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Showing posts from August, 2018

No two pots alike

In the field of medicine, we often use the phrase, "See one. Do one. Teach one." It describes the process of not only being told "how" to do something, but demonstrating you are going to do it with consistency each time. The other night, I made mom a pot of soup as she had been saying she fancied homemade soup. I had lots of ingredients for the vegetable dense soup, complete with 97% fat free ground beef with which I created a multitude of tiny meatballs to add the mix. She loved it. After it was all gone, she asked if I'd make another pot, but if you know how I make soups, you will quickly know that no two pots turn out exactly the same! I add a little of this, that, and the next thing until I reach the taste I am looking for with whatever ingredients are available at the time. Needless to say, she ate it and enjoyed it very much, but as she said, "It wasn't quite the same." The consistency was not there between the two pots of soup because there…

A well-placed heel

The moment we realize we are in the thick of the fight, we can begin to waver a little bit in our faith, can't we? Being on the outside looking in isn't all that intimidating, but being right there in the middle of the fight - well that is a different matter all together! God rarely calls us into spectator faith - he wants us involved! That means we will get our hands dirty on occasion, and that we won't always be able to be observers. There will be times we must step up, be the one to take on the enemy, and then to push on through until we see the enemy turn tail and run. At other times, we will be called to fight to the death - not ours - the enemy we face off with will be the one to meet their end. There is no middle-ground in this Christianity thing - either we are in it or not!

When they had them all there in front of Joshua, he called up the army and told the field commanders who had been with him, "Come here. Put your feet on the necks of these kings." The…

Desert or High Ground?

In today's mad rush to find fame and fortune, we often miss out on the things in life that really give us the most satisfaction. I was talking with a friend one time about how one of her close friends was asked why she never had children. The answer was, "We just got so busy that we forgot to have them." Career, interests, making a living - each presented a distraction that kept the couple from realizing the passage of time. As time passed, it became just too late in life for her to safely consider carrying a child. Passage of time had barely been noticed until she realized the impact that passage actually had on her physical body. I wonder what it is we might miss down the road because we didn't take time today to recognize it, appreciate it, or use it as it was intended for us to use?

God—you're my God! I can't get enough of you! I've worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts. So here I am in the place of worship, e…

Hey, I've got something for you!

Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands. (Psalm 119:66)

Here we find the very personal invitation to "learn of God". Jesus was calling his disciples in the early part of his earthly ministry - a calling they'd never really understand until after he was taken from this earth. John was curious about where it was that Jesus stayed - where did he lay his head at night, how did he make a living, who was this guy really. He asked Jesus where he lived and Jesus' response was to "come and see". This is perhaps the most rewarding invitation anyone can receive - come and see. It implies the ability to come into a fuller revelation of all that we are curious about. To come is an action on our part, but to truly see as we need to see - well, that is all on him!

In the spiritual sense, there is a great deal that causes us to be curious, if even just a little bit - figuring out how the whole Trinity thing works, understanding the mystery of jus…

Got rest?

Have you ever heard someone calling out, not really sure the call is intended for you, then kind out of some sense of niggling in your mind, you turn to see someone beckoning you? My BFF and I were headed into work the other day, only to hear someone calling out, "Good morning, Dynamic Duo!" At first, we didn't turn, because we didn't really understand what was being said - then as it came again a couple more times, I turned to see it was our Chief Nursing Officer calling out to the two of us. Had it not been for that niggling, I wouldn't have turned. We may have missed the encounter that day! There are times we almost miss the most important encounters of our day - just because we aren't paying attention to the 'calling voice' somewhere in the distance!

"Come!" say the Spirit and the Bride. Whoever hears, echo, "Come!" Is anyone thirsty? Come!
All who will, come and drink, Drink freely of the Water of Life! (Revelation 22:17)

An …

All things...

