February 26, 2010

Think on These Things

Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

This is one of my favorite verses. It's such a wise admonition: Think about good things, not bad things.

Do you know how many people's lives (mine included) would be more joyful and spirit-filled if they followed this one directive?

Instead of focusing your thoughts on the latest gossip or what you "really" want to say to the person who hurt you, or what could go wrong in your life, keep your mind on positive things. See, God is a fan of a positive outlook. He may not tell us to imagine whatever we want and it will come to us, but we certainly would do well to keep our thoughts on good things. Instead of thinking about how she hurt you, think about how beautifully she sings. Instead of worrying about what will happen if you aren't able to pay that bill on time, think about the plans you have to organize your money so that you will not have to worry about late bills again. Instead of thinking "If my boss does this one more time I'll quit," think about everything that you love about your job (and even your boss!)

If we keep a positive outlook by shepherding our thoughts back always to good things, we will see our lives change. For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.

What kind of person do you want to be today?

February 25, 2010

Study the Word

You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (John 5:39-40)

This is such an interesting scripture verse. I would hazard the guess that most people, if they feel they should become "a better Christian" or "See what this Christianity thing is all about" would pick up a Bible to study it. Not that they shouldn't! I've been going through my daily Bible studies because it is imperative to know the living Word of God.

But what this verse does is remind us all that the true purpose of studying the Bible isn't just to "know" it. If you can quote every last word of scripture, but you don't have a personal relationship with Christ, what good is the Bible going to do you?

So this is my brief thought today. Study the Bible, for it is the Word of God. But study it with the purpose of getting to know God, the author and perfector of our faith, our creator, our loving father, our savior, lover and redeemer. That's what you should be taking away from the Bible.

February 24, 2010


Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:15b-16)

This morning the word "transparancy" was on my mind. Of course, there are no occurrances of "transparancy" or "transparant" in the Bible--not in the NIV anyway. So I looked for a synonym: "Clear." On that I was much more successful with 70 results. So here we are, in First Peter.

What really speaks to me in this verse is "keeping a clear conscience." It might be easy to get tripped up on the first part. So for right now, let's replace the whole talking with Jesus thing with "in all that you do, keep a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed or their slander."

That kinda puts a new spin on it, right? I was thinking about this yesterday because, well, I have a problem getting to work on time. The whole concept of showing up five or ten minutes early so I can take off my coat, say hello and turn on my computer in order to start working at 9am  is really quite foreign to me. Always has been. I'm more the "yay, I'm in the building at 9am, that counts, right?" type of person. Of course, ask me how late I work and you'll know that I make up those few minutes every day because I almost never leave right at six.

But unfortunately I am not currently at a place that sees that as totally ok. Without getting into a whole diatribe about this let me just use it as an example: I do not show an adequate representation of Christ to my boss when I show up late because her value system puts high marks on being on time if not early. Knowing that, I cannot in good conscience breeze in 7 minutes late every day and still feel that I'm performing completely up to her standards. But, should I be on time every day, finish my projects on time, all that stuff that a "good employee" does, then she will not have cause to complain about my work.

Get that?

I wasn't really planning on using such a detailed example. The real theory here is that if we do our jobs, if we do parenting, if we do friendship the best we can, so we may have a clear conscience in it, then people who would complain about us would not have a leg to stand on. Be transparant in your goings-on, and no one will be able to accuse you of secrecy.

Let's all try to be transparant today. Of course, that may mean dealing with a few things. Like getting to work on time. Or stopping the gossip, or refraining from surfing the net when you're avoiding work, or speaking to the person who hurt you in order to clear up any misunderstandings.

When we get our life in order, or even if we can be clear that we're trying to get our lives in order, no one can tear us down by their words, for they would be false, and God does not uphold falsehoods. Always remember: the truth will out. So we may as well be as open about ourselves now as we can be. Transparancy kinda takes the carpet out from under the enemy, because he will realize he doesn't have a leg to stand on.

February 23, 2010

Go Ahead and Boast

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. (2 Corinthins 11:30)

You really have to read this whole chapter to understand why Paul talks about boasting. He essentially calls himself a fool, with the understanding that people generally will tolerate what a fool says, because he doesn't know any better. But they still condescend to allow him to speak. So Paul decides to boast as if he were a fool, so that he could lift up God's glory. This is in sharp contrast to the "false teachers" who have followed Paul and tried to get for themselves glory by being "better" apostles than him.

