Friday, January 22, 2010

The End of My Life

Just recently we’ve had the privilege of working for an elderly gentleman who has a wonderful disposition and sharp wit. He’s a retired educator, like my dad. As a matter of fact my dad took his place teaching at East High School here in Des Moines, when this man retired. Economics I think.

Anyway, my new found friend is struggling with health issues. He’s 82 tomorrow. We’ll take him some Mylar balloons. He’s in the hospital awaiting surgery. That’s a fine happy birthday. Father God, may you give John the grace and strength to come through this surgery and gain mobility and freedom from pain.

As my wife and I progressed through our job at his house, I came to realize that after many years of life and marriage, most of us end up with a house full of stuff that means little to anyone but us. As a matter of fact, if we find ourselves at the end of our lives and no one is there to collect our stuff, it just goes into probate and lawyers figure out whose stuff it should become.

Now here was my thought. His dear wife passed away a few years ago, but she left lots of stuff in their house. Now he’s there trying to figure out what to do with all that stuff. So are we.

And I was thinking; a life of acquisition and accumulation, a life of travel and fun with friends and family, a home filled with memories and then life simply ends. No one is there to find value in the things that we once held dear.

Oh, I know our hope is that children or those in charge of our estate will find value in the same things we found value in, then sell our stuff and pass along the wealth, but really. Does anyone else care about the things I care about?

So it comes down to this. Seventy or eighty years of life and lots of stuff amassed and then, you’re gone. You can’t take it with you, and unless someone is really savvy in brokering old stuff that even the Goodwill might only give you a charitable giving receipt for, what’s it all worth?

The bottom line is not much. We tend to surround ourselves with stuff, because somehow stuff makes us feel better about ourselves, in a false way, but we rarely realize that fact. We just keep piling up the stuff.

When I’m gone, I pray that Sarah and I will have cleaned out everything that could be left behind. That’s right; I don’t want to leave anything behind except cash for my kids. And even that is meaningless to fill the void of a loved one passed on into eternity.

So, if you’ve got lots of stuff. Start working on sifting it out. Your kids will be glad you did.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Kernel of Wheat

John 12:24

How will God’s plan for your increase and influence be accomplished? Jeremiah 29:11

That’s a pretty big and loaded question. I suppose a person could come up with all sorts of nice sounding churchy answers, but I’m leaning toward one that Jesus offered. It may not seem appealing at first, but once we realize the gravity of it, there will be no doubt as to its veracity.

Because we’re a culture bent on self-preservation, material acquisition, and because our very nature leans toward using others to get ahead in life, what Jesus proposes will often seem counter intuitive. But then again, Jesus talked the language and wisdom of God, and God’s ways and thoughts are not ours and vise versa.

If we ever find ourselves seeking to take, so that we might gain, we are not on the same page with God. The funny (or sad) thing is, within the church world, many a vision to get something done, in the name of God’s will, was accomplished on the backs of humble individuals who thought they were earning brownie points with God, all the while they were simply advancing the pride and the pocket book of the hireling.

I wonder how much we’ve embraced Jesus’ teaching on the death and burial of a kernel of wheat. That’s right, the kernel of wheat that must die and be buried before it can be of great increase and influence.

Now granted, we do not have to go and die on a physical cross to pay for any of our own sins or the sins of others. Jesus did that once for all. So to even think or suggest that I can save myself by crucifying myself is totally contrary to the New Testament doctrine of salvation by grace through faith alone.

But, there is a doctrine of death to self that IS incorporated into the gospel of Jesus.

Jesus taught that unless we take up our cross and follow Him, we cannot share in His increase or influence. We will not be His disciples. This truth is very often confused by people as a means of salvation, but it is not. What Jesus is telling us is that unless we place our will beneath the will of the Father, we cannot fully know the power and provision of all God has planned for us.

Let me ask you; what kernel of wheat in your life needs to die and be buried before the increase and influence of God is made know in and through you?

