Archive for January, 2005

Everyone has heard the story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den. It is a classic Bible story used to illustrate the power of God, human obedience and faith. Even though it is a classic story, it touches me every time I read it (maybe that is what makes it a “classic”.) I often wonder how I would react. I believe if there was a law disallowing my obedience to God, I would not obey it. However, I would probably pray in secret and be very leery of sharing my faith. Why is it I do not have the same faith and courage as Daniel? Daniel knew his simple action of prayer would cause him to receive the death penalty. All he had to do was keep it private, but instead he kept it out in the open. Is it possible that the answer is he knew the power that caused this law were out to get him and keeping his faith private would give them a partial victory. In our world churches in certain countries must meet underground or they followers are killed. I am surly not saying they should have the same boldness as Daniel, unless God tells them to do it. Maybe that is the simple answer – Be on mission with God and he will tell you what to do.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I pray that you would help me to hear you voice each and every day so that I may know your will in all cases. I pray that you would help me to be on mission with you. Thank you for loving me and helping me to follow you. Thank you for guiding me with all truth and mercy. I love you Lord. Amen.

“It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding.” – Daniel 2:21

Whenever I read verses such as this, it gives me a supreme sense of peace that my faith has true meaning. There is no person, god, or anything else that can do what God can do as stated in Daniel 2:21. We worship a God who has proven throughout the ages that he is the ruler over everything. He has constantly shown even pre-Christ-followers that he is the great “I AM.” This also should make every Christ-follower remember that there are ruler who are evil, but God has allowed them to be in place because they fulfill some purpose in this world. Their purpose could simply be to continue this earth in the downward spiral that is predicted in his word, but they still have a purpose.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Sometimes it is hard for us to remember that you really are in charge. If you want someone to be removed from power you can do it. If you want someone to remain in power you can do it. I know you are not the source of evil, but you have allowed it to exist because of our desire for it. Free will is not easy, but it is also your greatest gift. I love you Lord. Please help me to “choose” each day to serve you. Amen.

Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” – John 19:11

This verse makes me think about all the times we are complicit in someone being harmed because we simply don’t like them. We bring false or half-true charges and then hand them over to the “authorities” so they can be punished. Then we wash our hands of the incident because we were not the ones to hand out the punishment. In fact, we justify it by saying we had no authority to cause them any harm. The truth is we used an imperfect system to bring harm onto someone. For example, if we cause and innocent person to be arrested for murder and sentenced to life in prison or even death, who is guilty? The state may be guilty of a mistake, but we are guilty of lying, cheating, and murder among others (see the Ten Commandments). We may call this revenge for some past wrong, but God calls us the turn the other cheek. Sadly, It does not take false charges of murder to cause someone harm. It can simply be false rumors, innuendo, and lies that cause someone to not receive the promotion, the job, the future spouse, or life they deserve.

Dear Jesus,

I ask for your forgiveness for all the times my spreading of rumors and innuendo have cause harm to someone. I ask for you forgiveness for all the times I have broken trust with those who trusted me. Help me to be a person of righteousness and a person who deserve to be trusted by everyone. Help me to be like you. I love you Jesus. Amen.

Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. – John 17:3

I find this saying by Jesus very interesting. If you read it carefully you notice, it does not speak of eternal life as something in the far distant future or after death. It speaks about it starting in the here and now. This is not only profound, but puts a whole new light on our journey with God. True, there is a heaven where we will go to be with God, but there is also our time on earth we are to live on mission with God. We must remember, as soon as we become Christ-followers we begin to live this eternal life and servants and friends of the most high God. We are called to have this life now, not just in the future. To me this really says we need to serve him fully on earth and be part of the Kingdom that was established upon his sacrifice on the cross.

Dear God,

Thank you for you now kingdom and well as your heavenly kingdom. Thank you for letting us entering into our eternal life before we die so we may serve you completely now. Help me to understand each day how I am to serve you. I love you Jesus. Amen.

?A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.?
– John 13:34

Over the past few weeks we have been talking about the revolution Jesus came to this earth to start. It has dawned on me Jesus didn’t really come to start a church, he came to start a revolution. His church was started to be the on going catalyst for this revolution. However, this makes me very sad. Jesus church has all to often failed to be that catalyst. I truly wonder what this world would be like if the churches in it took John 13:34 to its logical conclusion. Would thousands of people be dying each day because of ethnic cleansing, religious strife, and hatred? Would thousands of people be dying because of hunger, malnutrition and disease? Is it possible the church could actually make the world a far better place than it is? Don’t get me wrong there are many Christian ministries attempting to do just this, but they are not supported by the vast majority of people who call themselves Christians. Can we truly live out John 13:34?

