Tuesday, May 31, 2011

light, life, love, truth, freedom

John 8:1-32
 12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, "I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life."
 31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, "You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Jesus is the light of the world, and we who follow Him are also the light of the world.  We show people the Way of Life when we remain faithful to His teaching.  What are the essentials of His teaching? Love God and love people.  In this practice, we will offer our bodies as living sacrifices and prove what is His good, pleasing, and perfect will.  We will experience the freedom from sin and death that is in the Life of Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the Light of Christ Jesus.  Lord Jesus, thank you for shining your light in our hearts and using us to shine in the world.  Holy Spirit, please guard my heart and mind so that I will be a disciple of Jesus and stay faithful to His teaching.  Lord, please deliver me from my selfishness and my own way of doing things.  I want to follow you and walk with you, and I need you to rescue me from myself.  I love you, Lord, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

getting thristy

John 4:1-23

This past Sunday morning, I was passing through Austin, so I stopped by GHBC to see our church family there.  It was very encouraging to see everyone and hear the lesson from Scotland and the message from Danny.  I was encouraged in my pursuit of the Lord.  Scotland's lesson focused on the first few verses in Colossians 3 about our actions being transformed by Christ, and Danny's message was the first in a series of sermons about being a "man after God's own heart".  I need to love God and pursue Him passionately.  I need to be thirsty for Him.

After the service, I was visiting with a few of the pastors and deacons, and I asked them, "How do I get spiritually thirsty?"  Mike said that in the physical, if you do work, then you get thirsty; so in the spiritual, you do His work, and you get thirsty.  Kyle said that He will make us thirsty if we pray and ask Him.  Kathy said that she has found a renewed thirst whenever she has gone on a spiritual retreat from business.

Heavenly Father, I want to know you and do your work.  Please make my heart thirsty for more of you, and please let my thirst be contagious so that others would taste and see how good you are.  Lord, please arrange a time of spiritual retreat so that I can get away from being so busy and just focus on you.  Lord, please deliver me from feeling guilty about not getting work done; teach me to be satisfied with what you accomplish through me.  Father, thank you so much for Brandi, and thank you for taking care of her.  Please bless her, and help me be a good husband to her.  I love you, Lord, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Jesus is Life

John 2:1-11

From Witness Lee's commentary, Jesus turning water into wine signifies Life's principle: changing death to life.

Heavenly Father, thank you for biological and spiritual life.  I know that you provide and sustain both.  Please forgive me for taking life for granted.  I want to share life with those around me.  Lord, please put your desires in my heart.  I need to want what you want.  I am so tired of running after my own desires and being left tired and empty.  I want to run after you and enjoy you.  Heavenly Father, you are so kind and generous.  I want to know your love and rest in your love.  Lord Jesus, please infuse me with your life.  I know that you will save me eternally, but I want to be infused with your life now so that others can taste and see that you are good.  Holy Spirit, please sharpen and focus my mind and my heart to desire you and walk with you.  I want to be a vessel that you can and do use.  I want to be satisfied only in you.  Please use me to bring life to those who are dead. I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lamb of God

John 1:29-51
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! ... 36 As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, "Look! There is the Lamb of God!"
Jesus came and lived incarnationally.  I want to live incarnationally.
Heavenly Father, thank you for saving me through Jesus.  Lord Jesus, you are the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  Holy Spirit, please purify me and cleanse me so that I may be used by you - full of the Spirit of Jesus so that you can use me as an incarnational vessel to dispense Christ into this world.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Son of God and sons of God

John 1

14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father's one and only Son. ... 18 No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father's heart. He has revealed God to us.

This past Sunday morning, we attended CityView Church, and Pastor Gary spoke about us being orphans versus sons of the Father.  I have been very anxious about the tenure process, but I need to see myself as a son of the Father, who provides everything that I need.  I need to trust Him.
12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
Heavenly Father, you are so kind to adopt me into your family.  I was an orphan, but you adopted me through grace and faith in Jesus Christ.  Now I am a son of the Father, and a brother of the Son.  Lord, I shouldn't fear, because your perfect love casts out all fear.  Lord Jesus, you are light, and you are full of unfailing love.  I want to shine your light and share your love with the world around me which so desperately needs your love and grace.  Lord, please use me to reveal the Father.  May I live incarnationally like Jesus did.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Friday, May 13, 2011

we killed an innocent man

Luke 23:1-25
Jesus was betrayed by Judas, interrogated by the high priest, then by the high council.  Then He was taken to Pilot, who found Him innocent and then sent Him to Herod Antipas, who also found Him innocent.  Then He was sent back to Pilot, and the Jewish leaders with the crowds convinced Pilot to have Jesus crucified.
"You miss the point, if you don't see your face in that crowd."
Heavenly Father, I am sorry that it was for my sin that Jesus endured all of that false accusation.  Lord Jesus, thank you for your patient suffering.  Holy Spirit, please help me have the attitude of Christ - to be committed to the Father's will in spite of suffering and mockery.  I love you, Lord.  Please bring me to life in you today.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