Much like a kernel of wheat our souls have DNA. That DNA is comprised of THREE PARTS: our affection for things, our affiliation with thoughts, and the aftermath of telltale life experiences. Unless we allow these things to see the sting of death and be buried in the soil of God’s grace and truth, absolutely no increase or influence will be found, despite the fact that we are saved and going to heaven.

The FIRST PART of our souls DNA: our AFFECTION for THINGS. If we have great needs in our material sphere, the only way to find increase and influence and to reverse those needs and convert them into surplus is to give. That’s right; the Bible tells us that it is better to give than receive. It further tells us that as we give it shall be given to us, pressed down, shaken together and running over.

Yet even before we can begin to find increase and influence in the material things of our lives, we must STOP. That’s right; we must STOP the process of taking for ourselves. We must STOP indulging in the folly of further acquisition. We must agree with God’s principles for our material needs and wants. We must go beyond simple credence; too actually living out what God tells us is best for us.

Further we must by faith, develop greater TRUST that His way IS the best way. And the only way for us to prove our TRUST or faith in God’s promises, is to act upon His very Word. What does the Bible tell us about the love of stuff over the love of God? What has the Spirit of God spoken to our inner man regarding how we should manage our things on this side of eternity? If we are not following His guidance, then we do not trust Him. Once a person comes to the place of stopping the old patterns of acquisition and truly begins to TRUST that God’s way is best, then and only then can they become cheerful and fearless givers.

So GIVE and it shall be given. To the amount or the measure you GIVE it shall be given back unto you. Test God in the area of tithes. Give offerings. Make faith promises. Go above and beyond what non believers do. Tip more, give more patience, give more love, give more hope, give more joy, give more assistance or help; simply put GIVE. Stop taking and start GIVING!

The SECOND PART of our souls DNA: our AFFILIATION with THOUGHTS. If our thoughts are not set on things above, but on things below, we need a change. Because as a man thinks so is he. So how is your thought life? Are you constantly plagued by negative thoughts, doubts or fears? Do you control your thinking or does your thinking control you? Are you a thermostat or a thermometer regarding your emotions and feelings? (Do you know the difference?) The Bible is very clear; we are advised to take captive every thought for the sake of Christ. In other word, we have the responsibility to CONTROL our thoughts or our thinking. If we are ever unwilling to let God have our thought life change will never come.

God’s Word is CRITICAL for our ongoing transformation. We must be open and willing to receive His spoken Word to our inner man. The inner man is the place where our conscious thoughts have no rule; but where lies are seated and cause all sorts of destructive feelings and behaviors. It is the place where our past and present collide. It is the place of greatest influence upon our outward behavior. It is the place that the Apostle Paul prayed would be strengthened the most.

Further we must be open and willing to receive God’s written Word the Bible. The only way that we can begin to understand the nature and character of God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit, is by reading and studying their composite appearances and patterns displayed in the written scriptures. If you desire to know God, begin to know His written Word, then you will be better equipped to hear His spoken voice to your inner man.

The bottom line is INPUT determines OUTPUT. If you are willing to break the affiliations you have with certain thoughts, thoughts that are not God’s, then you are moments away from a pure death and resurrection that holds life for that once single kernel of wheat. Increase and influence will soon be realized and life will never be the same.

Finally the THIRD PART of our souls DNA: the AFTERMATH of TELLTALE life experiences. Because our lives are based upon our past, whether we like it or not, we must deal with the aftermath that those experiences have caused us.

When we realize that all of our feelings are based upon experiences we’ve had in the PAST. Those past experiences will be interpreted for good or for ill, depending upon how much truth or lie is mixed into the memory picture of the experience.

Scratch the surface of most people and lots of ugly stuff comes out. The present and initial scratch is not what causes the amplified or reaction of emotions, but their PAST experiences, misinterpreted and unresolved because of lies believed to be true about themselves, God or others. I know that sounds like mumbo-jumbo but it’s not.

