Sunday, March 31, 2013

Glorious Day -- He is Risen, Indeed!

He is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed!

Someone asked what my favorite Resurrection Day song is. Well, if I can only pick one, this would have to be it:

Click here: Glorious Day (Living He loved me) ~Casting Crowns - YouTube

I was dead. Now I am alive forever.
-- Jesus' Words in Revelation 1:18 (GWT)

Whenever I lead Communion services on our to Hearts Aflame Discipleship Journeys at Jerusalem's Garden Tomb, the words of this old Southern Gospel song written by Bill and Gloria Gaither are always in my heart and on my lips:

Because He lives today, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

In the Grave, In the Ground...

Yes. it's Holy Saturday...

Lo, in the grave He lay, Jesus, my Savior...

The Seed of Hope is planted in the ground. Death, Grave, and Hell? BEWARE!


Friday, March 29, 2013

The Hammer, The Nails, The Cross

One of my Tuesday morning prayer patrol partners, Gene, wrote this poem leading up to Passion Week. It seems perfect for Good Friday, especially. While it is a poem, it is also a transparent testimony.

I carried the hammer. I carried the nails.
I refused to hand them to the soldiers.
Not because I was trying to protect You,
I used them to nail You to the Cross myself

My nails pierced Your hands.
Your eyes pierced my soul.
You had already forgiven me,
Before my hammer made it's final blow
-- Gene Stainback

Lord, we thank you for the Cross.

We agree with Max Lucado who wrote: "The Cross says that God would rather go to Hell for us, than go to Heaven without us."

Thursday, March 28, 2013

"Oh, Lord, You're Beautiful!" My Maundy Thursday Prayer

Dearest Lord:

The early mornings during this Passion Week have been moving for my heart, mind, soul, and strength. To see the splendor of a full moon vying for attention with the brilliant colors of each sunrise has been spectacular.

What I'm trying to say is, "Oh Lord, You're Beautiful!" I cannot grasp the magnitude of Your Love. How could the very God who tells the sun, moon, and stars when to rise and shine also have cared so much about my seemingly insignificant soul to actually become human like me. And why did you become human like me? So, You could become the Supreme, Sacrificial Lamb of God and be slaughtered to make atonement for my sin? Unfathomable! Unimaginable! Undeniable! That's what Your compassion is to me, my God.

Finally, I thank You that until You can get me safe and sound to Your eternal Home in Heaven, You have made Your Home in me. As I worship You today, Maundy Thursday, may You surely sense the depth of my full devotion for You, as I truly realize the massive debt of love I owe to You.

In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Click here: Oh Lord, You're Beautiful - Keith Green - YouTube

Jesus, You were dead. But on Easter Sunday You told Yourself to "rise and shine". Indeed, I give you the glory, glory!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Fast of the Firstborn -- Passover

In the Gospels, as we consider the Passion Week time lines, it seems Jesus was silent and out of view on Wednesday. Well, let's not forget that Passion Week for Christians coincides with Passover for Jews. With this in mind, let us learn that Jesus being silent and out of view for a full day would be necessary during one day of the Passover Week, as Jesus was Jewish, and the firstborn Jews are called to observe a full-day's fast during this sacred season. Without food and water, a day's trip into and out of Jerusalem would be out of the question, especially considering the physical strength Jesus would need come Thursday and Friday to carry out and to become His Father's will.

The Jewish firstborn observes a day of total fast of food and water during this season of the calendar year in remembrance of God's mercy and to give God thanks for sparing the firstborn of Israel in Egypt. As the final plague fell on Pharaoh and all of the Egyptians, the death angel passed through and required the lives of all of their firstborn children. Pharaoh and his people suffered this great night of loss because he refused to let God's people go. The Jews, however, were spared this night of death, as they had sprinkled the blood of lambs on their doorposts, so that the death angel would pass over them. Thus, we have the Jewish celebration known as "Passover." Passover was an Old Testament fore-shadowing of Passion Week in the New Testament.