battle prep

Luke 22:39-71
41 He walked away, about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 "Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine." 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. 44 He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.
Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus Christ to pay the death penalty of my sin.  Lord Jesus, thank you for submitting yourself to the Father's will so that I could be redeemed and have a restored relationship with you.  Holy Spirit, thank you for revealing the Father and the Son.  Lord God Almighty, may I be used for your service?  Please help me be committed to you through prayer so that my selfish desires would be overcome by your good and loving will.  I love you, Lord, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Luke 22
 31 "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. 32 But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers."
It seems to me that Jesus knew that Peter would fail the temptation, but Jesus did not consider that equivalent with failing faith.  It seems to me that the fact that Peter repented means that his faith did not fail.  The fact that Peter would obey the Lord and strengthen his brothers means that his faith did not fail.
Perhaps in my own life, I need to take a deeper look at how I can learn from failed temptations and be encouraged that my faith is deeper than a single failed temptation.  To focus on failed temptation is wrong; I need to focus on the love, mercy, grace, and strength of the Lord and His power to overcome my wicked flesh.  If we show genuine repentance, humility, and brokenness over our failure, then the Lord will use that to gain more of us and fill us with Himself.  The goal of following Christ is not to sin less, it is to know and enjoy the Lord.  Sinning less is a byproduct.  Indeed, faith can grow through succeeding or failing temptation. 
Heavenly Father, thank you for your consistent mercy and grace.  Thank you that even though you know when I will mess up, you still love me and take care of me.  Thank you for the hope of repentance.  Lord, please help me see myself from your perspective.  I love you, and I want to walk with you.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

end of the period of the Gentiles

Luke 21:20-38
I think these verses are very impressive, and quite practical:

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

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

I want to live my life in costant waiting expectation of Jesus's return.  I want to be ready to greet Him, having been busy growing His Kingdom.

Heavenly Father, I love you, and I am thankful for the promise of Christ's return.  Lord Jesus, I love you, and I want to stay focused on you and your Kingdom.  Holy Spirit, I love you, and I want to keep in step with you.  Holy Spririt, please show me the Father and the Son.  Lord Jesus, please annoint me with the power of your Holy Spirit.  Heavenly Father, please bring me into communion with you through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.  I love you, Lord God Almighty, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.


Monday, May 9, 2011

the end of the world

Luke 21:1-19 

7 "Teacher," they asked, "when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to take place?"

8 He replied, "Don't let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Messiah,' and saying, 'The time has come!' But don't believe them. 9 And when you hear of wars and insurrections, don't panic. Yes, these things must take place first, but the end won't follow immediately." 10 Then he added, "Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and plagues in many lands, and there will be terrifying things and great miraculous signs from heaven.

Maybe it is only the "power of suggestion", or maybe it is just better news coverage, but it seems to me that natural disasters have been increasing in frequency and intensity.  Earthquakes, tornadoes, droughts, ...  I wonder what "great and miraculous signs from heaven" will look like.
Heavenly Father, I trust that you are in control.  I love you, and I know that you will accomplish your good plan.  Lord, please give me discernment to know the signs of the times, and please make my life an intervention for the people who don't know you and don't realize how time is running out.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Friday, May 6, 2011

He is carrying me

Luke 19:28-48

Yesterday, I had quite a bit going on.  Finish grading Exam 3, give a Final Exam review, sit on a PhD defense committee, and give a brief presentation of my research plans to my Dean and Provost.  I have been pressed pretty thin the last several weeks, and I know that the Lord is carrying me through it all.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your faithfulness.  You are so kind to take care of me and my family.  Lord, I hope my life is spent as a continuous investment in your Kingdom.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

faithful servant

Luke 19:1-12

 17 "'Well done!' the king exclaimed. 'You are a good servant. You have been faithful with the little I entrusted to you, so you will be governor of ten cities as your reward.'

Heavenly Father, I want to be a good servant.  You have trusted me with a wonderful family, a great education and job, ... Lord, I want to be faithful with these and invest them for your Kingdom.  Lord, please give me wisdom to know how to manage the resources you have given me so that I can be your faithful servant.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Luke 18:1-17
9He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10"Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' 13But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' 14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."
I am afraid I sound like the first guy more often than I would like to admit.  But I want to become the second guy.  I want to be humble before God and appreciative of His mercy and grace.  Not so that I "will be exalted", but so that I can know God.
Heavenly Father, I love you, and I need you.  Lord, I confess that I am a sinner; please be merciful to me because of Jesus.  Lord, please deliver me from being self-righteous.  There is no way that I can do enough to gain your special favor.  I am saved only because of Jesus and the faith that you have given me.  Thank you for your love.  Please help me show your love and kindness to others.  Help me be salty and bright today.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sabbath rest

Luke 17:20-37
Greg preached about Sabbath and rest yesterday.  It was exactly what I needed to hear.  Sabbath rest is about enjoying God.  Rest is a willful acknowledgement that we need God to restore us.  Rest is about fellowship with God through relationships with family and friends.  Rest is dwelling with God.  Rest is shalom.
After the church gathering, we went to lunch with some friends, and I even splurged for some queso.  After lunch, I took a three hour nap.  After the nap, we had a snack and played outside with Beau in the back yard.  Then we went for a long walk to a neighborhood park and visited with another couple while our kids played in the sand.  We stopped at McDonald's on the walk home for a dinner salad and some play time with Beau in the indoor playscape.  It was a very much needed, restful day.
Heavenly Father, I am sorry for not resting recently.  I need to fellowship with you and rest with you.  I want to work hard, but at the end of each day, and at the end of each week, I want to be content with what you have accomplished through me and take time to rest.  Lord, please deliver me from the workaholic lifestyle that is so contagious in academia.  I love you, and I want to be salt and light in my work and in my rest.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.