Archive for May, 2012

As teens, we couldn’t expect somebody else’s parents to feed us and house us and buy us clothing.

We couldn’t expect those other parents to pay our car insurance deductibles when we got into vehicle accidents.

And we certainly couldn’t expect those parents to forgive us when we did careless, sometimes rebellious acts that caused us problems at school or even with the law.

You see, those expectations applied to parents whose DNA flowed through our veins or whose names were on the legal documents they signed to declare us as their adopted or foster children.

We were part of them by blood or by public declaration.

That’s why they interceded for us, sometimes even at great personal cost.

They didn’t have to have us as their children.

They could have chosen options that would have prevented such.

But there we were. Beneficiaries of their choices to care.

I was reminded of this principle this morning during my devotional time in the Word.

Jesus didn’t have to show love to the apostles.

He chose to.

They didn’t have to serve Him.

They chose to.

At least, after Jesus explained why they needed to do so.

With one exception named Judas.

John 13 describes Jesus’ washing of the apostles’ feet.

They were surprised, of course, that the King of Israel would do Gentile slave work.

Peter resisted at first.

But then Jesus dropped a bombshell that still rings in resounding fashion.

“Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” (John 13:8)

There are all sorts of theological applications to this verse, but I want to focus briefly on just one.

Our place in Christ’s family is a result of His washing us.

It’s that simple.

The specific context of John 13 involved the washing of feet. The meaning of Jesus’ words was spiritual, not physical.

Let’s make sure that we’ve been washed in the blood of the Lamb, via our verbal and baptismal confessions.

Let’s make sure that our subsequent sins have been washed away by the blood via sincere repentance before God and apologies as needed to those we’ve offended.

Let’s make sure that selfish, shady habits that stain our testimonies are dissolved away by floods of Bible reading and prayer.

Life is so much better when we’re part of Christ’s family. Let’s make sure that we’ve been washed by Him in conversion and sanctification.

As always, I love you

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As small children, we knew the safety and calm of being by our parent’s side.

If we were with them, we knew that we’d be OK.

And whenever we thought wandering off was a good idea, it usually ended up costing us in some way.

I certainly recall the fear of being lost for hours a couple of times when I thought staying close by an adult family member wasn’t important.

Perhaps you have the same sort of memories.

Trust me when I tell you that it’s not a good thing.

It is infinitely more troubling when being lost involves the soul and spirit.

Some of you recall the varieties of turmoil you faced before you chose to walk with Jesus.

Some of you might be facing that turmoil just now.

This is not God’s will for your life.

He wants you to be filled with peace and walking in power according to the purposes and gifts He has planted into your life.

The best way to be on that road is to follow Jesus.

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” (John 12:26)

Following Jesus doesn’t mean doing the freelance thing of creating our own definition of a faithful life based on being less sinful than others.

Instead, it means learning and living out the pattern of Christ demonstrated during His days on earth as recorded in the Bible.

Where He was in lifestyle and purpose is where we should be.

Helping the hurting and lacking is what He did and what we should do.

Avoiding the traps of greed and immorality is what He did and what we should do.

Being in frequent conversations about faith is what He did and what we should do.

Where He was is where we are to be.

That is, if we consider ourselves to be His servants.

God honored Jesus with deliverance from the grave and a legacy that lives forever.

He’ll do the same for us if we’ll seek to live for the same purposes as Jesus.

As always, I love you

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It’s time to take our vacation, so I’ll be on the road for a week. Looking forward to a May 21 return that is refreshed and refocused.
God bless you all!

As always, I love you

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Some women are gifted for putting on just enough jewelry to provide a lucious visual enhancement to their appearance.

And then there are other women who look like they took jewelry lessons from Mt. T.

Often, it’s not the abundance of jewelry that impresses but instead the discreet, singular choice that enhances the look.

Skilled real estate agents know this, of course, and that’s why less is more when it comes to stuff on a kitchen counter or clutter in a bedroom or potted plants on a porch for the house being sold.

This same notion of quality in choices rather than quantity is also demonstrated in the spiritual realm.

My devotional reading this morning included Proverbs 15:2, an insightful verse that says this:

“The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.”

I like the word choice of “adorns.” It’s vivid and points to the communication artistry of a word aptly spoken. In Proverbs 25:11, King Solomon said such words are like apples of gold placed in settings of fine silver.

Wise people don’t shotgun their words at people and hope one of them hits the target.

Instead, they aim carefully and only pull the communication trigger when they are confident they are going to hit the target.

When people know us as careful, wise communicators, what we say will be seen as knowledge, rather than as a bunch of shotgun pellets fired from the mouth of a fool.

Please join me in reading the Bible daily and praying for wisdom in understanding it. When God stirs our hearts to share efficiently from its pages, our words will be seen as knowledge, not noise.

As always, I love you

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I’m glad that my God is hungry for loving worship, not a bale of hay.

I read one of those verses this morning that jumps off the page when you see it.

They exchanged their glorious God for an image of a bull, which eats grass” (Psalm 106:20)

I thought about all the times described in the Bible when Old Testament Israel fell into idol worship, beginning in the wilderness just after they were delivered from Egyptian bondage via the miracles of God.

It’s mind-blowing, actually, to see how quickly the Hebrews repeatedly dumped God in favor of the floozy, you-can-do-whatever-feels-good worship of manmade gods they encountered along their journey.

The passage above, of course, refers to the ridiculous, rebellious choice of Aaron and the Hebrew masses to desire and worship a golden calf hurriedly crafted while Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving the 10 commandments and other laws for living.

What Aaron did at the people’s urging was so stupid and sinful.

I’m still shocked that he fell into the peer pressure, ego-boosting trap set for him by Satan.

Aaron had seen firsthand the miraculous intervention of God and now he was leading worship cheers of the crowd for a chunk of gold shaped like a young bull?

Are you kidding me?

A bull that eats grass?

How is that divine?

Lest we become too comfortable pointing fingers at Aaron, it’s important that we examine ourselves.

Do we place too much importance on things that don’t thive on praise but instead require physical “food.”

OK, so we don’t worship animals that eat grass. But do we worship things that eat gas?

If you have a gas-eater that is taking time and money away from your worship of the glorious God, particularly on Sunday morning, then you’ve got some changes to make.

Perhaps your “bull” doesn’t eat gas, but it does eat cash in the form of a borderline obsession with new shoes or purses or costly, monthly grooming perks or anything else that you rely on to feel good about yourself or to impress others.

Listen, we all have to constantly check ourselves to see if our hearts’ loyalties are being drawn to gods that eat stuff.

Let’s worship only the God who hungers for worship, not “grass.”

As always, I love you

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