Thursday, December 25, 2008

Everyone falls / anyone can fly

I haven't posted much.
It could be a sign of a busy life,
it could be a sign that I've got things on my plate

The reality is that it is a sign
that things have been taking precendence when they shouldn't.

This is Christmas.
For me it has always been a time of a kind of excessive joy.
I used to think it was about being around family.
Then I thought it was about hoping for a particular present.
Then I believed it was about Christ.
And later I believed it was about a kind of minimalism of Christ.
I have finally migrated between
    an arbitrary and intense desire
        to see God more clearly this time of year than any other
    and a kind of sadness that
        people would worship the idea of Christ
            more than Christ Himself.

Regardless, there has always been
                associated with it for me.

To quote a song that runs through my head this time of year ...

"And so this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over ...
A new year just begun."

Christ is about many things to me.
But my favorite, the one that always gives me hope
      - is redemption.

Jesus gives us a chance to start over without destroying the past.
He gives us a chance to become something amazing.

Let today be the beginning of a new year for you.
One filled with a choice of hope.
One filled with a desire for life.
One filled with a love of truth.

You've fallen.  So have I.

Don't focus on the failure.
Focus on His grace.

And claim it.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Should we seek an apologetic apology?

The more I think about God, the more I think justifying, arguing the case for, and defending God are silly. We're talking about an all-powerful God.

The problem is that we live in a world where we are called to speak to others.
This has the result that without the ability to justify God explicitly we are often only able to model God's presence.

Perhaps this is the best testimony which one could hope - to speak as Jesus, act as Jesus, think on Jesus, and breathe out Jesus.

Certainly He sneaks into more conversations that way than otherwise He might.

And really, we can codify morality all we'd like, punish laws we currently find abominable, persecute those whose hearts are quantitatively impure, and command respect and repentance of those who have crossed whatever line we've placed in the sand.

But we can't really see the hearts of people - only God can.
We can't really expect people to repent - only God can put true repentance in someone.
And we define that which is universally abominable by what God has put within our hearts.

Live as Jesus lived, for His father. And let God guide the rest.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How to turn a faithless nation in 21 days

There is a movement going around, one passed along in loud, hushed tones along internet lines. The crux of the movement is to emulate Daniel's righteous behavior in praying and purification.

Daniel's prayer is one of mourning.
Daniel's purification comes by chastening himself before the Lord Christ Jesus.

Daniel's walk may be discovered in Daniel 10 - his faithfulness and mourning are heard and his prayers are answered. And the movement's basic thrust is the same:

Can we, as a nation, join in a prayer of mourning?
Can we chasten ourselves to His glory?

Think of it as Jonah wailing in the streets. We are being called to pray for the our country. Pray that God will turn our nation around.

Will you do the same?

Turn back your heart to God today! Remember your first love! Purify yourself before His holy will and give the silent moments that comprise the space between events to God today.

Listen in the stillness. He is speaking. Will you choose to listen?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Alive by the faith of another

I was meditating on Galatians 2:20 again (I am crucified with Christ; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave his life for me.)

I am alive now by the faith of Jesus Christ.

And so are you.

Ruminate on that a little bit - it is because of the faith and faithful of Jesus Christ that you can read these words, breathe this air, and think these thoughts.

It is because Jesus knew you would need a helping hand that he chose to suffer. On your behalf.

It is so easy to take it for granted. But it appears to lose its luster. People change. Jesus doesn't seem as bright any more.

Jesus didn't change - we did. We give up our first love for distraction, addiction, or election - but we have the choice right now!

Repent! Remember Jesus died for you!

Thursday, September 04, 2008


One of the least-popular aspects of scripture has got to be the suffering. Most of us live in a society where the human body is worshiped, human strengths are lauded, human weaknesses are hidden, and honor, glory, and truth in their own right are often replaced with respect for objects, worship of celebrities, and relative morality.
Therefore, it must be horrifying, confusing, and troubling to read anywhere in scripture where it suggests we should intentionally suffer. The scripture I point at today says
""I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
Now, to be sure, this is a metaphor - the concept stands. Will you choose to suffer for Christ? Will you choose to voluntarily do the hard thing, to live out that life that Christ calls you to? Will you 'live by the faith of the Son of God'?

Say Yes! Choose to suffer for Christ - his burden is always easier to bear! Choose to do the hard thing - to live the live Christ calls you to! Choose to live by the faith of the Son of God!

Challenge for the day:
Reply to this post!
What does following Christ appear as in your life?
What is a challenge following Christ has wrought in your life?
Are you finding it hard to ever do it - share a struggle!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Everything old is new ... err.... still old

We know from Ecclesiastes (v 1:9) that "there is no new thing under the sun". And yet the concept of new-ness is mentioned in several places.
The verse I would like to mention today is found in 2 Corinthians 5:17
- Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.

Can you imagine - God, through Samuel, has said there is no new thing under the sun - and yet, we can be a new creature in Christ!

If you have ever labored to rebel against your own sinful nature - to choose ONLY those tasks and thoughts that are aligned with God's will for your life - you will inevitably find yourself struggling. If you do it long enough and you will feel old ... worn out ... aged. I imagine, on some level, Samuel felt the same thing. He had done every good and grand thing he could think of and so basically stated "yup - not only have I been there and done that, but nobody is doing anything truly new." The gravity of this loss - this fundamental self-awareness - of our fundamental inability to make new things or think truly new thoughts can be crushing.

