Thursday, July 28, 2011

sobering reality

Romans 2
6 He will judge everyone according to what they have done. 7 He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. 8 But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. ... 16 And this is the message I proclaim—that the day is coming when God, through Christ Jesus, will judge everyone's secret life.
It's easy to get busy with the details of your life and trying to keep track of everything when you are so busy, but the truth is that our time here is very brief, and we need to make sure that we're making every moment count for eternity.  With a humble heart and a clean conscience, I need to keep in step with the Spirit and take advantage of opportunities to share the truth of Jesus Christ with others.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your grace and mercy through Jesus Christ.  Thank you for judging my sin on the Cross so that I can have your forgiveness and fellowship with you.  Lord, I want to keep on doing good and seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that you offer.  I love you, Lord, and today I want to keep my mind focused on you and your eternal reality.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

we still must preach the Gospel

Romans 1:18-32

 18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

It might be tempting to read those verses and think that we don't have an obligation to preach the Gospel and make disciples, but the preceding two verses are essential:

 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

Heavenly Father, you are glorious, and it is true that you have shown yourself through your creation.  But Lord, please help me use your creation as a platform for the Gospel.  Please help me preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ faithfully so that others will experience your forgiveness and love.  I love you, Lord, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

serving Him in my spirit

Romans 1:1-17

9 For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, ...

What does it mean to serve God in my spirit?  Apparently, at least some aspect is accomplished in preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Heavenly Father, I want to serve you in my spirit.  I want to walk with you in the spirit; I want to keep in step with the Holy Spirit.  I love you, Lord.  Please, may I be faithful in preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I pray in His name.

Monday, July 25, 2011

ministering to the Lord

Acts 28

Brother David in Austin pointed out this verse to me some time ago, and it still impresses me, especially the first part:

2 While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."(NASB)

Yesterday, I helped Beau put on his shoes before we went to church.  He got a big smile on his face, and without me saying anything, he went and found my shoes and brought them to me with the brightest eyes.  Based on the way my heart filled with joy in beholding my son thoughtfully and autonomously considering me, I imagine that "ministering to the Lord" is something like that.

Heavenly Father, I want to minister to you.  I want to think about you and what you desire in your Kingdom, and I want to joyfully work with you towards your goals.  I love you, Lord.  Please help me see you and walk with you today.  I love you, and I want to enjoy a day spent with you.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Thankful for my wife

I had a good prayer walk along the beach here in Miami this evening. I
feel more at peace. I am thankful for His grace through Christ. And
i'm thankful for His grace through Brandi in our marriage. She is
consistently so kind and compassionate to me, and she is such a
faithful wife, mother, and friend. I am so thankful for her
forgiveness. Every year I am impressed more and more how much was at
stake over a handful of years ago now. It kills me to think how close
I was to losing her and all the ways the Lord has blessed me through
her throughout my life. My life is so much better because of her.
Brandi is an incredible gift from the Lord, and I am sorry for how
much I take for granted. I sincerely want to be a better disciple,
husband, father, friend, and professor. I want to walk with the Lord
with joy and peace, and i want to be a vessel for Him to dispense
Himself into my family, friends, colleagues, and students. And I
especially want to be a servant to my wife.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the wonderful wife you have given me. I
know that she is a gift from you. Thank you for using her to teach me
your mercy and grace and steadfast love. Please continue to give her
patience with me as I learn and grow to be a better husband and
father. Lord, please help me show the love of Christ to Brandi, and
please help me show the love of the Father to our children. Please
use me to bless Brandi and serve her. Thank you for Brandi. I love
you, Lord, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Monday, July 18, 2011

following Christ

Acts 21

 12 When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, "Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." 14When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, "The Lord's will be done."

I wish I was as determined to follow Christ as Paul was.  I also wish that I had as specific directions as Paul received.

Heavenly Father, please draw me to you.  Help me serve people the way you want to use me.  I love you, Lord, and I want to be closer to you.  I want to be useful in your Kingdom.  Please help me.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

making disciples

Acts 16

5 So the churches were strengthened in their faith and grew larger every day.

14 One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. 15 She was baptized along with other members of her household...

31 They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household." 32 And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. 33 ... Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. 34 He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.

Make disciples of all nations... and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Samaria, Judea, and the rest of the world.

Do I have the mindset that Jesus has commissioned me to make disciples every day?

Heavenly Father, please help me seek first your Kingdom and your Righteousness.  I love you, Lord, and I want to invest my life in building your Kingdom.  I want others to know your love and mercy and experience your eternal life.  We need you, Lord.  Please use us for your glory.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

God's love for humanity

Acts 15

8 God knows people's hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith. 10 So why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? 11We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus."

15 And this conversion of Gentiles is exactly what the prophets predicted. As it is written: 16 'Afterward I will return
      and restore the fallen house of David.
   I will rebuild its ruins
      and restore it,
 17 so that the rest of humanity might seek the Lord,
      including the Gentiles—
      all those I have called to be mine.

God has made a way for us to be reconnected to Him.  He has shown His love for us by sending Jesus to die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, and He has given us His own Holy Spirit.  He wants us to share this good news with others so that they may experience His expensive love.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your love and care.  Thank you for sending Jesus.  Thank you for your Holy Spirit.  Please anoint me and empower me today with boldness to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Lord, please give me your perspective so that I can know your will and do it as I walk with you.  I love you, Lord, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Acts 14

I am so impressed with the persistence of Paul and Barnabas.  God called them to go and share the Gospel, and they did.  They persevered through riots and even being stoned.  They continued to preach the Gospel and make disciples.

I am reminded of Hebrews 12:

 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won't become weary and give up. 4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

Heavenly Father, thank you for these examples of faith, and thank you for the example of Christ.  Lord, I want to obey you and run the race that you have marked out for me.  Lord, please give me wisdom to know what to do, and give me discernment to see what is of you and what is of my flesh.  Lord, may I be useful to you.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

faithful preaching

Acts 9

In the first several chapters of Acts, many people believed in Jesus.  But some rejected Him.  Stephen was faithful to preach the truth.  But he was killed for faithfully preaching the Gospel.

Then Saul began a persecution campaign against the Church.  But the followers of Jesus continued to preach the truth about Christ.  Some were imprisoned and killed because of their faithful preaching.

After Saul was confronted by the Lord, he believed.  And he began preaching that Jesus is the Messiah, which caused several groups to plot his murder.

I wonder what it would look like if Believers in the US would be so bold.

Heavenly Father, please help me boldly preach the truth about Jesus.  I want to love you and follow you.  Please help me.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.