Imagine what Jesus was thinking while He observed the fast of the firstborn, probably in Bethany just east of Jerusalem at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. With anguish how His soul must have trembled, realizing that on Good Friday He would become The Sacrificial Lamb of God. Yes, He would be slain by crucifixion that His Blood might be sprinkled on the doorposts of our believing souls, so the Gift of Eternal Life might be given and eternal death might pass us by.
Amazing Love! Indeed!

Click here: Chris Tomlin Amazing Love - YouTube

Holiness Unto the LORD!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Passion Week Timeline

I realize there are many thoughts and ways of arranging the chronology of Jesus' last days leading Him to the Cross and out of the grave.

Perhaps this timeline that helps me to remember our Lord's Passion during Holy Week will also help you to increase intimacy in His presence, too.

#1. Saturday- Day of Compassion/Anointing -- John 11:55-12:11 (Song: "Broken & Spilled Out")

#2. Sunday- Day of Popularity/Praise -- John 12:12-19 (Song: "You Are My King")

#3. Monday- Day of Authority/Prayer -- Mark 11:15-18

#4. Tuesday- Day of Conflict/Relationships -- Mark 11:27-33

#5. Wednesday- Day of Silence/Reflection -- Psalm 39 & Psalm 46:10a

#6. Thursday- Day of Betrayal/Violence -- Matthew 26:14-16, John 18:1-11, Psalm 88

#7. Friday- Day of Agony/Suffering/Death -- John 19:1-37 (Song: Above All, Like a Rose")

#8. Saturday- Day of Mourning/Darkness -- John 19:31-42

Psalm 30:5 (Song: "Broken & Spilled Out")

#9. Sunday- Will Be Resurrection Sunday Morning -- Day of Celebration -- John 20:1-18

Question: "Do You Know The Resurrection? Is He Your Life?"

... Grateful

Monday, March 25, 2013

To Please God

Do you seek any further reward beyond that of having pleased God? In truth, you know not how great a good it is to please Him.
-- John Chrysostom

“His master replied, ‘Good job! You’re a good and faithful servant! You proved that you could be trusted with a small amount. I will put you in charge of a large amount. Come and share your Master’s happiness.’"
-- Matthew 25:21 (GWT)

Lord, we only want to hear You say, "Well Done."

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday. Passion Sunday.

Passion is a kind of waiting - waiting for what other people are going to do. Jesus went to Jerusalem to announce the good news to the people of that city. And Jesus knew that He was going to put a choice before them: Will you be My disciple, or will you be My executioner? There is no middle ground here. Jesus went to Jerusalem to put people in a situation where they had to say "Yes" or "No". That is the great drama of Jesus' passion: He had to wait for their response. What would they do? Betray Him or embrace Him?
-- Henri Nouwen

Lord, will you please enter
our seasons of passion,
our seasons of pausing...
with Your peace,
with Your presence.
In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Please Love Jesus Passionately!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Subtly But Surely -- Beware Spiritual Slippage

In my morning prayer time today, my heart is mightily moved as I have been crying out to Jesus for a spiritual awakening in our world. It seems that even some of those who claim to be believers in Jesus are subtly but surely joining the ranks of unrighteousness. There seems to be a fog even among the faithful and the enemy seems to be inching his way into the body of Christ. I sense that spiritual slippage is undeniably underway.

This troubling verse of Holy Scripture comes to mind:

The Spirit says clearly that in later times some believers will desert the Christian faith. They will follow spirits that deceive, and they will believe the teachings of demons.
-- 1 Timothy 4:1 (GWT)

Let us plead the Blood of Jesus for renewal in our own lives, praying that personal revival within our own lives will lead to public revival among the masses and that Jesus will be glorified once again among us and beyond us, yes even throughout the whole world like never before.

As I see so-called "Christian leaders" beginning to debate whether or not "sin" is acceptable in the lives of people who claim a personal relationship with Holy God, honestly my own soul has moved far beyond being extremely mad to being totally sad. I am sad for Jesus. My heart is broken for the one called "The Beautiful One" as those who claim to love Him refuse to call sin, sin. Have we too quickly forgotten that sin is what stapled our Savior to the Cross? God forgive us and God forbid it, if we have forgotten?

