view:  full / summary

Understand Like A Child

Posted on November 22, 2010 at 9:03 PM Comments comments (61)

"O Lord, our Lord, Your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens.You have taught children and infants to tell of Your strength and to give You praise...." - Psalm 8:1,2

One of the commentaries I read notes David's striking contrast here between verses 1 & 2. In verse 1 he speaks of the glory and majesty of Yahweh, seemly overwhelmed by his observations. Then he immediately follows with reference to little children telling these things and giving Him praise. What? Isn't the glory and wonder of God something that only an adult, with all the knowledge and experience gained over years of living able to appropriately grasp?

In Matthew 21:14-16 Jesus is healing folks in the temple. The priest and religious teachers must have been quite indignant that Jesus was healing people there. After all who did he think he was? Then the children began dancing around Jesus and shouting,"Hosanna to the Son of David!" This really put off these religious types. "Do you hear what these children are saying? They're calling you God!" Scolding Jesus for leading them astray. But Jesus quoted Psalm 8: 2, basically saying, "you all just don't get, it do you? These children know."

My wife Sarah went to a conference a couple of weeks ago and she has found a new revelation of grace. She has a joy that warms my heart as she tells me what Father has opened up for her. We've been listening to the recordings she bought and both of us commented on a portion where the speaker talked about when we first come to Jesus, many times we just receive the salvation and grace He gives us. Then we "go to church". We start to become burdened by all the, "now that you're a Christian, this is how you're supposed to act and this is what you're supposed to do." We get bogged down under the weight of all the rules and regulations, and the guilt and shame that inevitably ensues when we can't measure up. Isn't this like us in our spiritual walk? We come at first like the little children that sat in amazement and wonder at Jesus' feet, thankful the Creator of the universe cares about us. Then we become "educated", and sadly that joy of our spiritual youth goes away.

I love to listen to my 5 year old step-son Liam pray. We kneel beside his bed many nights and I'm always rewarded when he accepts my invitation to pray. I once told him I thought he prayed better than I do, and he enjoys repeating those words to mom. His prayers are so simple and honest and straight from the heart. I come away knowing that's how I should pray.

Oh that we could have that faith of a child everyday. They know and understand in the simplest of terms.

Run,Run, Run Away

Posted on November 17, 2010 at 10:16 AM Comments comments (3)

"Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts."   - 2 Timothy 2:22

I have a TV next to my desk in my basement where I do alot of my work. Sometimes I turn on some sporting event or news program and I'll casually watch and listen as I work. Last evening as I was doing the video for this week's services, I happened to turn over to one of the late night talk programs. Everything was fine until the host brought out a young actress who was dressed in a very short white dress with material that was either see through or at least, gave the illusion of such. She bounced out and sat down, crossing her legs and  exposing everything right up to her keister. After a bit of suggestive banter, she reached over and touched the host's leg, afterwhich he proceeded to virtually start pawing her, all the while with his wedding ring in full view. Immediately a war went off in my mind. Should I turn the channel or shut it off, or could I just go on watching? I watched for a few more minutes and then decided it was best to just go ahead and turn it off. Was this wrong? Did I sin? I don't believe so, because I was careful as to where my thoughts went, but as I was watching I felt a prompting, which I believe was the Holy Spirit, that this was not somethiing I needed to be investing anymore time in.

This gets back to my previous post and Proverbs 4:23. We have to guard our eyes and our thoughts, for they determine the course of our life. I heard the same pastor I also referred to in my last post, Brady Boyd, tell the story of an old girlfriend who sent him a friend request on Facebook. He determined it wouldn't be wrong or sinful to accept that request, but neither would it be wise.

Our world is full of temptations and all kinds of things to put on our "hard drives". That's why Paul told Timothy to run or flee anything that would drag down his direct communication with Father. He also gave him a list of things to pursue and told him the kind of folks to hang out with.

Yes, life is full of choices, and the ones we make today determine our tomorrows.

Open The Eyes of My Heart

Posted on November 15, 2010 at 12:34 PM Comments comments (1)

"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you..." - Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)

This Sunday we're going to do one of the modern Christian standards, "Open The Eyes of My Heart" by Paul Baloche. Being the creative musical type I am, frankly I'm a little sick of this song.  But as I'm fond of reminding myself, "it's not all about me", and it's message is timeless.