So Paul says that he will boast of things that show his weakness, in order to put the focus on God, who is Paul's strength.

We really don't do that enough, do we? We so often try to build ourselves up and can get totally caught up in "false teachings" just to make ourselves look good. Or even if it's not false teaching, it's a false understanding of our gifts. God did not give us abilities so that we could garner fame and glory, but so that we could glorify Him.

So today let's try something new... let's boast only of God. Let's boast about how He has done amazing things in our lives--despite us. Try it, and let me know how it works out. :)

February 22, 2010

Resist and Draw Near

Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. (James 4:7b-8a)

It's almost funny how easy it sounds, isn't it? Resist the devil and draw near to God. Oh, ok.

But the problem is that the devil isn't just sitting there waiting for us to walk away from him. He's actively trying to mess with our heads and our hearts. Plus, God isn't exactly swooping in to resist the devil for us. We must draw near to Him first. Do you see the part where we have to actually act? There are two action words here: Resist, and Come. We are in control of how we respond to both God and the devil. Even choosing to do nothing is making an action choice, because either you're merely delaying making a choice, or you're actually making the choice by not resisting the devil.

So let's be people of action words today. Resist, and Draw Near. And always remember whom you are resisting, and to Whom you are drawing near. :)

February 19, 2010

Serve One Another

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. (John 13:14)

I'm sure most of us are aware of the story of how Jesus washed the disciples' feet, right? They lived in a land where everyone wore sandals and you got dust all up in your toes whenever you were outside. So when you go to a person's house, their slave would wash your feet.

So of course when Jesus humbled himself to wash his disciples' feet, they were shocked, especially when they had just been debating which one of them was the greatest.

As a note, isn't it funny that Jesus had already done the big huge humbling of leaving the Godhead and becoming a mere human, and yet this little foot-washing thing just blew people's minds.

But the reason I only put that one specific verse up there is because I don't  always remember reading it in the story. And I think we need to see this more often, because Jesus is very specificially telling us to serve each other. Yes, there are many many places where he discusses this (possibly because we're a bit thick?), consider this one more. Except for how insanely clear it is. This isn't a parable. It's a tiny bit of a similie, which means that we should apply the concept of serving to other things, but it also is specific to the disciples to literally wash each other's feet. There were times when they were places where no one liked them, where they would actually be called to shake the dust of a city off their feet. These were times that, if they had another person there with them, they would need to serve each other by washing each other's feet because no one else would.

And so we are called to serve one another, in what might seem the lowest forms of servitude, like washing one another's feet. But if we do it with a pure heart God will give us joy and peace and blessings. And besides, Jesus told us to do it.

February 18, 2010

Written in the Dust

O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the LORD, the spring of living water. (Jeremiah 17:13)

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7)

You know, I never really cared much what Jesus wrote in the ground that day when he saved the woman who had committed adultery from being stoned. I know that men and women have thought about it, debated about it, and probably written about it ad nauseum.

And I'm sure I'm not the only person to come upon Jeremiah 17:13, but this, this I've never heard referenced before. Do you suppose it's connected? Christ came to fulfill the prophesies of the Old Testament, which he did. Could he have also written their names in the dust?

Of course I also just looked at the New Living Translation of Jeremiah and it said "will be buried in the dust" so perhaps I'm totally wrong. But I rather like the idea that Jesus was writing their names in the dust, to fulfill the promise to those who were familiar with the scriptures.

February 17, 2010


Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

I had a nice chuckle yesterday at work when I wrote myself a note that I needed to buy bread, milk and eggs on the way home. Look at me, I thought, I'm a grown-up! (Now, I'm 30--I think I attained adult status a while ago). But I've never only wanted those three staples before. It's usually like milk, Doritos and Pepsi.

This morning when I thought about what type of verse to look up, my post-it came to mind, and I thought about what it actually means to be "grown-up." And I think that the biggest part of being grown-up (and not just "old") is having self-control. There are a lot of other things involved in growing up, and perhaps this applies most to me, but when I think about all the things I'm doing right--and all the things I'm doing poorly--I can usually weave self-control (or the lack of it) into the mix.

For example, this getting up early every morning and writing a blog post thing. That takes self-control to not just reset the alarm clock and go back to bed for another 90 minutes. Paying my bills on time: Self-Control to not spend the money I have until after I take care of my obligations.

And if you think about it, self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. Check it out:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

I think self-control gets a bad rap. You know, it's just tacked on at the end. No one wants the gift of self-control, right? They all want joy and peace. I mean come on, who doesn't want joy and peace right about now?

