Monday, December 31, 2012

end of the year

Rev 22

17 ... Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

I think I spent too much time this year focused on physical water.  In retrospect, I regret not spending more time with my wife and sons.  I spent way too much time on work. 

I want to live my life in balance so that people can see that I am drinking the Water of Life.  I want to stay Hydrated.  Specifically, I want to be known as a person of joy.

I want my wife to know me as a person of joy.  I want my sons to know me as a person of joy.

I want to be a spiritual leader for my family.

Heavenly Father, please help me be a man who seeks you and loves you.  Please help me experience and express the love of Christ.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Monday, December 24, 2012

I worked too much this semester

Rev 16

This past month was intense.  I over-committed myself.  My wife spoke something very carefully to me a couple of weeks ago, "Shane, I am very proud of you for all the things that you have accomplished professionally this semester, but I am sad that you didn't spend much time with your family."

I am beginning to realize that I need to do a better job being intentional about training my PhD students to be more independent thinkers and researchers.

More than that, I want to be more intentional in pursuing my wife and knowing my children.

Heavenly Father, please help me stay focused on the important things.  And may my life be full of joy as I pursue you and share you with others.  Please fill my heart with peace and love.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Monday, December 17, 2012

presence versus presents

Rev 8

I am pretty sure that I have heard this before, but as part of our church emphasis on the Advent Conspiracy, our pastor reminded us that most everyone wants "presence" more than "presents".

I am reminded that I need to spend more time with my wife, and I need to spend more time with my sons.  I worked too much this semester.  I feel like I can tell that Beau is frustrated because he doesn't get to spend as much time with me as he wants.  I don't want him to grow tired of wanting to spend time with me.

I wish I wanted to spend time with my Heavenly Father as much as Beau wants to spend time with his earthly father.

Heavenly Father, please help me be a better husband and father.  I need to give my presence.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Rev 5

Last night, we had a "teaching team" meeting to discuss ideas for sermons/messages for our church next year.  In the discussion, Randy mentioned the "four 'b's": behold, belong, believe, behave.  I was thinking about "behold" as I read these Scriptures in Rev. 5 this morning:

And they sang a new song, saying:

"You are worthy to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
    and with your blood you purchased for God
    persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
    and they will reign on the earth."

11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:

"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
    to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
    and honor and glory and praise!"

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:

"To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
    be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!"

14 The four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshiped.

I think the essence of Christianity is beholding and loving Jesus.  I want my heart to want to know Him and walk with Him daily.

Heavenly Father, please lead me to your Son, and reveal Him to me.  Lord, please grow in my heart the desire to love you and walk with you.  I ask in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Rev 3

The past two weeks have been intense.  I feel like have been operating at my redline, and I still have another week to go.

The Lord is sustaining me.  I know that this is a season.  I will get to take a few weeks off during Christmas break.  Reminds me of harvest season on the farm.  Get it done.  Then rest.

Heavenly Father, please help me.  Please give me strength.  Help me do what is right.  Deliver me from temptation, and use me to bring hope, joy, peace, and love.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


1 Peter 5

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

"God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble."

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

I think it is interesting that verse 7 talks about anxiety, right on the heels of humility (pride).  Once you start getting prideful, then anxiety comes with it.  You end up being anxious about maintaining stuff to be proud of.  It's all pretty dumb when you look at it from this perspective.  At the end of the day, we are all just people.  Fragile, brief people.

I was thinking about how I have allowed my heart and mind to think about success from the world's perspective.  Just last night, I was calculating the average annual research revenue per faculty at my university and in my college and comparing "my" revenue to the average.  Sort of like King David taking a census of the people in "his" kingdom.  Pretty stupid.  God provides it all.  It is all from Him and loaned to me as an opportunity to advance the Kingdom of Christ.  In the academic culture, success is measured by journal publications and research dollars, but Jesus measures success by attitude/motivation and obedience. 

I was reminded of some lyrics in Lecrae's song "After the music stops":

I don't do this for the money; I don't do this for fame. I don't do this so the industry can know my name. I do this in hopes to glorify Yeshua that came.

Heavenly Father, please help me stay focused on you and your Kingdom.  Please deliver me from the illusion of being someone "important" in the world's eyes.  I am important because Jesus died for me, just like He died for everyone else in the whole world.  Help me see His love and share it.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Monday, November 26, 2012

with the end in mind

1 Peter 4

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Regardless of how much (or little) time will elapse before Jesus returns, we are instructed here in a couple of ways:
  1. stay focused
  2. so that you will pray
  3. and love people

So, how do you stay focused?  Prayer, Scripture reading, fellowship with Brothers and Sisters in Christ.  We are supposed to keep the end in mind.  Jesus will return, and in the mean time, we are sharing his love with as many as we can so that they will believe in Him and experience His life.

