soul, will, emotions, thoughts, and attitudes will all be unified with my spirit in fearing you and loving you.  Lord, you are mighty and awesome.  You are powerful, and you are still gracious and kind.  You are merciful, and your love is never ending.  Lord, thank you for being kind to me and my family.  I pray that my life will bless you.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Psalm 96-99

Man, this week has been busy!  I need to find balance.  I wonder if I need to be accelerating, coasting, or resting during this time.  It seems like there is so much to do.  I just don't know where the balance is of trusting God and still pulling my weight.

99:3 Let them praise your great and awesome name.
      Your name is holy!
5 Exalt the Lord our God!
      Bow low before his feet, for he is holy!
9 Exalt the Lord our God,
      and worship at his holy mountain in Jerusalem,
      for the Lord our God is holy!

Heavenly Father, you are holy.  Lord Jesus, you are holy.  Holy Spirit, you are holy.  Holy Trinity, you are holy.  Lord, please purify me and make me holy so that I may fellowship with you and reflect your character.  I pray that my life will be a continuous demonstration of worship.  Lord, please show me the balance in work, play, and rest, and may they all be expressions of worshiping your holiness.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Psalm 84-86

My goal is to meditate on these verses by singing them today:

 86:11 Teach me your way, O LORD,
       and I will walk in your truth;
       give me an undivided heart,
       that I may fear your name.

 12 I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart;
       I will glorify your name forever.

Heavenly Father, you have written your law on my heart.  I pray that my body, soul, and spirit will be in harmony with you and your will today.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Psalm 81-83

As I get rolling here at UTEP (filling out a ton of paperwork, preparing to teach, continuing in research, etc.), it is important for me to keep my priorities straight:

82:3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
    maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
4 Rescue the weak and the needy;
    deliver them from the hand of the wicked."

I believe that the Lord has given me a vision of helping people around the world (especially Spanish-speaking regions) gain access to improved water supply and sanitation.  In this way, I will cooperate with the Lord to fulfill this charge in Psalm 82:3-4.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the vision that you have given me.  I know that it is your dream, and I know that it will require many battles, but I know that you are victorious!  Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your good work. I praise you, and I love you.  In the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Monday, August 9, 2010

the Lord is my Shepherd

Psalm 77-78

Last night, I was so anxious and fearful of all of the things that I need to get done in my new job as an assistant professor that I couldn't sleep.  Brandi reminded me of Phil. 4:4-9, and I tried praying through it.  And this morning, the Lord reassured me through His Word that He has been faithful throughout my life and throughout all time, so I simply need to trust and walk by the power of the Spirit:

 77:20 You led your people like a flock
       by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

 78:15 He split the rocks in the desert
       and gave them water as abundant as the seas;

 16 he brought streams out of a rocky crag
       and made water flow down like rivers. ...

 52 But he brought his people out like a flock;
       he led them like sheep through the desert.

Heavenly Father, I trust you, and I give you this vocation.  Lord, I trust that you will provide for me as you have always provided.  May my life be an example of your goodness and kindness, and may I be faithful to seek you, listen to you, and obey you for your glory.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Friday, August 6, 2010

praise the Lord for his faithfulness

Psalm 70-71

70:4 But may all who search for you
      be filled with joy and gladness in you.
   May those who love your salvation
      repeatedly shout, "God is great!"

71:15 I will tell everyone about your righteousness.
      All day long I will proclaim your saving power,
      though I am not skilled with words.
 16 I will praise your mighty deeds, O Sovereign Lord.
      I will tell everyone that you alone are just.

The Lord has faithfully carried me through some of the most demanding and exhausting weeks of my life.  The last month of dissertating was ridiculous!  I would have crashed and burned on my own, but the Lord sustained me. 

On top of the dissertation and graduation business, we had to say goodbye to our friends and family in Austin and move to El Paso.  We are going to miss being with them so much, and it was such a blessing to have the going-away party at the Cottons.  The love and generosity from our Great Hills family was overwhelming, and we are so humbled that the Lord would use us to impact other people's lives.

As we were unpacking the other day, we let Beau craw around on the floor in the living room. Brandi and I were both encouraging him to crawl toward me, but he got distracted and crawled over to the front door where there were a few dead bugs and some dirt.  I thought that was a pretty good analogy for our walk with Christ sometimes.  Our Father invites us to spend time with Him, and the Holy Spirit urges us to spend time with the Father, but the world entices us to eat "yucky" stuff instead of enjoying the Bread from Heaven.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your faithful love and care.  Lord, I want to follow you - wherever you lead.  Lord, please heal my heart from being removed from our family and friends in Austin, and please calm my heart from the intimidation of what lies ahead.  Please fill us with joy and gladness as you continue to pour your love, light, and life through us here in El Paso.  I love you, Lord, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Monday, August 2, 2010

waiting quietly

Psalm 60-62

 60:1 I wait quietly before God,
      for my victory comes from him.
 2 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
      my fortress where I will never be shaken. ...
 5 Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
      for my hope is in him.

 6 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
      my fortress where I will not be shaken.
 7 My victory and honor come from God alone.
      He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
 8 O my people, trust in him at all times.
      Pour out your heart to him,
      for God is our refuge.

Yesterday was one of the highlights of my life, and simultaneously one of the most heart-wrenching.  The Lord has blessed us so richly through the body of Christ at Great Hills.  I had the privilege of guest teaching in the Pursuit class yesterday morning, and I was so thankful.  The Lord gave me a challenge of holiness - the pursuit of Christ by gaining more of Him and shedding everything of this world.

In the corporate service, I had the great privilege and honor of standing in the baptistry with my Brother Tan as he was baptized.  His bold profession of faith was powerful to hear.  I know that the Lord will do mighty things through him.

In the afternoon, our Brothers and Sisters held a going-away party for us, and it was so wonderful to fellowship together.  Brandi and I were blown away by their generous gifts!  But more than that, we are so grateful for how the Lord has woven together our very lives.  We shared many tears.  I look forward to the day when we can celebrate His goodness together forever!

As I think about all of the dear friends that we are going to miss in Austin, I am overwhelmed.  As I look forward to all of the things that I need to do today before we leave, I am overwhelmed.  As I think about living in a new place, in a new culture, and going to work at a new job, I am overwhelmed.

Heavenly Father, let all that I am wait quietly and patiently on you, because you are the true prize.  Lord Jesus, you are the Way!  Holy Spirit, please comfort our broken hearts, and strengthen my Brothers and Sisters, that we may all grow deeper into Christ.  Lord Jesus, please gain more of  us through this process!  We need  you, Lord!  We need your life!  May your grace and mercy pour through us, and may your Love be shown in our lives.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.