Friday, April 29, 2011

Stay When You Want to Go-DD 4/29/2011 (repost)

"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life." John 6:68

Jesus had just shared the hard truth with his disciples that they would need to eat his flesh and drink his blood in order to live. Failing to understand the meaning of the words, many of them ceased to follow him.

Beloved, there are many things that we do not understand about God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit and a variety of things in the spiritual realm. We do not understand why bad things sometimes happen to good people. We do not understand why loved ones are sometimes allowed to suffer and then are taken from us. We do not understand why the innocent are allowed to be victimized. Sometimes we just do not understand what the Lord is saying to us even today.

The tragedy is that some answers are available. Recall the Ethiopian eunuch, who while reading, yet failing to understand Isaiah 53, received understanding from one sent by God who was knowledgeable of the scriptures. Recall Jonah who was taught an object lesson in the belly of a fish after he fled from God which caused him to get back on course. Recall the tragedy of the rich young ruler who was told all he needed to know to inherit everlasting life but allowed his earthly position and possessions to cause him to walk away from the Lord.

None of us can say that all we need to know is not available. Our problem is that the information is not just lying around. Sometimes we actually have to do somethings to obtain it. Sometimes we have to dig a little deeper than what meets the eye to gain understanding. The best advice of all, however, is to stay with the Lord, for it is he that has the words of eternal life.

Loving Like Jesus,


Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Discipline of Godliness-DD 4/28/2011

"On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." 1 Tim 4:7-8

Today, seemingly more than at any other time in history, we are about self, conspicuous consumption and indulging as many desires as possible. We emulate those highly paid athletes, actors and entertainers who parade across our television screens and magazines in the latest fashions, most expensive cars and jewels and clothing that one percent of the population can afford.

Perhaps more to the point, we, in our daily lives, give in to all kinds of whims, be it substance or food abuse, law breaking (such as habitually exceeding posted speed limits), pornography and coarse language. To be sure, we are holy on Sunday, but during the rest of the week a different person can be readily seen.

Beloved, the apostle Paul once said, "All things are lawful for me but not all things are expedient." Though he most assuredly was not referring to sinful or illegal behavior, the point is made that everything that might be good to us is not good for us. In fact, we need to employ a great deal of discipline to avoid allowing ourselves to do and have things just because we can.

We are called to be a godly people. We must avoid the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life in order to maintain our friendship with God. Just as doing a little exercise and pushing back from the table some will help us lead healthier physical lives, avoiding that which leads to sin provides healthier spiritual lives. Failure to do so can have eternal consequences.

Loving Like Jesus,


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Will You Be Free-DD 4/27/2011

"Come now, and let us reason together," Says the Lord, " Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool." If you consent and obey, You will eat the best of the land;" Isa 1:18-19

As we walk through life, it is easy to ignore or be unaware of our undone condition. To be sure, we are creatures most miserable indeed and we are made so by the disease of sin. Unless cured, this is a terminal illness and will ultimately result in our death (Rom 3:23a). God relates that it is a fact that our sin is double dyed in the wool and outside of cleansing that is available only from Him, permanent.

As an argument in a court of law, He invites us to first come, which is to say, listen to the argument of the prosecution. This is an invitation specifically to Israel, but by extension to all sinners. Secondly, He condescends to entertain an examination of the evidence and facts. The case against us irrefutable. If we would accept Him, however, a complete pardon is available. What is now stained red, will become white as snow.

Beloved, who among us would refuse the gift of forgiveness of crimes by a benevolent judge? Accepting His offer not only cleanses us, but comes with the additional benefit of prosperity.

Surely we should examine ourselves and recognize our need of a remedy that is outside of our ability to produce on our own. Our Lord offers the greatest deal ever made. We cannot defend ourselves nor hire anyone who can accomplish this impossible task. We need only say yes and yes again in order to be free.

Will you be free today?

Loving Like Jesus,


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Deserving Nothing and Receiving Everything-DD 4/26/2011

"He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." Titus 3:5-7

God has always had a plan for you and I and it has little to do with anything we have done to "deserve" it. He loved us enough to create us. He loved us enough to provide all things pertaining to life. He loved us enough to continue caring for us even when we sinned against him. He loved us enough to send His son to pay a debt on our behalf that he did not owe.

There is nothing that we could do or have done to deserve this type of love. It is the very nature of God to love us and He does so passionately, even as we love and provide for our children despite their occasional indiscretions and mistakes. Even at their worst, we love them most.