Heavenly Father, please help me keep the end in mind.  Lord, I want to be sober minded and focused on you and your Kingdom.  Lord, please use me for your good purpose.  I love you and pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Visit with Uncle George

We drove up to Amarillo this afternoon to see Uncle George, Aunt Jackie, Justin, and Jordan.  We heard about a week ago that Uncle George's chemo wasn't working anymore.

I got to talk to Uncle George a little about teaching and what it means to be a PhD.

Later, Uncle George came and sat at our table while we ate dinner.  He still has his sense of humor.  He made several jokes about dying.  I was wondering how he could joke about something so serious, but I think he taught me this evening that the sadness of illness and dying should not crowd out the joy of life.  He is a model of choosing joy.

As we were leaving, Uncle George told me to take care of my wife and boys.  I told him that I would pray for him and his family.

Heavenly Father, please comfort my Uncle George in the illness that you have allowed him to experience.  Please give him strength and grace in the midst of pain; may he know your presence and love.  Please comfort his family; may they trust you and your loving kindness.  I ask in the name of Jesus.


1 Peter 1

I am thankful for many things. I should be more thoughtfully thankful.  I say that every year. 

1 Peter 1:8-9 NIV

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

I asked my mom and dad this morning how to be joyful.  My dad told me that the beginning of joy is thankfulness.  I asked how to be thankful.  It starts with telling God "thank you" for things that we take time to recognize as blessings.

I am thankful for grace and faith in Jesus.  I am thankful for my sweet wife and two amazing boys.  I am thankful for godly parents and fun brothers.  I am thankful for dear friends and family.  I am thankful for the vocation that God has given me.

Heavenly Father, I want to be a grateful and thankful person, and I want to be filled with your joy.  I want to enjoy your life.  Please help me abide in your love.  I love you and pray in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

humility and wisdom

James 3

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. ... 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

I want to be a humble and wise man.  I want to live a righteous life.  I want to be a peacemaker.  These are character traits of Jesus.  I want to be like Jesus.

Heavenly Father, please help me seek to know you and walk with you.  Lord, please grow these character traits in me.  Please purify my heart and deliver me from bitter envy and selfish ambition.  I am a follower of Jesus, and I want to walk in His way.  I love you, Lord, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Monday, November 19, 2012

do something about it

James 2

15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?

While it doesn't explicitly include "water", I feel like "thirst" is consistent with the por exemplos in verse 15.  I have been saying that I want to help people get clean water for years, but I don't feel like that is how I spend most of my time.

Heavenly Father, I believe that you have given me a desire to help people get clean water and share the Living Water.  I want to be useful in your Kingdom.  Please help me focus on the things that you want me to do.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Heb 11
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. ... 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Fundamentally, I think you have to have faith to talk to God in the first place.  As I have been thinking about meditation and prayer the last several days, I think you have to believe that you will encounter God - that by prayer and meditation, we can experience Him. 
If the goal of meditation is only self-examination, then it is incomplete.  God should have the full attention of man.  And I think that our full attention warrants conversation.  That is, God allows us to know Him and engage Him; He allows us to talk to Him, and He responds through His Spirit.
Heavenly Father, I want to know you.  I want to converse with you.  Like Enoch, who walked with you, I want to know your person.  I love you. Please give me faith to continue earnestly seeking you.  I ask in the name of Jesus.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Hebrews 8

I think the fundamental difference between Christian meditation and religious mediation is that Christian mediation seeks to experience Christ, to fellowship with His Spirit, to enjoy Him, to hear His instruction, and to obey.  Religious meditation may seek higher-level self-awareness, which may allow for some beneficial improvements, but this practice is incomplete.  We need to consistently encounter Jesus and experience Him.  In such practice, we incarnate Him, and He incarnates us.  Abiding in the vine.

We are enabled to do so because Jesus is the Great High Priest, who has, once and forever, made atonement for us and restored our fellowship with God.

Heavenly Father, I want to abide in you.  I want to seek to know you and walk with you, not just know about you.  Please help me walk in The Way.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

old friends

Heb 3
1 Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.
I flew up to Toronto on Sunday for the AWWA WQTC, and I got to spend some good time with my PhD advisor and my PhD office mate.  They are great guys, and they have taught me a lot.  Younggy is now a professor at a university an hour from Toronto, so I got to tour his office and lab on Sunday evening.  Spent the night in a bed and breakfast; felt like royalty.  It was so encouraging to be able to see Des and Younggy.
As Younggy and I were driving back to the conference on Monday morning, we discussed the importance of meditation and the similarities between Bhutist vipassana meditation and Christian meditation.  I am convinced that I do not meditate enough; I need to fix my thoughts on Jesus.  This is consistent with Rom. 8:5-6, Rom. 12;1-2, and Heb. 12:1-2.  I think it takes a great deal of intentional mental focus to set your mind on the spirit, and not on the flesh.  Another word for "fix" might be "weld".  Weld your thoughts to Jesus.
Heavenly Father, please forgive me for being so selfish.  Please help me saturate my mind with your truth and life.  I want to fix my thoughts on Jesus.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Practically denying Him

Titus 1

Titus 1:16 ESV They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. ...