If we will let the Lord Jesus Christ speak to the specific experiences logged in our memories TRUTH will prevail over the lies we believe to be true. I can confidently say our past affects our PRESENT. Granted, in Christ, the eternal consequences of the lies and sin has been dealt with on the cross through Jesus’ shed blood and death, but unless we give Him liberty to dispel the lies of our past, with His truth, our present situations will go unchanged.

The Bible tells us that our transformation in Christ is brought to fruition, by a deep experiential encounter with the truth and that truth has the power to renew our minds. Meaning; the aftermath of telltale life experiences that have historically weighed us down and kept us from living the fullness of Jeremiah 29:11, can be completely gone and without affect upon our PRESENT.

So I ask you: Are you ready to die and be planted in the depths of God’s grace and truth?

What kernels of wheat need to fall into the open soil of God’s best for your life right NOW?


Break your AFFILIATION with THOUGHTS that are not His. CONTROL the CRITICAL INPUT to your soul, so that your OUTPUT will be reflective of His mind and not yours.

Let Jesus speak to the AFTERMATH of TELLTALE life experiences that are weighing you down. Sandwiched between your PAST and your PRESENT is the TRUTH of God. His Word to you is very alive and sharp and able to separate the things that are so homogenized you can’t tell them apart. Often we cannot discern the influence of our past from our present. That’s where the razor sharp accuracy of God’s spoken Word to our souls brings full liberation and peace.

Are you ready for increase and influence? You can be; but unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single seed. No bounty, no harvest, no Jeremiah 29:11.

Today is a good day to die, that we might live. Amen?

The Grace Reflex

Isn’t it amazing how God made us? We have so many systems working in harmony with each other; syncopated in such a perfect manner as not to be found in any musical composition known to man.

One of the system mechanisms that I find rather fascinating, among many, is the reflex mechanism. I know that may sound trivial, but our reflex mechanisms performs all sorts of vital interventions for life and most often we don’t even think twice about their value; until they don’t properly function, then we really tend to notice.

In the same manner, the Grace of God in our lives has tremendous power and value in keeping us out of harms way or functioning in the most optimum manner to fulfill God’s will in our lives and the lives of others. All the while we just go on living, rarely if ever to stop and think about its function and significance.

Reflex: 1) automatic and involuntary, occurring automatically and involuntarily as a result of the nervous system's reaction to a stimulus; 2) extremely fast, very fast in reacting; 3) without thought or preparation, produced automatically, unthinkingly, and totally predictable in response to events.

Now these are but a few of the definitions of the word reflex, but I would like to tie them to the grace of God and express how I believe grace should be working in our lives.

I call it the Grace Reflex. An act of grace toward another or even yourself that is totally involuntary and not planned. It’s the kind of act that happens and we don’t even have to think about it.

Let me ask you, how’s your Grace Reflex?

When you are confronted with trials and difficulties, how do you react? Do you have to muster up all the will power you possess so you can navigate through the issue without blowing your cork? Or, does grace come so easy that it’s simply a reflex?

One of the most desirable places to be in Christ is so steeped in and operating in His grace that it happens without notice as to intention. Meaning, it looks so natural and without thought, that those around us are humbled and amazed at how real the grace of God can be.

I pray.

"Father God, may I grow in the grace and peace of my Lord Jesus Christ to such a degree that my outward treatment of others and my inward treatment of myself become so grace and peace oriented that none is given pause to think that I am trying to be, but that it’s simply a reflex proving all the more His work in me. Amen."

How’s your Grace Reflex?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Got Milk?

Hebrews 5:14 “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” (NIV)

Ever since I can remember I’ve been a huge milk drinker. As we’ve raised our kids, they’ve become big milk drinkers too. We typically go through four to six gallons per week.

Now granted, we don’t drink much else. Some fruit juice, lots of water, very little pop and I drink too much coffee. But milk is the drink of choice at most meals and snack time around our house (at least for me and the kids).