But today I'm praying that God will help me to develop self-control as I go through my day. Because that's a fruit of the Spirit too. And you know what they say about things in lists, right: Last, but not least.

Lord, may I have self-control today, and for the rest of my life. Amen.

February 16, 2010


Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (2 Corinthians 4:16-17)

Some days I feel like I have a negative balance on my energy. You know how it is, when your muscles ache, your eyes hurt, you're exhausted, and there's about 5 more days before you could possibly get more than 5 hours of consecutive sleep?

Well, today's verse isn't exactly saying that it's ok for us to waste away too soon. He can restore us to health and strength at any age. But when I read this what it says to me is yes, I'm getting older. And yes, some things are going to be harder to do or keep up with. I may not be able to pull all-nighters without feeling some very adverse effects, for example.

What I read, then, in this verse is that from the moment we are born our bodies begin the march towards death. But our mind, heart, spirit... those are things that are renewable, those are the parts of us that remain strong and true. We will eventually lose our physical health, but our spiritual health is what we must keep as our number one priority, for it is that health that will accompany us to Heaven. We will be given a new body.

Do not let this be an excuse to eat cupcakes for the rest of your life, because stewardship of your body is part of your responsibility in life, but do not lose heart when and if you lose some of the physical abilities you once had. If you are reaching towards the goal with your whole heart, mind, body and soul, then anything which tries to hold you back will be used instead for God's glory.

February 15, 2010

Dream a Little Dream...

'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. (Acts 2:17)

I love this verse, because God is telling His people that he is giving all of them the workings of the Holy Spirit. It's not so much that only the sons and daughters will prophesy, or that dreaming will only happen when you get old. Rather He's just giving examples of the types of gifts, and the various groups of people that will operate in them. In other words: Here are three gifts (prophesy, visions, dreams) and here's a sampling of the people who will do them (in other words, everybody).

Which is good, since I had a dream last night. :)

I don't exactly know the significance (if something stands out to you, let me know!) but it was a very vivid dream, so I figure I'll share it.

I was in a classroom, possibly in some sort of detention because there were two other guys at the table with me whom I didn't know, and one of them was definitely a troublemaker of sorts. There was also a teacher standing at the chalkboard with one of those long pointy stick things. And in the background there was another set of students at a table with a teacher.

So in my dream, the teacher started to point at something on the board and to speak about it, but the "troublemaker" started to hum, loudly. Just one long note, really annoying. Well then I started to hum, attempting to match the note, but the troublemaker kept changing it. At about the same time, the teacher started humming, in that whole "if you think humming is annoying then I'll do it back at you and we'll just see how you like it" mentality. Then the other guy at the table started humming too, and it settled into a beautiful sort of dissonance, sort of like a bagpipe.

So of course what did I do? I started singing Amazing Grace, with this humming in the background. And let me tell you, I sang it beautifully. I had trills where I've never put one before, I hit some high harmonies that were just gorgeous, and the thing is, I could feel myself singing. You know, I felt the pressure in my head and chest when I got to the end of my breath, I could feel my vocal chords moving... I almost wonder if I was singing out loud in real life. Because it felt so very real.

And that's pretty much the dream. I finished the first verse, everyone stopped humming, and then my alarm clock went off.

So I have no idea what the dream means, if anything. Maybe something will come to me--I certainly hope so.

February 12, 2010

Press On

Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth. (Hosea 6:3)

I think I look for Bible verses about perseverance when I am tired. Today I am tired. My fault--I stayed up late. But I look to the plans I have for my class tonight--5 hours of video and taking notes for class--and I am tired.

But there are times of being tired when it is not my "fault," times when the world seems to rise up and take all of my energy, times when I'll set down one problem only to have another one crop up in its place.

And this is where today's verse comes in. My post today isn't long and eloquent because I feel that the verse really says it all: Press on to acknowledge the Lord, even when we are tired/lonely/afraid/tempted... if we but continue to seek Him and proclaim His glory, it is an absolute fact that He will come into our lives with power and grace. Let it be so, Lord. Amen.

February 11, 2010

Take Up Your Cross---Every Day

Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

Every. Day.

Every day I have to die to self, put others before me, forgive, forget, love, work, share, pray, follow, lead...

The list just keeps on going. I was thinking yesterday how difficult it is for me to do all of the exercises that I've been given for physical therapy (for my carpal tunnel and now my back pain). And it's good to have these exercises, I know they help, but seriously every day I'm supposed to do these things? Sometimes 2-3 times a day?