Do my daily actions deny the Lordship of Jesus?  Maybe my words (occasionally) confess Him as Lord, but do I negate that by the way that I treat people?  Do people see a guy following Jesus, or a guy focused on his own career and success?

Heavenly Father, please help me clearly follow Jesus.  And please display yourself through me so that others can experience your love and grace.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Monday, October 29, 2012

being useful

2 Tim 2

And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. ...
In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use.
21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

First, I want to be investing in reproducing discipleship.  I want to be intentional about helping people grow in walking with the Lord in a way that is self-replicating.

Second, I want to be a clean instrument that the Lord will use.  I want to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Heavenly Father, please help me see myself from your perspective.  Lord, please use me to share the love of Jesus with others.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

servant leader

1 Tim 3

1 ... If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

I was challenged by one of my spiritual leaders during college to be aware of opportunities to serve the body as a leader.  I distinctly remember encouraging another Brother in the same way about a year and a half ago.  I think we need to encourage leadership, knowing that God desires faithful leaders to step up and lead.  I am also reminded of a little quote that one of our pastors in Austin shared with us:  "Efficiency is doing things right.  Effectiveness is doing the right things."  I think leaders focus on doing the right things.

I need to pray more for my pastor.

Heavenly Father, thank you for opportunities to lead in your Body.  Lord, please give me strength, and may I serve well in your Kingdom, so that you will be pleased.  Lord Jesus, please give strength to our pastors.  We love you, and we ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


1 Tim 2

This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.

Brandi and I have been hosting a homegroup for almost two years. We are thankful that the Lord has grown our group, but we need to multiply.  Not for the logistical reasons of trying to fit too many people in our house, but because God wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.  I believe that one of the most effective ways of engaging people who do not know Him is through inviting people over to your house for dinner.  Thus, we need to multiply so that the people in our group will be sent out to engage others with Christ.

But Brandi and I can't simply mandate multiplication; it has to be realized and appreciated by each person in the group.  Of course, I am glad that we have a good group dynamic where people feel welcome, but I want people to learn, grow, and go replicate.  I think we need to be more proactive and intentional about helping our group understand the multiplication process.

Heavenly Father, thank you for a friendly group.  Please help us all see that your desire is for all people to experience the forgiveness and love of Christ.  Help us see how we can share you with the people around us.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


1 Thes 5

23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

Last night, a couple of Brothers came over to the house.  I think all of us have been wanting to get together on a regular basis for discipleship, but we just haven't made the time.  But I think we are ready.

We ate some sandwiches and talked about what we want to get out of regular meetings.  We talked about whether or not we should study a book of the Bible, or maybe have a standard set of questions that we ask each other every week.  But I think the conclusion was that we are all familiar enough with the basics principles of following Christ, and it is the collaborative effort of implementing the lifestyle of Christ that we seek. 

So, we sat on the back porch and talked about what is going on in our lives.  Each of us was very open and transparent.  As I think about it, I think this is more like what the disciples experienced with Jesus.  I think they probably discussed a lot of things.  I don't think Jesus lectured as often as we might imagine.  I bet he asked a lot of questions.  Questions that make you think.  Questions that make you ask more questions.  This seems like the pursuit of Christ.  Collaborative.  And always growing deeper.  It is not a set of knowledge to assimilate, but a Person to incarnate, corporately.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the chance to pursue you with some Brothers.  Thank you for honesty and transparency.  Please continue to deliver us from religion and trying to know about you.  Please reveal yourself to us, and grow us by incorporating Christ's life into our lives so that we walk in His Way.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

sexual purity

1 Thes 4
3 It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body[a] in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister.[b] The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.
I think this is one of the more direct passages regarding sexual purity, as well as the connection to our relationship with God.  I have also been recently convinced that I need to spend more time with Brothers in Christ, encouraging each other to stay pure from sexual sins.
Heavenly Father, please keep me clean, and keep me close to you.  And please use me to help my Brothers who struggle.  May we be aware of the Enemy's attacks and guard each other.  I love you and ask in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


1 Thes 3

12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

What is "discipleship"?

If you had asked me eight years ago, I would have given you a very different answer.

I sort of got into an argument with a brother about the meaning of "discipleship".  In his mind, I am guessing, "discipleship" has a connotation of didactic systematic theological instruction and accumulation of knowledge about God. I think he thinks that "discipleship" is the study of facts and details about the religion of Christianity.

However, I now believe that "discipleship" is the practice of being and growing as a disciple of Jesus.  The Greek word for "disciple" means "student", so of course, it involves learning, but this learning is the subjective and experiential implementation of the life, mind, attitude, character, and person of Jesus in our lives.  So, I see "discipleship" now as the collaborative effort of a small group of Christ-followers to help each other grow in letting Jesus incarnate us more completely as He identifies and crucifies selfishness in us.