In 1 John 3:8, we discover that "The Son of Man (Jesus) came to destroy the works of the devil." Why shouldn't I be sad when I see especially those who claim to wear the name of Christ attempting to preserve the works of the devil?

Last evening my cell phone rang. It was a local TV station calling to ask if I would join them on the local news this coming week for a pro and con debate about the meaning of marriage. Amazing, don't you think, that "marriage is going on trial in the good old US of A Supreme Court" this coming week -- Passion Week.

The unexpected phone call paralyzed me at first and then quickly sickened me deep within. After a kind exchange with the TV news broadcaster, I decided the time is not right for me to get caught up in talking about what's troubling my heart. I don't think I can translate the pain in my heart into intelligible words just yet. I guess you could say, I have some passionate, private, praying I need to catch up on before I, all-of-a-sudden, start talking into a TV camera.

Indeed, I still have that question strong on my mind that my executive assistant, Angela, has posted on her office door: "Have you prayed about it as much as you have talked about it?"

And, yes, I believe I know what you might be thinking. Maybe I missed an opportunity? Yeah, I have thought about that already this morning. I mean what pastor turns down an opportunity to go on live television? Maybe a pastor who's heart is so broken he's not sure how to put his grief into dialogue just yet?

And for sure, I don't want to be like Peter, who during Passion Week started swinging a physical sword in the midst of a spiritual battle. The Lord knows I don't want to cut off any ears. There's enough trouble with people listening already. (John 18:10)

Holiness Unto the LORD!
Grateful (Beware below)

P.S. "Beware of spiritual slippage" and be aware of pastors who leave their local churches to become "expert" authors and spend all of their time jumping from one video interview to another. Seems some of these "former pastor-types" are getting sucked into what's popular in the world instead of what's pure in God's sight. I've been listening to what some of them are saying. Please join me in praying for them. And pray for me.  In the fog, it's easy to veer off course. God forbid. And feel free to also pray that if I did miss an opportunity to be light in the dark, that the call from the TV news man will come again and this time I will have peace about it. Or not. Deo Volente. :-)


Friday, March 22, 2013

Praying Versus Talking

My executive assistant, Angela, is a person of prayer. Outside her office door she has posted a simple but profound note:

Have you prayed about it as much as you have talked about it?

What a sobering statement. Will we be found mainly praying or mostly chattering about the people and the circumstances in our lives?

Let us Pray.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


The Psalmist penned these painful words in Psalm 109:21 -- "... My heart is wounded within me."

In response to these words I echo my own:

"Lord, make something wonderful for Your glory,
Out of the wounds in my story."

In my life, Lord, be glorified, I pray.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Loss of God's Presence

The loss of God's presence (in our lives) is due to sin.
-- Andrew Murray

10 Create a clean heart in me, O God,
and renew a faithful spirit within me.
11 Do not force me away from Your presence,
and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore the joy of Your salvation to me,
and provide me with a spirit of willing obedience.

-- Psalm 51:10-13 (GWT)

Click here: Create in me a clean heart - Keith Green YouTube

Holiness Unto the LORD!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Don't Ever Worry About Tomorrow." -- Jesus (Extra Afternoon Edition)

In his PEANUTS Cartoon strip, Charles Schultz once gave us a humorous human look at the difficulty of life as his characters, Lucy and Charlie Brown, were having a discussion. Here's the exchange:

Linus Van Pelt: Life is difficult, isn't it, Charlie Brown?
Charlie Brown: Yes, it is. But I've developed a new philosophy. I only dread one day at a time.

This scene reminds me of the words of Jesus spoken in Matthew's record of The Good News:

So don’t ever worry about tomorrow. After all, tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
-- Matthew 6:34 (GWT)

Lord, help us to be present in the present. Please, also, inspire us to delight in each day more than to dread each day. Help us to rejoice in each day you gift us with. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Psalm 37 may also add some extra perspective to your day if you need it?

Deo Volente -- Whatever God Wants!