I wonder if that’s what my problem has been all these years. I really like milk. Oh I like meat and lots of other solid foods (including veggies), but milk is so good I can’t seem to stop drinking it. It’s quick, refreshing and portable nutrition. But frankly a person needs more than milk to be healthy. Right?

The author of Hebrews tells us that only the mature are able to eat and digest solid food. I guess that would suggest mature people have 1) teeth to chew the solid food and 2) a digestive system that is able to properly digest the solid food that is eaten.

So how does a person become mature in Christ? I bet our answers would vary widely.

Paul the Apostle tells us in his letter to the Ephesians, that maturity occurs under the guidance of God’s given representatives for the church. There are apostle, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers; all of which contribute to the developmental process that leads us to full maturity.

James, Jesus’ half-brother tells us in his letter, that perseverance is a component in the process of maturity. This could lead us to believe that quitting or bailing out on our faith in Jesus, when things get tough, will preclude the full development of our maturity.

And even Jesus, when teaching about different soil types (people types), indicated that an inordinate desire for money, pleasure and a busy life will flat out keep us from becoming mature and healthy believers in Him.

I wonder how much maturation actually occurs within the lives of church folk? My hope is that it’s happening to a great degree, but our love for milk may indicate otherwise.

Let’s test it. In Hebrews 6:1-2 the writer indicates a few of the signs of the immature Christian.

The need to repent from a works based Christianity. Are we constantly trying to perform for God or others? Are we constantly trying to impress God with our good works? Are we still trying to get into heaven by being good? Then it’s likely we’re not yet mature.

The need to incessantly reaffirm our belief in God, by demanding proofs from Him. Either we confidently believe that He is or we don’t. Either our faith in His very existence is the bed rock of who we are as Christians or it’s not. Either we really believe this stuff or we don’t. If we can’t hold firmly to the fact that He is, if that is still an issue up for debate, it’s likely we’re not yet mature.

The need to argue about water and even Spirit baptism is indicative of immature Christianity. The sacrament of water baptism and experience of Spirit baptism, with the evidence of speaking in other tongues, are two events that should not be in question for the mature believer. Far too much evidence can be found in the early church, as to their significance as well as their frequency, to be of argument. If we’re still fighting over these issues, it’s likely we’re not yet mature.

The need to be convinced that laying hands on the sick or the spiritually needy, for healing, infilling or restoration. If we haven’t figured it out by now, the New Testament Christianity included the practice of laying hands on one another when a need was present. If this is in question, it’s likely we’re not mature.

How about the debate over ones eternal status? How fragile is our eternal security? Are we swinging in and out of heaven and hell, like some paranoid religious pendulum? Are we still trying to convince people that they will indeed stand before the King of kings and give an account of themselves, but not to worry, because if they are in Christ, His blood covers it all? If so, it’s likely we’re not yet mature.

It seems that these issues noted in Hebrews chapter six verses one and two are clear indicators of where immaturity and maturity part company. I read it this way; if we still need to teach these matters to those who have heard them over and over; they are NOT mature and neither are their teachers.

Granted, a concession to feed with milk as needed is allowed, but a rebuke is mixed in. As a result, when we lack the maturity that comes from proper teaching and learning, we never come to the place of being able to distinguish good from evil.

And that seems to be very plain in the day and age we live. If you doubt what I’m saying, ask people what they think is good and evil. The spectrum is a mile wide and an inch deep, and coated over with a nice shinny glaze of religious rhetoric claiming Christian liberty. Good and evil seem to be on a sliding scale. I know because I live the same thing.

As a result of all this fun we’re having growing up in Him, I think for now, I’ll stick with my milk habit. It’s safer than beer.

How about you? Got milk?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Weblog & Red Skelton

Well it’s 10:22 PM Wednesday, January 06, 2010 and I’m just closing up shop for the night. Was wondering how other people do their devotions?