Heavenly Father, please help me practice discipleship effectively.  I want to grow in sanctification, and I want to be useful in the sanctification of others.  May Jesus more fulling incarnate me today and each day following.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Col 1
22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
Heb. 10:14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
I don't think of myself as holy.  Sometimes I think about trying to become holy.  But the Scripture says that he has already accomplished holiness for us.
So maybe I should live FROM holiness and TO holiness.   Holiness behind me, and holiness before me.  Only Jesus.  Grace.  No works.  But holy works because of grace.
Heavenly Father, thank you for making me holy through Jesus.  I am a follower of Jesus.  I am holy because of Him.  And I am trying to live a hly life as I abide in you.  I love you, and I want to honor you by allowing you to demonstrate your holiness through me.  Please help me.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Monday, October 8, 2012

carry your cross

Phil 3
10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Yesterday, Anne spoke from Luke 14.  I have heard it many times, "27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple."  But what does it mean to carry your death instrument and follow Jesus?  What am I carrying?
Heavenly Father, I know that I have to die to myself to follow Jesus, and I know that you will resurrect me from the dead.  But please help me know what it looks like in my life to carry my cross and follow Jesus.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Friday, October 5, 2012

training my children

Eph 6

4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.

This verse challenges me.  I don't think I exasperate my children.  But I don't feel like I am nearly as intentional about training and instructing my children as I should be.
Thinking about the body, soul, spirit reality, I want to train my children to be disciplined and healthy with respect to each aspect.  Good nutrition and exercise, reading and social interaction, and scripture and prayer.  Not just reactive, but proactive in teaching them these principles.
Heavenly Father, please help me train my children, and please show me grace by leading them to love you and walk with you.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

children of light

Eph 5
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord.
Last night, I attended a play called "Let Newton Be" by Craig Baxter.  It was a very interesting presentation of the biography of Sir Isaac Newton, whose primary interest was theology.  From the presentation, it seems like Newton was thoughtful of physics and mathematics in response to his understanding of God.  Pure speculation here, but I wonder if Newton's interest in light and optics stemmed from the many references in Scripture about light and its association with God.
Heavenly Father, I want to live as a child of light.  Please shine your light in my, on me, and through me.  I pray that I will be a reflection of your light in this world, demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, whose eyes are like blazing fire, and whose face is like the sun shining in all of its brilliance.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

building up the body

Eph 4
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
I have received a deeper appreciatin for these verses over the past several months.  Our pastor, Greg, has challenged the leadership of our church to really think about how Christ has gifted us and how we can engage in service to the body.  As a teacher, I am thinking about different scales of teaching: larger gathering, home group, and one-on-one.
I think I need to pray more about how the Holy Spirit wants to use me.
Heavenly Father, please use me to build up the body.  I want to be available for you to use.  Show me how I can serve the body. I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Monday, October 1, 2012

spiritual prayer

Eph 3
12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. ... 14 For this reason I kneel before the Father ... 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Paul asked the Lord for (1) spiritual strengthening, (2) Christ's dwelling presence, (3) and appreciation of the love of Christ.  And he acknowledged that God will do more than what we can ask, for Christ's honor.
Heavenly Father, I pray this for my wife.  You have given me such a wonderful partner, and I am so thankful for her.  Lord, please strengthen her, dwell in her heart, and amaze her with your love.  Lord, please continue to use her to advance the Kingdom of Christ, for His glory.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Submitting to the Spirit of God

Paseo Christian - Greg and Neill - Submission

As we study Luke, we need to see that Jesus is inviting us to submit to Him as He makes these Gospel accounts living and active in our lives

Submission is a choice.

- Posture to listen, humble acceptance
- without rank, mutual submission
- pushes us outward, heaven on earth

What will submission cost you?
- pride, time, but not joy

How do you need to submit to God?
- marriage, parenting, career

2 Cor. 5:14-15 - death for us so that we can live in Him

Friday, September 28, 2012

every man's battle - walking by the Spirit

Gal 5
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. ... 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity ... 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
I'm not sure that I have appreciated the importance of verse 16 before.  (I usually just jump to verse 22.)  And I think it is interesting that the bad list in verse 19 begins with sexual sin.  Certainly common to man.
It seems to me that the key here is to walk by the Spirit - live by the Spirit, and keep in step with the Spirit.
Heavenly Father, please help me walk by the Spirit.  I want to live by the Spirit and keep in step with the Spirit.  Lord, please produce the fruit of the Spirit in me.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Gal 4
4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
This is a powerful reminder of how expensive our freedom is.  Not only are we free, but we have been adopted as children of God.  How great is His love, that we should be called the children of God.
And if I am a child of God, then what does that mean for daily living?  It means I should abide with Him.  I should walk with Him.  I should dwell in His presence.  It means I should know Him and obey Him.  I should be attentive to His Spirit within me.
Heavenly Father, I want to abide with you.  Holy Spirit, I want to follow you and listen to you today.  Lord, please help me obey!  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Believe and obey

Gal 3

22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

On my walk this morning, I asked the Lord, "Why am I so busy?"  I didn't get an audible answer, but I did get the sense that at least part of why I am busy is from pride, guilt, or lack of focus with respect to over-committing myself.  As I read the Scriptures this morning, I am reminded that I do not have to work for God's favor, only believe in Jesus.  Believe and obey.  Listen and obey.  Actions apart from obedience are a waste of time and a distraction from building the Kingdom.

