Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Master's example and commissioning

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. ... These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "... As you go, proclaim this message: 'The kingdom of heaven has come near.'  Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
Matthew 9:35‭-‬38, 10:1‭, ‬5‭‭, ‬7‭-‬8 NIV

Jesus healed EVERY disease.  And He commissioned his disciples to tell people that the kingdom of heaven is near and to prove it by healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing people, and driving out demons.

I am a disciple of Jesus, and I believe that He has commissioned all of his disciples with this commission.

Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus' example and commissioning.  I want to be a faithful disciple, demonstrating your love and compassion through the authority and power of Jesus.  Holy Spirit, may I keep in step with you today.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The most important thing

As I was sitting here thinking about how important my work is today, I was listening to Shane Everett's song We Are Hungry, I realized this truth: at the end of this day - at the end of EVERY day - the most important thing is that I grew closer to the Lord and gained more of Him.

Doctrinally, some people argue over how much of God do you need to be saved.  But this is wrong.  The most important question we should be relentlessly asking is: How do I get more of Him?

Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me this awareness.  Please increase my hunger and thirst for you.  I confess that too many times I implicitly operate as though I have enough of you, but the truth is that I can never have enough of you.  I love you, and I want to see you and hear you throughout the day.  Help me stay aware of you.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Seeing every day as beautiful

Almost as soon as I woke up this morning, I started thinking about all of the deadlines and work I need to get done today, and I don't know that I explicitly thought it, but in reflection, I think I felt, "Today is going to be a hard and stressful day."  I turned on one of my Pandora radio channels that I listen to in the morning to help me focus on the Lord, and the first song that came on was Today is Beautiful by David Dunn, and that simple statement helped me realize that I was letting my perspective be shaped by my anxiety instead of being shaped by the Lord.  

His mercies are new every morning, and His power is greater than any opposition in this world.  I am an overcomer in Christ because of His abundant grace.

Heavenly Father, may my perspective of this day be shaped by me gazing at you and your overwhelming goodness, and may I not be distracted from perceiving and enjoying your glory by the things of this world. Lord Jesus, may I walk with you. Holy Spirit, anoint me with your presence and power today.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Sowing seeds

The last several days, I have read the parable of the farmer sowing seeds.

About a week ago, I saw a co-worker sitting on a bench in the hallway.  I thought he was waiting for a meeting, but he told me that his leg was hurting and weak.  I wanted to pray for him, but another prof walked up, and I chickened out.  But Wednesday morning, I saw him limping in the hallway, about to take the stairs, and I caught him and asked him if I could pray for him.  He told me that he was atheist, but I could pray for him.  I prayed three quick prayers, but the pain stayed around a 1-2 level.  As he was leaving, he told me that the real problem was that his leg and knee were weak.  I thought to myself, why didn't I ask him what the main problem was?  I prayed for him silently as he left, "Lord, show your goodness."

Yesterday morning, before handing out the exams, I asked the class of 100 students, "Does anyone have any questions?  It's never too late to ask a question." One of the students on the front row asked, jokingly "What is the meaning of life?". I replied, "I think Jesus answered that explicitly; he said, 'This is eternal life, to know the one true God, and the one he has sent." The student said, 'Wow, good answer."

A couple of weeks ago, an international postdoc told me that he was still waiting on his visa to be approved so that he could take one of the several offers that he had.  I could tell that he was very stressed, especially in the current political context.  I prayed for him, a quick prayer, asking the Lord to deliver the work permit to him quickly. Earlier this week, with tears in his eyes, he told me that he had been anxiously checking every day for notifications, and he received confirmation that they were sending his permit that very day that I prayed.  He told me that he received the permit several weeks before he was supposed to, and he believes that it was a miracle.  The Lord answered my prayer.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity to join with you in your ministry of sowing seeds in people's lives.  May I be faithful to communicate your love, truth, and goodness.  And may I be faithful to pray for people in a way that demonstrates the authority and power of Jesus.  Holy Spirit, please help me be aware of you and keep in step with you.  Anoint me for good work today, which you have prepared in advance. I want to be amazed by you and celebrating your goodness.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Farmer sowing seeds parable

Mark 4

The Lord impressed me with this progressive response to His word in my life:
1. Allow Him to plant His word in you.  Be open to His word, truth.  Receive it into your soul.
2. Allow His word to take root.  I think this is through meditation on His word, allowing the logos to become personal and dynamic rhema.  
3. Allow His word to grow and increase by intentionally setting your mind on Him, seeking Him first, and not allowing your mind to dwell on worldly things.
4. Allow Him to produce fruit in your life through faith, which takes work and risk.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your word.  Thank you for increasing in my life. Holy Spirit, thank you for giving me rhema. Please produce fruit in me.  I want to seek you first and invest in your Kingdom.  Lord, multiply your grace through me.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?  As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like.  They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.  But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete."
Luke 6:46‭-‬49 NIV

If we faithfully implement His teaching and obey His words, then He will faithfully make us durable to overcome adversity.

I love the civil engineering analogy of digging to find the rock and build a solid foundation.

Heavenly Father, I want to dig deeper into you.  Lord Jesus, may I faithfully seek you and obey you. Holy Spirit, please hold me together when the storms hit. I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Don't stress

The Lord was speaking to me this morning about my work stress.  Substitute "stress" for "worry" in this teaching from Jesus:
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? ...  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:25‭-‬27‭, ‬33‭-‬34 NIV

This word may be from the Lord, but I think He wants us to really enjoy our relationship with Him and be excited about knowing Him and walking with Him.  I think if we are more focused on enjoying the Lord and celebrating His goodness, then we will be less stressed about our work.

So, practically, how do we increase our enjoyment/satisfaction of Him?

Heavenly Father, thank you for your peace.  Thank you for your joy.  Thank you for the opportunity to rest in your goodness.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

As salty as a sailor

Matthew 5:13‭-‬16 NIV
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.   "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

I was thinking about some of the concepts in Becoming a Contagious Christian that I taught back in Austin.  Salt requires proximity for it to be effective.  You have to get close.  How can I be aware of being salty with the people that I encounter today?  

Light, on the other hand, can impact people far away.  How can I be like a lighthouse today?  How can I shine light to those in the darkness so that they can see the way to Life?

Heavenly Father, thank you for making me salt and light.  Holy Spirit, please help me be salty and bright today.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.