Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Revelation 22:17 NLT

The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." Let anyone who hears this say, "Come." Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.

Heavenly Father, please keep me thirsty for the water of life.  May I drink daily.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A study of the life of Simeon

Luke 2:25-32 ESV
Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,  "Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word;  for my eyes have seen your salvation   that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,   a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel."

Pastor Kirksey from CityView shared some very encouraging observations this morning.  Simeon was:
- saved
- spiritual
- surrendered to the Lord
- sensitive to the Holy Spirit

Heavenly Father, as we live in anticipation of Christ's return, may we surrender our will to yours, and may we be sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in daily living. I ask in the name of Jesus.

We will overcome

Revelation 12:7-11 ESV
Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

1. By the blood of the Lamb
2. And the word of our testimony

The war is won, but the battle continues.  So, in the short term, we must be focused and strategic in our battle against the enemy:

Revelation 12:12 ESV
Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!"

He fights fiercely, and dirty.  But we are not ignorant of his schemes (2 Cor. 2:11), and we are equipped to fight and stand firm (Eph 6).

One of the enemy's common strategies is accusation and discouragement.  He tries to get us focused on our failures to trick us into feeling defeated.  I heard a saying, "When the devil reminds me of my past, I remind him of his future."

We have grace in Christ Jesus, and His mercies are new every morning.  Great is His faithfulness to us!

Heavenly Father, thank you for providing the victory!  Thank you for your love, mercy, and faithfulness.  Lord, may I be confident in the work and victory of Christ, humble with respect to my own strength, and bold in the power of your Holy Spirit at work in me and through me.  Lord, may I be a consistent encourager to saints to continue fighting faithfully.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

God shows grace, even in judgement

Revelation 6-10

The judgement that is revealed through breaking seals and blowing trumpets appears in discrete stages, ascending in intensity.  God shows patience and gives unbelieving people multiple chances to trust Him, repent, and obey.  He shows grace, even in judgement.  He is kind, and He desires that none should perish. 

I believe that this aspect of God's character is also demonstrated in his relationship to his children, us who believe. He does not judge us, because Christ has already suffered God's wrath for the judgement that we deserved, but He disciplines us because He loves us.  He is patient with us in discipline; He gives us multiple chances to trust Him, repent, and obey, before He increases the intensity of the discipline.  

Matt. 12:20 (Isa. 42:3)
A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out

God has been very patient with me through the years.  He has patiently and gently dealt with sin in my life.  In some cases, I have been stubborn, and so He increased the intensity of the discipline.  At one point, I almost lost my marriage, but in that moment, I humbled myself before Him, repented, and resumed walking with Him in obedience, and He showed much grace by restoring my marriage.  I am so impressed with the grace that He gave Brandi to forgive me and give me another chance.  As I play and wrestle with my sons this Christmas season, I am so thankful for the kindness and grace that God has given me.

And in the past several years, I realize that I have focused too much on my work.  I think the Lord let me experience some consequences of fear and burnout.  He has been patient with me, but He has corrected me and helped me refocus on my relationship with Him, my relationship with Brandi and the boys, and my function within the Body of Christ.  

Joel 2:13     ...
Return to the Lord your God,
    for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
    and he relents over disaster.
25 I will restore to you the years
    that the swarming locust has eaten, ...
26 "You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
    and praise the name of the LORD your God,
    who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
27 You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
    and that I am the LORD your God and there is none else.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your mercy and faithfulness.  Thank you for the grace and kindness that you have shown through Christ.  Thank you for salvation, and thank you for daily discipline, forgiveness, and restoration.  I love you, Lord, and I want to seek you and obey you.  I want to walk with you and know you.  May others see you in the midst of my life, and may they know that you are the one true God.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Friday, December 27, 2013


(I just found this in my drafts folder from over a week ago.) 

Hebrews 3:15 ESV

As it is said, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion."

This quote from the Psalms is repeated three times in Hebrews 3-4.  Seems like it is pretty important.

I was in a store last night with the boys, and Jude didn't want to hold my hand, so I told him that I would let him go, but he had to stay with me.  Well, of course, he wanted to go off by himself, so I told him to stay with me, but he didn't respond, so I swatted him on the leg.  He gave a defiant little grunt, so I swatted him again and told him not to have a bad attitude.  He defiantly grunted again, so I swatted him a third time.  Finally, he submitted, obeyed, and walked with me.

That fallen human nature is so defiant!  We rebel against authority, especially

Heavenly Father, please help me have a tender and humble heart with you. Please help me be submissive and obedient to you.  Lord, please help me set my mind on the Spirit, not the flesh.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.


