Monday, October 17, 2016

The age of Athaliah

We are in one of the strangest times in history.  For a way to describe it I call it "The age of Athaliah."  

Athaliah was the mother of Ahaziah, king of Judah, and after he was killed in battle she took the kingdom by force, killed all her direct decedents and became Queen. Imagine the evil in a woman who would kill her own children and grandchildren to be able to rule a country, to be able to do as she wished.  

Once more, we come to a time when many have hardened their hearts to the point they are able to kill their own children and feel no remorse.  "Their rights" come first and even their own children are not safe.  

What a terrible day we have come to when a women can kill her own child and feel no sorrow.  We are, sadly, once more in the age of Athaliah.  

This kind of paganism demands God's people pray for the country and help those poor women who have fallen for the lie that the child in them is victim to their own desire.  

And now we come to leaders who believe as she did.  God will deal with this kind of lie.  Pray for those who have believed it.  

Saturday, October 15, 2016


In a world like ours
there is nothing you can do
more important

When you pray
you invite
of creation
to be part
the answer
to your

And when you pray
he said
he would act,
change hearts,
change lives,
change events

at a time
like this
is the most
we can do

Friday, October 14, 2016

Life is short!

This morning I'm doing a funeral for an old friend.  Over the years I've spoken at hundreds of funerals and each time I'm keenly aware of how short life really is.  Life is a moment in time, a tick on the clock of eternity and then it's over.  It happens in moments, not years.

The authors of scripture repeat this theme often and in different ways,

Life is just a vapor that is gone as the sun rises.

It's still dusk this morning.  The sun will rise soon and I'll get ready for a funeral.  In the hours ahead we will talk about a life, cry, remember, hug and then walk away.  We all know death is coming, but we do all we can to not think about it, to not dwell on it.  We imagine death is many years away.

But it comes so quickly! Life is short!  In just a moment you and I will be gone.  How will we spend these moments?  How will we live and touch the lives of others?  How will we be remembered?  What will be the impact our lives have on the eternity of another person?

In this moment of eternity called "life" how  shall we live?  Many great men have spoken on this topic.  But the bottom line is this-

You live is a moment of time with eternal results.  How are you living?  Are you living for God and eternity or are you living for you and the things of the world?  It's one or the other.  You won't choose both, you can't choose both.  Jesus said, "make your choice, it's one or the other....

how will you invest your moment of eternity?  

Because, in just a moment, you will be gone.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

All in!

Are you "all in?"  It's a term I've heard recently in church circles around me.  As I visited with a friend about it this morning we both had to laugh.  It is an interesting concept, but I have to admit I have never been "all in."  

Frankly, it's not for lack of desire, but the truth is I can never be all in.  From one moment to another, at my best, I might be 30% "all in."  The desire is there for sure, but the ability is not.  If you were to ask me if I'm "all in" I would have to reply, "What moment are we talking about?"  

This term, "all in", paints a picture of something I do that I have never ever been able to do.  That's why I needed a savior!  

It's an invitation to frustration.

Neither Jesus nor the authors of scripture to follow him invited us to be "all in."  Instead, the invitation is simple, "walk in the spirit and you will not do the deeds of the flesh."  It's a step by step relationship, a moment by moment commitment.  A growing in grace and maturity.

All in?  No, never, but it's not for lack of desire.  

But when you raise the bar for me to an impossible height I soon weary of trying to jump it and simply walk away.  If this is what the Christian life is about it's simply too hard.

But it's not!  Grace says come as you are and walk with me.  I will carry you as you grow until you can take a step or two.  It's grace, all grace, and for that God never requires I be "all in" because he did that for me.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Thoughts on a Saturday

When Peace Like A River Hymn

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

It is well with my soul,
it is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
let this blest assurance control,
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
and hath shed his own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
the clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
even so, it is well with my soul.