And yet, we can be new creatures in Christ! We can choose, this day, this hour, this moment - to do something truly new!

This is the one thing Satan can never deliver. No matter how tempting that apple, no matter how alluring the drugs, and no matter how opportune that decision seems to be - it all leads down exactly the same road. There are different facets to the road, but it is a very, very old road.

Christ has a better road. It is so new, in fact, that most of us have a fundamental inability to even perceive it!

But it is there. Christ has built it. And he wants to walk it with you.

Will you join Him?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Love Songs

The world is addicted to love. If you have any doubt about it, look around you! On the internet, most of the things being offered (be they products, services, or a mélange of both) are attempts at expressions of love. Some are Machiavellian in their attempt, some are destructive - but the truly successful are either actual expressions of love or direct perversions of love. Truly there is something marvelous and enduring about love. The world itself is also full of expressions of love. From the color of the leaves to the manner in which sun dances across the sky, poets never run out of new ways to expression the apparently mundane, not because of the artistic capacity of the artist, but because of the enduring nature of love.

That being said, most of the things being offered are the short-route. Names are nicked, paths are shortened, and our culture pounds her drum of synchronicity, suggesting that those who do not adopt the popular expression of whatever is being offered are somehow in the wrong. Thus, the attempt at expressions of love being offered are also hindered - for they offer the alluring side of love most of us find easiest to appreciate - being on the receiving end of love.

Far more unpopular, by any stretch, are those that offer and observe techniques for providing love. And yet, everyone values being given love. Marriages that have the strength of hardened steel, friendships that stand the test of time, and relationships that do not falter due to circumstance or time are all common examples of this second kind of love - something most of us ache for but never find.

For a believer, the best way of directly and unabashedly offering that love is to share their faith - to talk about Christ Jesus. For a world seeking - nay starving and screaming - for that love, Christ offers that love, a means of acquiring that love, and a life-style that promises (and delivers!) that love in recurring, palatable, detectable, measurable, and profound instances of love. Of course, that offering needs to be done in God's time - one of the best ways of convincing someone you don't know Christ is to offer Christ when YOU think it needs to be offered. Remember: Some were sent, some just went.

Thus, your best bet is to live an abundant and full life giving perpetual credit to Christ and living in accordance with His scriptures.

Call to action:
Live today as if God were your co-pilot, sharing your decision making process with Him, giving ear to Him when you make actual decisions, and waiting patiently for His voice when you don't quite have peace about things.

Oh yes - and if a little voice suggests you need an umbrella or the like, act on it and don't argue!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Stories tend to highlight certain abstract aspects of the main character. Those abstracts may be heroism, bravery, cunning, and intelligence. They might also be sophistication, irreverence, stupidity, or propensity for destruction. Regardless of the particular attribute, the teller of the tale uses one tool above all others to paint the abstraction: consistency.

Character tends to be defined over time, and using stories as the framework, character is represented and depicted using the aforementioned traits, but it is defined through the repetition of their presence. Similarly, a practical working definition of integrity seems to be present in those individuals evidencing intentional consistency of ethical behavior. The key word here is consistency.

Consistency is something that one does not hear a great deal about - yet most of us appreciate and trust consistency. The most obvious aspect of this are things we take for granted - examples include gravity, the rising and falling of the sun, and the ability to breathe. And it is this consistency by which we understand and define Christ.

Christ's greatest messages all center on consistency.

· Love thy neighbor - no conditional there.

· Love the Lord thy God with all thine heart - none there.

It is in the intentional expression of love that consistency has her greatest work. Intentionally loving someone is precious -- but to intentionally and consistently love someone is priceless.

Thus, my challenge today for you is to consistently perform another task God has tasked each of with:

Hold every thought into captivity.

o Identify those thoughts you notice thinking.

Hold them up to Christ.

Do they honor His work in your life?

o Identify those actions you appeared to take without thinking

Identify any thoughts associated with those actions.

Do they honor His work in your life?

o Identify those habits you engage in without thought or consideration

Identify any thoughts associated with those actions.

Do they honor His work in your life?

Monday, June 16, 2008

it was a good day

drifting out of time
yesterday was years ago
leaves fall, marching on

God chose me just now
yesterday and tomorrow
to be whom He wills

it had been one day
years hence that I lent an ear
and my heart: God sang!

never been the same
has been my life, my todays
never been the same

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


One of the most effective ways to win a war is to distract the combatants. There are several ways to do this. The first is to interrupt the supply lines, the second is to interrupt the chain of command, and the third is to interrupt the flow of information between the chain of command and the combatants. As a believer, I am a combatant - and we are called, my believers and I, to fight - not against things of the flesh, but against powers and principalities.

But we are easily misled, distracted, and absorbed into other frays. Let us skim the surface of this by evaluating the three means of distraction above.

The first way we might be distracted is through the loss of some vital supplies. Scripture tells us that "man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord" (Deuteronomy 8: 3) God has made it abundantly clear that we cannot lose vital supplies.

The second way we might be distracted is through the interruption of the chain of command. Scripture clearly indicates that we have but to look for God with all of our heart and we will find Him. (Jeremiah 29:13) God has made it profoundly clear the chain of command will never be interrupted.

