May 31, 2010
While all Veterans have given a ‘portion’ of their life in the service of their country, in battle many have actually given their life. “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” (1 John 3:16 ESV)
May 28, 2010
When I think about Jesus picking up the basketfuls of broken pieces of loaves and fish after the feeding of the 5,000 and 4,000, I’m reminded that He also picks up the broken pieces of our lives. After a crisis is over many of us move on with the busyness of life and often forget what the Lord has brought us through. As Jesus was trying to warn the disciples about the yeast of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, they had forgotten the lesson of the leftover loaves and fish. To their forgetfulness Jesus said, “Oh you of little faith…” (Matt 16:3-12)
May 27, 2010
There are many references in Scripture to being both physically and spiritually blind. When those who were physically blind came to Jesus their request was, “Lord, I want my sight.” The Pharisees on the other hand were spiritually blind didn’t even know well enough to ask for their sight. Growing as believer I know I still have a certain level of immaturity in some areas of my walk. I know I may not always see perfectly well, however it’s never crossed my mind that in some instances I could be spiritually blind. I might do well to begin my day by saying, “Lord, I want my sight.”
May 26, 2010
On Mother’s Day I went to a tea at the nursing home and one of the residents, an elderly woman sat at the table across the way. She had a beautiful long stemmed red rose and while waiting for the tea to be served she began one by one pulling the delicate petals off the bud. She felt the texture and closely examined the rich red color…both front and back. By the time the aide noticed Miss Dorothy’s dissection, it was too late. All that remained was a pile of petals, a green thorny stem and a few flakes of yellow pollen. I too got a rose and brought it home and put it in a vase, but it never opened. The bud soon drooped on the stem, turned black-red and then shriveled up. Somehow I think Miss Dorothy enjoyed her rose so much more. “To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life…” (2Cor 2:16a NIV)
May 25, 2010
When we feel slighted, abused or sinned against, we often want more than just a resolution; we want the world to know of our mistreatment. I’m not so sure that we ever lose that childhood need to tattle. The Lord however has a pattern to take the tattle out of the tattler, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” (Matt 18:15-17 ESV)
May 24, 2010
During Sunday morning worship there are usually three or four opportunities for public prayer. Before praying the person leading will sometimes make the statement, “Will you pray with me.” Recently I heard this not as a statement, but as a question, “Will you pray with me?” I had a real sense of the whole congregation being invited to join in the prayer, rather than just being a bystander to the prayer.
May 21, 2010
There are many intervention programs on TV and they cover the whole gamut of our society, everything from saving animals to saving people. The account of the man with an evil spirit in the region of the Gerasenes sounds to me quite similar to folks who are addicted to drugs and who do not want to be confronted. The possessed man was out of his mind, crying out and cutting himself with stones. He lived in the tombs and was so strong that even chains could not bind him. When the man saw Jesus, “He shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!’” Jesus intervened by casting the evil spirit out…a spiritual detox of sorts. (Mark 5:1-20 NIV)
May 20, 2010
I recently watched a crime drama on TV and the plot centered on a people who were into spy and intrigue role playing. The company Spy Ventures tried to make the game as authentic as possible, but the participants got caught up in real life when one of the spies was actually murdered. One role playing character was then arrested and thrown in jail on suspicion of murder. He wasn’t overly cooperative with the police until he finally separated fact from fantasy, “What? You mean I really am in jail. This isn’t just part of the game?” I can imagine something similar happening to folks who never get around to accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. ‘What? You mean I’m really in Hell?’
May 19, 2010
The TV show Survivor just finished its 20th season with a competition between players from previous seasons. While the show’s producers describe it as one of their best seasons ever, most of the contestants said they really weren’t having a lot of fun. Since the players all knew the intricacies of the game their level of gamesmanship was always serious, calculating and manipulative. There was never any time to enjoy the moment and the experience. I can easily fall into a similar mind set when it comes to the Gospel. If I’m not careful, winning souls becomes such a serious matter that I miss the moment and the experience.
May 18, 2010
Whether it’s an immediate family member, or a very dear friend, it’s easy to feel indignation when someone slights them. In a similar situation Eldad and Medad were prophesying in the camp of Israel and Moses’ aid Joshua felt that their activities infringed upon the leadership of Moses. While I can think of many reactions that Moses could have had, the one he came up with surprises me. Moses simply asks Joshua, “Are you jealous for my sake?” (Numbers 11:29a NIV). Certainly believers should be jealous for the Lord’s sake, which fits with God’s character, “…I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God…” (Ex 20:5b NIV)
May 17, 2010
A school board in California has decided to force parents to be involved in their children’s education. Their justification is that they are being advocates for the students. Parents, or other family members, are being required to volunteer 3 ½ hours a month (30 hours a year) in their child’s classroom. This seems intrusive on so many levels. On the one hand I can feel indignant for these parents and think they should be allowed to choose, however when I put on my believer-hat I sometimes wish God would give me just a 3 1/2 hour monthly requirement.
