Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Revelation 21:10-11, 22 NIV
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. ... I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

Revelation 22:1-2 NIV
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

I finished reading The Chronicles of Narnia with the boys this afternoon.  It was a great experience, and I have really appreciated Lewis's allegories of the spiritual life.  I especially appreciated the conclusion and it's parallel with Revelation.  In the end, we will find that it is only the beginning.  Too many times I am guilty of thinking too much of this life, but eternity with Christ will be so much more rich and satisfying than this life.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your patience with me.  May I turn ever more towards your holy mountain, and may I run with perseverance the race marked out for me.  May I finish well.  Thank you for the blessings of this year, and may I pursue you even more faithfully and diligently next year.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

More heart, less attack

My dad had a mild heart attack yesterday.  I am thankful that the Lord answered our prayers and gave us more time here with my dad. 

I am thankful for Mr. Ellison giving my dad nitroglycerin in the field, for my mom giving him aspirin and taking him to the ER, for Dr. Alley and the other attendants caring for my dad in the local clinic before transporting him to Lubbock.  I am thankful that the doctors were able to treat him without major surgery.

I realize the warning of my grandfather and father having heart blockage in their early 60s. I know that I need to be disciplined about eating healthy and exercising regularly.

I also realize that I need to lower my stress level.  My grandmother once gave me a bookmark that simply said, "RELAX".  I know that I need to learn to turn things over to the Lord and not get so worked up about things.  Reminds me of a song, "More heart, less attack" on Needtobreathe's recent album, "Rivers in the Wasteland":

"Slow to anger and quick to laugh
Be more heart and less attack
I stuck my hat out, I caught the rain drops
I drank the water, I felt my veins pop
I'm nearly sanctified, I'm nearly broken
I'm down the river, I'm nearly open
I'm down the river, to where I'm going"

Heavenly Father, thank you for healing my dad and blessing us with more time with him.  Lord, thank you for your patience and grace.  Please help me grow to be more patient in character like you.  Please help me rest in your sovereignty.   I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Love of God

(Just found this one in my drafts from Dec 7.)

1 John 3:1, 11, 16, 23-24 NIV
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God's commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

1 John 4:7, 9-13 NIV
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.   This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.

Several observations from these two chapters:
- God is the source and initiator of love
- We are commanded and expected to love one another as God has loved us
- We live in the presence of God as we love one another
- He has given us His Spirit for dynamic fellowship with Him

I'm not sure that I have consciously thought about the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit with respect to us loving one another.  I guess I have always thought of the Holy Spirit as One who speaks truth and conviction and gives gifting and power.  But I suppose that the Holy Spirit would also know something about this "love" that John speaks of.  Perhaps I should pay attention to the Holy Spirit, and then I might know something about love, as well.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your love, and thank you for your Holy Spirit.  May I be open to your love, and may I share your love.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Humble to repent

REV 16:8-11 NIV
The fourth angel poured out his bowl ... but they refused to repent and glorify him.   The fifth angel poured out his bowl ... but they refused to repent of what they had done.

Heavenly Father, may I be humble and willing to repent.  Lord, may I soften my heart to you and yield to your discipline.  Lord, thank you for your patience.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Monday, December 22, 2014


We celebrated Christmas with my family today.  I am thankful for a loving family and great times eating, talking, and playing games.  My brothers make me laugh, and they also make me think.  I miss our time together when we were all at home.  I am very blessed to have generous parents and brothers who are my closest friends.

I got to help my dad harvest cotton this afternoon.  I was thinking about how foolish I was when I was in school.  I am thankful that God has been so gracious to me, He has changed me, and He continues to grow me.  I want to be a spiritual man.

I am so thankful for my sweet and patient wife, and I am thankful for my precious sons.  My life is so rich.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your loving-kindness and you patient faithfulness.   Thank you for providing for me, protecting me, and growing me.  I love you, and I want to grow in fellowship with you.  I pray in the name of Jesus.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sometimes we have to eat things we don't like

Jude doesn't want to eat his food this evening.  I told him that sometimes we have to eat food we don't like.

I had a conversation with someone about something in their life that I don't think honors the Lord, based on several scritpures.  Sometimes certain scriptures don't taste good because, in order to obey, we would have to change the way we live.

Heavenly Father, please help me be humble as i walk with you and eat your Word.  Holy Spirit, convict me of sin, lead me to repentance, and help me walk in obedience.  Lord, give me grace to walk closer with you.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Elder roles

When I was waking up this morning, I was thinking about the role of elders in the church.  I think the principal role of elders is shepherding.  Also, I think the principal role of parents is shepherding.  In that way, you might also draw an analogy that elders are like spiritual "parents" or guardians.  Biological parents and spiritual guardians are responsible for seeing that their children grow and thrive, which generally involves loving them, feeding them, teaching them, and disciplining them.

Then, while reading Revelation this morning, I was encouraged and challenged with the concept that elders also serve the church as lead worshippers:

Revelation 4:4, 10-11 NIV
Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. ... the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:   "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."

Heavenly Father, please help me grow as a spiritual guardian and a lead worshipper.  May I lead out of an overflow of my relationship with you.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Guidelines in Acts, connected in Revelation

In Acts, the Apostles agreed on a simple set of guidelines for instructing non-Jewish followers of Jesus.  I have wondered before if these were simply man-made, or if God really inspired the Apostles to give these guidelines:

Acts 15:28-29 NIV
It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.

In Revelation, it seems that Jesus reiterated the significance of these guidelines:

REV 2:14, 20 NIV
Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality.  ... 
Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.

Sexual immorality is so pervasive in our culture.  We must be diligent in guarding our hearts and minds.

Heavenly Father, I want my life to honor you and please you.  Please keep me pure and undefiled by the world.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


On Sunday morning, it impressed me that there were two people who came up for prayer who don't have much in the world's eyes.  Seems like those of us who have what we want don't really need God.

Last night, Beau watched a show on a Christian channel about people traveling through China and Africa sharing the Gospel.  He told me, "Everybody needs to hear!  Even people in Boston and New York."  Then he said, "Dad, we should go tell people about Jesus."  I agreed, and I told him that was why I travel to Ecuador every year.  He said, "Dad, why didn't you tell me that before?!"

Heavenly Father, may I be a humble man, realizing that all good things come from you.  Lord, please bless Beau with boldness in sharing the Gospel.  May he have beautiful feet.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


1PET 5:1-4 NIV
To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ's sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

As an elder-in-training, I am trying to learn what it means to be an elder. It seems pretty clear from this passage that being an elder is serving as a shepherd, not just wearing a title. Elders should be emulating the Chief Shepherd.

What do shepherds do?  They feed and guard the flock.

1PET 5:8-9 NIV
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

I need to be watching out for myself, my wife and boys, the people in my home group, and our church.

Heavenly Father, please help me keep my focus on you and also be aware of the enemy and his attacks.  Please help me learn how to be a shepherd.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.