Archive for February, 2005

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8

Micah 6:8 puts it pretty simply, “…Walk humbly with your God.” What a simple statement. What a simple request. We often make being a Christ-follower a very difficult thing to do. We put rules and laws upon ourselves to make sure we live by the “law.” We create requirements we claim are required by God, but they simply are not. God only asks us to walk humbly with him. He asks that our spiritual journey be toward him and not our own path. In reality, God makes it pretty simple. He does not promise a trouble free life, but he does promise to always be with us.

I received this poem on a little card from a friend when I graduated from high school. It has always meant a lot to me and remains in my wallet to this day. I take it out and read it on some of the most trying or confusing times.

One night a man had a dream.
He dreamed he was walking along the beach
with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes
from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets
of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him,
and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of his life
there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord
about it. “Lord, You said that once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed
that during the most troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand
why when I needed you most you would leave me.”

The Lord replied,”My son, My precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I Carried You.”

Dear Heavenly Father,

Forgive me for not always walking humbly with you. I know I often want to go my own way and do my own thing. Forgive me for not listening to your still small voice. Help me to serve you and know you more. I love you Lord. Amen .

We Win…We Win…We Win… These are the final words in the end. In Micah 4-5, and Isaiah 40 God talks about how in the end of times he will restore the nation of Israel and his people. God has already determined he and his people will win in the end. This is one of the greatest truths we have as Christ-followers. Our job is not to win the battle. Our job is to help as many people find their way back to God along the way.

Dear Heavenly Father,

It is amazing to know that in the end you win…we win. It is amazing to know that we can count on you to win this battle and we are only suppose to show people your love and mercy and ask them to join. Thank you for this love and mercy. I love you. Amen.

Praise Him – Psalm 150

It seems very fitting that the very last Psalm speaks about giving praise to God. As Christ-followers we are very quick to come to God when we have needs, we are quick to come to God with our requests, we are even quick to come to God to praise him when when prayers are answered or things just seem to be going our way. However, Psalm 150 puts no conditions on when we should praise God. It simply tells us many different ways we can praise him and gives us a few reasons. The reasons for praising God really come down to the fact he is worthy of praise. Here is the point. God is always worthy of praise regardless of our particular life situation. God deserves to be praised because he is God – plain and simple. I often think our sweetest praise to God comes when we least desire to give it.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your love and your mercy. Thank you for simply being God. Help me to live my life as praise to you each day, regardless of whether I “feel” like praising you. Help me to live in a true sense of awe and worship of you. I love you and thank you God. Amen.

As I read these first two chapters of Matthew, it strikes me at the number of times the author points back to Old Testament predictions that were fulfilled by the coming and early life of Christ. Jesus was born of a virgin, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Jesus was called out of Egypt, Jesus was known as a Nazarene. All of these were predicted and all of them came true. It just proves the reliability and strength of the Bible. God said something would happen in the future and it happen just as he said it would. People try so desperately to discredit the Gospel, but they forget they are dealing with the author of everything – The Most High God. No matter how hard we try, we cannot discredit God.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for your Word. Thank you for giving us proof of who you are. Thank you for revealing yourself to us, so we may believe. Thank you for simply loving us. I love you. Amen.

Praise – Psalm 148

Each day as I drive to work, I take a few minutes to look out over the farm fields, skyline, wooded patches and other scenery. As I do this I cannot help but think of the glory and majesty of God and his creation. Psalm 148 talked about how everything praises God. This praise comes not only from people, but from trees, fields, animals etc. This causes me to become overwhelmed with a supreme sense of awe. God’s creation is literal praise to his majesty, grace, creative power, mercy, intellect. God’s creation understands something we humans often forget, God is worth of all praise. In fact, we are the only part of his creation that does not seem to intrinsically understand he is worthy of praise.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for giving us an example of praise through your creation. Thank you for giving us the ability to choose to praise you. Thank you for loving us so much that you are willing to forgive us even when we repent for not praising you. Help me to praise you each and every day. I love you. Amen.

“For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord.” – 1 Thessalonians 3:8

The Apostle Paul truly had a heart for people. His only passion was to see others come to know Jesus. In this verse he goes as far as to say he can truly live because people God placed before him are standing firm in their faith. This is the same kind of heart I want to have. Each day, I want to wake up and spend every second helping people find their way back to God. I want to live because others live. It is so easy to look at people and to forget that they are each a child of God. God extremely loves each and every one of them. Paul understood this and I want to understand it.

Dear Jesus,

I am overwhelmed by the truth of your love. I am amazed by the expanse of your mercy and forgiveness. Please help me to love like you love and live the way you lead the Apostle Paul to live. Help me to serve you and thereby serve humanity. I love you. Amen.

“We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” – 1 Thessalonians 8

This verse makes me think of how “Christian” want to “share” the Gospel, but not their lives. I have come to believe you cannot do one without the other. The Gospel only become real and thus powerful when we live the Gospel. In fact, we must live the Good News before people or they will never hear it. I have been trying to determine what it means to share my life with others. In the simplest sense it means living in the world and being part of it – not just job and church. We may try to use the excuse that there is just not enough time after our job and our church life, but we only show our priorities are out of whack. We do church for ourselves and for others, but if we don’t spend time with others than we are really only doing church for ourselves. Selfishness is not one of the ten commandments.

Dear Jesus,

You came to earth to share your life with us. You spent time with sinners, IRS agents and hypocrites. Help me to do the same. I love you. Amen.

“Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts.” – Psalm 145:4

Do you know any parents who have said something like this, “I believe in God, but I don’t want to influence my children. They have the right to grow up and determine their own beliefs.” I have always thought this was one of the most insane ideas of all time. Children expect, need and want direction from their parents. If the parents don’t provide it, they will get it from friends, neighbors, television or some other source. As a parent it is our job to tell our kids the truth of Christ Jesus. We must tell them what God has done in history, in our lives and what he intends to accomplish as told in his Word. We must not take away our children’s right to know and grow, by trying to give them the ability to decide in a vacuum as an adult. The truth is all people do make up their own minds eventually, but they need to be presented with the truth to have a basis on which to make a decision.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for giving us something so profound, important and real to tell our children. Thank you for loving us enough to command our parents to tell us. Help us to do the same for our children. I love you Lord. Amen.