A bigger hole

Thomas Fuller reminds us: "One that would have the fruit must climb the tree." I would say the one that would have the fruit must first have a good root! Without proper rooting, the tree may grow for a while, but the fruit will be lacking. The tree will not withstand the winds that actually challenge its footing. And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7) Fuller also reminds us it is possible to miss the mark simply by aiming too high or too low. Where is your aim today? At what (or may I ask at whom) are you aiming? If you are to have deep roots, you must aid them in growth.  I have planted trees in my hard Arizona soil. Before I could sink those trees deep into the harder soil, they had to take root in rich, easily tended soil. They had

Kept in flight

So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet. (James 4:7-10) Does this sound close to what we are seeing today in our world: Wars, quarrels, wanting our own way, lusting for what we don't have, but probably also don't need? If you said "yes", you are probably observing some of the same things I am. The problem begins with the "war within" each of us - wanting things we really don't need or things which will eventually be our undoing. Life deals us all kinds of options - learning how to sort through those options is imperative to living well.  Getting so close to the things this world has to offer can actually lead to u

Will it really matter in the long run?

Are you easy to get along with? The "characters" within the groups we interact with each day make it a little harder for us to score a perfect ten in this "getting along" category at times. According to what James tells us, a holy life is characterized by getting along with others. Uh oh - now I have gone to meddling! If we can 'get along' consistently, it must be because we are embracing this life of God's wisdom, and not living by the whim or fancy of our mood or someone else's attitude!  Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor. (James 3:17-18) "Getting along" with

Open to change

Begin to be now what you will be hereafter.  (William James) As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation . (Galatians 6:14-15) What will you be when you grow up? Do you remember being asked that question so many times as a kid? I have been asked that question several times as an adult, so I guess I haven't 'grown up' sufficiently for some! I have a different way to ask this question today: What will you be when Christ is fully done with you? Each and every day is another opportunity for Christ to work within our lives - transforming us into this 'new creation' he has in mind for each of us. As he moves across our lives, we are transformed, renewed, and almost 're-engineered'. W

Sing a Psalm

Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. (Psalm 95:1-2) What is a psalm? We know there is a book of those things in the middle of our Bibles, but what exactly is the purpose of a psalm? In Old Testament times, they used poems and songs in worship, known as psalms. They were often recited or sung while a stringed instrument (similar to a harp) was played. I don't play a musical instrument, but I am capable of raising my voice in worship to the Lord. Does all my worship sound like a 'poem' or 'psalm'? Not always, but even words of thanks are words of worship! We are instructed to 'shout joyfully' to the Rock of our salvation. Ever just feel like you needed to express something to God, but didn't know how? Maybe you just needed to let loose with a good old, "Wahoo", or the like! What did David show us in the Book of Psalms? He share

Day AND Night?

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. (Psalm 1:1-2) Arthur Helps reminds us to, "Keep your feet on the ground, but let your heart soar as high as it will. Refuse to be average or to surrender to the chill of your spiritual environment." How 'chilly' is your spiritual environment right now? Have you surrendered to that chill, my friend? Where there is no delight in the Word of God, a chill is sure to come. How on earth do we cultivate this 'meditating day and night' thing in our lives? If we want a constantly 'hot' relationship with Jesus, we will do well to understand this instruction. Too many times we think of meditating upon something as sitting legs crossed, eyes closed, and environment totally still around us. In truth, the Hebrew word for meditate is quite different from what we might imagine.

God gave us his Word

I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. (John 17:14-17) God gave us his Word - not to just thrill us, but to keep us safe when all manner of evil is surrounding us on every side. We can trust that evil will abound on this earth - that is an assurance we are given in the scriptures. We can trust even more in the commitment of God to protect us from all that evil, regardless of how much it abounds.  As we are taught the Word of God, truth invades every core fiber of our being. That truth 'solidifies' our strength to withstand any evil attack the enemy hurls our way. Jesus never asked his Father to take us out of the world, but to give us the tools to live in the world. To that en