And while you're at it, don't forget that I need to start drinking more water so there's something to focus on.

It's quite discouraging, really. I think my whole mindset has always been "How do I get through the next few super-busy days so on Saturday I can do nothing?" And then I think about people who have children, for whom that isn't an option. How do they manage to get up early every single day? Is there something wrong with me that I lose my mind when I don't get to sleep in at least once every few weeks?

But Jesus told us that in order to follow Him, we have to pick up our cross daily. That's every. single. day.

I just don't know how I can do it.

Of course He also said that we can do nothing without God. So perhaps that's my problem, I've forgotten to rely on God for the every-day things in my life. Maybe He's just waiting to get me through this, only I keep walking right past Him.

Lord please show me today how you can give me the energy and strength I need to get by, and help me to see what I need to work on, and what things can perhaps go by the wayside. Help me to remember always to reach out to you daily, as I shoulder my cross, that I may follow you. Amen.

February 10, 2010

New Moon

Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness—and I will not lie to David-that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun; it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky. (Psalm 89: 35-37)

This morning when I got up the sky was still dark but it was perfectly clear--an amazing feat considering the snow storm we had all day yesterday and into the night. And, hanging in the middle of the sky was a beautiful crescent moon. I wanted to take a picture--the clean white snow, the midnight blue sky, and the bone-white moon.

So naturally when I did my Bible search I looked up "moon," and came across this psalm. I will tell you I didn't really pay attention to anything except "the moon, the faithful witness in the sky." I gave the sentence for context.

But I just love what this verse says about the moon. Because what does the moon witness by its very light? The sun. The moon is just a rock, pitted and dead. But when the sun's light shines onto it, it shines brightly enough to light up the earth. The light is nowhere near as bright as the sun itself, but is beautiful and illuminating all the same.

And so it is with us, isn't it? We are called to reflect the Son's glory and be a light to all peoples. When we use our talents, when we extend a hand of love and mercy, we are reflecting God's grace, and He shines out of our very actions.

When you think of the moon you know that it waxes and wanes, from a beautiful full moon to a tiny sliver. I believe that this also is reflective of our personalities... some days I feel much, much more in tune with God than others. Remember that the moon is still the same size and shape all the time. But what happens is that the Earth gets in the way of the sun, so that only some of the sun's light can shine through. Does this remind you of your own life at all? It sure does remind me of mine. Far too often I let the things of this world stand between myself and Jesus, and I do not reflect His love, his grace, or his mercy to others.

This is why we are called to be in the world, but not of it. To stand gently aside from the things of this world which would obfuscate our line of sight to the Son. Because as long as we are looking to Christ, He will shine through us, even when we are not outwardly attempting anything. Just our presence will show God's hand in our lives, and we will be ouselves a silent witness to His grace and love and beauty.

So let us all be a new moon, let us separate ourselves from the world so that we may shine in full with the light of God. Amen.

February 9, 2010

Be Prepared for the Storm

"Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest--I would flee far away and stay in the desert; (Selah) I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm."  Psalm 55:6-8

I fell asleep during the worship music, as I generally do most mornings. This morning I had a dream, hoever. I don't believe that this is some big prophetic dream because I can connect real-world events to it, but it made me think.

In this dream, a storm was coming. It was going to be some combination of hurricane, tornado, and snow storm. Everyone knew it was going to be bad, but no one was really worried. They all underestimated it. But I knew how bad it could be. I sent out messages urging people to find low-lying shelter. I was at my parents house (I had slept over) and as I was sending out these messages I suddenly realized that I didn't have any plans for myself, and I live on the 4th floor of a building. Just then I heard my parents talking upstairs--my step-dad had just come in from shoveling and had news for me. My mom sent him downstairs, and he said "Ok, do you want the gloves to come off, and I'll just tell you how it is?" And I was just about to answer "yes" when I woke up.

Interesting, right? Like I said earlier, I don't feel that this is some prophetic omen of a disastrous storm coming to destroy Chicago. I'm well aware of the clues that this was mainly my mind just processing things. But I was intrigued by the idea of preparing for a storm.

How do we prepare for hard times? Do we save up money, stock up on bread and milk? Do we have escape routes from our homes? Are we prepared for losing our loved ones, our jobs? Getting sick? Getting hurt?