I distinctly remember feeling deceived when I found out that Santa Claus is not real.  And then when I was included in the trip to the store to purchase candy for stuffing the stockings, I felt like I was facilitating the deception.

But more deeply, I have come to believe that, while Christmas is not actually a Biblical holiday, it is an opportunity (even widely recognized by secular culture at large) to focus on Jesus and his birth.  Unfortunately, as with much of our consumerism and materialistic society, I think attention to Santa Claus is a significant distraction from the opportunity to highlight Jesus.

Brandi did some background research on Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, etc, to see if we could incorporate him as a historical figure without actually suggesting that he is alive or real today, but we didn't feel like we could incorporate Santa or St. Nik in good conscience.  Furthermore, it bothers me that Santa is attributed authority for moral evaluation (e.g., "naughty and nice") with incentives (e.g., gifts) and dissentives (e.g., coal/switches); I think that could undermine or confuse the true authority of the righteous judgement of Jesus Christ.

So, we had a birthday party for Jesus on Christmas morning this year, with cake and balloons, and a special present for each of our boys, in honor of Jesus and the gifts that he received on his birthday. We read the story of Jesus's birth in Luke 2, and we emphasized that we were giving gifts in honor of the fact that Jesus is the greatest gift ever given.

Brandi and I wondered if our boys would be envious of other children receiving gifts from Santa, especially anticipating the likely question, "What did you get from Santa?"  I overheard one of their cousins ask that yesterday, and Beau simply replied matter of factly, "I didn't get anything from Santa." 

To be honest, it made me sad when I heard him say that.  But then I realized that the reason I was sad was because our culture is materialistic (focused on receiving gifts, not giving) and secular (focused on Santa, not Jesus).  Why isn't the post-Christmas question, "What did you GIVE for Christmas?"

And I know that "belief" in Santa is pervasive, but he simply isn't real.

So in a couple of years, when other kids are having their Santa bubbles busted, I trust that the potential negative impact on my boys will have been avoided, or at least mitigated. 

I realize that my perspective on this matter is not mainstream, but at the end of this life, I will be judged by Christ, no one else.  And I believe that Brandi and I have made the choice to emphasize Christ (and mute Santa) at Christmas, in light of that final day. 

Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of Jesus Christ.  And thank you for the gift of children.  May we be careful in how and what we teach our children, and may we be faithful to raise them to fear and love you.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

sabbatical conclusions

I am so thankful for the opportunity to take a sabbatical in Boston this semester.  I feel like I grew so much in many ways.  The opportunity to step out of my "normal" environment and routine, to self-reflect, to collaborate with great people at a great institution, to be validated as a legitimate professional, to connect with a thriving local church, to take my family to explore a different landscape than what I have grown up with, to see key historic places in the establishment of our nation - all of this made it an absolutely incredible experience.  I think the Lord used all of this to grow me significantly.

On the two and a half day trip from Boston back to Texas, I listened to a book:  Good to Great, by Jim Collins.  It was very impactful, and complementary to my experience in Boston.  The basic theme is that disciplined people invest in disciplined thought and take strategic, disciplined action.  A central analogy in the book is the idea of consistently pushing on a giant flywheel, daily investing in adding momentum.  The added momentum from each push may not even be noticeable, seemingly insignificant.  But over the course of years, the cumulative effects of all of those daily investments results in significant velocity and momentum.

I think this is really consistent with why I titled this blog "conservation of momentum" seven years ago. (Interesting, seven years. I hadn't noticed that before now.  A true sabbatical.)  It is ironic that the number of my blog posts per year has monotonically decreased since I started at the beginning of 2007.  Friction.  And distraction.  Lack of discipline.  But I expect 2013 to be a point of inflection.

I am encouraged, now, to see the importance and value of those daily investments.  Any given day might be thought of as insignificant, but therein lies the danger - the thought that what I do today doesn't matter.  Disciplined people see that every day can be significant, and they make it count.  Everyday sacredness.  I want to be a disciplined person.

2 Pet 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Heavenly Father, please help me consistently seek you every day.  Lord, please help me be disciplined in growing in your grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.  May my life be useful for advancing your Kingdom.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Monday, December 16, 2013

pursuit, basis

2 Timothy 2:20-22 ESV

Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.  So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

2 Timothy 3:15-17 ESV

and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

How do you pursue the Lord?  Scripture leads us to Christ; it is the basis for our faith.  Scripture is the Word of God, and it builds us up, preparing us to be useful to the Lord.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the foundation of the Scriptures, and thank you for dynamically speaking through your Word.  Lord, I want to be a vessel for honorable use.  Lord, please wash me, and fill me with yourself - to pour into others.  Lord, may I be faithful to digest your Word daily and continue growing in you, not out of religion, but in appreciation of the grace and love that you have shown me through Christ Jesus.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Life and love

2 Timothy 1:1, 10, 12 ESV

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus,  ... manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, ... which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

I want to experience and share the life that He has promised - that abundant, zoe life.  I want to know Him.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the promise of eternal life in Jesus Christ.  Lord, may I be faithful in seeking you and walking with you.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Friday, December 13, 2013


James 4:6-7 NLT

But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, "God opposes the proud but favors the humble." So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Sometimes the Lord aids us in that humility process.