The third way is the key - for through it kingdoms have fallen. The third way is a distortion of information between the chain of command and the combatant. And it is here that believers are the most susceptible.

I call you today, believers, to recognize that this is your one weak-point - this is the one area that pride flowers in, that envy is fostered, and hatred is reinforced; without this one weak-point we would never be without the clarity of thought that comes with mountain-top experiences!

I claim today back from the locusts - and I challenge you to do the same!
Some aspect of your walk has been incomplete - for we are all fallen and fall short of the glory of Christ. Let today bet the day when you surrender one more room, one more thought, one more event to His glory!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Do days matter?

What if there were two religions, with diametrically opposed faiths, that had days of observation that were a week apart, and the governor of the land that observed these two faiths, in the interest of calming unrest, decided to merge the second to occur on the day of the first - does it matter? On the one hand, regardless of your faith, you're still observing your particular religious observation, regardless of which camp you fall into. You're acting in accordance with at least the observation of the event itself. On the other, usually days for a celebration are important.

Let us assume that you are a new American, and in your original country of CountChokula, and a believer in NewFaithia, you observe "the Scavenging", a time of great joy when, on December 17th you would be allowed to visit any and all farms within a 50 mile radius and take whatever goods you could carry away in your own hands. The day was not arbitrarily chosen - it occurred on the 350th day of the year, a day of particular religious significance to you. In your own country, it was a source of pride for your entire country for a man to carry more than his neighbor. In fact, your very definition of a faithful CountChokulan REQUIRES you to faithfully observe this on December 17th. In America, for the sake of political expedience, they moved it to December 25th and decided to allot particular farms for your use.

As a new American, you have some degree of religious freedom, but the national expression of this religion has deviated massively, observing it on December 25th. As an observer of "the Scavenging", and a member of the NewFaithia movement, you would be horrified if it were moved arbitrarily for the sake of political expedience. If you were truly faithful to your faith, you might teach it to your offspring ... but eventually it is likely the initial fervor for the particular day of the year would die out after four or five generations.

What if you are a seventh generation American, and a 'tried-and-true' NewFaithian, and learned to observed your "Scavenging" on December 25th. Then, when you became 21, you learned that the original observers of "the Scavenging" practiced the holiday on December 17th. Would you be true to the original ideals of the faith and, after having done sufficient research to document the veracity, observe the holiday on the original day, out of respect for the actual meaning of the holiday? Would you decide that the spirit of the day was more important than the observation of the actual day, disregarding the original holiday because of your personal convictions? Would you decide that no day in particular needed to be the day of observation, and occasionally observe it on December 25th, sometimes on December 30th, and sometimes not at all, based upon availability and resources?

What say you?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Baptism - I

One of the most destructive things we can be tricked into doing is to say things that have import that we know not of.

In a religious sense, one of those words is baptism. As such, the original usage - in Jewish religious ceremonies, will likely always color the meaning of the word - to include immersion, being set apart, and in fact some of the feasts were associated with the word. Likewise, if you come from a Christian background, you will likely assume it relates to either some degree of immersion (between a personal dunking to an impersonal sprinkling by a member of the clergy) to a physical representation of a spiritual event - the personal acceptance of the Holy Spirit.

If you research the word without a preconceived notion of what the word means - it paints a rather interesting picture.

So the question is - what does the word baptism mean to you?

Monday, March 03, 2008

The face of beauty

I am fascinated by faces. Mostly I'm fascinated in the sheer variety of faces that exist - no two people have exactly the same faces. Each of us have a different combination of hair, eyes, skin, nose, skeleton, limbs, and a plethora of other body parts that only medical students ever really get a working knowledge of names. Or perhaps students of medical terminology. Regardless, the variety of face options is so large that - even if you were to clone someone, they would have a different face as well. They may LOOK exactly the same but their faces would be distinct.

And we are trained (either inductively or deductively) to value the difference between faces. Sometimes this value comes from comparing a particular attribute to a perceived optimum. Likewise this value can come from comparing a particular attribute to an assumed worst character. In fact, without a subjective standard with which to gauge something, no one face, set of hips, smile, or any other attribute is particularly ugly or attractive. As an example:

Please define the following attributes:

Beauty Grace Age Happiness

for the following object

A pickle, floating in a black room, hanging in mid air.

The point is that these attributes are separate from the objects themselves - we carry them with us and assign them based upon our subject standards.

Hopefully you can see these standards we hold are flighty, temporary things.

Now juxtapose these with the love God holds for us - it is unwavering. A constant.

  • · He loves us enough to care about each individual hair on our heads.
  • · He cares whether you take a shower.
  • · He has an opinion about whether you eat that jelly donut.
  • · He may have suggestions about your political stance in the coming election.
  • · He may wish you to take the left or right fork.

Regardless of venue, decision, or environment, you can get guidance from God. And this guidance will never contradict scripture.

The challenge - of course - is to prepare yourself before deciding. Because it is ever so much harder to empty a boat that is filling with water than patching the holes before the boat starts filling.

I challenge you:

1. Find something that you care about - something for which you have an opinion.


    • lying,
    • what clothes to wear,
    • who to vote for,
    • when (or if) you should fast,
    • who to hang out with,
    • whether you should offer someone help
    • who to marry
2. Then assume God has an opinion about it - and thus has included information on that point in Scripture.