Beloved, God has provided everything that is needed for us to spend an eternity with Him. He provided the blood of His son to cleans us. He willingly takes up residence inside of all who ask Him in the form of the great gift of the Holy Spirit. In so doing, He makes us part of His family. What could any of us do, provide or even claim that would be deserving of such love?


Nevertheless let us make every effort to live lives worthy of such a gift.

Loving Like Jesus,


Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Greatest Story-DD 4/24/2011

"Why do you seek the living One among the dead? "He is not here, but He has risen." Luke 24:5-6

The greatest story ever told began before time. It began when God the Son made the decision to save a creature that had not yet been created. But that was not the whole story.

The greatest story ever told continued after God blew life into a mound of dirt and
man was created. Man shunned paradise and committed sin. God then assured him that a Savior would one day be sent. But that was not the whole story.

The greatest story ever told continued to build when a young virgin gave birth to the human incarnation of the Creator. The birth was announced by the heavenly host and communicated to the common man. Even the cosmos shared in the great event in the embodiment of a star that lead wise men from the east to the newly born King. But that was not the whole story.

The greatest story ever told took a tragic turn when after years of preaching, teaching, healing and forgiving sin, those whom the Savior came to save turned on him and took the life he willingly gave for us. Though he was innocent, he was brutalized and hung on a cross, open to public shame. It was there, that even God separated from him and he died a terrible death. But that was not the whole story.

The greatest truth that ever was culminated when the Savior who died on behalf of all men took up his life again. He rose! He greeted his friends and disciples! He was seen by more than 500 people! And he charged them all to carry the greatest truth ever told forward and share it with all who would ever live. That is the whole story.

On Friday we cried. Today, we rejoice!!

Loving Like Jesus,


Friday, April 22, 2011

The Ultimate Sacrifice-DD 4/22/2011

"At the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, 'Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?' which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Mark 15:34

Jesus was anticipating his Passion when he began the true Lord's prayer (one he prayed himself) in John 17. He said, I glorified you on the earth, having accomplished the work which you have given me to do. And now, Father, glorify me with your own self with the glory which I had with You before the world was." This points to an idyllic existence in which God, in his plurality was self contained, self sufficient and complete. There was utter perfection because God was from eternity past, all that existed. Everything changed, however, when He decided to create. It was known that creation would need a Savior. Acts 2:23 refers to Jesus when he is spoken of as being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, that the wicked have crucified and killed him.

One can only imagine the conversation between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit when it was decided who would save man and by extension, all of creation. One can almost hear Jesus originating the words eons later credited to Isaiah, "Here am I Lord. Send me." And so he left unimaginable perfection and completeness with the Godhead (retaining his perfection), put on flesh and was incarnated on earth to be the sacrifice for man's great sin in the garden.

During this time, he walked with both man and God, teaching, feeding, healing and providing example for the one and loving, obeying, communicating with and representing the Other. Since time immemorial, however, he knew that he must, in his fleshly state, die. He loved his creation (John 1:3) so much that he was willing to commit his life for our salvation.

Beloved, what has become known to the world as the Easter season, the word in fact being a translation of Passover, is all about this sacrifice. Though we spend lots of time going along with the worldy traditions of "easter" eggs, chocolate bunnies, baskets of gifts and new clothing, we spend little time focusing on what this time is really all about. We were never commanded to observe his birth, but our salvation is found in his death, burial and resurrection. In fact, we celebrate the Lord's Supper every Lord's day by partaking of the bread representing his broken body and the fruit of the vine which represents the blood spilled on our behalf. We do this because our Deliverer said, "this do in remembrance of me."

Remember the idyllic perfection of our triune God's existence? When Jesus was brutally persecuted, beaten, ridiculed and hung on the cross, he willingly took on the sins of the entire world. These sins were all those ever committed, those being presently committed and those that would yet be committed. God, in His perfection, cannot be where sin is. It was necessary at that time, that He seperate Himself from that part of himself that was being sacrificed for sin. As terrible as the entire ordeal of Christ's Passion was, the absolute worst part of it all was this separation. For the first time in eternity, God the son was without God the Father. He was utterly alone, ashamed, unclean and the embodiment of sin. And then he died a painful, humiliating and brutal death at the hands of the very hands of all of us whom he came to save and be a part of the idyllic existence.

There is Good Friday for you.