This evening I am thinking about issues we face ahead of us.  They feel much like a storm that won't let up, but it's really just a small thing.  In the middle of the storm I know the Lord is with us and we will come through.  We will see his goodness in the land of the living.  We will celebrate his care and provision.  It's easy to get overwhelmed.  There is so little we can actually take care of on our own.  Our smallness is easily revealed and we see how much we need God.  Those experiences are scary, but delightfully life giving because we are forced to rest in and trust God.  And so we do.  And as we rest we find his peace.  Once more I think of his invitation in Philippians 4:6-7,

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Friday, October 07, 2016


We are having foundation work done on our house.  It's very unsettling and very expensive.  But, it must be done.

This morning, as we wait for them to come back for the work inside the house I'm thinking of a few proverbs that speak about foundations.  For example,

When the foundations are destroyed what can the righteous do?

Without a good foundation for a house, a life, a country collapse is the inevitable outcome.  

Jesus spoke of foundation building as well.  He described it as a contrast between a wise man and a fool.  The wise man digs down to the rock to build.  The fool builds on sand.

Foundations are essential.  Without them we find a house, a life and a nation will shift and crack, settle and fail.  But where do we start?

As we spend tons of money on our house and invest in its stability I realize this must be individual first.  I must build on the rock personally before I can help someone else with their construction.

What is the foundation?  What do we build on?  That is the critical question, isn't it?  One man will build his life on success and money.  Another will build it on fame.  Some are betting it all on politics.  

But for me and my house we will build our foundation on the God of the bible.  The God who made heaven and earth.  The God who loves us and became man, died and rose again to prove his love.  That's my foundation.  So far, in my spiritual house, my life of 65 years, I've found no cracks from building on that foundation.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Quote of the day

"Man is born mad and rarely reaches sanity before he reaches sanctity."  -G.K. Chesterton

Victims of grace

Do you realize
if you have trusted
You are a victim of grace

What a great thing
to find 
in a life
without hope


It stands against the utter
of a world without God
It offers
the weary soul
while the world offers
none of these

Oh that all men
might be victims
of Grace
and discover
the God who loves
them more than they will ever know

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Simple life

Simple life
It's a fantasy idea
To live a simple life
means to live
life with the basics
and enjoy every moment

Simple life
is a dream that eludes us
We have so much
taking our time
our energy
our attention

a life
in each moment
simply live

Breath in, breath out
enjoy the smells
celebrate the colors
thanks God
for his care
Talk to him
as you walk through
each moment

A simple life
is easy
a life
simply lived
in the moment
in God's presence
in thankfulness
in peace
in faith in a great God

Saturday, October 01, 2016

The real blessing

"In order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."  Gal. 3:14

As I read the bible I'm often forced to slow down, reread and reflect on a passage.  There is so much in each sentence that it's easy to skim over magnificent truths and miss them completely.

As Paul is explaining the blessings and promises of God in Galatians he finishes this passage on Abraham with this verse.  In it is this-  

the blessing of Abraham = the promise of the Spirit

In other words, the one thing promised to Abraham's seed was that one day God would give them his Spirit to dwell in us.  

Jesus talks about this in reference to prayer in the gospels when he says, "if you give good gifts to your children don't you think God will give the Spirit to those who ask?"

The prize is the Spirit's presence in our lives.  It is the essential thing that must be true about a person who believes.  Why does it matter?  

Because the Spirit of God is the guarantee 
that I'm a child of God, 
he is the down payment for more to come, 
he is my comforter, 
my guide, 
he gives me peace, 
I'm never alone because he is with me, 
he convicts me, 
helps me, 
guides me, 
and teaches me.  
He always points me to Jesus.  
He is my adoption seal that I'm a child of God!  
And he will never leave me!  

He is the answer to the question, Can a Christian lose his salvation? And he would reply, "NO! I'm never leaving, this one is a child of God. He's mine!"  

The rich blessing of God is not a car, money, a house or even a nice's the presence of his Spirit in the life of the believer.  