This afternoon, I left for the airport in plenty of time, accounting for traffic and checking my bag.  After my car GPS took me through a hundred stoplights downtown, and i kept praying for God to help me get to the airport on time, I saw a sign for the freeway and jumped on it, not noticing that I was going the WRONG DIRECTION - away from the airport.  Since it was a turnpike, it was a couple of miles to the first U-turn, but I misunderstood the exit sign and went another several miles in the WRONG DIRECTION.  By this point, I was extremely frustrated, but I kept praying, and Brandi was praying for me.  So, I got turned around, headed toward the airport, for sure this time, and hurried on my way.  Parked the car, sprinted to the terminal, and remembered that I had my pocketknife that Brandi and the boys had given me for Father's day.  So I sprinted back to the car to leave my pocketknife, and then tried to sprint back to the terminal.  Huffing and sniffling in line for security, I heard the final boarding call for my flight.  So, I realized I had a decision to make: I could stand in line and probably miss my flight, or I could humble myself and ask people if I could cut ahead.  I hate cutting, and even more so, I hate having to ask to cut.  So embarrassing!  But, I humbled myself and asked, cut in line, made it through screening, and sprinted to my gate to catch them just before they closed the door.  Thank the Lord!

I don't think this is what James had in mind when he penned this passage, but I sure felt like the Lord was teaching me humility today.  So I think it has to relate somehow.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your patience with me.  I sure hope I can figure out how to voluntarily humble myself so you don't have to run me through too many ringers to keep me humble.  I love you, Lord, and I want to be humble.  Jesus, you were humble, and I want to show your character.  I pray in the name of Jesus.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Works and words

James 1-3

I think it is interesting that after James talks about faith coupled with works, the next topic he addresses is the quality of our speech:

James 2:24, 26 ESV
You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. ... For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

James 3:2 ESV
For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the faith that you have given me, and thank you for accomplishing good works through me.  May others see good works and praise you.  Lord, may the words of my mouth demonstrate the lordship of Christ and His holiness.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Godly living

Philippians 1:9-11, 27 NIV

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. ... Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. ... I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel

One word to summarize our godly living: love (agape).  And Paul prays that our love would mature with knowledge and discernment SO THAT we will live pure and blameless lives in honor and expectation of Christ.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the love that you have shown us in Christ, and thank you for pouring your love through us.  Lord, please help me grow and mature in my love with knowledge and discernment so that I will live blamelessly to bring you honor and glory.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Monday, December 9, 2013

walk in Him

Col 2:6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. ... For in him the whole fullness of [the Godhead] dwells bodily,10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.
3:12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Walk in Him.  The fullness of the Godhead is in Christ, and He is in us.  (Wow!  That makes my head explode.)

Take on His character, and live Him.  Not just live like Him, but live Him.  Consume His words; digest His teaching; metabolize His character.  We are His body, we are His ambassadors.

Heavenly Father, you are amazing!  Your plan is incredible!  Your Spirit dwells in my spirit!  And I have zoe life in you!  Hallelujah!  Lord, may my words and actions clearly communicate you!  Lord, may your power and life be evident through me.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

walk worthy

Eph 5-6, Col 1

Husbands and wives, spiritual armor, preeminence of Christ... wow!  This is rich stuff. I wish I could take more time to study these passages!

The verses that jumped out at me this morning were:

1:9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lordfully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
  1. filled with knowledge of His will, spiritual wisdom and understanding (v.9)
  2. SO THAT you will WALK WORTHY (v. 10a)
  3. bearing fruit in every good work (v. 10b)
  4. increasing in knowledge (repeat) (v. 10c)  
    (The Greek word for "knowledge" is the same in v. 9 and 10.)
This enduring righteous living is accomplished by His power, as we demonstrate patience, joy, and thanksgiving.  The core of our faith is the truth that He has saved us from sin and death to walking in the the light, the kingdom of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.  We are motivated to persevere out of love and gratitude.