At times, we want to understand better what is really going on in our lives - because without 'knowing' a little bit more, we might just give up on the whole kit and caboodle. What a joy it is to come to the place where we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is at work in our lives - doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. We "know" - we have come to recognize, understand completely, become so familiar with God and his ways that we don't question his plans or purposes. This comes to most of us through some form of experience - there is no substitute for seeing God's work in our lives - no substitute for the manifestation of his purpose - no substitution for just 'experiencing' God's protection as we 'go through' whatever it is we are going through right now.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to …

Avoiding the Alleyway of Folly

There are tons of things that attempt to get my attention each and every day. The influences we have all around us on a daily basis attempt to tell us how to live our lives, promising us all kinds of enjoyment, fulfillment, and financial peace of mind. These influences vary from the voices of those deemed 'trusted' by others in society, to those we have deemed 'trusted' by us individually. While all of these sources of 'counsel' may be 'valid', not all of them will be as good as that counsel we receive at the hand of God. Listening to God is the only true means of finding the answers to things that are troubling us at the moment. Turning to some of the things or 'unreliable' ways we find 'counsel' in is much like us allowing shooting craps - we might beat the odds, then again we might not!

I will listen to what God the LORD says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—but let them not turn to folly.  (Psalm 85:8)

Sometimes …

The final frontier

Do you remember the saying, "Space, the final frontier", from the Star Trek opening voice over? The 'final frontier' can be defined as a lot of things, but it is most important that we define righteousness as our final 'frontier', and not sin! Our final destination is to be Christ - the frontier we discover is quite a change from the frontier we had been exploring prior to Christ! We arrive in style at our final destination in Christ – decked out in an adult faith wardrobe. In direct relationship with God, we are “more than washed up” for a fresh start, that thing we call righteousness. We are completely transformed - the absolute outcome of being made righteous. There is an exchange of character – although we may not immediately see the evidence of it in our daily lives, it has already been accomplished. Through our daily pursuit of his presence being cultivated in our lives, we come to recognize the change is already accomplished - it just may not be totall…

Antidote, please!

The fears we face in life - those things that we internalize and focus on that paralyze us and keep us from growing as we should in Christ - these are the things Christ wants us to stop internalizing. In other words, we need to learn to "let it go" a little better and then stop taking it back once we do! There are several differences between love and fear.  We know perfect love casts out all fear - remember that perfect love describes God's character exactly - where he resides, there is absolutely no reason for fear.  When we allow Christ to come into our lives, God's perfect love becomes the guiding influence - fear doesn't have to control us any longer.
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we're free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ's. There is no room in love for …

Frozen in place

Have you ever watched a javelina - a hog well-adapted for the Sonoran Desert region? Catch them wandering into your yard for a quick feast on your flora or fauna and you will be surprised by how quickly they just 'freeze' in place. In the desert, their brown color makes them blend in as though they were a rock just standing there. In the greenery of your grassy yard, that just looks dumb! They freeze because they are hoping to avoid their predators - they want to survive! Fear can be a pretty disabling thing in the life of animals, but in the life of a human being, it can cripple. Whenever fear is allowed to be the controlling influence, we become dead in the water. Fear is defined as a distressing emotion - fueled by impending danger, evil or pain - whether the threat is real or imagined. There are times that our fears are ill-founded - more "made up" than real - but we treat them as real, just at the javelina might do when being caught in the yard by someone who is…

Never to be seen again

Battles come our way - not those fought on enemy soil with automatic weapons, tanks, and grenades, complete with every 'military tactic' operational - but those things that give us "fits" internally (emotionally, spiritually, and sometimes even physically).  We struggle with the outcome because we try to remain in control of the situation instead of turning it over to God.  The battle becomes a burden we "slug" through rather than having the unlimited resources of heaven at our disposal. It is time to stopping being 'slugs' when it comes to these battles - they need a quicker end than we are capable of in our own efforts!

Moses spoke to the people: "Don't be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today. Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you're never going to see them again.  God will fight the battle for you. And you? You keep your mouths shut!" (Exodus 14:13-14)
Moses was given a direct message f…

Get fixed!

David spends a good deal of time in the Psalms addressing his enemies, those he considers to be his close friends, and even himself.  He is proclaiming his position in God - impregnable, immovable, solid.  When one finds that they are mobile - they are capable of being moved - changeable in mood, appearance, or purpose. When one is immobile - there is a fixed position in mind - incapable of being moved or not moving at all. The 'position' we find ourselves in at this moment, and even the next, will determine how well we are either moving according to plan, or immovable by the plans of those intent on changing God's plans for our lives!
God, the one and only— I'll wait as long as he says. Everything I need comes from him, so why not? He's solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, an impregnable castle: I'm set for life. (Psalm 62:1-2 MSG)
Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortre…

He did what?