That's the real blessing!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Without God

You are never
out of God's sight
away from his love
without need of his mercy

His entire plan for human history
resting in his love
walking in his grace
enjoying his care
celebrating his mercy

You are precious 
to the one who made you

When we remove God from the picture
and replace him with chance
and time
We lose all that gives us life 
and hope

Without God nothing makes sense

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Don't worry?

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’  These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."  Matthew 6

Don't worry?

Doesn't God know how much we have to worry about?  Doesn't he realize what a mess we are in?  Yes, he knows. Yes, he realizes exactly what is going on.  That's why he tells us not to worry.  

But if you knew what is going on in our lives you would worry!  Literally, our very foundations are cracking.  What do we do about all that?  We need help!  We need God.

This morning, as I write these words, I must admit worry is close in my mind.  I could easily go there.  We have much facing us.  I know you do as well.  And yet, according to Jesus, we have a choice.  We decide our response to the things that bring worry.  Will we focus on the problems and worry or will we trust God and rest?

Worry or rest?  What's your choice?  In the midst of the storm you will pick one or the other.  We all do.  This morning I have the choice to worry or rest.  Honestly, there is nothing I can do about what I am facing but trust God.  It's big.  If he doesn't do something then we literally have no idea what to do next.

Worry comes for me when God is small and my problem is big.  In those moments when worry knocks on the door I have to decide who is bigger, who or what will dominate my thoughts.  Will it be the big problem or a big God?  Whatever I focus on instantly makes the other small.  If I choose to focus on the problem it gets bigger and God gets smaller.  But, if in the moment, I look to God who knows what I need and focus my trust in him he get big and the problem becomes small.  

Don't worry?  Why shouldn't I?  Because God is big and you are not.  He can be trusted.  Will you trust him?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Haunting questions

Here, for me, is one of the most haunting and challenging verses in the bible.  It challenges me and my day more as I see the reason for the question lived out in our world.  Here's the verse that is challenging me today,

"When the Son of Man comes, 
will He find faith on the earth?”

I want to be like Caleb

There is a man in the bible who stands out from his peers.  He's one of two men who both left Egypt and entered the promised land.  He and Joshua were the only men who "followed God fully" and his name was Caleb.  As they conquered the promised land he came to Joshua with these words,

“Remember what the Lord said to Moses, the man of God, about you and me when we were at Kadesh-barnea. I was forty years old when Moses, the servant of the Lord, sent me from Kadesh-barnea to explore the land of Canaan. I returned and gave an honest report, but my brothers who went with me frightened the people from entering the Promised Land. For my part, I wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God. So that day Moses solemnly promised me, ‘The land of Canaan on which you were just walking will be your grant of land and that of your descendants forever, because you wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God.’
10 “Now, as you can see, the Lord has kept me alive and well as he promised for all these forty-five years since Moses made this promise—even while Israel wandered in the wilderness. Today I am eighty-five years old. 11 I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then. 12 So give me the hill country that the Lord promised me. You will remember that as scouts we found the descendants of Anak living there in great, walled towns. But if the Lord is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the Lord said.”
13 So Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave Hebron to him as his portion of land. 14 Hebron still belongs to the descendants of Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite because he wholeheartedly followed the Lord, the God of Israel. (Joshua 14)

Caleb did something few have done.  He walked by faith in God's word and didn't waver.  He followed the Lord wholeheartedly.  (I'm sure you noted the three times that was mentioned.)  Caleb claimed those words as the commentary on his life and repeated them often.  
One act of faith against a nation of doubters put him in a unique place of honor. Out of millions who died in the desert Caleb lived on and was one of two old men who entered Israel as they came into the promise land.  How did he do it?  He believed God.

I want to be like him!  When God tells me something in his word I want to believe it, live as if it were true (because it is) and follow the Lord fully.  

There are few like Caleb in our day.  May we be like  him and fully trust God as we live our lives in the midst of a world of doubt.