Heavenly Father, I want to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to you.  Lord, please correct my misunderstandings of you, and please correct my misbehavior.  Lord, I love you, and I am so thankful for the love and salvation that you have shown me.  Lord, may I be useful in the Body to help others experience you and walk worthy. I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Church and godly living

(This was from yesterday; didn't quite finish it.)

EPH 3-5

I love Ephesians.  Missed blogging about Chapters 1-2 yesterday.  God's will, plan, glory... predestination, grace and faith.  Awesome stuff.

I love Paul's prayer at the end of ch. 3.  I need to regularly pray this for myself, my family, and my church family.

I love the description and objective for building the church and growing in maturity in ch. 4.

I think you could summarize the end of ch 4 and the beginning of ch 5 as a pursuit of godly living.  Not religion or self righteousness, but seeking to know Jesus and live like Him.

In the past couple of years, I have come to think that our speech is a very important aspect of godly living.  Not only what you talk about, but also the attitude with which you speak.

Ephesians 4:29 ESV
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 5:4 ESV
Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

The guideline is not simply "dont say bad stuff", but rather, speak words of grace and thanksgiving.

Heavenly Father, please help me speak words of life, truth, grace, and thanksgiving.  Lord, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight. May what I say and how I say it reflect you and your love.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I'm not crazy

Acts 21-26

As Paul was being rescued from violent Jews in Jerusalem (Acts 22), he was given permission to speak, and he boldly shared his testimony of meeting Jesus, with the very people who had just attempted to kill him.  He simply told them what happened to him and how He obeyed what Jesus told him to do.

While presenting to King Agrippa (Acts 26), Paul again shared his testimony of meeting Jesus.

24 And as [Paul] was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, "Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind." 25 But Paul said, "I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words.

Paul gives us the example of simply sharing what we have experienced of Christ, even if it may seem foolish to some.  But we are sharing the Gospel - the Good News of Jesus Christ, and I believe that, as we are faithful to scatter the seed, some hearts are receptive and will produce a crop of a hundred times the original.

Heavenly Father, please help me to humbly and boldly share the truth of Christ, especially through my own experience of your goodness toward me.  I love you, and I pray that I will be a faithful witness of your love.  I ask in the name of Jesus.

Monday, December 2, 2013

elders: overseers and shepherds

Acts 20:17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church. 18 And when they had come to him, he said to them, ... 28 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

Paul tells the elders (πρεσβυτέρους) that they are overseers (ἐπισκόπους) and instructs them to shepherd (ποιμαίνειν) the church (ἐκκλησίαν).

What do overseers do?  What do shepherds do?  Guide, QA/QC, care for, protect, feed, rescue, bandage, ...

Heavenly Father, please help me mature to be an elder/overseer/shepherd.  Lord, I want to serve the local church.  I want to be useful.  Lord, please make me useful.  Please give me wisdom and discernment.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

End of the semester

2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

The end of the semester is one of the busiest and most stressful times for me.  On my walk this morning, I kept praying, "Lord Jesus, please help me keep my focus on you.  Please help me seek you.  Keep my mind set on the spirit." 

It is so easy for me to think about overdue publications, reviews, homework assignments and grading, class projects, presentations, advising doctoral dissertations, masters theses, senior design projects, letters of recommendation, faculty search committees, ... not to mention family and church responsibilities - I feel my anxiety and blood pressure rise just listing these.

"Lord, I need you, oh I need you.  Every hour I need you."

I am weak and weary.  I am worn out from trying to do it in my own strength.  I must submit to His grace.  I must learn to live in a state of submission.  I have to confess my weakness and my need for Him.  I have to learn to rest in His providence.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your grace.  I am insufficient, but your grace is sufficient.  I am weak, but you are powerful.  Lord, please help me trust you and rest in you.  Lord, may you receive honor as I submit to you and testify to your power at work in me and through me.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Focus on the Spirit, eternal

Two of my favorite passages:

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NIV
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

We saw the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday, and I was reminded of the statement, "Freedom is not free."  Of course, our spiritual freedom is accomplished by the work of Christ; if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

It is easy to see and focus on the challenges of life day-to-day, but we have to keep an eternal perspective of things.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your presence of your Spirit.  Thank you for the freedom that you have given.  Lord, please help me keep my focus on you as you transform me into the image of Christ.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Life in the Spirit

Romans 8:12-17 ESV

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 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.

Constant battle: flesh versus Spirit.  Flesh is associated with the body.  By faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit indwells us (v. 11), and bears witness with our spirit (v.13).  And it seems to me that we must intentionally and diligently set our minds on the spirit (v.5-6).

So, we follow Christ, and the implication here is that we will suffer for following Him (v. 17). 