3. Pray (that God will show you what His will is on that topic)

4. Delve into scripture daily (perhaps fifteen minutes, perhaps three hours), researching God's will on that topic.

The Challenge: Spend enough time in scripture until you have peace that God has no opinion - or you learn His opinion. Then act on it.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The imaginary part of God is more real than we are

One of the more fascinating trades I have discovered is that of a scholar - in particular a student of mathematics. And the reason is simple: the more one studies tools available for those fields, the more one has powerful tools to understand and relate to facets of God that other people don't discover.

My favorite example is the concept of multi-dimensionality. With respect to God, this is the idea that there are certain facets of God which exist in a way we don't understand ... perhaps in a different dimension. Engineers learn to deal with certain imaginary properties that have literal and direct effects upon tangible objects - even if those imaginary realities are not directly capable of being discerned. They do so with tools available in mathematics.
(For a fairly good tool to learn or teach multi-dimensionality, try Flatland: the movie)

In short - the study of God is recursive: - the more we learn and understand of God, the more we have tools at our disposal to evaluate and understand the information we have available, the more we realize that God is so profoundly amazing that the more we know, and the more we know the more we don't understand.

Save for the profoundly simple:
God is real.
God isn't mad at you.
Your move.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

What has He done for you lately?

One of the easiest traps one can fall into - especially in America - is to catalog what God hasn't done yet. It is a simple thing - you list one thing, then another, and the focus can thus turn into a kind of perception of God's apparent eternal incompleteness. As if the only thing He can do right in your world is to knock just one more thing of the list of things He owes you.

I find myself there sometimes. And I inevitably turn into a kind of martyr.

The resolution is to change your paradigm.

Choose to begin the list with a least five of the things God has done in your life that has fundamentally changed who you are. You may not even be aware of some of them - if so, ask God to reveal them.

Here are some of mine:
God saved me while I was in boot-camp.
God erased pain and anguish from a huge volume of my memories.
God gave me grace to learn how to begin to be the kind of man my wife needed.

Ask God to reveal to you what He would like you to expect Him to do.
Then, ask God to give you grace to wait for that thing.
And wait upon the Lord.

Monday, February 11, 2008

This is the day that the Lord has made.

One of the things I find most fascinating is that He functions outside of time.

This is implied by the fact He has stated He is the "I AM". You can't very well be an unchanging being if you're buffeted about by time.

And so today I intentionally recognize that God designed this day. And gave it to us.

Imagine the world's most gifted artist crafting a masterpiece with you in mind.
Imagine the world's most gifted artist doing so and offering you it free of charge.
Now, imagine that happening EVERY SINGLE DAY.

How can we be but perpetually amazed at His grace, mercy, and joy.

So I have an assignment for you:

Spend the day in actual amazement.
See every aspect of the day as designed especially for you.
And give thanks for it all.

... leaves you kinda speechless to speak on anything else.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

How sticky is God?

In computer programs, the practice of leaving a hidden bit of fun within something is called an Easter Egg. It is one of the things I most love about scripture - at every level you look at the Holy Bible, God has innumerable Easter Eggs for one to discover. Of late I have been reading about sticky-ness - where something is succinct, catchy, and concrete - and how nearly every memorable advertisement, invention, and concept has all the ingredients necessary to be sticky.

Thus, I am again pleasantly surprised to find that throughout scripture, God's eternal principles are ALL STICKY. Some are a great deal stickier than others, but the fact that God intended His will and His story to not only be shared and re-told, but also that all of scripture is designed to be good for instruction ... that suggests to me that the inconspicuous stickiness of Christ Jesus' scripture is just one more way that God wants to bless us.

Monday, January 28, 2008

On predestination - 1

One of the questions that has been stirring my soul of late is "What is predestination?" It seems a trick question, one of those questions theological philosophers think up to pass the time, engaged in heated debates solely for the purpose of being given the opportunity to speak last. But I am curious.

There are only four verses in scripture which use variations on the theme, paired off next to one another, and the context created therein do not clearly indicate the meaning of the word itself. They are:

Romans 8:29
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Romans 8:30
And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Ephesians 1:5 of Ephesians 1:4-6
{4}For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love
{5}he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will
{6}to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Ephesians 1:11 of Ephesians 1:9-12
{9}And He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which hHe purposed in Christ,
{10}to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
{11}In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,
{12}in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

So we can see from Romans that there is a relationship between being predestined and being conformed to the likeness of Jesus and between being predestined and called, justified, and glorified. Likewise, we see from Ephesians that God's choice in the predestined was motivated love, for the purpose of being adopted as His sons, and lastly that the choice of who is predestined was intentional.

Neither of which clarifies what it means to be predestined. In simple terms, we know that God chose those who are classified as predestined out of love, that those who are predestined were not arbitrarily chosen AND were chosen for a purpose - but we still don't know what it means to be predestined.

An interesting essay on a theoretical resolution may be found here

I get the impression that this is one of those topics that doesn't quite get resolved, simply because without the Holy Spirit to guide, we are left twisting in the wind, guided only by logic, which is a rare source of complete satisfaction.