I love the NLT, but for some reason it doesn't use the beautiful imagery the NIV and several other translations do..."open the eyes of my heart". I'm only going to scratch the surface of what could be said here, but let me touch on an epiphany I had awhile back that has really been helpful to me.

Proverbs 4:23 states, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."

I heard Pastor Brady Boyd of New Life Church in Colorado Springs give a whole sermon series based off this passage, and it convinced me this is one of the key verses in Scripture. To really get this, I think we have to at least attempt to grasp what the Bible means when it refers to the heart. The NIV Study Bible says about the heart: "In Biblical language the center of the human spirit, from which spring emotions, thoughts, motivations, courage and action -- the wellspring of life." Matt 12:34,35 states, "For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart." I have always told my kids (because anything told in computer language makes more sense to them), "Be careful what you put in your hard-drive". In other words,whatever we see or hear is in there for good. And the Bible says out of that comes everything about us....essentially it produces our character. Want to produce the character of Christ? Be careful what goes in your "hard-drive"!

Obviously this touches on all kinds of areas and warnings of the tongue and what a weapon it can be, but the point here is what fruit do we want to produce? Juicy, plump, delicious fruit, or rotten, smelly stuff? When scripture mentions the heart we need to take special note, because Father is taking special note of ours.

"Father, help me to guide the eyes and ears of my heart, so that out of it can spring goodness, mercy, grace, and all the good fruits of the spirit. Give me the courage to turn away and tune out that which does not edify and glorify You, so that I can live a life pleasing to Your taste."

White Like Wool

Posted on November 11, 2010 at 11:09 AM Comments comments (4)

"...They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white - Revelation 7:14 (NLT)

I've always been struck by the imagery of something being washed in blood being made white. In my little mind that doesn't make sense. Yet this is exactly what happens when we come to Jesus. We accept His blood as payment for our sin, and we come out spotless. White symbolizes perfection and holiness, which is the way Father sees us when He puts on His blood colored glasses, given to Him by His Son.

Isaiah 1:18 says, “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool." I find it interesting that Isaiah used the phrase, "white like wool", because of course wool comes from sheep. Sheep and sheppards are used throughout the Bible because of the complete dependance of sheep on their sheppard. This is what Father desires from us. Sheep are not the smartest of God's creation, yet I'm convinced one of their primary roles on this earth are as examples to us "intelligent" beings of how we are to be with our heavenly Father. Did you know that if a sheep rolls over on it's back it can't get back up and will most likely die if the sheppard doesn't come along to roll it back over? So this is the role Father hopes we will accept - becoming white like wool by our bathing in the blood of the Lamb, and completely dependent on Him. Can you say, "Baaaaa"?


Posted on November 10, 2010 at 9:56 AM Comments comments (1)

John 7:53 - 8:11 (Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” vs 10,11)

Most every Bible you'll read this passage from makes note of the fact that this story is not inclued in most of the original manuscripts. I, for one, am very glad it's there.

One of the things I struggled with the most after I left my "former" life behind, was the thoughts of what a rat I was. Even though I realized I was forgiven, and even though I had my revelation of grace, it still felt as though because of my past, God surely couldn't use me. I had been too bad. Shame and guilt weighed heavy. Man, was the enemy happy about this! He had me right where he wanted me.

This passage in John tells the story of a woman caught in adultery, whom the teachers of the law had brought to Jesus to catch Him in some silly detail. As He always did, He made them look foolish, but then he addressed the woman in vs 8:11. He didn't condone or ignore her sin, but neither did He condemn her. He simply said, "Go and sin no more". Obviously that's a tall order, and only with His constant and daily help can I even hope to accomplish such a feat, but listen...He's saying, "I don't judge you guilty. Your past is just that...your past. It's far as the east is from the west, just like the rest of your sin. Live free!" And then, He bends down and shows me how He wrote not on the ground, but on a cross, and not in the dirt, but with His blood, "Not guilty. Forgiven and forgotten." Then He looks back at me and says, "Now, let's get to work!"