Heavenly Father, please help me be conscious of your leading, and may I be quick to obey.  Lord, may I be faithful to preach the good news of Christ.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Regeneration of the soul

ROM 5-8

It seems to me that the heart and mind are two important aspects of submission to the Lord.

We need the Lord to fill our hearts with Love.

Romans 5:5 ESV
and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

And we need to set our minds on the spirit.

Romans 8:5-6 ESV
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.

Heavenly Father, may I love you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength,  and may I love others as myself.  Please teach me to intentionally set my mind on the Spirit and keep in step with you.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thankful for grace

1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 57-58 NLT

I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. ... But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

Such an incredible gift, yet we so often take out for granted.

Heavenly Father, thank you for victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ.  Thank you for the promise that our work is never in vain.  Lord, please give me perseverance to work enthusiastically.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Lord's Table

1 Cor 10-11

10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar?19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
11:23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.

The Scripture here teaches that we should not take the Lord's Supper in "an unworthy manner", but in context (vs. 17-22), I think the rebuke is for being cavalier. But I have heard preachers discourage people from participating in Communion (The Lord's Supper/Table) if your "heart is not right".  However, taking Ch. 10 and Ch. 11 together, I think the invitation to participate in Communion is always to choose Christ over the World - to turn away from the things of the world and turn to Christ.  He is gracious and merciful, and when we turn away from the things of the world and humbly come to Him, He promises to receive us and bless us with His presence.  I think we need to make it clear that the time of Communion can be a very special time of examination in which we really ask the Lord to test our ways and thoughts and invite Him to (gently) correct us and draw us back to Him.  I think we should approach Communion with an attitude of humility, thankfulness, and a desire to accept His offer of mercy and grace.

There is no specified frequency.  But, since we gather together weekly (usually on Sundays, in honor of Christ's resurrection), I personally prefer to celebrate communion every week, in honor of His death, resurrection, and return.  I think it is inherently evangelistic.  I have been in churches that celebrate only once per month or once per quarter, because they don't want communion to be taken lightly.  I acknowledge that familiarity breeds contempt, but I think the value of careful weekly observance far outweighs the risk of being taken for granted.  In fact, it is granted to be taken.

Furthermore, in most of the communions that I have observed, the emphasis is on the death of Christ.  No doubt, His death is crucial for us, individually and corporately.  (I think another aspect of Communion is recognizing the communal aspect of the Church being His body.)  But, in addition to His death, 1 Cor 11:26 includes the significance of proclaiming His return.  And thinking of the several parables in the Gospel of Matthew, I think we need to encourage each other weekly to expect His return.  We are living for Him.  While Communion should begin with self-reflection and listening to the Spirit, ultimately, participating in Communion should focus on Christ.  It is an act of worship.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your mercy and grace.  Thank you for the Lord's Supper.  Thank you for your constant faithfulness, mercy, and grace.  Thank you for the frequent invitation to turn from the world and be united with you.  Lord Jesus, thank you for your body and blood, which has ransomed my salvation.  May the joy of my salvation be evident, for your glory.  May my life be lived in anticipation of your return, enjoying the encouraging fellowship of those who call on your name. We are your body. I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

leaves have fallen

With a cool breeze on my face, and the glory of an emergent sunrise setting the tops of the trees on fire, the Lord impressed me with this thought on my walk this morning:

Most of the leaves have fallen.
  Seems like winter has come.
Some yellow leaves still hold'n on;
  Fall is not yet gone.
A few red leaves still hold'n on;
  Fall is not quite gone.

I love the sigmoidal change from one season to the next.  (Occasionally, it occurs more like a step-function, but most of the time it is a gradual transition.)  

Heavenly Father, thank you for the beauty of your creation.  Your creativity is so inspiring!  Nature is so complex and dynamic.  I am amazed by your creativity and power.  I pray that I will continue to be impressed and awed by your creativity, and I pray that I will take time to enjoy the creation that you have made.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Be joyful always

1 Thessalonians 5:16 ESV

Rejoice always,

On Friday morning, as I was walking from the parking lot to the office, one of the Olin professors heard me whistling and said, "Shane, we're going to miss you next semester.  Your always so happy."

It was so encouraging to me to hear that in only a few months of being here, I was observed to be a joyful person.  I wish I could take credit, but this is the work of the Lord.  I had let sin creep in to my life, and I became a cynical and pessimistic person.  But over the past eight years, the Lord has done an amazing work in my heart, and especially in the past year, the Lord has brought me to a conscious decision to be joyful and optimistic. 

I think it comes down to perspective.  How can you not be joyful when your heart is enlightened to "the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead ..."?