Loving Like Jesus,


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Experiencing the Lift-DD 4/21/2011

"'And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.' But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die." John 12:32-33

Verse 32 is popularly misconstrued to mean that if we Christians would "lift" our Lord up in praise, others would become aware of him and be drawn to him. Thanks be to the Father that things concerning Jesus are not dependant on us. John 1:3 reminds us that all things came into being by him and by extension, without us. Jesus is more than able.

We obtain the true meaning of verse 32 by reading and understanding verse 33. His being lifted up was about the method by which he would sacrifice his life for everyone who ever lived and ever would; he was hung up on a cross after a very public trial at a major thoroughfare in all of his humiliation for everyone to see. This was the most shameful death possible at the time and he did it in and of himself.

John 3:14 compares this "lifting up" to that which was done in the book of Numbers when Moses was commanded to fabricate a brass serpent to heal all who had been bitten by snakes sent to punish them for their disobedience. The brass serpent was placed on a staff and held high so everyone who chose to look could see. If they wanted to be saved, they had to look upon the death meant for them.

The same is true for us today. Christ physically died the death that was meant for us spiritually. If he was not lifted up on the cross, we would have no hope and we would have no life. It was this lifting that is still drawing mankind today. Surely he is worthy of our praise, misconstrued or otherwise.

Loving Like Jesus,


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

When God Says "Yes!"-DD 4/20/2011

"But Hannah replied, "No, my lord, I am a woman oppressed in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the Lord. "Do not consider your maidservant as a worthless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and provocation." Then Eli answered and said, " Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him." 1 Sam 1:15-17

Hannah was a woman whose womb was shut up, preventing her from living out her most heartfelt desire; she desired to give birth to a son. She prayed to the Lord day and night for the desires of her heart. Despite the fact that she had a supportive husband, her prayers seemingly went unanswered. During one of many annual trips to Shiloh to pray and sacrifice, she wept bitterly and promised the Lord that if He would give her a child, she would dedicate the boy back to Him. She caught the attention of Eli the priest who initially thought she was drunk. Ultimately understanding her plight, he encouraged her to go in peace, asking that the Lord give her the desires of her heart. In due time she conceived, rejoiced, and turned the boy over to Eli for the service of the Lord as she promised.

Beloved, it is a glorious blessing to our lives when God says, "yes" to the desires of our hearts. We pray, we beg and we cry for those things that are needful (or just wanted) in our lives. Some of us even make bargains with the Lord, promising to do this or that if our requests find favor with Him.

God does not always say yes, but when he does, we must always remember from whence our blessings come. We should celebrate with everything we have within us. And perhaps most importantly, we must remember to honor those things which we have committed. He blesses us for us, but always gives abundantly more than we ask that we may bless others and return some of that blessing to him.

Surely our God is a great God and delights in blessing His children. Let us rejoice! Thank you Father!

Loving Like Jesus,


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Godly Structure for Godly Living-DD 4/19/2011

"How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word." Ps 119:9

As members of a society, each of us subjects ourselves to some set of guidelines, rules or laws. These observances help identify us and provides structure for our interactions with others. We are, for example, subject to the laws enacted by the Congress of the United States. We participate in that we elect representatives to go to the nation's capital and enact these laws on our behalf. We do the same thing for the states and cities in which we live. The schools our children attend have rules and many of us are even subject to neighborhood associations. Failure to act according to these tenants comes with consequences. These consequences could involve removal from society through incarceration. Even there, however, there are rules to which one must adhere.

When it comes to our spiritual lives, it is the very word of God from which we receive our rules, laws and commands for living. When we accept the gospel, we willingly accept His will in our lives. Rather than being restrictive, God's law is designed to provide freedom. When properly applied to our lives, it can provide freedom from hard lessons, the consequences of sin and spiritual death (among many others).

Beloved, when we come to an understanding of who God is, our desire should be to be found completely enclosed within His will. We dare not hazard being found near the border or hanging out on the margin. There is danger there. Our goal should be to pursue perfection in all things that are pleasing to Him who made us. His word is the ever shinning light that beckons us from the dark and keeps us in the glow of His Love. Let us be found there in all that we think, say and do.

Loving Like Jesus,


Monday, April 18, 2011

Purposeful Choice-DD 4/18/2011

"Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour." John 12:27

Life is full of times and instances where we must face the prospect of doing things we may not want to despite the fact that it may be for the greater good. Jesus, clothed in his humanity, famously asked that the cup of his coming suffering be allowed to pass from him. Despite this, he carried out his mission flawlessly. As a result, we have access to the tree of life today.