I feel out of my depth. Thoughts?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Maturity is not a curse

One of the things I have most longed for in life is an opportunity to seek intentional personal maturity. This might fly in the fact of the public consciousness, where maturity is something to be avoided until absolutely necessary ... but I have found that those who are most able to function well and successfully have a level of personal maturity that is easy to respect and admire. Sadly, most maturity that a person adopts is the result of random events - I wanted a set of decisions and mindsets that allow a person to consciously seek after maturity. Oddly enough, I never saw that Scripture had the answer to this ... at least not something as simple as a to-do list.

I believe the bible does offer an opportunity for intentional maturity - a maturity that doesn't detract from our ability to appreciate and experience joy and a maturity that draws us closer to Christ Jesus. It is found in our relationships with ourselves, God, and others. It is found in identifying those things for which we take responsibility. And it is found in studying the Lord's scripture. In fact, the three reflect one another and lack of one will necessarily weaken the other two.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I want to say I daily die to self - the reality is that every day is a struggle and I don't always succeed.

I read great authors, men of faith and conviction, who seem to eat, sleep, and breathe selflessness, and I am recursively and repeatedly not dying to self.

I think the key is to not give up. For each day holds a distinct set of challenges, and there is something to scripture - it feeds and nestles within in ways that nothing else does. There is a scripture reference that currently eludes me - but it points out that it’s very nearly the last thing a person earnestly does that determines their eternal fate. The problem is that most of us are an unwieldy lot and perpetually rebellious ... which tends to result in our ignoring that whole 'last bit' last bit.

Because the only way to guarantee that the last earnest thought you had or action you took was focused on God, is to be single-mindedly focused on God from this moment on.

What about you - are you willing to be caught unawares by the God of the Universe, asking YOU what you believe about Him?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Ruth 1:1

Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn into the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.

This is one of those verses that are easy to gloss over - but if you look, it bespeaks some interesting facts. We have a man living in a specific time (when the judges ruled), during a time of trial (famine), who happened to be of the children of Israel (of Bethlehemjudah), running to Moab for survival. All the exact things a well told story would have if you wanted to hook nearly everyone - it is the same template fast paced novels and movies hold. Also of interest is that he is running to Moab ... a region considered of ill-repute, primarily because of the source of the original Moabite lineage (link, link).

The first famine mentioned in scripture occurs in Genesis 12:10 and Abraham's response is much like the 'certain man of Bethlehemjudah' in Ruth - he leaves a land he is comfortable, going into a land whose culture is dangerous.

Here is your question - What SHOULD you do when there is a famine in the land?

  • Seek shelter?
  • Go where the food is?
  • Assume it’s a judgment on the land that can be remedied by an earnest, nationwide repentance?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Inured and Confused

In speaking with a friend of mine, he smiled sadly and said "I fear our generation is being entertained to death."

It is easy to see what he means - no other generation before ours has had the shear breadth, depth, and variety of distraction available to them, some simultaneous. We have computers, hand-held gizmos with more computing power than was available on the earth only a few decades ago, and they now have a car that allows you to make use of the car's steering wheel and gas and brake pedals in a game whose console appears when the car is parked and with the appropriate switches. We are a society whose resources are so abundant we take them nearly for granite ... as in, so solidly present of endless character that they may well survive for ever.

In addition, we have never had more means of connecting with those around us - through the internet, telephone, and mass-production of means of transportation, nearly anyone can get nearly anywhere or at least in contact with anyone. Truly, the world appears to grow both larger and smaller by the moment.

All this technology, all these options, and all this variety lends itself to a very real confusion - for the more choices we have, the more we expect our own wisdom will rise to the challenge. Almost as if the presence of knowledge imparts wisdom by osmosis, many of us find ourselves feeling both wiser and smaller, thinking we know so little, but feeling as if we have a bit more control.

The question is - how many of our entertainments draw us closer to Christ Jesus? How many movies have you watched, games have you played, books have you read, friends have you spoken with, clothes that you have shopped for, gifts you have given, or tasks you have accomplished drawn you closer to God?

To be sure, each of those things has the potential to draw you closer to both the real things in life that are tangible expressions of God. Truly, God can meet you where you are ... and often does, simply because He is not the one who leaves when we are separated from Him.

We have become inured to the battle - the war - that God has won. He won it 2000 years ago and He is giving each of us a certain moment in time with which to choose Him.

What will your actions show you chose?

  • Write down one specific example in which you have not responded in a Godly to authority - this includes
    • God
    • your parents
    • your grandparents
    • your teachers
    • your boss
    • your spouse
  • Identify the earliest attitude and/or decision that led to that poor response.
  • Ask God to forgive you for not offering that decision to Him.
  • Wait on the Lord to give you peace while NOT holding onto it
  • Once you have peace, determine the best means of seeking forgiveness from the earthly authority you did not respond well to.
  • Approach that authority and express as earnest, specific, and succinctly as you can your desire for their forgiveness.
  • Wait on their response.
  • If they forgive, give thanks to God for His grace.
  • If they do not forgive, give thanks God allowed you to heal your conscience and pray for them.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Be Great

I have a theory. I believe every one of us can be great in the Lord. In addition to having a specific purpose and having some task, or set of tasks, I believe each of us has the potential to be great, to hearken unto that small voice that guides each of us, and to become an amazing and profound spokesperson for Christ Jesus.

I believe the potential for this truth is necessarily present in any cross-section of believers as well - for you will rarely find identical individuals or people with exactly the same strengths or weaknesses together when believers of the same stripe come together.