I Had to Be

When Jesus was twelve-years-old His parents lost track of Him on the return trip home to Nazareth after worshiping in Jerusalem. Days later they finally located Him. He was still at the Temple. His reply to them is full of tender instruction and true inspiration:

“Why were you searching for me?” He asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
-- Luke 2:49 (NIV)

Lord, when my loved ones lose track of me, may I always be found in a place of worship. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Holiness Unto the LORD!

Monday, March 18, 2013

"Guidance" -- A Poem to Pray

A young mother, Jen, shared with me a poem written by her great-grandmother and passed down to her. I shared it as the benediction for our Sunday worship services yesterday. It was obvious to see that the "poem to pray" deeply touched everyone present. Pray it with me now:


Help us Lord in this depressing time.
To live and be wholly Thine.
To lead us by Thy guiding hand,
Through all the unrest of this land.
May we trust Thee as our friend, When us to Thy will doth bend.

Fill us with Thy love so great,
That leaves no room for strife or hat,
That we will serve Thee with our hearts,
And never from Thy ways depart.
Give us wisdom that we know,
How to deal with friend or foe.

Then let us serve thee in Thy way,
Se we can face Thee on that day.
Help us not Thy work to shun,
But hear Thee say, "Well done," 
And, we, through they matchless love,
Will then receive a crown above.
-- Mrs. W.L. Zembower

Deo Volente -- Whatever God Wants!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Redeemed! (Give Me Jesus!)

Through the blood of His Son, we are set free from our sins. God forgives our failures because of His overflowing kindness.
-- Ephesians 1:7 (GWT)

Jesus is "God's plan of redemption for us"!

Click here: Give Me Jesus - Jeremy Camp - YouTube

We are Redeemed. Indeed, we are set free from our sins.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Our Chains Advance the Gospel

Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
-- Philippians 1:12-14 (NIV)

Deo Volente -- Whatever God Wants!

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Wonderful Weary -- Sacred Places Afterglow

This morning our Hearts Aflame Discipleship Journey 2013 group boarded our tour bus and left Jerusalem at 1 a.m. for the airport at Tel Aviv. What a joyous journey we experienced together!

We connected in Amsterdam, Holland and arrived at Dulles Airport in Northern Virginia at 4 p.m. We arrived at our home around 8 p.m.

After visiting Sacred places around the Sea of Galilee, Samaria, Jericho, The Dead Sea, Bethany, Bethlehem and Jerusalem, I am weary. However, it's a wonderful weary.

For the Sacred places, yes for places like The Cross, I am...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Psalm 88 -- The Prison Pit

Today, I stood again in Jerusalem's dungeon-like pit, a cistern prison believed to have held the One called "The Living Water" on the night before He was crucified for the Sin of the whole world. The sacred place is located beneath the High Priest Caiaphas' first century dwelling place south of the Old City and is the location where Jesus was tried by the religious leaders and found guilty of blasphemy.

Psalm 88 is the passage that speaks in a prophetic way to the Passion Week event of our Lord's Life and death. Here's is the passage our group read twice in the prison pit:

2 O Lord, God of my salvation,
I cry out to you by day.
I come to you at night.
2 Now hear my prayer;
listen to my cry.
3 For my life is full of troubles,
and death draws near.
4 I am as good as dead,
like a strong man with no strength left.
5 They have left me among the dead,
and I lie like a corpse in a grave.
I am forgotten,
cut off from your care.
6 You have thrown me into the lowest pit,
into the darkest depths.
7 Your anger weighs me down;
with wave after wave you have engulfed me. Interlude

8 You have driven my friends away
by making me repulsive to them.
I am in a trap with no way of escape.
9 My eyes are blinded by my tears.
Each day I beg for your help, O Lord;
I lift my hands to you for mercy.
10 Are your wonderful deeds of any use to the dead?
Do the dead rise up and praise you? Interlude

11 Can those in the grave declare your unfailing love?
Can they proclaim your faithfulness in the place of destruction?[c]
12 Can the darkness speak of your wonderful deeds?
Can anyone in the land of forgetfulness talk about your righteousness?
13 O Lord, I cry out to you.
I will keep on pleading day by day.
14 O Lord, why do you reject me?
Why do you turn your face from me?

