Welcome To Daily In Christ Devotionals

Psalm 119:10-11 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not
wander from your commandments! I have stored up your
word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

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Monday, May 31, 2010

Tribute Memorial Day 2010

Another sleepless night so I thought I would make a video as a tribute to the men and women who have faithfully served this country and either risked their life or died for our freedom. Feel free to share with your friends... God Bless The USA

I Pray you all remember those who are currently in battle for our freedom on this Memorial Day 2010.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Is Anything Too Hard For God?

Jer 32:17 'Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.

Since God has created all things, is sovereign over all things, and knows all things, the question has to be asked... Is anything too hard for Him?

To make a long devotional quite short... "no," nothing is too difficult for God.

Lord, help me to trust you today in our difficulties and remember that nothing is too difficult for you. We pray for a healing right now in our lives in Jesus name, Amen

The Joy Of Trials And The Testing Of Our Faith

Isn't it a common thing for most of us to avoid trials and difficulties at any cost? I see advertisements on magazines and hear radio programs telling us how we can make everything in our life better and how we can be so very happy in this world if we just buy the right product, take the newest pill, or wear the trendy clothes. Life is about more than pills, products, and clothes, it is about showing the world that we have a faith that stands the test of time and the way to do that is to endure trials of many kinds..

Does this type of "keep my life comfortable at all costs" thinking go against scripture? James tells us in chapter one of his book that we should count it all joy to face trials of various kinds. Sounds to me that trials are something that produces steadfastness and shows us that our faith is legitimate. And in addition to the testing of our faith it produces joy.

Jas 1:2-3 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

So, what shall we do then, seek out trials to test our faith? Well, maybe... As we stretch out our Christian life to the point where we are beginning to put ourselves in situations that challenge our comfort zone I have found personally that God uses my vulnerability to bring Glory to him which produces joy in my life.

Let's look to find joy in our life today as we walk through trials with our heart pointed toward Him and our faith being strengthened by Him.

I am one of those who would rather sink with faith than swim without it. -- Stanley Baldwin

Thursday, May 27, 2010

God's Steadfast Love Never Ends

Psa 106:1 Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!

Praise and thanksgiving be to the Lord. This first verse of psalm 106 expresses the character of God in such a magnificent way. He is good and His steadfast love endures forever.

God is good! There is a lot of talk out there in the world that God sits on his throne of justice and is waiting to bring wrath upon the people of the earth if they don't obey Him. There are many who say that they can't serve a God like that. This verse displays the goodness of God and his everlasting steadfast love quite clear.

Sometimes we pray to God for our children to be healed, our families to be restored, or our need to find work and we don't get the answer we are looking for. God is still good and His steadfast love will last forever.

Ponder on the goodness of God today. Ask Him to reveal it to you. Even when it feels like he might not be present in your current situation or you have reason to doubt whether or not He is answering your prayer, it doesn't change the fact that He is good. Our circumstances often create an image of God that is skewed. In difficulty, suffering, prosperity, and happiness... God is always good and always consistently God. All we need to do is look at the cross where Jesus took our place and we will always see his goodness.

Jesus, your Word tells me that you are good and your love endures forever, but sometimes it is hard to see it in my life. Please help me to see your goodness in every situation. In my hunger, in my poverty, in my adversity, in my success, and in my failure. Lord, I know that my emotions and circumstances change all the time and I am thankful that you and your love is consistent, unchanging, and always good. I praise you today. In you name I pray, Amen

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Till Death Do Us Part - Part Five - LOVE

In my last post regarding marriage, Till Death Do Us Part... Part Four - Forgiveness, I highlighted the first of five key elements to keeping a marriage in tact and fruitful. Forgiveness is the first key to unlocking a healthy and happy marriage. And true forgiveness can only occur when we abide in Jesus and understand how much He has forgiven us. Eph 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Forgive - Love - Trust - Endure Hardship - Submit

Eph 5:22-30 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. (esv)

In this post I want to tackle the fruit of 'love' in marriage. Many people I know who have gone through a divorce or are struggling in their marriage tell me a very similar story, "I just don't love my spouse anymore." Or they go on to say that the love just isn't the same as it used to be, that they are falling out of love. Now love can be a somewhat tricky and complex subject. We use the word love for so many different things. I love my new car, I love pasta, I love my baby girl, and I love my wife. All are a feeling of love and all are quite different from one another.