Heavenly Father, thank you for your redemptive and restorative work.  Thank you for the joy that you give.  May the words that I speak and the attitude that I portray be genuinely joyful to honor you and your love.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

love and (complete) holiness

1 Thessalonians

3:12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. 

4:3 For this is the will of God, your [holiness]: that you abstain from sexual immorality;4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor ... 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

5:16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. ... 23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

As I read 1 Thessalonians this morning, I was impressed with two themes, love and holiness, and it seems to me that these are connected (3:12-13).  John's letters make it clear that God is the source of agape love, so as we love, we are allowing God to work in us and through us.  It seems that that process of loving is sanctifying (i.e., making us holy).

How is this possible?  God accomplishes our holiness (4:8, 5:23-24).  Furthermore, it seems that God's desire for us is to be holy, entirely and completely, including spirit, soul, and body.

(I had a conversation with my Brother Jason, a few days ago, and I discussed this idea of tri-partite humanity.  He made the point that humans are compound beings with spiritual and physical aspects.  I like this point, but I still read three distinct aspects in 5:23, with the words entirely/wholly and complete.  Perhaps it was only a literary device for emphasis, but I don't think Paul's explicit listing here of spirit, soul, and body is insignificant, especially when coupled with Romans 8.)

Heavenly Father, thank you for your promise to make me holy.  Lord, may I submit to your sanctification through love.  May your love be demonstrated more clearly in me, and more and more, so that I am molded into the image of Christ.  I pray that you will be honored. I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Receiving God's promise through faith

Galatians 3:7-9, 13-14, 22, 26 ESV

Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all the nations be blessed." So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. ... Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us ... so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.  ... so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.  ... for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

Forgiveness of sin, imputation of righteousness, and indwelling of the Holy Spirit are given freely through faith in Jesus Christ.  Only believe.  The saying "too good to be true" doesn't apply here.  Just believe.  Maybe that's one aspect of "faith like a child".  Children are not so skeptical of good things.

It's ironic to me that, even in the way that the world commercializes Christmas and makes a god out of Santa, it is still fundamentally a religious system of righteousness and reward by works.  "If you've been good, then you will get presents from Santa."  Pretty sad.

When we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  The gift of salvation and eternal life is given undeservedly.  This is amazing grace.

Eph. 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,

Heavenly Father, thank you for your promise of blessing, and thank you for your grace and mercy through Christ that we can receive your promise through faith in Him.  Lord, may I continue to be impressed with your love and compassion toward us, and may I be faithful to share with others this free gift that I have received through Christ.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Church leadership team

Acts 13:1 NLT

Among the prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch of Syria were Barnabas, Simeon (called "the black man" ), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (the childhood companion of King Herod Antipas ), and Saul.

Thinking about Eph 4, I have come to believe that a team of apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers is how the Lord designed balanced leadership within the Body.  (And it seems to me that elders are critical for ensuring that shepherding happens.)

Heavenly Father, thank you for creating the church with a team of leaders.  Lord, please use me in the Body.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Acts 8-9

Last night, in the Children's Bible that we are reading with the boys, we read about Saul's conversion and Philip baptizing the Ethiopian.

This morning, my reading covered the same passages, and Beau sat and listened as I read, periodically asking for clarification.  It is so awesome to see him learning about following Jesus!

I am also reminded of and burdened for the millions of believers around the world who are persecuted for their faith in Jesus.

9:4-5 And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"  And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

We are His body.  He feels the persecution.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the freedom to study your word and teach my boys about you without fear of persecution.  Lord Jesus, may I be faithful to share the truth of Christ in the opportunities that you give me, and may I faithfully pray for the persecuted saints around the world.  Lord, please give them peace in knowing that you are with them and you care for them.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


Acts 6-7

Stephen was a man of God, and he boldly and clearly preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sometimes I question if my desire to "not be obnoxious" in sharing the Gospel is legitimate.  Perhaps, to our postmodern culture, evangelism will mostly be perceived as "obnoxious" (or at least "annoying"). Maybe I shouldn't be so concerned with the way people perceive me, but rather concern myself with sensing and obeying the Holy Spirit's prompting to share the truth of Christ.

Heavenly Father, please help me boldly live and tell the Gospel.  Lord Jesus, you have called me salt and light, and you died for my sin.  Holy Spirit, please forgive me for disobeying your leading.  Lord, I want to be a faithful witness.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Christ.

Friday, November 8, 2013


Acts 5:40-42 ESV

and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.  And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.

I have never suffered any major persecution for following Christ.  Shoot, I can't even say that I have experienced any minor persecution.  Makes me wonder ...

Notice the strategy: engage people with the truth of Christ both publicly and privately. 