Assuming you even take time to settle your mind on things above. I like Oswald Chambers, my 365 Daily Bible, and current reading like Screw Tape Letters, Crazy Love, Back to the Altar and a few pages a day of The Leadership Challenge.

I’ve always wondered if daily devotions made me a better person. Still not sure, but I do them anyway, because something happens inside my head and my heart. Both of which usually affects my outward behavior, most often in an unconscious way.

Looked up weblog on Google just now… I guess I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing with a weblog. Someday, maybe my words will be worth something to someone. My only hope is they won’t be used against me in a court of law or public opinion. Does the Network screen these things?

Planning on wrapping up the message entitled “A Banner Year for Dry Bones” this week and that means more blogging on the process and the power of speaking words of life over dry bones.

Will be posting soon. Good night and may God bless… as Red Skelton used to say.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Blind Minds

2 Corinthians 4:4 (NIV) “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

A blinded mind can often be hard to detect. People do good things, people do evil things, but to actually be able to detect blindness of the mind can be very difficult.

This type of blindness actually has little to do with intellectual prowess or the lack thereof. As a matter of fact, the more one implicates depth of intellect with the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ the greater the enigma becomes. That’s where the principle of the foolish shaming the wise comes into play.

Don’t get me wrong, God is a thinking god, but His thinking is never or will ever be of necessity for Himself, like ours is. We have deliberate thoughts as well as autonomic systems that support our lives and existence. And you may argue that those types of systems are not thoughts per se, but they are without question, decisions within a system that are made without conscious consult of the system operator or the system itself. The peristalsis waves that move food through your body do not ask you if it’s okay to do so, nor do you consciously tell them to do their job. It just happens.

Thinking about God is a good thing. Talking about God is a good thing. Even debate and reasoning over His purposes and or existence are good. But, knowing Him personally is even better, but virtually impossible to prove, notwithstanding a Mount Carmel maelstrom experience, of which few of us can replicate. The psalmist tells us one of the best ways for us to expose or prove our personal relationship with God, is a changed life. So that many people will see and fear and put their trust in God, because if He was able to bring about such a change in this person or that person, and put a new song in their heart, He must surely exist. Get it?

Malachi 3:16 (NLT) “Then those who feared the Lord spoke with each other, and the Lord listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and always thought about the honor of his name.”

God is always looking for those who are engaged in discussion about Him. He’s not troubled by our doubts. As a matter of fact, we can be out right disrespectful toward Him and He still loves us, because unlike other gods, He is love.

Can you imagine, on the night in which you were betrayed unto death, by a so called friend, that you would turn right around and offer a covenant of forgiveness? On the very night! It is so amazing that He would do that for us, but He did. I sure don’t think that would be my reaction.

So how does this blindness of mind come about? Simply put, it was a lie. That’s right, a lie.

Oh I can’t tell you what the lie is, but somewhere in the economy of each of our lives, experiences that we go through are interpreted and many times wrongly; and it’s at that immediate point where a lie is summoned to our soul as a coping mechanism for the pain the experience produces and voila, partial blindness of the mind occurs. If this cycle continues unabated, lies and pain accumulate to the point where total blindness of the mind occurs.

That is what Paul was describing in 2 Corinthians 4:4.

I sure don’t know how many life experiences I’ve misinterpreted, but for each one, a small seemingly harmless piece of data, called a lie, will eventually produce so much pain and blindness that all I’m focusing on is me; all the while feigning love and benevolent interest in others, until I’m stretched to my breaking point. Then things go ugly real fast. Is that just me in the mirror or are you looking over my shoulder? Back up okay, I can get the log out of my own eye. How about you?

Anyway, here we are at the end of day 3 of a new decade and I’m blogging again; and about what? Blindness of the mind and it’s a terrible condition and I would wish it on no one.