I'll tell you right now I think my answer to all of those is no. I suppose my desire would be to fly away from the storm, like the psalmist. But that's not really an answer to every situation. Sometimes we do need to flee a situation, don't we, like an unhealthy relationship. But other times we are called to stand firm, to withstand the buffeting winds and rain, and when we can do no more, to keep standing.

Are you prepared to do that? If we take the gloves off and really look into the situation, are you prepared to deal with it?

Lord, help me to be prepared. Whether good or ill, the events of life will happen. Help me to be ready for all those things. Amen.

February 8, 2010

Sit. Stay. Rest.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. (Psalm 23:1-3a)

Ok, so we all know this psalm, right? Well, something that just struck me literally this morning, is that word "makes." It doesn't say "God stands with us while we choose the wise course of making sure we get enough sleep." No, it says "He makes me lie down."


If you take this from a realistic Shepherd/Sheep standpoint, it makes sense, right? Sheep are dumb. They don't even know when or where to rest, apparently. (I rather wonder if they would just eat until they passed out otherwise.)

Good thing we're not like those sheep, right? You know, we're not at all workaholics or anything.


Sometimes I think it's just busy-ness that keeps us going. That and, in my case, the desire to have my own time. I will come home from an evening and most often will go straight to the computer so I can have some "me time." Which would be fine except when it results in massive amounts of under-sleep. Because then when I'm not rested, I'm not good for anything.

But when I listen to God's prompting, I will sometimes come home and actually go straight to bed. Maybe I'll read a book for a while, but I'll actually be asleep before midnight. And that's really an important thing!! God wants us to rest. We were designed to rest. You can generally see when people haven't been getting enough sleep--they look horrible!

But we tend to push and push and push ourselves, and often it is rest that goes by the wayside. So God has to make us lie down, like the dumb sheep that we are.

So I have decided to make rest more of a priority. Not sloth or lazyness, but real rest. Do what needs doing, and do it in a timely manner, so I can go to bed on time, so that I will have the energy I need for the next day. Let it be so, Lord God.

February 5, 2010


The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Hosanna in the highest!" (Matthew 21:9)

As I sat down to the computer I was listening a song called Hosanna, one of the myriad "Hosanna" songs that exist. How surprising, then, it was to find out that the word is only in the Bible 6 times, two of which are in the above verse.

Not that it's a bad thing, I was just surprised. But then if Hosanna is a praise to Jesus, there is only the one time (the triumphal entry) that the Bible really talks about what the people did/said when he showed up. Perhaps there were hosannas all over the place back then.

Hosanna n. a shout of praise or adoration; an acclamation.

I wonder, do we "hosanna" all over the place today?

And think about it this way... we already know that God wins.


I don't hosanna all the time.

Perhaps we need to change that.

I praise you Lord God, I lift up your holy name. I sing Hosanna, I cry out in adoration. You are the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, there is nothing you do not know and nothing that you cannot do. You are Love and you love us despite ourselves. You are the cause of our existance and the avenue for our salvation. Holy, holy are you God. Hosanna to you Lord God. Amen.

February 4, 2010

There is No One Like You

But my dove, my perfect one, is unique, the only daughter of her mother, the favorite of the one who bore her. (Song of Solomon 6:9)

I was just now listening to a song called There is No One Like You. The woman was singing to God, praising Him and saying that there is truly no one like him, on the earth or the sky. "Teach me your ways, oh God, that I might walk in your truth..." For God is the one we should look to for an example. There is no one like Him (and yet our endeavor is to become more Christlike every day. We will never be perfect on earth, but we should do our best).

But the focus of this isn't on having to set aside ourselves and taking on the mantle of Christ. For just a moment, read that scripture up top again. The Bible is God's love song to his people, and it is more evident in Song of Solomon if you imagine God as the bridegroom and His people as the bride.

What is He saying about us then? That we are all of us unique. We were all created differently from each other. Why? Because there is no one like God, so should there be no one like you or me. We are made in His image, after all.

God delights in us, the way that Solomon delighted in his bride. When he looked at her, he saw no one else. Because she was unique, and she was his beloved.

We are unique, and we are God's beloved.

There is no one like you, and that's just the way God designed it to be.

February 3, 2010

Verse of the Day

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. (Psalm 59:16)

So usually every morning when I do this blog, I go to biblegateway.com and do a search for a particular word or phrase. The website has a verse of the day function, but I rarely even look at it, particularly because it seems like all the cliche, evangelistic verses are put there. Which makes sense but doesn't always speak to what I'm looking for.