15 I have been sick and close to death since my youth.
I stand helpless and desperate before your terrors.
16 Your fierce anger has overwhelmed me.
Your terrors have paralyzed me.
17 They swirl around me like floodwaters all day long.
They have engulfed me completely.
18 You have taken away my companions and loved ones.
Darkness is my closest friend.
Thank you Jesus, for what You endured to save my soul.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Journey to the Well in Samaria

Today, I was blessed on our Hearts Aflame Discipleship Journey, as we took the Road to Samaria and visited the site of Jacob's Well. After 10 years of journeying to the Holy Land and leading others here as well, we finally made our first visit to the John 4 location. What a sacred stop it proved to be.

Not sure what John 4 records? Here it is:

John 4
New Living Translation (NLT)
Jesus and the Samaritan Woman
1Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard that he was baptizing and making more disciples than John 2 (though Jesus himself didn’t baptize them—his disciples did). 3 So he left Judea and returned to Galilee. 4 He had to go through Samaria on the way. 5 Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. 7 Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” 8 He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. 9 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” 10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” 11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? 12 And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?” 13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” 15 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.” 16 “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her. 17 “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— 18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!” 19 “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. 20 So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?” 21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” 25 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus told her, “I Am the Messiah!” 27 Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” 28 The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” 30 So the people came streaming from the village to see him. 31 Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus, “Rabbi, eat something.” 32 But Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.” 33 “Did someone bring him food while we were gone?” the disciples asked each other. 34 Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. 35 You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. 36 The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! 37 You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. 38 I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.”
Many Samaritans Believe
39 Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” 40 When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, 41 long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. 42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.”

Today, I delightfully drank water from the Well at Samaria. As I swallowed I realized that the One Who called Himself "The Giver of Living Water" also found refreshment from this water source some 2,000 years ago. No doubt. All faith.

I am humbled and ...
... Grateful

Sunday, March 10, 2013

All Nations and All Generations

Today, Sunday, I was blessed to preach for a worship service in Nazareth, Israel. In attendance, there were about 250 total -- Christian Arabs, Christians from Germany and France, a Messianic Jew, and yes, Christian Americans as well. It was a preview of Heaven for my soul.

The passage of Scripture that I focused on most throughout the message was from Joel's prophecy. Of course this verse was also used by The Apostle Peter when he preached at Pentecost (Acts 2:21) and is written down as well by The Apostle Paul again in Romans 10:13.

But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved...
-- Joel 2:32a (NLT)

Yes, here's Good News:
Jesus died to save people from all nations and from all generations.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Nazareth Then and Now

Today I stood for the tenth time in the town where this Scripture happened. Yes, Nazareth and Luke 4:14-30 (NLT):

14 Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power. Reports about Him spread quickly through the whole region. 15 He taught regularly in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. 16 When He came to the village of Nazareth, His boyhood home, He went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. 17 The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to Him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for He has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free,
19 and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”

20 He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at Him intently. 21 Then He began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”

22 Everyone spoke well of Him and was amazed by the gracious words that came from His lips. “How can this be?” they asked. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”

23 Then He said, “You will undoubtedly quote me this proverb: ‘Physician, heal yourself’—meaning, ‘Do miracles here in your hometown like those you did in Capernaum.’ 24 But I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his own hometown.

25 “Certainly there were many needy widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the heavens were closed for three and a half years, and a severe famine devastated the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them. He was sent instead to a foreigner—a widow of Zarephath in the land of Sidon. 27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, but the only one healed was Naaman, a Syrian.”

28 When they heard this, the people in the synagogue were furious. 29 Jumping up, they mobbed Him and forced Him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built. They intended to push Him over the cliff, 30 but He passed right through the crowd and went on His way.

I am glad that though Nazareth rejected Jesus when He read from the scroll of Isaiah in the Jewish synagogue there some 2,000 years ago, that still today, unlike the cursed cities that now lay in ruins --Korazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum -- that Nazareth is still alive and signs of accepting their homeboy as Savior are plentiful.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Know. Love. Praise. Value. Hate.