The meaning of love has become so watered down in marriage that it is almost undefinable. If you were to take five minutes and write a definition of what love meant when it pertained to your spouse what would it look like? It may include similar words such as adore or affection. The thoughts of sexual pleasure may come to mind when you think about what love means in your marriage. Words like passion, desire, and tenderness come to mind as well when one talks about love in marriage. But when it comes to love in the marriage relationship, what does the Bible have to say about it?

I think to understand love in marriage we first need to ask ourselves one question. What is the purpose of marriage? Some may say it is to have kids, others say marriage is for sex and companionship, and still others might think the purpose of marriage is to have a legal commitment so we have equal rights as couples for the benefits of health insurance, retirement, etc... Unfortunately every one of these definitions of marriage miss the mark.

The purpose of marriage can be defined in a couple of ways. One definition can include: marriage is to physically, emotionally, and spiritually unite a man and a woman together into a covenant relationship with each other and God. (See when does one + one = one) Marriage, as shown in Eph 5:22-30 makes it very clear that God brings a man and a woman together for the purpose of saying something about how Christ relates to His church. The wife, out of obedience to God submits to the husband. The husband, out of obedience to God loves and gives up himself for his wife. (Submission is not the topic I am going to cover here, but will at a future time.)

I understand that marriage can be quite difficult and the last thing we feel like doing sometimes is submitting, loving, and giving ourselves up for one another... Trust me, I have had my share of nights on the couch and even spent several weeks on someone else's couch until we could get things to settle down in our marriage. Marriage takes hard work and often times the only way to keep it in tact is to remember the fact that we have a commitment to each other and to God to stay together. I have never heard anyone on their wedding day say, "I can't wait till I fall out of love with my wife so we can get a divorce and live separate lives one day." We get married because we love and cherish one another so deeply that we can't imagine life apart from one another. Often times in our marriage the key to keeping on is to go back in our minds to that time when this person was the most important person in the world to you. To remember the feelings of love and hope that brought you together. When we take the focus off the financial burdens, the hectic schedules, our kids and our job and put it back on the things that made our relationship wonderful at the start, then we can begin to rebuild and repair the distance that time and lack of hard work has created in the marriage.

This may be a totally corny illustration, but love to me is similar to a gas station. We can dispense it for hours on end, but we will eventually run out if we aren't getting replenished by the fuel truck each day. Have you ever pulled up to the gas station when the fuel truck has arrived? All the pumps are shut down for awhile and the lot is coned off so nobody can get their fuel. After just a few minutes the station is up and running again and ready to serve... This is how it should be with our marriage. We need to stop what we are doing and allow the Holy Spirit to fill us up with the Father's love each day so we can go out and fill up our spouse, our children, and those we encounter.

1Pe 4:8-10 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: (esv)

So, how do we earnestly love our spouse each day without grumbling when it feels like giving up would be a lot easier? Peter tells us to keep loving earnestly. This passage relates to how we should love one another as saints, but fits perfectly in how a Christian man and woman should love each other as husband and wife. One of the key phrases in this passage is to "Keep Loving Earnestly." The King James version states it in a little different way, "And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins." To keep loving earnestly, or to have fervent charity, means that we are to show Gods' agape love toward one another with eagerness and tenacity and in doing so the sins that have been done against us will be more easily forgiven. When I think of someone who shows tenacious love toward someone the picture of a rock climber comes to mind. Each hand hold is planned and thoroughly thought out, where one places his feet can be the difference between life and death, safety equipment is in place to keep one from falling, and above all, a rock climber can never give up until he reaches the end of his climb.