But today I didn't really know what to look for, and I looked at the verse of the day and thought "you know, I don't sing of God's strength enough, and I certainly don't walk around my apartment every morning singing of God's love." Ironically this is part of the reason I started the whole blog in the first place--to spend time worshipping God. I think I have not quite figured that part out yet and have focused on the Bible study part.

So I'm going to try something fairly radical--I will just praise God for a few minutes:

God you are good. Your mercies endure forever. No matter how often we turn from you, you are always waiting for us to turn back. You help me to see the path before me and you give me comfort when the path is hidden. You have prepared a place in heaven for me that is mine, and you just want me to live out your will for the rest of my years, so I may expand your kingdom here on earth first. You know the cries of my heart and even when I cannot put them into words you answer my prayers. You provide for me and you protect me. You send angels to guard my steps and protect my house. You speak words of wisdom into my heart for myself and for others. You give me inspiration and you gave me the gift of creativity. All that I have done of note comes from you. You are the reason that I breathe, that I exist, and you chose me specifically for your kingdom. You sent your only son to die for the sins I haven't yet committed. You gave us free will, knowing the pain you would endure. You are bigger, better and more beautiful than I can even imagine. You ARE.

Thank you God, for being You. Amen.

February 2, 2010

Show Me Your Faith

But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. (James 2:18)
Did you know that the most proliferate philanthropists on earth can still go to Hell?
ooooooohhh, that's a charged sentence.
But it's true. It's not what we do, it's what we believe that matters when it comes to heaven. Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, believe that He is your salvation and welcome him into your heart, and voila... you've got the golden ticket.
Then what?
Then you sit on the couch and wait for Jesus.
Ok, how about singing in the choir at church every week and organizing bake sales?
Well, that's closer.
There's a reason that God doesn't take us away the moment we accept Him.
What about the other 6 billion people on the planet? Who will speak of God's truth to them if we are not here?
So, while the Golden Ticket is purchased through our belief, we must put that belief to work for the rest of our lives. If you believe that Jesus came to heal the sick and save the lost, then you must continue His works. He gave us the authority to cast out demons. He said that we would do greater things than he did. But it means that we have to step up and actually do things. Because if we continue to live for ourselves alone, what type of faith do we really have in the One who died on a cross and was separated from his heavenly Father, all for things he himself did not do?
And, oh yes, it might hurt.
But can you imagine, when you reach the footstool of God's throne, how insanely cool it will be for him to look at all the things you did that survived the fire of judgement and say "Well done, my good and faithful servant."
I certainly hope that I can build myself a bigger pile in the years I have left.
Lord, help me to work out my faith, not for riches or glory but because it is what you did while you were on earth. Amen.

February 1, 2010

God Wants You to be Healed

Woe to me because of my injury! My wound is incurable! Yet I said to myself, "This is my sickness, and I must endure it." (Jeremiah 10:19)

He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. (Matthew 10:1)

I have had a headache and sinus drainage for about a day, so of course this morning I did a search on the word "sickness." I'm also taking a class on healing, so this makes for good homework as well. :)

I found it really interesting, what verses came up. On the one hand God says he will heal his people from sickness if they follow him (likewise they will get sick if they don't). And then there are first-hand accounts of healing, but also a few verses which could support the theory that God still sends us sickness today, to recompense for something we have done. And, as Jeremiah states above, we must endure it.

I think a large number of people could take that verse to think that yes, God has meted out punishment for some wrong-doing, and so we must accept it. But I don't think that's what he's saying. I believe that "endure" means "withstand," not "accept willingly." Besides, if you take it in context, Jeremiah is speaking a prophesy, which allows for metaphor. We must not always take literally the words in the Bible.

Continue on to Matthew, and I believe you will see God's preferred position on sickness--healing it. Jesus gave his disciples the authority to heal every kind of sickness. EVERY kind. Cancer, heart conditions, blindness, headaches, cramps, jaundice... and he did not say "you can cure anything except where God has punished someone with sickness." No, Jesus said go and do.

So if you are sick, inquire of the Lord. Perhaps a sickness is a direct result of something we have done (lung cancer from smoking, a headcold from not sleeping enough and allowing the immune system to weaken), but God does not say that we must suck it up and live (or die) with it.

Likewise pray for healing from the people you know. It can happen, no matter how impossible the situation may seem. Remember that God wants us to be pure and whole. Be healed, in the name of Jesus.