Heavenly Father, I love you, and I want to listen to you and obey you.  I believe in Jesus, and I want to walk with you and follow you.  Holy Spirit, I want to walk in your way and hear you guide me.  Please lead me, and I will obey.  Please deliver me from my own way, and lead me to walk in the Way of Jesus.  I ask in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

celebrating life

Gal 2

Sunday was Jude's first birthday!  It has been amazing to see him learn and grow.  And in the last week or so, he has really made a lot of progress in walking on his own.  He is such a blessing and such a joyful person.  I pray that the Lord will continue to grow him and use him to advance the Kingdom.

Yesterday evening, our pastor's son had an emergency appendectomy.  As we were sitting with them in the surgery waiting room last night, I was impressed with how fragile life is and how important it is to enjoy life with those God has brought into our lives.  We are walking with Christ with those who call on the Lord with a pure heart.

Heavenly Father, thank you for life, and thank you for the lives of those around us.  Thank you for opportunities to enjoy your Life with others.  Lord, I pray that our enjoyment of you will be like abiding in the vine.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


2 Cor 10

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ

As I think about these verses along with Eph. 6, it seems to me that the Sword of the Spirit is the principal weapon.  It is through a growing understanding of God through His Scriptures that we wage war against the enemy spiritual forces.  Thoughts and arguments are critical battles within the battlefields of our minds.  Transforming our minds into obedient Minds of Christ is the mission.  This is accomplished through a daily, hourly, moment-by-moment humble submission to the authority of Scripture and application to the details of our lives.  Consistent and daily reading, meditating, and discussing of Scripture is critical.  Personal meditation, as well as groups of disciples.

Heavenly Father, please help me submit to your Word and respond in obedience.  On a daily basis, I need to humble myself before you through the reading of your Word, and I need to listen to you and obey.  Please help me learn the discipline of responding in specific obedience.  I love you, and I want to know you and walk with you.  I want to be useful to you.  Please use me.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


2 Cor 9

11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. 12 So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.  13 As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. 14 And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. 15 Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!

God blesses us.  We bless others.  Others bless God.  We all bless God.  God uses all of this blessing to propagate the Good News of Christ.

Heavenly Father, please use me as a blessing to others and a blessing to you.  Please help me live generously.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

financial giving

2 Cor 8

So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to finish this ministry of giving. Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving. ...  You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.

It's interesting that the "obligation" that Paul argues here is a result of the congregation's initial desire to provide financial aid.  It was not a religious obligation, but an obligation to obey the desire to be generous.  Of course, our generosity is a reflection of the generosity that Jesus demonstrated by giving Himself as a payment for our sinfulness.  Perhaps a good test question for fiscal generosity could be, "How is the generosity of Christ's sacrifice being magnified through my giving to this particular ministry?"

Heavenly Father, please forgive me for letting me be so focused on money.  I confess that as an American, I tend to think that money is more valuable and powerful than it really is.  Please help me see money as a tool or resource that may or may not be useful to you depending on the particular circumstance and obedient response to your Holy Spirit.  Lord, I know that you don't need money, and I can't buy soul's with money, but I know that you can develop generous financial giving in me that can be used by you to help expand the Kingdom of Christ.  Lord, please grow humility in me to see that apart from humble obedience, money can get me caught up in prideful religious "donations" or wasteful worldly spending.  I want to obey you generously.  I love you.  Thank you for your generosity through Christ.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Monday, September 17, 2012


2 Cor 7

I have the highest confidence in you, and I take great pride in you. You have greatly encouraged me and made me happy despite all our troubles. ... But God, who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged us by the arrival of Titus. His presence was a joy, but so was the news he brought of the encouragement he received from you. ... 13 We have been greatly encouraged by this.  In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was about the way all of you welcomed him and set his mind at ease.

I think God uses our fellowship to encourage each other.  One of the enemy's most strategic attacks is with discouragement.  So, it is very important for us to encourage each other.  In general, I think we need to be more intentional and direct about encouraging each other.

Heavenly Father, please help me be an encouragement to my family and my church, especially our pastor.  Lord, please use me to encourage the broken to allow you to heal them.  I love you, and I want to be useful to you.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

personal and corporate advancement

2 Cor 3

16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

I watched a movie last night with some guys.  It really made me think about how I need to be more collaborative and strategic with other Believers to extend the reign of Jesus Christ in our lives.  I need to invest more in discipleship.  I need to step up and be a leader, and I need to train others to be leader-makers.