That is how it is to be in our marriages. We plan out how we are to grasp onto our spouse so we can live in security with one another. We only place our feet in a direction that keeps us safe. Not taking a different path and breaching the trust of our spouse through unfaithfulness which leads to the death of the marriage. We are accountable to friends and fellow Christians (our safety ropes) in how we treat our spouse, and we are determined that even if we are tired, we can't see the next foothold or handhold, and the top of the climb seems so far away, we will never give up on our marriage. Knowing that our marriage is to display the Glory of God should be a huge incentive to remember that it has been designed for a purpose. Even if it is hard, God has put your spouse into your life to display His glory and if we believe He brought us together for a purpose then we must also believe that Rom 8:28 will come to pass in our marriage as well as the rest of our life.

I certainly can't talk about God's love in our marriages without going to 1Cor 13:4-13. This is a very common passage in the Bible about love and certainly needs to be looked at. As I was meditating over it I really tried to hear God speaking it to me rather than just reading the words on the page. In these verses is the key to how we can love our spouse in our marriage and not get frustrated, overwhelmed, tired, stressed out, and give up. When we realize that loving our spouse is not about us and all about God we are able to take the focus off of our self and direct it back to Him. We are to be a mirror of God's love to our spouse. The only way a mirror can reflect the love of God is when it is pointed toward God. When we point our life and devotion to the Creator of the universe and bathe in His love then we are more capable of displaying it back to our spouse. Some of the key words in chapter 13 are:
  • Patient
  • Kind
  • Humble
  • Rejoices in Truth
  • Bears All Things
  • Hopeful
  • Endures
  • Not Irritable
  • Never Ending
These characteristics of love can't be achieved by our own doing. They can only be accomplished by God himself working through us. So, how do we love our spouse the way Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for her? By looking to Christ. By spending time in the Word getting fueled up so that we are able to then give back to our spouse. By keeping our path straight and not looking at others to fill our emotional or sexual needs but allowing God to fill them through our spouse. By being accountable to friends and fellow believers in and about our relationship with our spouse. And by most of all, understanding for ourselves what love truly means and no matter what, showing it, living it, and being it for the person we chose to spend the rest of our life with.

1Co 13:4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
1Co 13:5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

1Co 13:6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

1Co 13:7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1Co 13:8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

1Co 13:9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,

1Co 13:10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

1Co 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

1Co 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

1Co 13:13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Father God, I pray for my marriage and the marriages of every Christian couple that you have brought together. If we live like the world and leave the relationships you designed like the world does, then what does that say about how we interpret your love? Please help us to be strengthened, patient, and loving in our marriage so we can glorify you in them. In Jesus name, Amen

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Leprosy is to the body what sin is to the soul...

Leprosy is to the body what sin is to the soul...

Mar 1:39-42 And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons. And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, "If you will, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, "I will; be clean." And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. (esv)

Back in the times of Jesus leprosy was one of the most dreaded conditions known to humankind. It is a progressive disease that causes permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs and eyes. Leprosy doesn't cause body parts to fall off, but due to its numbing nature it is possible and quite probable that bodies decayed and lepers lost limbs due to the fact that they couldn't feel the pain of injuries sustained to themselves.

Leprosy is to the human body what sin is to the human soul. Due to the numbing nature of leprosy, lepers find themselves unable to feel the pain in their life which consequently causes many other problems. Eventually the leprosy is so bad that they end up dying from this disease. Sin works in our life in a similar fashion. The more we get involved in the sins of the flesh the more numb we become to the things of God... leading ultimately to our eternal death. But there is a cure. If we look at the story here in the Gospel according to Mark, we not only see the grace of our Savior to an outcast leper, but we see the path to our own eternal salvation.