It is this spiritual melting pot that Christ Jesus makes available, through His guidance and His counsel, to His own purpose - and thus as a source of brotherhood, friendship, and re-stocking of the spiritual well. For in the same way we each need to be reminded of His strength and His love, we grow in sharing those reminders with others.

But having a purpose and achieving that purpose are vastly different things. Many a person would suggest this or that means of determining a meaningful answer to the question "Why are we here?” I know God knows and I believe He wants us to know too.

Ask Him today.


Pray to God to provide you the courage, patience, steadfastness, and resources necessary to accomplish His will today

Pray that God reveal what that will is

Repeat until you rest

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Proverbs 29:27 (link)

An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.

There are certain words we don't observe often, especially words that are currently out of vogue. One such word is abomination. It has many applications, and if we stick with the worldly definition (link) we miss out on the depth and character that one would traditionally assign to such words.

A fairly good definition, as I understand scripture, is found here and is "Anything associated with the worship of other gods and any behavior that perverts the lifestyle God intended human beings to live." So the key here is something or someone that draws you away from the lifestyle God intended you to have.

It is an easy thing to miss.

This is primarily because, in the culture we live in, the labeling of something as an abomination is relative. Worse yet, most of us are not trained to recognize actual abominations.

It is an easy thing to dismiss as well.

Recognizing abominable events, objects, or people is fairly well defined in scripture. A fairly reliable list is encountered in Leviticus 18. They needed listing because the children of Israel, who had been freed by God through Moses, were potentially going to pick up the rituals, habits, and mores of the countries they would be visiting, and required a literal listing of areas where they might have emulated their new neighbors. This was a major problem because the neighbors were strangers and were worshipping other Gods.

We have no such list - our neighbors are people we have known our whole lives, people we work with, and people with whom we have relationships. We believers are adopted children of Israel, and thus should be conscious of the need to recognize and eschew abomination.

Thus the potential for Godly change is clear:

Do not emulate the abominations of your neighbors

Note: today's hyper-challenge requires an assumption I have observed to be true - all sinful actions are predicated upon an earlier decision to sin.


  • Be mindful of your activities and attitudes today, identifying when you are furthest from God
  • Recognize the earliest point in your day it began
  • Identify if a mindset, attitude, or decision you intentionally held or made was asserted at that moment
  • Recognize the potential for it to have been caused by an actual source of abomination in YOUR life
  • Remove it

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

To catch a thief

Exodus 22:1-4 (1, 2, 3, 4)

These passages deal with thieves - how to resolve their theft, how to deal with their crimes, and the like. In particular, it addresses what to do about a fundamental loss of livestock. At the time of this writing, livestock comprised the major source of providence for the majority of the population - they provided a perpetual resource of food, labor, and materials - and so the loss of even a single animal was of major importance.

The passages listed above cataloge God's approach to theft - they assume the thief will eventually be caught (which is not unlikely ... it isn't terribly easy to hide an ox, sheep, or cow, especially if the animal has been labeled), and that resolution will be implemented in like kind. Theft is to be rewarded with, at the very least, double what the animal is worth, more so if the animal is sold or killed. Likewise, if the thief was found after this theft and he was wounded in some way, the thief will be given no aid. And if the thief has been found and does not have enough to repay the theft-debt, the thief would be sold, presumably into slavery.

How far we are removed from this standard! Ours is a far more complex time - for our "livestock" is no longer alive, and can often come so small that it would be mighty hard to recognize a stolen "cow" as one's own. Likewise, our culture does not support slavery - and thus there is no culturally acceptable way to implement the poor-thief state. The closest our culture comes is credit-debt ... which people are willingly and actively seeking! And because of our credit-slavery and unliving livestock, we have become a culture whose treasures are almost abstract in expression.

Thus I ask one thing: when considering a purchase, what is your first concern: its resolution of some earthly desire or an opportunity to present the gospel or an expression of how Christ Jesus has guided you to seek first the kingdom of Heaven?


On a day in which you do the major portion of your purchases, before you begin your store-hopping, start the day off with prayer

Start by acknowledging His glory and in what manner you seek His path and guidance.

Ask Him to reveal in what way your particular purchases might honor God.

Hold up each purchase you plan to make in your mind and ask Him to show you whether each should be purchased.

Put special emphasis on any planned entertainment purchase, asking him to you peace for each purchase appropriate to their furthering His kingdom.

Expect Christ Jesus to answer your petition in His time.

And while shopping, expect Him to guide any and all of your purchases.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

On Being Set Apart

Numbers 5:3 (link)

Both male and female shall ye put out, without the camp shall ye put them; that they defile not their camps, in the midst whereof I dwell.

This verse comes in the midst of the guidance God gives on how to deal with lepers. This is before Jesus, so the capacity to be healed of leprosy is a rare occurrence - in a very real sense, at the time that this passage, having leprosy was a kind of death sentence. Thus, the only resolution for leprosy, and many other problems, was to set apart - to implement separation.

Scripture shares with us a reason for separation ... and most of the reasons are associated with the presence or lack of uncleanness. If God tells us to set someone apart from us, we can be fairly certain that their presence may defile others in some way. Likewise, if God tells us to be set apart, the reason is again associated with being defiled, but from the other end - we are in danger of being defiled.