So the next time you feel like someone is being antagonistic toward the gospel of Jesus Christ, just reflect upon the Apostle Paul’s words and this blog and realize; most blind people really don’t want to be blind. Do they?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Banner Year for Dry Bones

The Bible tells us that when hope slips away, bones dry up. It also tells us that when our spirits get crushed our bones tend to dry up. And let me tell you, dry bones are not a good thing.

Dry-bone disease, also called brittle-bone disease, is a rare condition characterized by a lack of collagen production in the connective tissue of bones. Its scientific name is Osteogenesis Imperfecta. Those who have dry-bone disease suffer frequent fractures and or breaks due to weak bone structures.

Dry-bone disease is a hereditary condition. The severity of the disease may vary from one generation to the next, or among offspring of the same generation. While there is no known cure for dry-bone disease, physical and occupational therapies help victims cope with their condition. Depending on the severity of the affliction, surgery, physical therapy exercises and aids for positioning and movement are common aspects of treatment.

Yes there is a real medical disease called dry bones. But my concern is far less about the medical disease than the spiritual one.

Difficult circumstances and unmet expectations tend to crush our spirits and when our spirits get crushed our spiritual bone structure tends to dry up and become fragile. We tend to become very vulnerable. Our entire spiritual skeletal structure is in jeopardy.

When the duration of challenge become more than we can handle and hope sifts through our fingers like sand, again our internal structure, our spiritual bones dry up.

My point: This has been a banner year for many of you to experience dry bones and there are few exceptions among us.

The global and national issues have abounded. Local and household issues have pressed in to suck the moisture right out of many a spiritual skeletal structure. The pressure has been on and it looks like there won’t be a let up for quite some time.

Although there is no known medical cure for dry bone disease, there is a divine cure for spiritually dry bones. For some, the treatment may be more difficult than for others. It all depends upon the progression of the disease condition.

Just a little moisture loss; nothing a little Spirit rain, prompted by PASSIONATE WORSHIP can’t cure.

Super dry and brittle bones, due to excessive pain, problems and practically no truth in ones life (and a bit of sinful disobedience thrown in); requires a total baptism in the Spirit and River of life. One must soak in the ALTAR OF GRACE and THE WORD OF GOD. This treatment may take some time and patience; but with God all things are possible. Regular meetings in the closet of prayer can assist in recovery.

Dead dismembered and totally bleached out white and dry as dust bones, due to a total deception and embrace of the enemies lies, resulting in a blatant and rebellious turning from God’s written Word and His spoken Word to ones spirit; will require a PROPHETIC POWER ENCOUNTER with the Living Spirit of God like none other. Although this treatment is the most powerful, it is often the most painful.

The prescribed treatment begins with the most powerful element known to humanity; the VOICE of the Living God. And amazingly enough, though the voice of God is loud it’s also quiet and gentle. But here’s the real kicker. One must HEAR or take an active part in the treatment process. This requires a quiet mind and a willing heart that will PAY ATTENTION and then come into agreement with the Doctor’s voice.

When Doctor God speaks the diagnosis, we must hear it and accept it, and agree with it. Some folks call that repentance; or a changing of ones mind to agree with God.

Ezekiel 37 reveals a desperate case of dry bone disease, the worst kind, but God has a cure.

Join me tomorrow morning at the Remedy church as I flesh out (pun intended) the rest of this message.

Life is ours if we let Him win in 2010.

If God's Love Were an Ocean

If God’s love were an ocean, we’d likely be holding postcard pictures of it in our feeble hands trying to figure out what all the excitement’s all about.

That’s right; that’s about how lame our understanding of God’s love really is. It’s like if you were to try and explain the ocean to someone by using a postcard. They’d go, “Ummm… yeah… that’s nice, but what’s all the fuss?”

Somehow, in the few days we have left, we’ve got to convey a better understanding of how incredible the love of God really is. How expansive and deep and powerful and influential and even salty it really is.