The life of this leper was a life filled with hopelessness. His body was full of decay, his family and friends shunned him and his entire existence was filled with humiliation and difficulty. As a leper, one must announce to the world, "unclean, unclean, unclean!" Knowing the condition of this mans life, Jesus was willing to heal him. Although it was unlawful to touch a leper, Jesus placed his hand on this man and healed him of his morbid disease.

This man could have been no different than you and me. He may have come from a good home, lived a devout life, and maybe even been highly educated. The story here doesn't tell us much about him, but we do understand much about his condition. He was unclean, he was in need of healing, and he understood that Jesus was the only way he could be healed.

The lepers first step toward being healed was humility. He knelt down before Jesus and pleaded to Him, "If you will, you can make me clean." He understood his condition and knew that Jesus was the cure. Jesus, moved with pity, stretched out his hand and touched the man and said to him, "I will, be clean." The touch of Jesus makes the unclean sinner clean. I am sure there were those in the crowd who were concerned about Jesus touching a leper thinking to themselves, "who is this man to break the law and touch the unclean?" But Jesus didn't come to live under the law, He came to abolish it and blow the minds of those who thought they could be righteous by keeping the laws.

The touch of Jesus is a powerful thing in the life of the sinner. Just as Jesus touched one leper's life, He too can come and touch your life and mine. He can heal our heart from the disease of sin that corrupts our soul and numbs us from experiencing His mighty touch. So I implore you today, if you haven't experienced the touch of Jesus in your life then kneel before Him and ask Him to make you clean. If you are a Christian but are caught up in sin, it is never too big, too sinful, or too late to reconnect with Jesus and ask Him to touch your life again and cleanse you from your sinful ways.

Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Today in America we don't have a leprosy problem, we have sin problem. Even in the Christian community there are many who are so numb to the sin in their life that the things of the world become so attractive it is as if the things of God never even existed. When we are deceived by our heart into thinking that our time can be spent watching hours of television, our money can be wasted on luxuries beyond our means, our pursuits can be for our own human achievements and pride, and our prayers can be for our own personal comfort, it is as if we are walking up to God and spitting in His face.

We express our life in Christ by giving Jesus all of our devotion not just a few moments each day. The Christian walk is not about taking our heathen lives to church one hour a week, offering sinful prayer and devotion, and then living and looking like the man next door who knows not of the Savior. Jesus reached down and touched us in our uncleanliness and saved our souls from the depths of hell. Just as the leper did after the miraculous healing in his life, let us also shout to the world "I am clean, I am clean!"

Jesus, I know that you came to this earth to save your people. I ask for forgiveness for not living my life each moment of the day for you. I know that you have changed my heart, but I need now to give all my devotion and life to you. Please give me the strength today to do just that. I don't want the praise of men, the security of riches, and the triviality of the things of this world. I want you and you alone. If following you means that I suffer then let me suffer. If it means that I shall be humiliated, then humble me. If it means that I will have to sacrifice, then show me your provision. Lord, it is you alone that I want to serve... In your name I pray, Amen!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life

"He, therefore, is the devout man, who lives no longer to his own will, or the way and spirit of the world, but to the sole will of God, who considers God in everything, who serves God in everything, who makes all the parts of his common life parts of piety, by doing everything in the Name of God, and under such rules as are conformable to His glory.

We readily acknowledge, that God alone is to be the rule and measure of our prayers; that in them we are to look wholly unto Him, and act wholly for Him; that we are only to pray in such a manner, for such things, and such ends, as are suitable to His glory." (A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life - William Law, A. M. 1686-1761 *see note below)

One thing I am reminded of every time I read a book or writing from an early church writer is the need to live a life holy and devout and completely for the Lord. This quote from William Law is right at the beginning of his book and sets the tone for how we should be living our life today as a Christian. It isn't about legalism or performance, it is solely about being completely sold out to Jesus in everything we say, do, and think. Living a devout life comes from a heart that has been renewed by the spirit of God and can only be done by the power of God.