Beloved, God is the Great Architect. He made us for a reason. He put us in our circumstances for a reason. What he has not done is force us to do his will. That is entirely up to us. Just as Jesus might have called twelve legions of angels to stop his persecution, we also have the ability to decide whether to God's will or not.

When we next find ourselves at a fork in the road with a choice between doing what we know we should do and any other alternative, let us consider that we may be there to live out our purpose at that very moment.

Loving Like Jesus,


Friday, April 15, 2011

The Benefits of Godly Living-DD 4/15/2012

"When a man's ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him." Prov 16:7

When we think about the distinguishing characteristics of the faith to which we are called, we must surely realize the transformative effects it has on lives truly immersed in it.

First, we become more loving. Love in its most important aspects involve action. Its expression is manifest in the eyes of all who both participate in it and observe it. Love causes us to think less and less of ourselves and more and more of others. We give when we used to hold. We seek when we used to hide. We sacrifice when we used to gather for ourselves.

Then, we live our lives according to the will of One greater than us all. God has given us His commands and laws and they are not burdensome. When we live our lives according to the godly code and are obedient to those things He requires, we have order, protection (from internal and external threats), provision and peace. With this comes, among other things, morality and an understanding of right and wrong.

Finally, we are blessed with optimism and the ability to rise above our circumstances because of our long term view. Our God has promised us an eternity with Him. Believing this deeply within our hearts gives us an indescribable hope and resilience in the face of trials and tribulations. We know that whatever the circumstance, things will be greater later.

Beloved, when we embody these and many other beneficial qualities of being a child of God, there is little for anyone to hate and so much to love. The light of the Lord can be seen in our lives and this light calls to those who are trapped in darkness. The benefit of living lives pleasing to the Lord is the expansion of the body, even as it was when your addition accomplished this.

Loving Like Jesus,


Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Relay-DD 4/14/2011 (repost)

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us," Heb 12:1

Who among us does not swell with pride at the winning performance of loved ones or favorite teams on the fields and courts of competition? Do we not also perhaps remember our own competitive days during which we heard the encouraging screams and yells from fans and supporters of our own?

Our scripture for the day analogizes just such a thing. First, our fore runners in the faith are cheering for us to carry the gospel forward by both sharing it verbally and leading godly lives. Imagine a packed stadium dotted with Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Ruth, Esther and so many others urging us forward. They are described as "so great a cloud of witnesses." Surely this speaks to both number and accomplishment in the Lord.

And while you were perhaps competing, do you recall hearing those encouraging yells urging you onward to even better performance? The second part of the verse is designed to do just that. There is an inherent warning that the things that can hinder our performance and therefore affect our outcome are never far away and are an ever present danger. The admonition is to be aware of those things, shed them if you've got them, keep them away if you don't and to stay the course. That is the only way that we can participate in the victory that has already been won.

Those witnesses? They ran before we did. But before they stopped, they handed the baton to us. To whom will you pass it?

Loving Like Jesus,


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

If Not Us, Who?-DD 4/13/2011 (repost)

"...contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ." Jude 3-4

It should be no secret to anyone that Christianity is under attack. In fact the tradition of attacking our beliefs and our Savior has existed since he walked the earth, John 15:18-19. We have been told numerous times in scripture to expect this.

Most of us lead comfortable lives that are free from what we consider persecution. We have come to enjoy and rely on God's blessings so much that we have become complacent as a body of believers.

Prayer has been taken away from our children in school and we did not prevent it. The concept of marriage being limited to a man and a woman as it is in scripture is being set on its ear, state by state, day by day and we hide behind political correctness. During a time of tragedy when a gospel preacher was killed by his wife, the church was vilified by Nancy Grace who referred to us as a cult. We grumbled but watched. There are even efforts to have "In God We Trust" taken off of the currency and "one nation under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance though we are a nation built on a foundation of faith. If we are not careful, it will happen.

We must contend for the faith. We must stand up for what we believe in. Proof that the enemy is alive, well and active is all around us. We must remain vigilant. We must remain engaged. We must not allow ourselves to be pushed back into the catacombs where we would be forced to practice our beliefs in secret. We must protect the faith and advance the boundaries of the Kingdom.

If not us, who?

Loving Like Jesus,


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gaining By Losing-DD 4/12/2011

"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?" Luke 9:24-2

For every person you may ask about what their lives are about, you are likely to get a different answer. Somewhere on the list of many, however, is to gain. Whether it is to gain material possessions, prestige, financial independence, a loving family, a great job, an education or any number of other things, it is all about improving one's position.