Heavenly Father, please show me how I can serve those around me to show your love.  And please show me how I can be a better leader in the Body of Christ and lead others to be leaders.  I love you, and I want to seek first your Kingdom.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


2 Cor 2

14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ's triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. ...

You know how some smells just really get you.  Like the smell of popcorn in a movie theater that you can't resist, and you just have to buy some!  Or when you can smell popcorn wafting town the hall at work and you want to go steal their popcorn.  Or the smell of fajitas in a Mexican food restaurant (especially when you hear them served sizzling!). 

Or the pungent smell of a toddler's dirty diaper.  Yuk!  It's like it sticks to the inside of your nostrils and won't go away for hours.  Yuk.

But I think our lives should be polarizing.  Like popcorn and poop.  Like life and death.

Heavenly Father, I want my life to smell like Jesus.  I want to have the aroma of Christ present throughout my daily living so that all of those around me consider the presence of Christ in my life.  Lord, please give me opportunities to share the love of Christ.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

2 Cor 1

21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your patient love and strength.  Lord, I want to stand firm in Christ.  Thank you for anointing us in the ministry of reconciliation with Christ.  Thank you for the ministry of Jesus the Messiah and the opportunity to participate in your redemption and restoration of people with you.  Lord, thank you for your Spirit.  I want to walk by the Spirit and keep in step with the Spirit.  Lord, please help me today to listen to the Spirit and obey as I hope for Christ's return.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Monday, September 10, 2012

victory in Christ

1 Cor 15

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

He gives US the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Stand firm.  Let the roots of your faith anchor yourself into Christ and allow Him to strengthen you into an oak of righteousness.  Give your heart and effort completely to Him because He accomplishes good and beautiful things through us.

Heavenly Father, please help me abide in you.  I want to know you and walk with you.  Please lead me to follow you and obey you in the Spirit.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


1 Cor 12

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

How are we using our spiritual gifts to build up the Body?  I wonder what the Church would look like in the US if pastors would preach/teach more about spiritual gifts and serving the Body instead of focusing on denominational doctrinal issues or how to live a better life.  If everyone has been given a spiritual gift, then how do we help people discover their giftedness and use it?  Maybe the spiritual gifts test/questionnaires/surveys are helpful for pointing you in a direction, but it seems to me that gifts are discovered by serving.  As the Body is built up by your service, there will probably be some confirmation of your giftedness.

Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing me to be in the Body of Christ.  Please help me use my gifts and help others to use their gifts.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


1 Cor 11

23 For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread 24 and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me." 25 In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it." 26 For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord's death until he comes again.

Thanks to my Brother Jayson, communion has become much more important to me over the past eight years.  I have realized that celebrating the Lord's supper is one of the characteristic marks of identifying with Christ. I think it is very important to remember the death of Christ and His love for us every time we meet together as Brothers and Sisters.  And I think it is important to remember that He is returning soon.  I think it is also important to remember that we are His body; we are the church, and this is clearly shown through celebrating communion.

Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus and His death and resurrection.  Thank you for paying the penalty of death for me, and thank you for the promise and hope of Christ's return and our resurrection with Him.  Thank you for the Church and for allowing me a place and function in the body.  I pray that I will serve you well and continue to support and build up the body.  Lord, please help me continue to grow in understanding and appreciation of communion.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

looking out for others

1 Cor 10

24 Don't be concerned for your own good but for the good of others. ... 33 ... I don't just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved.

I need to be more conscious of how what I say and do affects others' perception of Christ.  I want to make sure that I am being a good example of what it looks like to live with Christ.

Heavenly Father, please help me be a good ambassador for Christ.  I want to be salty and bright.  Please guide what I say and do so that Jesus will be seen as who He really is.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Friday, August 31, 2012

keep it clean

1 Cor 6

19 Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

This verse is obviously in the context of sexual purity, but I think it applies to general holiness. I need to think about the Holy Spirit living inside of me all the time.  So it goes beyond what we do or say to what is actually more important with respect to holiness which is what we think and want.

Heavenly Father, please help me consciously think about your presence.  Holy Spirit, please help me listen to you.  I love you, and I want you to move through me.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

sometimes you feel like a lump

1 Cor 5

Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

I don't particularly feel "unleavened"; I feel like my flesh is still trying to choke out the Spirit.  Of course, in the Spirit, we are supposed to put to death the flesh.  Mortal combat.  Somehow I'm new lump.  Not quite clear.

But Jesus being sacrificed for me is pretty clear.  His blood washes away my sins.  I can know the Father because Jesus has made me a son and a friend of God.  I want to walk in the joy of this relationship.

Heavenly Father, I want to know you and walk with you.  I want to hear you and obey you.  Lord, please help me listen to your Spirit.  May I be useful to you.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

living in power

1 Cor 4

20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

Which reminds me of the Lord's model prayer:

Pray then like this:

"Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10  Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
     on earth as it is in heaven.