Are you desiring to live out the will of God in your life? Do you put forth effort every day and try to do the right thing but it just seems to be an uphill struggle? I encourage you today to walk in the spirit of God. (Gal 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.) When we look to God and spend our time in devotions to Him rather than wallowing like a hog in the ways of this world we can use the power of the Holy Spirit to guide our lives. He is the vine and we are the branches. A true follower of Christ understands that everything we do is done through Him, by Him, and for Him. Our job is to abide in Jesus and the fruit of the spirit will come. (Joh 15:4 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.)

So how do I abide in Jesus? That is a question I have asked myself over the years and every time I found the answer I thought to myself, "surely there is another way, I don't have time to do that..." To abide in Jesus means to stick to Him. To be by His side every moment of the day. To spend my time with Him. Not my extra time, but all my time. He doesn't want the 5 minutes of leftovers at the end of the day, Jesus wants my entire heart, mind, and strength (deut 6:5) to be captive for His eternal glory.

"Abide in Me" Jesus says. When we allow the distractions of our job, family, entertainment, and other activities to keep us from Him we are a making them a higher priority than Him. Psalms 1:1-3 says this: How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.

William Law continues, "But we can no more be said to live unto God, unless we live unto Him in all the ordinary actions of our life, unless He be the rule and measure of all our ways, than we can be said to pray unto God..."

Jesus is our Lord and Savior who deserves all of our affection. When we grasp the depravity of our condition prior to meeting Him and the glory of our salvation and what that means for our eternal well being, then how can we not want to devote our entire being to Him? Even in the ordinary things we should see Jesus working in our life.

Lord, I pray today for my heart to be like your heart. I want to be a mirror to the world and have it display the reflection of your love. Help me meditate on your ways day and night and put aside all the distractions the world tries to throw my way. Amen.

*note: The William Law quoted in this post is not the Latter Day Saints William Law from the 1800's. This William Law is the British Theologian...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Jesus Saves Beggars, Thugs, And Losers - Just Like Me

Joh 5:2-9 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids--blind, lame, and paralyzed *[waiting for the moving of the water; for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and stirred the water: whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was healed of whatever disease he had.]* One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be healed?" The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me." Jesus said to him, "Get up, take up your bed, and walk." And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. (esv)

This message from the book of John is about the paralytic man at the pool of Bethesda who couldn't get into the water to be healed. He had been there 38 years and he struggled day after day to get to the water when it was stirred up. As Jesus walks along the poolside looking at all the lame, sick, and diseased men and women there he responds to one particular man by asking him a question. "Do you want to be healed?"

Unbeknownst to him he was lying on a mat in front of the maker of the world. Jesus didn't have to ask the man if he wanted to be healed. He knew that he had been their 38 years and it was apparent by his presence at the pool his desire was for healing. Jesus was wanting to show the man His amazing love and grace in spite of the paralytic's lack of faith and knowledge of Jesus. The man responded by telling Jesus that there was no one to help him get into the water... He needed to get into the water. In an instant Jesus told the man to pick up his mat and walk.

Several things stand out to me about the way Jesus heals this man. First, in spite of the man's lack of faith, Jesus still performs a miracle in his life. Second, was that Jesus didn't walk him down to the pool and place the paralyzed man into the bubbling water, He spoke and the man was healed. The man had faith in the water of Bethesda and didn't even realize that the living water was standing right next to him. And lastly it shows me as I read on in the passage that Jesus was concerned about his sin.

After reading this passage today I have to ask myself how much faith do I have in Jesus to heal me and my struggles and difficulties. Even when my faith is little, this message from John shows me that God is faithful in spite of my weakness and unbelief. It also shows me to rely on Him alone. Not the water of the pools of Bethesda, not the resources I have to take care of my problems, and not the strength of others. It also shows me that He will choose whom He will heal and make well. There were maybe hundreds of men and women around the pool and He chose this paralytic man for a reason. After Jesus healed the man He left the pool and found the man in the temple. He told the man to go and sin no more. The healing of this mans physical body was a mere representation of the healing Jesus desired for the mans soul. Jesus could heal all of the people at the pool, but was far more concerned about their spiritual healing than their physical. As with us today, many will go into their death bearing the physical disabilities they carried with them for all of their years, but the true healing comes on that final day when there will be no more pain, no more tears, and no more crying.