Interestingly enough, Jesus said that we must, in fact, be willing to lose our lives. To be sure, it is destined for us all to pass away at some point, but he is speaking figuratively. We must be willing to die to ourselves. This means that we and the things we desire cannot continue to be the center of our lives and the purpose for living. In dying to ourselves, we willingly relinquish that space to him. Paul famously said,"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." Gal 2:20

Beloved, it is only when we crucify the "old man" (ourselves) that we can truly live. The lives we lived before Christ were filled only with earthly hope if any at all. In Christ, our hope and trust is in the eternal. That said, there is plenty of life to be lived on this side of the great transition. Christ came that we might have life and that, more abundantly. Those unwilling to lose their lives for their own sake, in service to the Lord, risk losing the eternal life he has made available. All that has been gained by holding on to the temporal, will likewise be lost. What profit indeed?

Loving Like Jesus,


Monday, April 11, 2011

Calm in a Storm-DD 4/11/2011

"Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship." Acts 27:22

Paul and 276 others where on journey by ship from Caesarea to Rome when their craft began to be subject to weather that put them in peril for their lives. During the ensuing days, the crew and passengers became increasingly concerned. They threw their valuable cargo over the side and began to lose hope that they would survive. It was at this time that Paul received a message from the Lord, providing him with great confidence and hope.

Beloved, when it seems that everything around us is against us and when others have long since lost hope, we, the children of God must maintain faith in Him. Our God is the God of all things and He has promised to provide for us and protect us. His promises are true and strong. This is not to say that nothing untoward will ever happen to us, but He has promised to deliver us through all calamities, even death.

As Christians we must not have our faith blown away like dandelions when life's storms arise. We must be the rock for those around us who have no help. We must be the example of godliness and faith. Though the big things can be scary, God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a strong mind. We can persevere because He said that we can.

It should also be mentioned that Paul was a prisoner at the time and was going to receive a hearing with Caesar. His circumstances were even worse than most, nevertheless, his faith was a comfort to those who were delivering him. Let us rise above our circumstances. God knows what He is doing.

Loving Like Jesus,


Friday, April 8, 2011

You Can Always Go Home-DD 4/7/2011

"So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him." Luke 15:20

There are many of us who were either born into families that were members of the house of God, or have been so for a very long time. We knew from early on what it was like to grow up with his laws and discipline, but also his great love, provision and mercy.

It seems, however, that human nature often follows the path of restlessness. We become dissatisfied with all that we have in God and desire to take our blessings and strike out on our own. We leave the safe confines of the church and righteousness to test the color of the grass on the other side. In these situations, we leave when we should not, go further than is wise, spend more than we should, and stay longer than we ought.

Beloved, when we finally come to ourselves, we are filled with shame, bereft of answers and longing for home. Some never make that trip. They feel that they are too reprobate and that God cannot forgive them. Brothers and sisters, is there anything too hard for God?

Know that though you may have left home, you still have a home where the Father is constantly on the look out for your return. When you humble yourself and start moving back toward him, you will find that He will quickly close the distance between the two of you and that He will welcome you with love, compassion and open arms.

Loving Like Jesus,


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Count Your Blessings-DD 4/7/2011 (repost)

"Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. " Matt 6:31-33

Anyone who even casually examines his or her life must acknowledge that they are blessed. Our Father is so benevolent, so kind, so long suffering, so gracious and so merciful, how could any deny it? How could anyone miss it?

In reality, we miss it all the time. We miss it because of God's over abundance, Eph 3:20-21. This gives us the very interesting trait of focusing on the things that are wrong, challenging, inconvenient, painful or wanting in our lives. It is as if we expect to lead lives where every whim is satisfied, and every desire is delivered. That is just not reality for anyone. The more we get the more we want and are thus never satisfied.

What is in fact reality is that all of us could lead lives that are far worse, regardless of our current circumstance. Fortunately we serve a God who not only knows our needs, but supplies them (and ever so many of our wants). Whom do you know that is without food, drink, clothing and shelter, even if it is supplied by others?

If we would take the time to count our blessings, we would see how vastly they outweigh the things we think are wanting. We serve a glorious Creator. How could we do anything less than seek His righteousness and His kingdom?