On Sunday morning, Lance Ford from Forge America, challenged us to ask God to bring His Kingdom into our neighborhood.  He told the story of an elderly lady who prayed this prayer and started bringing homemade blueberry muffins to the school children waiting for the bus at her apartment complex in the mornings.  Lance went on to explain how she was able to minister to those children over the next year and made a big impact in her community.

I don't think walking in the Lord's power is as magical or mystical as we make it sometimes.  I think it is more about just doing stuff to show people the love of God.  I think we overcomplicate it.

Heavenly Father, please help me live in your power and practically live out your Kingdom here in my neighborhood and at my work.  Lord, I want to be a vessel that you will use to distribute yourself in my sphere of influence.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

make it count

1 Corinthians 3

12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person's work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. 16 Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst?

Live accordingly.  First, recognize that what we do will be judged, and only what is eternal will last.  So, make it count.  Second, recognize that we collectively are God's temple, and the Spirit of God lives in us.  So, live according to the Spirit, not the flesh.

Heavenly Father, please help me invest in your Kingdom and live out your life.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Monday, August 27, 2012

new semester

1 Corinthians 2

Saturday and Sunday, we had guest speakers from Forge in El Paso.  Brad Briscoe and Lance Ford spoke about missional-incarnational living.  One of the most practical challenges for me was when Brad said, "Do you know what Jesus meant when He said, 'Love your neighbors.'?  What he really meant was, 'LOVE your NEIGHBORS!' "

Sometimes we over-complicate, religionize, and hyper-spiritualize what it means to be a follower of Christ.  But really, we are practically living in the Kingdom of God.

Heavenly Father, please help me see what it would look like for your Kingdom and your will to be done in my neighborhood as it is in Heaven.  I love you, Lord, and I want to be used by you.

Friday, August 24, 2012

professional opportunities

Romans 16:1-16

I attended a membrane conference in San Antonio the last two days.  Of course, I had the opportunity to network professionally, but I feel like I was also able to develop some relationships with some other professionals in a way where they know that I am a Christian, but I hope I did it in a way that they don't see me as a religious person.

Just before leaving for El Paso, I picked up a new professional colleague at the airport.  After I dropped her off, I invited her to join us at church sometime.  I hope she doesn't think that I just gave her a ride so that she would come to our church.  I think I need to be careful to not portray the image of a religious person.  I need to focus on showing people that they are valuable because they are people -  because God made them.  I need to make sure that they know that God cares about them.

As I read Romans 16, it impresses me how integrated and connected Paul was with the Body of Christ.  He really shared life with people.  I need to make sure that I and my family are sharing life with people.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity to meet people and travel to great places.  Please help me clearly communicate your character and love for people.  I love you, and I want to be useful to you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

characteristics of Christ

Romans 15:1-13

13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Hope, joy, peace, confident hope, power of the Holy Spirit, in Christ Jesus, from God.  So, why don't I feel like my life exudes these characteristics?  I feel like I am so stressed and busy with work that I am missing these characteristics of Christ in my life.

I seriously need to re-evaluate my work and think about where my attitude and priorities need adjustment.

Heavenly Father, please help me see how I can focus on you more and adjust my attention to the Kingdom of Christ instead of stressing about details.  I love you, Lord, and I want your character to be evident in my life.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

living a life of goodness

Romans 14:12-23

17 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

I had the opportunity to teach/preach at our gathering on Sunday morning.  It was a lot of work in preparation, but it was very fulfilling.  I feel like the Lord has given me a gift of teaching, and I want to be able to use it more regularly.  I feel like this is allowing His goodness to flow through me in the form of teaching.

Heavenly Father, please help me live a life of goodness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.  May I rejoice in what Christ has done and join in celebrating and participating in His character.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Friday, August 17, 2012

personal and corporate

Romans 12:9-21

Chapters 1-11 and the first two verses of Chapter 12 focus mostly on theology that a person believes.  But then the focus shifts to corporate dynamics.

It seems to me that the faithful Christian life can neither be lived entirely personally (that is, removed from the body), nor entirely corporately (that is, never one-on-one time with the Lord).  I think we need a dynamic balance of solitude with the Lord and corporate fellowship.

Heavenly Father, please help me be faithful in personally seeking you through prayer and the scriptures, and please help me serve the body with the gifts that you have given me.  Lord, I want to experience your live, personally and corporately.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

living sacrifice

Romans 12:1-8

1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

We drove up to Cloudcroft on Tuesday afternoon to visit my aunt, uncle, and cousins, and we drove back last night.  It was only a day away, but it was very refreshing to get out of the heat, see and smell some trees, and spend time with family.  We took a good hike yesterday morning, and I was reminded how important it is to practice everyday solitude.  At the end of the hike, I was walking with Beau, and everyone else had gone on ahead.  It was so peaceful, and I think this is like walking with the Lord, spiritually.