As I read the Gospel of John I see many things about the character of Jesus. I think today I am really understanding that Jesus healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, and seeks out the lost in many ways that I have not truly noticed over all these years. The woman at the well was a Samaritan woman and Jews had no dealings with Samaritan's. The paralytic man was probably homeless, quite possibly a beggar, and the only worldly possession he owned was a bed mat. The woman who touched His garment was healed of her years of bleeding instantly because of her faith.

As Christians we have a tendency to make programs and churches around the "lovely" people of the world. However, Jesus walked the streets and saved the "un-lovely's." I am truly convicted that Jesus calls us to reach out to all people and share the gospel with them. Not just the neighbor down the street or the co-workers in the office, but all men and women. Everyone on this planet is in need of the gospel of Jesus Christ regardless of social, economic, or any other status we may give them.

The Samaritan woman shared what she experienced at the well and the entire community came out to see Him, yet His own people rejected Him and only wanted to see signs and wonders. May we as American Christians with enormous resources reach out to all people and share the gospel with them. Even the man on the corner begging for some change...

The lyrics of this secular song state this message so clearly. We live in a lost world. Young girls getting pregnant, beggars on every street corner and freeway off ramp, and gang violence rampant in our city streets. What message are we sending our young people?

Everlast - What its like

We've all seen the man at the liquor store beggin' for your change
The hair on his face is dirty, dreadlocked and full of mange
He ask the man for what he could spare with shame in his eyes
Get a job you stinkin' slob's all he replied

God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in his shoes
'Cause then you really might know what it's like to sing the blues
Then you really might know what it's like [x4]

Mary got pregnant from a kid named Tom who said he was in love
He said don't worry about a thing baby doll I'm the man you've been dreamin' of
But three months later he said he won't date her or return her call
(edited out line)
And then she heads for the clinic and she gets some static walkin' through the doors
They call her a killer, and they call her a sinner, and they call her a whore

God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in her shoes
'Cause then you really might know what it's like to have to choose
Then you really might know what it's like [x4]

I've seen a rich man beg
I've seen a good man sin
I've seen a tough man cry
I've seen a loser win
And a sad man grin
I heard an honest man lie
I've seen the good side of bad
And the down side of up
And everything between
I licked the silver spoon
Drank from the golden cup
Smoked the finest green
I stroked the fattest dimes at least a couple of times
Before I broke their heart
You know where it ends
Yo, it usually depends on where you start

I knew this kid named Max
He used to get fat stacks out on the corner with drugs
He liked to hang out late at night
Liked to get **** faced
And keep pace with thugs
Until late one night there was a big gun fight
Max lost his head
He pulled out his chrome .45
Talked some crap
And wound up dead
Now his wife and his kids are caught in the midst of all of his pain
You know it crumbles that way
At least that's what they say when you play the game

God forbid you ever had to wake up to hear the news
'Cause then you really might know what it's like to have to lose
Then you really might know what it's like [x3]
To have to lose...

I hope and pray that the message we send to the world is that there is hope. Hope in a mighty and powerful Savior. Hope for the lost, hope for the dying, and hope for the hurting. You don't have to go through this life having to lose... Jesus will heal you and make you whole again. All you have to do accept His living water and quit waiting by the side of the pool for someone to set you in.

*omitted in some versions

Friday, May 7, 2010

You Are A Vapor...

(repost from 04-30-10)
Jas 4:14-15 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that." (nasb)

I was reminded this week just how precious life here on earth is. A young man who is friends with my son Austin Hiatt was killed in a vehicle accident and his passing has greatly impacted the lives of the many people who knew him. He was a vibrant young man full of life and enthusiasm and he had many hopes and dreams left to live for. Unfortunately his life was cut short... His opportunity to continue to make a difference in the lives of others was taken away and now all that is left is the memories in the hearts of those who knew him and loved him.