This is important because believers are called to hold themselves to a particular standard, to be "in the world, not of the world". This can, on the surface, include going to church, attending spiritually-rewarding engagements, and any number of other events.

The key here is this: are you truly set apart? Have you truly committed your actions, your thoughts, and you tongue to Christ Jesus?

Or phrased another way:

How many aspects of your daily life and/or your internal life have you held to Christ Jesus to ask if He is pleased with their character?


  • Identify something in your life you have never actively or consciously considered was under God's jurisdiction
  • Ask Christ Jesus to reveal in what manner you might offer that area in your life consciously to Him.
  • Earnestly promise God to implement that change.
  • Repeat as your walk with Christ dictates.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Are you ambivalently volitional?

Revelation 3:15-16

One of the more interesting verses in scripture declares just how much God wants for us to be about His will ... and to do so passionately! In the verses above, Christ Jesus wrote to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans clearly indicating that their focus was a kind of materialistic apathy.

The key here is the passion - God wants our hearts aligned with him. To not just be faithful to His guidance, but faithfully serving with Joy! This can take a number of different forms, from earnestly representing the only voice of character in the office where you work, making certain you never unintentionally offend others, or being patient and steadfast in the midst of some catastrophe. And this year, in the U.S., we have an opportunity to discern God's will for our lives with respect to our civic duty - voting!

The key to this post is conscious volition - to be actively involved in a decision one is making, and to do so with all the joy that comes from serving God. And thus, I challenge you to do that very thing with respect to our coming presidential election. In addition to regularly praying for our nation's leaders, please pray that He will guide you to selecting that leader that best represents the will of Christ Jesus will.


  • Research what the bible says about selecting a leader, as well as evaluating what is published about how scripture guides one in the same subject.
  • Submit each candidate to the standards defined by the previous step.
  • Hold each candidate up to God and ask Him to guide your heart and mind.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Framed by grace

There is a concept that I will mention - one that will not be new to you. The idea is simple: Certain pieces of information, when known, fundamentally change you.

The existence and nature of Jesus was one such piece of information. The introduction of Jesus into a person's paradigm necessarily changes that person. Jesus is such a large figure, cutting such a deep swathe in what things fundamentally mean that one will inevitably have some form of a relationship with Christ Jesus, even if one does not wish it.

Likewise, the ability to become someone else is a gift from God - imagine if you were constructed in such a way that learning something fundamentally alien to your current paradigm necessarily was never able to be absorbed ... that there was a point where any information sufficiently alien would NEVER be understood ... that you would be unable to even store, let alone glean and harvest that information, in any way. It is a blessing, a form of grace, which we ARE able to learn and adapt to information outside of our functional paradigm. Without this basic ability, we would never have learned to walk, to speak, to listen, to reason, or any number of things. In the same way that learning to read redefines a person's universe, an individual's universe has a way of being defined by those events and concepts that have the potential to reshape that individual.

The key is identifying them.

But in whatever shape you find yourself in - recognition of them should come, for a believer, with a moment of thankfulness - for your creator has blessed you with the ability to grow as new information comes into your awareness - and the desire to seek out these paradigm re-defining concepts. For without them, there would be no true learning. And with them, the only limit to our ability to truly honor God is the grace we claim in His name and the relationship we hold with Him.


Actively open yourself up to the potential for YOUR next paradigm-explosion by praying to God that He reveal one piece of information that will simultaneously draw you close to Him, change the way you understand the world you live in, and give you a profound depth of joy and gratitude that He is real.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Satisfaction Guaranteed

Job 27:14
Scripture speaks a great deal about satisfaction. It speaks on what the righteous are satisfied by (link), describes the character of those who are not satisfied (link), likewise it implies a kind of persecution if one is satisfied with things that are by nature not sufficient by themselves (link, link, and link). There are a large number of scriptures that address satisfaction ... and I believe it to be because God has a whole lot to say about being satisfied.

First and foremost, being satisfied requires the right character. If a person has not the right character they won't be satisfied by things that are designed to satisfy. This is akin to carrying water in a bucket with holes - the water will leak, no matter how well intentioned the person carrying the bucket. In the same way, a person's character must be of a specific nature to appreciate and be satisfied by satisfying things. It is one of the reasons that God ties sufficiency so often to whether a person is righteous - for an aspect of righteousness explicitly includes being satisfied. It is kind of a side effect of being righteous - though not an autonomous one for most of us. Likewise, the lack of a balanced and sufficient character will often skew the ability to discern and appreciate satisfying things.

Second, being satisfied requires the right satisfying things. Certain things have an innate capacity for being satisfactory. Food is satisfying in certain circumstances, as are music, exercise, companionship, and sleeping. If you have an individual who is misbalanced, they might seek an excess of sleep or food or music, to the exclusion of other necessary things - the result will be symptoms indicating a need that is dissatisifed. Similar things happen when a person attempts to fill their basic need for a relationship with God with other things - there will inevitably be symptoms of dissatisfaction. Indeed, if someone of discerning character spends enough time with dissatisfying things, a person's character can often be changed - to their detriment.