For the love of God, can we ditch the postcards and just get them to the beach? Maybe then they will understand that by encountering something they really can never understand, they eventually understand. Is that esoteric or what?

I’ll look for my ocean photos from the 70’s and see if I can post them.

Tidal influence is greater than any of us can imagine. And think about it; it’s all because of polarity. And we’re so PC about not polarizing our dialog.

Day 2 is here.

Friday, January 1, 2010

I Just Couldn't Eat Pepper or Could I?

Somewhere on my bookshelves I have the complete works of Josephus (or something of that nature) and somewhere in the confines of his historical accounts is a portion about, cannibalism that occurred when the Temple was under siege.

Some years prior to that event, Jesus prophetically made mention that the mothers of Jerusalem would eat their young. Of course that didn’t sit well with anyone, but then again, cannibalism never does.

Yet, just like clock work, it occurred. How that relates to these thoughts is this.

Jesus tells us often that challenging things will occur, on the continuum of God’s plan for humanity. And some of the things that He taught and prophesied were very hard to swallow (no pun intended).

So what if I was told that things could get so bad that I would end up eating my dog Pepper? Maybe you’ve never met her, but she’s a very good and loving dog. Innocent of human blood, never bit anyone (seriously) and might lick you to death, but that’s about the worst thing she would do.

But could I bring myself to eat her if I had to? Somewhere between the confines of civil and humane thought and desperation or death, people do all sorts of things that they might not otherwise consider doing.

As I leaned down on the stairs the other day, to greet her and tell her what a good dog she was, I had a strange sense that when sacrifice occurs, it does so base on one of two things.

1) Sacrifice occurs out of necessity
2) Sacrifice occurs out of devotion

When sacrifice occurs out of necessity, few of us would disagree, although we may detest the act, we can understand the rationale. And most of us would do the same thing when put in the same situation.

But when sacrifice occurs out of devotion, that’s a whole different ball game and few are able to deliver (let alone understand). Not because they don’t believe, but more often because devotion is way deeper than head knowledge. Devotion tends to be based in love and covenant.

When God told Abraham to take Isaac up to the mountain and sacrifice him, the Bible tells us Abraham went without hesitation. How many of us have that level of love and devotion for God? Let alone a holy fear that propels us beyond our comfort zone? I know I struggle with that level.

So what does this have to do with me eating my dog? Plenty, because if I was starving and my family needed food to survive, I would not hesitate to engage in the process. But on the other hand, if her demise and consumption were a matter of testing my devotion to God, I probably would fall way short of that kind of devotion.

But what about God? His sacrifice was of necessity, but not for Himself, but all for us. His sacrifice was founded in His devotion to us, and His Son was the only means by which He could prove and provide a level of devotion that few of us could imagine.

Let that sink in. Because the next time you think God is asking you to do something great, ask yourself if your response is necessity based (subjective) or devotion based (objective). The latter is the greatest challenge of all and the greater gift.

Don’t worry; I’m not eating Pepper anytime soon. But one never knows how God would test our devotion. Does He do that? Maybe your dog, but not mine, right?

Just more compelling thoughts to clog the internet!

It's 7 or 9 Degrees!

What do a couple of degrees matter when it’s that cold? What a great way to start a new year.

Isn’t it amazing how when it’s that cold a few degrees simply doesn’t matter that much, yet in the economy of God… a few degrees does matter.

Think about it for a minute. When one is speaking of degrees in terms of radius’ and vectors a few degrees makes a huge difference as to how wide and off the end point we may be.

So as I preached a few weeks ago; Plumb, Level and Square do matter.

As for temperature… when it’s as cold as a witches… ummm… well… I’ll stop my self… it really doesn’t matter. Cold is cold. But if we’re off just a few degrees from Plumb, Level or Square… gravity takes hold and the whole thing falls into a heap.

If sleep were a commodity, I would invest.

Its cold, but I think by God’s grace I’m Plumb, Level and Square.

Welcome to 2010!