Or is that the end of the story?

age 18
Happy Valley, OR

James reminds us that we don't know what our life will be like tomorrow. We are a vapor. When I think on that phrase I think of a tea pot blowing out steam. Once the pot is removed from the heat source the steam vanishes, there is nothing left... Our life here on earth is a vapor when we contrast it to eternity with Jesus. However, God promises in His word that He works all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. The life of young Sam may be complete on this earth, but there will be good that comes from his shortened life and it is promised. We don't know how, when, or what that will be but we long for God to comfort and reveal Himself during this struggle.

What are you going to do with your life today? If the Lord wills we will have the opportunity to take another breath tomorrow. If the Lord wills it! God is sovereign and in control of all the things that go on in our life good or bad and He desires to use them for His eternal purpose. Is the pain of losing someone so young difficult to bear? You bet it is...but trying to remember that God is in control and doing many things to bring glory to Himself and good to His people gives us a comfort that far outweighs the pain of losing a loved one.

1Jn 2:17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. (nasb)

Lord God, we ask for comfort in this time of loss for the friends and family of our friend Sam. He was a young man with much opportunity and it appears to us that nothing good can come from such a loss as this. But you are faithful Lord and we trust you and we are prepared to see you work in the lives of many because of the loss of this young man. Be with his mother and father today and for a long time as they grieve the loss of their precious child. Amen

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

For Pride Is The Beginning Of All Sin...

For pride is the beginning of all sin. ~ Augustine-Treatise On The City Of God

I was recently reading St. Augustine's treatise on the city of God and this one sentence really stood out to me. Sure there was plenty that I was able to glean from this magnificent writing, but the point that strikes me is that sin begins with pride.

John Owens, in his book The Mortification Of Sin, makes the statement, "be killing sin daily or sin will be killing you." So as I read the works of our early church fathers and look at the scriptures that God has provided for our guidance and wisdom then I find it safe to assume that we must kill pride, the root of all sin, or it will destroy us.

I heard a preacher talking the other day and he made the statement that God has a way of exposing us through shameful sin to destroy our pride. He certainly could allow us to sin in other ways and get our attention through it, but the sins that are exposed to the people around us are the ones that cause us to humble ourselves before God in order to get right with him and the people we encounter.

I can totally relate to this in my own life. I am by no means a member on the public stage and I have very few people that I expose my life to outside of the church and my work, but there have been times that God has used simple public sin to put me into a place of humility in my life. One recently gave me the opportunity to reflect on my need to increase the humility in my life and after a couple of days of reflection in this area I felt like God had changed my heart. I spent many hours during this time of correction from the Lord reading through Psalm 51.

Psa 51:2-4 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge.

The Bible is filled with scriptures regarding pride in our life and I am sure I could read and include an abundance of such scriptures, but I believe what God has laid on my heart today isn't to point out that we all have pride in our life that needs to be dealt with. I think today God wants to remind you and me that we have a loving father in heaven who will accept us and forgive us even when we make terrific mistakes that are born from a prideful heart.

The cry of David in this psalm is to ask God to create in him a clean heart. To blot away any of his iniquities and to repair his life from his sinful ways. In verse 2 he asks to be cleansed from his sin. He wants God to not just take an eraser and erase away the damage and sin in his heart, but he wants God to thoroughly wash him and cleanse him. A deep cleansing of the heart that only God can do. We can give the appearance on the outside that our heart is humble and good, but only God can work the deep cleansing we need on the inside to rid of of the nasty parasite of pride.

Are you struggling with the sin of pride today? If you say 'no' then I might suggest that you are too prideful to recognize it. ( Mar 7:21-23 ) If you say 'yes' then I hope that you turn to the Lord today and ask Him to begin the cleansing work that you need in order to be humble and contrite before Him and the people He places in your path. Pride is a killer... It destroys careers, families, ministries, and people's hearts. God uses the humble and opposes the proud.