May 14, 2010
I keep finding myself in situations where someone will make a statement that’s incorrect or misleading. I can remember similar situations when I was raising my children. If I speak up it’s like throwing cold water on the discussion, but if I keep quiet invariably someone will later say, ‘But you didn’t say anything. Why didn’t you weigh in or object at the time?’ When I do give my reality check people often think of me as a spoiler. “Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Cor 4:2 NIV)
May 13, 2010
When it comes to trying to get others involved in his particular ministry, I know a man who tries to beg, borrow and steal volunteers away from other ministries. His zeal can border on obnoxious. From his perspective it’s always about the needs and successes of what he is doing, it’s never about anyone else’s ministry. Although I’m sure it’s not intentional, he leaves you thinking that the only place the Lord is working is in his ministry and you really should sign on. I can’t help but wonder if he is in fact hindering the Lord’s work by trying to draw folks away from other ministries.“It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,…” (Eph 4:11 NIV)
May 12, 2010
When there are fund drives for Muscular Dystrophy or a national disaster people often make pledges over the phone. It surprises me that some of these folks then fail, in all or part, to honor the amount of their pledge. I think this lapse of judgment has shades of Ananias and Sapphira. (Acts 5:1-10) Although we may not see or understand the evidence of God’s discipline, there is no doubt that even today there are still people who lie to the Spirit. It might make an impression on some of us if we were to see the cause of death on a death certificate listed as: Lied to the Holy Spirit.
May 11, 2010
An awkward and uncomfortable situation can arise when someone tells you that they love you, but you don’t have the same feelings for them. And yet, that’s exactly what the Lord says to us. For some, expressing love for the Lord doesn’t come naturally or instantaneously. Even though a new believer may be unable to express heartfelt love for Jesus, the important thing is for them to know is that He loves them.
May 10, 2010
In the Parable of the Weeds an enemy slipped into a man’s field and sowed weeds among the wheat. The wheat and the weed sprouted at the same time and the owner’s servants offered to go into the field and pull up the weeds. “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest.’” (Matt 13:29-30a NIV) I think many of us can relate to the servants. We look at our neighbor’s life and immediately want to help him weed out what the enemy has sowed.
May 07, 2010
When giving testimony in a legal proceeding you take an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. However, the truth that you tell is often dependent upon the questions asked by the attorney or the judge. The whole truth is not always revealed because you are limited by what is admissible. During Jesus’ ministry there were times where He didn’t respond to questions, or he might answer a question by asking one of his own, or He chose to respond in parables. However at His trial Jesus was ask, “Are you then the Son of God?” He spoke the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…
May 06, 2010
The house next door is a rental property and over the years we’ve watched renters come and go. One tenant will spend the summer tilling, seeding and watering the yard, then he leaves and the next guy moves in and lets the yard revert back to nature. The last neighbor’s Labrador pup dug so many holes that the yard could have passed for a prairie dog colony. However the children in the family loved driving their Tonka trucks around the pocked marked terrain. Similar to watching the yard next door, I picture God watching our spiritual lot. We have to decide if we’re going to make the grass greener or just play in the dirt.
May 05, 2010
I get irritated with Hollywood actors who think that their star-power somehow entitles them to a political persuasion and authority in social issues. It would be more understandable if they were trying to engage just their fan base, but it appears that they really think that the world is their stage and everyone is an admirer. Likewise, there are those who have a certain amount of star-power within the body of Christ that think the masses will embrace their views when they take the political and social stage. Paul has a warning for all who think highly of themselves. “If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” (Gal 6:3 NIV)
May 04, 2010
At a stoplight in the Denver metro area a man was holding a sign that read, “Trying to heal, wishing I had a home and a job”. I thought it was an interesting commentary for one’s life and it reminded me of the man, an invalid for 38 years, who laid beside a pool. Jesus said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” It occurs to me that busy traffic intersections have become the equivalent of a modern day pool called Bethesda. I can imagine Jesus saying to those carrying signs the same thing he said to the invalid, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” (John 5: 6b-8 ESV)
May 03, 2010
Both of my young grandchildren use the English Standard Version of the Bible, however their dad had the American Standard and their mother the New King James. Last week mom and dad bought new Bibles and switched to the ESV. “Good!” said six year-old David. “Now we’re all going to be reading the same thing.” I can so appreciate where he’s coming from. Every once in a while the congregation is led in saying the Lord’s Prayer in unison…that is until we get to the part about forgive us ‘our debts’ and some of us don’t know whether it’s our debts, or our trespasses (Matt 6:9-13). I conferred with an older preacher and we both agreed that we memorized it as trespasses, but I can’t for the life of me find a translation that uses the word trespass in the Lord’s Prayer. However, the word trespass does appear in the two verses following the Lord’s Prayer in the King James Version. So now I’m in a quandary…did I do a mental cut and paste and get it mixed up, or did my childhood Sunday School teacher goof and give me a gold star for an incorrect memorization?