Third, being satisfied requires the right attitude. Attitude is separate from character (although the two often come hand in hand) and is certainly separate from the source of satisfaction ... but without the right attitude, even the most discerning person accepting the most satisfying things will ultimately lack. Curiously enough, it is our attitudes we have the most direct control over and yet the one of the three that is least addressed. If you were to poll the next 100 people you meet that seem the most remotely dissatisfied, it is likely that 100 of them would mention dissatisfaction due to some poor character on their part (too hungry, too fat, to ugly) or poor resources available (no hope, no love, no money), when often the thing that would help them reconcile their problem - a relationship with Christ Jesus - is most often an attitude-change away.

I believe that God can guarantee satisfaction - he has consistently and thoroughly laid out the plans about how to detect, acquire, and maintain satisfaction for each of us ... and through diligent study and acquisition of the right attitude and a steady relationship to Him, we can accept and maintain that satisfaction.

I challenge you to be satisfied by Christ Jesus and to seek to satisfy Him.

Hyper-challenge of the day:

Identify the most dissatisfying aspect of you life and discuss it with God. Challenge Him to directly address it and give it to Him completely, trusting that He will either fix it, give you peace about it, or direct you to the tools to resolve either the situation or your dissatisfaction.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Fast Rebirth - tempted into honoring God

One wonders if there is a relationship between the forty days and nights of the biblical flood, followed by a time of renewal, and the forty days of Jesus' fast, followed by a time of temptation.

Certainly the time frames are identical ... and a fast has similar properties to a flood. In its way, a flood might be considered a kind of fast for the surface of the earth. Likewise the time of renewal and redemption for Noah were preceded by an opportunity to hearken to God in a particular way. What was Noah's first response when he walked on dry land for the first time in over a year?

Noah's world was fundamentally changed in the moment he stepped away from the ark onto dry land. All the things of his prior life had died away - friends he had known, all the lands he had walked, all lives he had touched, had been washed away - and he was likely in a state of shock. Noah had a number of potential responses to the death of his prior life. Noah's response was to build an altar and to worship God. To honor God.

In a comparable way, Jesus’ life was fundamentally changed in the moment after his forty day fast. Many of the things of life die away when you fast for that long. Friendships are redefined or lost, lands walked become either far more important or clearly lose their value - and he also was likely in a state of shock. Christ Jesus’ response to the loss of the distractions of life was also to worship God - through honoring him amidst temptation.

How often do we sit amidst turmoil, focusing on the waves, instead of His message?

How often do we choose to see only a loss instead of hearkening to our Lord?

Will YOU take time today to honor God intentionally?

Hyper-challenge of the day:

Pray and consider whether YOU should fast.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Silence opportunities

One of the more interesting aspects of my relationship with Christ Jesus is a recurring experience - I will have a series of communiqués with Him, some very close together, some far apart - and then what appears to be silence.

It is in these silences that my faith has an active chance to express itself. To grow, to develop, to change, to be nurtured, to be tested.

I can certainly claim it as an opportunity to wait patiently. Likewise I can use it as an opportunity to recognize the strengths and weaknesses in my walk with Christ. What I cannot do is assume that my relationship ceases to exist.

In the same way, you are engaged in some manner of Christ Jesus. You may be experiencing some moment of turmoil, embroiled in the most dynamic experience of your life, or between events. In any case, Christ is real, and moments of silence are to be treasured as much as direct communication with Him.

I challenge you to be thankful of Jesus today

... to bring every thought captive

... to choose meekness and charity over pride

... to intention every moment with seeking first His kingdom

... to be as He intended - full of the joy of His love

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Waiting patiently

Psalms 40:1
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. (KJV)

This is one of those verses that is easy to just gloss over. We wait for things all the time, usually with little to no patience. If you want evidence of this, try sitting in rush hour traffic and not hearing anyone honk.

How many of us wait?

How many of us wait intentionally?

How many of us wait patiently?

How many of us wait patiently for the Lord?

The act is, we simple creatures on this amazing planet frame how long things should take based upon our own expectations.

If we can prepare food in a small amount of time, we get paid at regular intervals, and the world around us seems to function like so much clockwork, we assume God works that way.

If we spend hours bringing water from a well, have no real idea if we will sell enough at the market to pay for our food, and the world around us seems too big to understand, it is easy to assume God is too big to understand.

We frame our understanding based upon our expectations.

When was the last time you waited patiently upon the Lord?

I challenge you, dear reader, to pick a prayer you have made more than once to the Lord.

I ask you to do this with it.

  • Say it once more, focusing on the fact that Christ Jesus is real, and that he is actually listening to you.
  • Honor the notion that He heard your prayer.
  • Every time the thought of the prayer returns, merely thank Him.
  • Do not pray again, but thank Him for already honoring your prayer.
  • And wait patiently, for His perfect timing.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Modern Day Hypocrisy - the world's most popular sport

Mark 7:6 (link)

He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. (KJV)


I am a hypocrite. And so are you. You don't want to be a hypocrite ... but your flesh is at war with the spirit. And thus, there are leaks. Moments in your day, your walk, your thoughts, that speak of hypocrisy. You would not claim them as your own, for you would define yourself as the sum of your strengths. But they are real.

Jesus, however, gives us hope. Because He walked in the flesh, He knows the struggles of Paul, who wants to do good and does not. And we are much like Paul, spirit willing but with weak flesh.

Thus, my challenge for you this near year is simple:

Offer up your moments to Christ Jesus - ask Him to knit your heart to His
Be humble
Seek the fruit of the spirit by dying daily
And remember His model for the ideal appeal - He wants to help us ... ASK!!