Grant me, O Lord, to know what I ought to know, to love what I ought to love, to praise what delights You most, to value what is precious in Your sight, to hate what is offensive to You. Amen.
-- Thomas à Kempis

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Light Will Shine On Your Ways

Yesterday, because of the 17 inches of snow that blanketed our community, my wife and I had to cancel our appointment with our dear friend in the Lord and our tax accountant, Bill. Though we could not meet we shared e-mails with one another.

Brother Bill sent me this passage of Scripture as a blessing. I pray it will bless you as well.

Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty and will lift up your face to God. You will pray to Him, and He will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows. What you decide on will be done, and light will shine on your ways. When people are brought low and you say, ‘Lift them up!’then He will save the downcast.
-- Job 22:26-29 (NIV)

Let it be so, Dear God.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Snow. Snow. Snow. Trust. Trust. Trust.

It's a cold and snowy day in our neck of the woods. As I write these words, we already have 14 inches of very heavy snow on the ground and the white stuff is still falling from above.

Earlier this morning, (while I was shoveling my truck out of a snow bank to move it before the neighbor's tree breaks and falls on it) I gave worship to the Lord for His mighty works. Looking around me at all the snow, snow, snow I couldn't help but shout from the deep places in my soul, "God, You are Totally Awesome!"

Practically, I have had to trust God with this particular snow storm as well. How's that? Well, it could threaten some essential plans in my life. Big snow storms have a way at times of divinely interrupting our lives. So, it is surely an opportunity to trust God and to remember that His plans are the plans that really matter most.

So, I'm doing my best to trust, trust, trust my God. Yes, I'm simply inhaling and exhaling and believing that my God's mysterious ways and even His mysterious weather patterns are all working together for my good.

Yes, it's a real Romans 8:28 kind-of-a-thing: And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. (NLT) 

Deo Volente -- Whatever God Wants!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Much Prayer, Much of the Holy Spirit

In the history of the Church two great truths stand out: Where there is much prayer there will be much of The Holy Spirit; where there is much of The Holy Spirit, there will be ever-increasing prayer.
-- Andrew Murray

Holiness Unto the LORD!

Monday, March 4, 2013

God's Love For Us Is Everlasting

God's love for us is everlasting. That means that God's love for us existed before we were born and will exist after we have died. It is an eternal love in which we are embraced. Living a spiritual life calls us to claim that eternal love for ourselves so that we can live our temporal loves - for parents, brothers, sisters, teachers, friends, spouses, and all people who become part of our lives - as reflections or refractions of God's eternal love.
-- Henri Nouwen

God is Love. We are...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Teach Me to Love -- A New Song

To accent a message I was preaching from 1 John 3:16-17, our local church's worship pastor, Joseph, wrote a new song. It is a refreshing prayer chorus. Here are the words. I think you will agree that the new song makes for a wonderfully, transparent response to the sacred passage of Scripture:

Lord, teach me to love, for You have shown me mercy.
Lord, I want to know, the depths of Your heart, completely.
Lord, I want to see, through Your loving eyes,
And see only what you see.
Lord, teach me to love, show me Your mind.
Lord, teach me to love, Oh, oh, Lord, teach me to love, oh, oh.
Teach me to love.
This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed His life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.
-- 1 John 3:16-17 (The Message)
Lord forbid, that in this world that so desperately needs to see Your Love that I would make Your Love disappear. Live Your Life through me, then Your Abiding Love will dominate me from within and I will surely be Your witness, Lord, to the end of my life. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Jesus is -- In Fact and By Faith -- My Life

I invite you to pray with me:
Dearest Jesus:
I know You are closer to me than my own breathing is,
because you are  -- in fact and by faith -- my Breath, my Life.
All I need is for You to be the air that my eternal soul breathes,
And to love me, and to love others through me.
My God,  I need You.You give me faith.. I am so very...

Friday, March 1, 2013

Famous But False

If we, as the human race, do the right thing 51% of the time we will be okay.
-- Tom Hanks, Famous American Actor

-- Kerry Willis, Obscure Christian Pastor

Lord, give us a hunger and thirst for Truth!
In the Name of Jesus. Amen.