In our Christian walk, there are moments when we wonder what is happening - to the best of our knowledge, we are living in obedience, making right decisions, doing exactly what God has asked us to do - then out of the blue, testing and trial seems to come our way. What is up with that - where did we go wrong? There are going to be time when, even in our 'best obedience', we are going to see testing come! The disciples were heading to the opposite shore one day in a boat there were pretty sure would take them safely to their destination - something the Lord had asked them to do - and in a moment of time, their circumstances change. In their obedience, their testing moment comes.

As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night. Meanwhile, the boat was fa…

Hot or cold?

Living in Arizona, even the temperature of our skin gets warm! No matter how warm it is outside, my mom is usually wearing a sweater inside (it is just one of those things that happens at about age 100). I will reach out to take her hand to help her up or to navigate to her next destination, only to hear, "My...your hands are so warm!" Touch is a tactile sense - it is something 'felt' through the experience of what comes into contact with one's body. God's touch may not be 'physical' in that his hands makes contact with ours, but we can somehow 'sense' the touch of God in our lives just about as well as we can experience the physical touch of a loved one reaching out to take our hand. What God does 'in' us through his touch is almost as palpable as what he does all around us.

Unless a person submits to this original creation—the 'wind-hovering-over-the-water' creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—…

Dig in

There are times when we slip back into our old way of operating in life even after revelation has come - when God has showed us what could even be an exact opposite way of operating, but where we choose to do it our own way instead. This is usually because we do not apply ourselves to what has been revealed to us. We "void" the revelation by not trusting in it, not being obedient to it, or simply just not fully receiving it in the first place. A revealed truth is great, but it is really not valuable until we use the truth which has been revealed. For example, I can receive the revelation that clipping coupons can save you thousands of dollars each year at the grocery store, but until I begin clipping and redeeming these coupons, the truth isn't really something I allow to impact my life. The truth about coupon clipping is still very real - the influence it has on my life is just not there yet. Truth has to be used to be of value to us.

God is always on the alert, constant…

Be a life-flow

We church-goers hear the phrase, "Be a doer of the Word." Do we really understand what this statement means? Putting the Word of God into action in our lives is really more demanding than we often imagine - sometimes it is one of the most daunting tasks we can undertake. Learning the Word of God is one thing, actually doing what it says is quite another. Most of us do a very adequate job at 'learning' the Word of God, but I'd be the first to admit - the 'doing' of it is sometimes a little lacking!

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses…

Power to really do better

When a new power comes into play, the game changes a little bit, doesn't it? The new power exerts some influence that is 'new' to the circumstances. In baseball, they change up the pitcher in hopes the 'new power' will deliver a no hitter run of pitches. In technology, the introduction of panoramic WiFi added a more advanced web-surfing power to the game. Well, there is a new power in operation in our lives. This new power gives us a whole group of new principles by which to pattern our lives. In fact, it gives us a new potency for life - efficient, forceful, influential progress AGAINST sin in our lives. The rules we have been trying to live by could never do this for us. Our human condition requires a radical change. This type of radical change could only be accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit within us - the 'force' to begin anew.

A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, fre…

Steady the course and full-speed ahead

The heart and mind are intimately connected, which doesn't really account for us doing dumb stuff, because we should be thinking about what we respond to with our full heart if we recognize this connection exists.  Whatever we think on long enough will impact the course of our heart – affecting our emotion deeply and influencing our choices.  God knew this in calling us – and in that call, he planned for our ultimate “drift” in course - knowing full well that we are people who struggle with remaining steadfast.  He provided for a way of escape – a reordering or redirecting of our course. There are a whole lot of 'if' statements in the Bible - 'if' is conditional - meet one condition and the next will be met. "Think on these things" is a condition - 'if' we do, then our emotions are less easily swayed onto the wrong path.
No matter how far away you end up, GOD, your God, will get you out of there and bring you back…GOD, your God will cut away the th…