Lord Jesus, I pray today for my heart and I lay down my will before you. Please cleanse me from my pride and selfish ways and give me a heart of humility. I long to be used by you and I pray that you will do a magnificent work in my life in the area of pride and humility. In your precious name, Amen

Psa 51:8-14 Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation; Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness. (nasb)

Monday, May 3, 2010

God Will Deliver From Our Past Troubles

Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners; To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, (nasb)

Every human being has the ability to rise above his or her circumstances and succeed in Christ in spite of their upbringing, their sinful rebellion against God, or their consequences they have to endure.

I don't know how many times I have heard someone say that there is no way they will ever be in God's favor because they have such a horrible past and God could never accept them for the things they have done. Others have shared that they have been the victim of many horrific abuses and they don't know how God could have allowed it or don't even want to seek Him because He must not love them. Or still others say that they are committing such horrible sin currently in their life that God could never forgive them. There is nothing in any of these people's stories that could be further from the truth.

Growing up I was the victim of abuse. In order to escape the pain and trauma of this I resorted to smoking and drinking at a very early age which eventually led me to using drugs and alcohol as a way of escape. The emotional pain sometimes was so difficult to bear that I would leave my home and instead of going to school I would drive my car to a remote spot and get high and sleep my day away in hopes that when I woke up things would be better. When I woke however, the pain and the problems that came from my trauma never left. There were numerous times that suicide seemed like the only way of escaping the anxieties and depression that came from my difficulties and God always provided a way of escape. Finally, after many years of trying to run from or mask my struggles from myself and others I was introduced to Jesus Christ. I heard His call in my life and I answered it. At that time I had finally reached my end and I figured it was probably my last resort. The emotional pain had finally taken control of my life so greatly that I could no longer bear the burden alone. Jesus accepted me right where I was. He spoke to me the night I surrendered to Him and the next morning evangelists came to the door of my home and invited me to church the following Sunday.

I would love to say that after surrendering my life to Jesus everything was great and my problems went away. But that isn't the way it works... God has a way of gently allowing us to work through the struggles in our life with His help and grace. He won't just let us waste our lives and stay stuck in the same old struggles and sin that we bring to our walk with Him. He wants to strengthen us and then use us for His purpose in bringing Glory to Him even in our pain and struggles. Yes, He does heal our wounds and restore our souls, but sometimes the process takes time.

(Psa 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.)

There is a belief out there amongst some Christians that God will keep us from sorrow and suffering and when you give your life over to Him things will be great. He will get you a job, He will heal your pain, He will help your marriage be successful and so on. Yes, God does work in our jobs, our marriages, and our pain, but He also calls us to endure through these circumstances. He never promises us that He will help us avoid them. (2Tim 2:12 (a) If we endure, we will also reign with Him;) God wants to build our character in our struggles rather than guide us around them and avoid them.

I am far from "cured" from my childhood trauma. Even now after over 20 years of walking with the Lord I have frequent times where the things from my past creep up and affect my life and my relationships today. But God is faithful to show me grace and forgive me when I have done or said something hurtful or painful towards others. In addition to His help He has given me a wonderful wife who has walked by my side and sometimes actually led me along during my healing process.

Psa 34:17-19 The righteous cry, and the LORD hears And delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all. (nasb)

God cares about my problems and yours. When we turn our life over to Him we can begin taking the things that burden us and lay them at His feet for healing and repair. God doesn't reject us or judge us when we are following Christ and He will allow us opportunities to succeed that the world will reject. It doesn't matter what you have been through or what you have done in your life, there is always opportunity for good things to happen when you are serving Christ. He accepts everyone who humbles themselves and calls out to Him for help.


Much more could be said about my past, God's sovereignty, and our ability to thrive even when the devil tries to hold us back... But that will have to be another day.

May the Lord bless you and keep you today.