In these last few chapters, there have been several spontaneous public events.  But the consistent theme seems to be genuine fellowship in homes. 

In my own experience, our last three years in Austin were interwoven with close small groups with Brothers and Sisters pursuing the Lord.  Some of the best memories with those folks.

Heavenly Father, please give me boldness in sharing the Gospel of Christ.  May I be faithful in public venues, as well as intentional in home groups.  Lord Jesus, may I be a faithful witness to your resurrection.  I love you, and i pray in the name of Jesus.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Acts 2:42-47 ESV

And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

I love verse 42.  Pure and simple.  It's a shame that this verse is only descriptive of a small fraction of Christianity.   Somehow, a Sunday morning service stole the show.

The following verses used to bother me because I thought that people were giving away all that they had, and then they wouldn't be able to take care of themselves.  Today, I realize that God can replace anything we give (if He chooses) because He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and He is always more generous than we are.  Furthermore, we are only stewards, not owners.

Today, Beau said something about "his toys" and how he didn't want to share.  I told him that he didn't own anything; we share as a family.  Maybe there is a spiritual parallel.

I am reminded of the widow who gave her two mites.  To think that we can even take care of ourselves is believing a lie. We must always remember that it is the Lord who cares for us, daily.  The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name if the Lord. 

We can give generously and cheerfully because it is the Lord who prompts us to give, even sacrificially, as a reminder of His generosity through Christ.  We are privileged to partner with Him and collaborate with Him in His good work.

Heavenly Father, please help me see that it is you who cares for me and my family.  Lord, may I live a life of cheerful generosity that honors your providence and sacrificial love.  I love you, and I trust you.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hide and Seek

Luke 24:27 ESV
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.  The Scriptures point us to Christ. 

Luke 24:28-31 ESV
So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, "Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent." So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.

And then there is walking with Jesus.  He teaches us His Way.  Sometimes we see Him clearly, but I feel like those moments are brief and infrequent.  And just when I think I see Him, He seems to disappear.

Luke 24:32-35 ESV
They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?" And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

But we continue to seek Him.  We grow in maturity as we persevere in seeking.  And though it seems that He is hiding, we can find Him as we meet with our Brothers and Sisters, and as we celebrate communion together.  He promises that where two or three are gathered in His name, He is with us.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the presence of your Son, Jesus Christ, and thank you for the anointing of your Holy Spirit.  Lord, would you give me perseverance to continue pursuing Christ.  Lord Jesus, please let me find you as I seek you; may I seek you with all my heart.  And may my seeking be an encouragement to others who don't presently see you.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Monday, November 4, 2013


As I read the crucifixion account, I am reminded of a powerful statement from John Stott in The Cross of Christ (Chapter 2):


Herod and Pilate, Gentiles and Jews … had together "conspired" against Jesus (Acts 4:27). More important still, we ourselves are also guilty. If we were in their place, we would have done what they did. Indeed we have done it. ... We too sacrifice Jesus to our greed like Judas, to our envy like the priests, to our ambition like Pilate.
"Were you there when they crucified my Lord?" the old negro spiritual asks. And we must answer, "Yes, we were there." Not as spectators only, but as participants, guilty participants, plotting, scheming, betraying, bargaining and handing him over to be crucified. We may try to wash our hands of responsibility like Pilate. But our attempt will be as futile as his. For there is blood on our hands.
Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us (leading to faith and worship), we have to see it as something done by us (leading us to repentance). Indeed, "only the man who is prepared to own his share in the guilt of the cross," wrote Canon Peter Green, "may claim his share in its grace."

Heavenly Father, please forgive me for my sin, which caused the death of Christ.  Lord Jesus, thank you for your faithful obedience to the Father, which won my salvation.  Thank you for your grace in extending your substitutionary death to me.  May I be faithful to tell the story of your great love.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb that was slain for the sin of the world.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Switch: we falsely accused Him, and sent Him to die

Luke 23
18 But they all cried out together, "Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas"— 19 a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city and for murder. 20 Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, 21 but they kept shouting, "Crucify, crucify him!" 22 A third time he said to them, "Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him." 23 But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. 25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will.

Switch:  Even a few days before, Jesus was demonstrating His authority and supernatural power, even raising people from the dead.  But on the night of His betrayal, it is like He threw a switch, internally, and allowed Himself to be betrayed, falsely accused, and even falsely judged.  Two judges ruled Him innocent, but the Jewish leaders, as representatives of all of humanity, sent Him to execution.  Instead of resisting, instead of exercising His proper authority and power, He submitted to the Father's will - Jesus let us kill Him.