Dear Jesus,

I am humbled as I read this short verse of scripture. I am challenged also. I want people to know I am your disciple because I love you, my fellow Christ-followers, and the world. Help me to serve. Amen.

The Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus. They claimed it was for blasphemy and other ungodly action, but their own words condemn them. In John 11:48 we see them worrying much more about losing their positions of power and prestige than about Jesus’ “sin.” In fact, it becomes plainly clear that they could care less if he is the messiah or not, they want to be in charge and he is getting in the way. Instead of opening their eyes and seeing that the savior of the world is standing in front of them, they close their hearts and plot to kill him. All too often, I think we act the very same way. I wonder how many people who claim to be Christian would want to kill Jesus if he came today. I am sure he would rock our world because we have been in bed with governments, politicians, environmental exploiters, etc. Are we all Pharisees?

Dear Jesus,

Each and every day, I think I am coming to understand a little more of who you are and who you would have me to be. Please help me understand your ways. Please help me live your ways. Forgive me for all the years I have spent ignoring what you cherish. I love you Jesus. Amen.

Often as I am driving to work in the morning, I contemplate the amazing creation of God. I will marvel at this creation and thank God for it. However, it is not very often that I look at this creation as what it really is – God’s gift of love to us. God basically created the earth as our dwelling place. He gave us stewardship over the earth and everything in it (our failure to be good stewards is a subject for another post). If you think about how wonderful and magnificently the earth is made you cannot help but marvel at the amazing love God has for us. We take this love for granted when we fail to recognize the beauty and majesty of his creation – including other human beings (again the subject of another post). Each of us should try to focus on what this really means about God — His Love Never Quits.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your amazing love that never quits. Thank you for you amazing creation that directly expresses this love to us. Thank you for creating this world and everything in it – including us. Help me to see your world for what it is — your greatest gift and expression of love. Help me to love you. Amen.

My Food – John 4-6

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work. – John 4:34

Being on mission with God is the greatest human action of loyalty to our heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ. In this passage, we see Jesus saying he was busy fulfilling God mission so he did not have time to eat right then. Jesus understood that there was no greater joy, no greater expression of true love toward God then to join in his mission and do what needs to be done when it is presented. I have spent a lot of time writing down my personal mission statement, but I think I have a new and easier one — To be on mission with God. This mission statement encompasses everything I could ever do for him (i.e. feed the poor, help someone on their spiritual journey, etc.).

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for coming to earth and showing what it mean “To be on mission with God.” Thank you for loving us so much that you let us join you in this mission. Help me to fulfill this mission as you have placed it in my life. Thank you for your love, mercy and grace. Amen.

Darkness – John 1-3

The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. – John 1:5

This simple verse of scripture says so much about our world today. God’s light and the light of his people is shining in the darkness, but people do not understand it. Muslims throughout the world distrust Christian relief organization because they believe we are trying to take over their world. We are simply trying to do what God has directed us to do – be salt and light into a dark and dying world.

Non-Christian Americans believe we are trying to take over this country and “Christianize” it. We know that is not possible. We know that our government is purposely secular and even God’s word directs us to worry much more about people than government.

The world also thinks we are foolish because it cannot understand God’s activity in this world. As Christ-followers we are called to be salt and light to real people – regardless if they are Christ-followers. We are called to lead and abundant life and that is what we should do.

Dear Jesus,

You are the one true light of this world. You are the only way to the Father. Help all of your people to truly serve you. Help us to lead by example with faith, compassion and mercy and not by vitriol and hate. I love you Jesus. Amen.

Over the last several centuries there have been those who claim that God does exist, some even say Jesus exists(ed), but they deny he is was or is actively involved in our world. I cannot help but wonder if they have even read his Word. If you look at Ezekiel and God’s very specific instructions for building the temple and the alter, if you read God’s detailed instructions on how sacrifices were to be administered, it becomes very clear that God is active in our world. He is interested in every detail. We need to stop spending time trying to philosophically show God is not active and begin to look for the obvious signs of his activity.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for caring about each and every hair on my head. Thank you for loving me enough to pay attention to the details of my life. Thank you for being real in the here and now. Help me to open my eyes and see what you are doing and where you are doing it. Help me to have the courage to join in what you are already doing. I love you Father God. Amen.