I have been "so busy" with work recently that I have convinced myself many times over the past few weeks to save time by not going for a walk/run in the mornings.  And I can tell that I have got my priorities out of line.  So, I took a good walk this morning, in spite of a very long to-do list.  But I know that this practice of connecting with the Lord in the morning is what allows me to stay focused on Him throughout the day and every day as the weeks go on.

It is a living sacrifice.  A dead sacrifice would be easy.  But a living sacrifice requires a daily re-commitment to His will.  And I think it starts with solitude with Him.  In that solitude, He transforms us by renewing our minds and focusing on His kingdom.

Heavenly Father, I love you, and I want to walk with you.  I am nothing apart from you, and I don't want to walk apart from you.  Lord Jesus, you are the vine, and I want to re-connect with you every day and abide in you all day.  Please abide in me.  Shine your love, light, and life through me.  May I be a useful vessel for you to dispense yourself into others.  I ask in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

thankful for life

Romans 11:1-16

10:20 And later Isaiah spoke boldly for God, saying,

"I was found by people who were not looking for me.
    I showed myself to those who were not asking for me."

I am thankful for God's grace.  I am thankful for Him sustaining my physical life, but I am especially thankful that God has given us Gentiles the opportunity to know Him through Jesus Christ.

I am thankful for parents who shared the truth of Christ with me.  I am thankful for Brandi and her partnership in life; I am thankful for her consistent forgiveness and patience with me.  I am thankful for my two sons and the joy that I experience with them.

I am thankful for my Church, with Brothers and Sisters who genuinely care about each other.

Heavenly Father, thank you for blessing me.  It is all your grace.  I have done nothing to deserve your kindness.  Please help me share your blessing with others.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Christ.

Friday, August 10, 2012


Romans 9:1-16

5 ... and Christ himself was an Israelite as far as his human nature is concerned. And he is God, the one who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.

Jesus Christ is fully man and fully God.  This makes it possible for His perfect life, sacrificial death, and resurrection to be applicable to all of humanity (as explained in John 3 and Hebrews).

The fact that Jesus is God means that He is worthy of my worship. 

Heavenly Father, I worship you.  Lord Jesus, I worship you.  Holy Spirit, I worship you.  You are my only salvation.  You are THE only salvation in the whole world.  I believe in you, and I trust you to rescue me from myself and use me for your good plans.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Christ intercedes for us

Romans 8:18-39

This chapter is definitely one of the high points in Scripture:

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died —more than that, who was raised to life —is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

"For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Christ Jesus ... is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Not Mary.  Nor any "saint".  Jesus is interceding for us.  What kind of craziness would my life be if He wasn't interceding for me?  Though there may be bumps in the road, there is a long-term trajectory toward Himself.  He is surely molding me into His likeness.

Heavenly Father, may I submit to your work today.  Please help me humbly approach your presence and allow you to change me to your desire.  I love you, and I want to walk with you.  I ask in the name of Jesus, who is interceding for me.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

life in the Spirit

Romans 8:1-17

This is one of my favorite passages!

1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. ... 16  The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

But how do I set my mind on the Spirit?  How do I put to death the deeds of the flesh?  Is it more than the usual list: prayer, meditation on Scripture, singing, fellowship with Brothers and Sisters, etc.?  If only I could just live it, you know?

Heavenly Father, please help me live in the Spirit.  I don't want to be one of those crazy hyper-religious uber-"spiritual" people who is disconnected from reality, but I do want my mind to be focused on the Spirit so that I can live the way you want in the physical.  Lord Jesus, please help me follow your example.  I love you.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.


Romans 7:14-25

I am preparing to speak st our church gathering mid August.  And we have recently had some visitors at our church who I really wish would join our church.

These have me thinking about what I am supposed to be doing.  Maybe I'm trying to do to much at work.  Maybe I'm not focusing enough on making disciples.

Heavenly Father, please help me seek first your Kingdom and righteousness, and trust that you will take care of everything else.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

truth, goodness, and beauty

Romans 5:1-11
 1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory. ... 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
Westminster Catachism:  Q. What is the chief end of man? A. Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
I think the enjoyment part is pretty important.
I had a conversation with a friend who is a professor in Philosophy; he mentioned the truth, goodness, and beauty transcendentals.  Of course, as a follower of Christ, I think we find and experience all of these in Him.
Heavenly Father, please help me enjoy you.  I want to be full of joy.  I don't want to just be an empty, dead Pharisee.  I want to be full of your Spirit and full of joy - enjoying you.  I love you, and I want to walk with you.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Romans 3:21-31
I feel like these verses are a very clear communication of the Gospel:
22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard. 24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.
How do I respond to this?  I feel like most of the time, I just take it for granted.
How should I respond to this?  Gratefulness. Humility. And boldness in sharing with others.
Heavenly Father, please help me see the enormous price that was paid for my freedom from sin and death.  Lord, please help me be grateful and humble with your grace.  Lord Jesus, I want to help others experience your grace.  Lord, please help me.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.