Switch:  Every time I read through this passage, I can't help but identify myself with Barabbas.  I was guilty of real crimes, moral crimes against the Creator and Judge of the world.  But I was released, and Christ Jesus was sent to execution instead of me.  What an incredible sacrifice.

Heavenly Father, please forgive me for my sin.  Please forgive me for my share in Christ's death.  Lord Jesus, I am so sorry for the unjust, angry, and brutal way that we treated you.  Lord, please forgive me.  May I always be impressed by your love and sacrifice.  I love you.  Please teach me to follow in your Way.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Denial and confession

Peter's denial was recorded by all four Gospel writers.  Seems significant.  Maybe related to the common experience of humanity.

Jesus finally admitted, very clearly, that He is the Messiah, the Son of God, at least twice to the Jewish leaders: once to the high priest and his conspirators in the middle of the night (Mk 14:62), and again to the leading priests and the Sanhedrin early the next morning (Mk 15:1, LK 22:67-69). So, practically, the Jews pursued the death penalty because Jesus claimed to be God (JN 19:7).

Heavenly Father, please forgive me for denying that I know Christ.  I want to be faithful to give my testimony of how you have saved my life.  And I want to be faithful to share that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Not my will, but yours, Lord

Luke 22:42 ESV

[Jesus prayed], "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done."

I can almost feel the tension in Jesus's prayer - the tension between Divine will and human will.  Then again when Judas betrayed Jesus, and the soldiers and mob fell backwards when Jesus answered, "I AM"!  I can almost feel His divine power reined to the point of breaking when Jesus said that He could instantly call 12 legions of angels.  I can see the cosmic irony of the soldiers leading Jesus away, tied up, as those 12 legions of angels watch expectantly, poised to intervene instantly.

But He drank the cup that our Heavenly Father gave Him.  He submitted His will to the Father's will.  And in so doing, He won our salvation.

Heavenly Father, I don't understand your will or your plans.  You are mysterious.  Lord Jesus, thank you for obeying the Father and submitting to drink the cup of wrath for my sin.  I love you, and I pray that I will submit my will to yours, in honor of your example.  I ask in the name of Jesus.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ask and you shall receive

John 15:7-8 ESV
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

John 16:24 ESV
Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

We ask for what we believe will facilitate the bearing of fruit.  And we take joy in seeing our Heavenly Father take care of us.

Heavenly Father, there are many matters in my life that, in the flesh, lead me to anxiousness.  But this is not right, Lord.  There are two matters in particular, that are on my heart and mind this morning. First, Father, would you please take care of Rhett and give him a strong healthy heart before he is born.  Lord, would you please bless us with a good report from the pediatric cardiologist today.  Second, would you please provide the human and financial resources for Paseo to fulfill the mission and function that you desire in El Paso.  Lord, please help us clearly hear you and obey.  Father, I am asking these things because I believe in Jesus, and I believe that these things will bring glory and honor to you and help advance the Kingdom of Christ.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus, the True Vine.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The way and the destination

John 14:4, 6, 11 ESV

And you know the way to where I am going." ... Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. ... Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

He is our goal and prize.  And He is the way.  Walking with my Savior daily, towards eternity with Him.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the Holy Spirit, who guides us into truth.  Lord Jesus, please help me focus on you, obeying you, and help me show that I love you by enjoying walking with you and obeying you.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

calculated timing

Matthew 26 
1 When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, "As you know, Passover begins in two days, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified."

At that same time the leading priests and elders were meeting at the residence of Caiaphas, the high priest, plotting how to capture Jesus secretly and kill him. "But not during the Passover celebration," they agreed, "or the people may riot."

John 13
27 When Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus told him, "Hurry and do what you're going to do." 28 None of the others at the table knew what Jesus meant.
Here we see Jesus in control of His own betrayal - the sovereignty of Christ, even in the timing of His own death.

I wonder if Jesus planned to be betrayed at night so that His trial would be at night and avoid possible interference from people trying to rescue Him.

Heavenly Father, your plan to redeem us was so sacrificial.  It was planned.  It wasn't an accident.  Not even down to the timing of the betrayal of Christ.  Lord, I am so impressed with your care and the premeditated intention of your love.  Jesus, thank you for your love for us and your example of obedience to the Father.  Please help me share your love and walk in obedience. I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Watching for Jesus's return

Matthew 24-25

No one knows the day or hour, but Jesus repeatedly stressed, through multiple parables, that we are to be diligent in watching for His return.

25:13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

Mark 13:36 Don't let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. 37 I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!"

I want to live each day anticipating Christ's return.  I can't get distracted with the things of this world.

Heavenly Father, please help me stay focused on you and keeping in step with the Spirit.  Lord, please keep me sober-minded.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.