Loving Like Jesus,


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Be Strong-DD 4/6/2011

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might." Eph 6:10

It is a true statement that we humans are weak creatures. We are easily given over to the whims of that which makes us feel good in mind and body or that which eases pain. These things are readily apparent when we consider all the addictions to which we fall. Perhaps more insidious, however, are the smaller and quieter things within our own thought processes as we make choices throughout the day. This involves everything from failing to give as we have prospered when the plate passes on Sunday morning, to eating that donut we know we do not need.

We must realize that as we have the ability to choose wrong, we also have the ability to chose right. Yes we are subject to the weakness of our own flesh (minds), but we have an amazing power source to assist us when we are willing to access it.

Beloved, we need not rely on our own limited strength. We are encouraged to be strong, not through our own means, but through the might of almighty God. He has promised us access to all that we need to live successful spiritual lives. He has given us His full armor that wholly protects us from those things that are arrayed against us. We can be covered from head to toe.

It is important to know though, that neither the power nor the armor will be forced upon us. We must be willing to take it in and put it on. Only then will the power of God see its manifestation in our lives. Only then can we stand firm against those things that attack us. Only then can we fight. Be strong. Put it on.

Loving Like Jesus,


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Wake Up!-DD 4/5/2011

"Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matt 26:41

Famously, Jesus is at his most emotionally tormented in the Garden of Gethsemane. The time of his Passion finally arriving, he took his closest friends with him to watch with him while he prayed. While he did so, however, his friends slipped into slumber. Since he had explained what he was about to do, they were aware of the significance of the time and desirous to support their Lord and friend but could not remain diligent.

Beloved we must examine our lives to determine whether we are sleeping when we should be watching. There are matters of great importance happening all around us. All that Jesus represents is under threat and we who are his own have been given a great charge. We must be awake to repel the influence of Satan. We must be awake to see that others are dying in their unrighteousness. We must be awake to protect each other from falling asleep. And we must be awake to avoid temptation.

In our innermost being, we are all willing, but the creature is subject to spiritual fatigue and eyelids are us made heavy by the lulling effect of pleasure driven living. We must be on guard against those things that would cause to be unconscious to the commands of our living Lord. He is depending on us to watch.

Loving Like Jesus,


Monday, April 4, 2011

The Good Side-DD 4/4/2011

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Ps 139:23-24

It is human nature to put our best foot forward for examination while our worst foot lags behind attempting to remain unnoticed. While being photographed, we want to make sure our "good side" is captured and our blemished "other side" is kept from view. Who among us does not desire to be well thought of by all? We invest a lot of time and energy into managing our image in the minds of others. To be sure, that image rarely represents the whole of us but in fact just the parts that make us attractive both inwardly and outwardly in our own minds.

Contextually, this is David's appeal to God to vindicate him in the face of accusations by his enemies. Think of the 139th Psalm as an extended, "God is my witness." There is much to be learned from his thought process and prayer.

Beloved, aside from the face we wear in public, we should always live lives that withstand the scrutiny of God. None of us lives sinless lives, but God is a discerner of the heart and pure hearts are certainly within our grasp. Do we offer ourselves up to his scrutiny (even though He knows all) or do we constantly push more skeleton bones in the closet? Are our minds and hearts open to correction from God or do we accept only that which is convenient and consistent with our own desires? Do we seek His help to improve or do we make excuses for ourselves?

David understood that it is not about the temporal and sensual pleasures that can be derived from this life, but the glorious and everlasting promise of a life our limited minds cannot imagine. Nothing should hinder us from laying hold of an eternity with Him who made us.

Interestingly enough, a life lived in obedience to God will lead to our whole selves being our good side, both feet being our best feet and the need to in any way to obscure will give way to freedom from shame. Give it a try!

Loving Like Jesus,


Friday, April 1, 2011

The Solution for Inner Conflict-DD 4/1/2011

"Oh wretched man that I am. Who shall free me from this body of sin?" Rom 7:24

This cry of frustration, guilt and shame comes at the end of one of the most self deprecating admissions of all time. Paul lamented the warring factions of sin and righteousness within himself.

How often do we found ourselves in a similar situation? At times it seems that there is to much sin in our righteousness to enjoy God's grace. Other times it seems that there is too much righteousness in our sin to enjoy rebellion.

Beloved, we are all subject to that which afflicts the mind and the body. John once warned of the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. One or more of these is always at the root of a fall. The good news, however, is that there is an answer to Paul's question! Only One can save us from ourselves. And he accomplished it by taking our sin onto himself. As wretched and conflicted as we are, the way to our salvation has already been paved.

Loving Like Jesus,