Friday, April 29, 2011


A friend of mine reminded me of a passage in Jeremiah that got me thinking. He was captivated by the contrast of the passage. Let me share the passage and let's talk about it-

Jer 17:5-8- Thus says the LORD, "Cursed is the man who trusts in mankindAnd makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the LORD. "For he will be like a bush in the desert And will not see when prosperity comes, But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, A land of salt without inhabitant. "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. "For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.

God is sure good at making things clear. He leaves us with no confusion about the lives of those who trust in him and those who don't. What a contrast! God makes it clear how these lives will turn out, doesn't he? To be a "tumbleweed" or a tree with an endless supply of water....let's see...which would be better? Wow, what a contrast. So it's obvious that who you trust in is really important. Trust in one who gives you some stability and life or trust in one who leaves you driven and tossed by every wind.

Sounds like it should be an easy choice, but I'm always surprised by my choices....I often realize that I have trusted in man in one way or another, and I am like that old tumbleweed when I do...unsure, unstable, not attached, not secure, wandering. Trusting in man is an unstable place to stand. I know better, but I do it so easily....that trusting in man thing. Trusting in man, at its best, will leave me dry, brittle, unstable, driven by every wind of emotion, lifeless, temporary.

But what a difference to trust in God...a tree by the stream...deep roots getting leaves...not worried about drought. Now that's stability, security, life. I truly want to be like that tree- stable, strong, alive, productive, enduring.

Lord, help me to trust in the right things. Help me to keep my eyes on you. Help me to trust in you alone. I want to be like that tree by the and alive even in a drought. Make me aware of when I foolishly put my trust in man, and help me quickly deal with that sin. Thanks for being my stream of living water.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Living a present tense life

Mat 6:33 Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Mat 6:34 "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. -THE MESSAGE.

One of the great challenges of life is just the simple task of living in this moment, living a "present tense life." There are two great enemies of a walk with God that try to keep us from walking with God in the "now." One is "the fantasy of what could have been," and the other is "the fear of what might be." Let me address each one of these for a moment.

1. The fantasy of what could have been- We all live our lives looking back to the past or ahead to the future. It's rare that we live in the present tense. One of our enemies is the "fantasy of what could have been." We will often look with a longing for a change because of our present adversities- "If only I had married the other person," or "If only I had finished college," or "If only I hadn't made that horrible mistake" then life would be..... And our thoughts race to alternate present reality because of our dreams of "if only." Dreaming about what could have been can be a wonderful diversion, but it's sin plain and simple. The truth is that there is no "if only I had." There is only what is. Dreaming about an alternate life that would turn out different is a fantasy that brings nothing good to our present situation. It only makes the "now" harder because our fantasy solutions would have completely eliminated our real dilemmas and the need to trust the Lord with our real problems today. So, here is the first sin we often fall into. When you are tempted to visit the land of "if only I had..." make the decision not to go. It's a trip that only brings disappointment to what is your life right now.

2. The fear of what might be- The other problem I see many struggle with is "the fear of what might be." They are experts at worrying about something that hasn't even happened yet. There is no way any of us can see the future, so for us to worry about it before it ever gets here is a clear lack of faith in God to care for our tomorrows. Jesus clearly said, "don't worry about tomorrow." He knew we were tempted to do this, and warned us against it. Fear of what might be often keeps us from walking with God and trusting him RIGHT NOW. We miss the joy of a walk with God in the present tense.
We each have to live a present tense life intentionally. The distractions of fantasy about the past and fear about the future will easily get our attention away from a walk with the living God right now. I mentioned the word “walk” intentionally. It’s the word that the bible uses to talk about our lives of faith. The bible calls it a walk because there are some wonderful present tense elements to a walk that will help us stay focused on the now. Here they are quickly for your consideration- a walk demands a destination, but it can only be done one step at a time, one foot on the path toward the goal, one decision at a time to reach the goal. A walk demands a present tense life. That word, walk, often helps me get back to “now.”

As you go through your day living your life and find the temptation toward fantasy or fear, stop for a moment and ask the Lord, “Lord, where are we right now? What are we working on? Why am I tempted to leave this present tense walk with you?” That quick prayer and awareness of the temptation to thoughts of the impossible will make your present tense life an exciting place to be and will quiet those fantasies and calm those fears. Have a great day.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Fear is a vicious monster. It sprouts wings. It breathes fire. It threatens death and destruction whenever and wherever it appears. None of us are immune to its power. None of us escape its impact in our lives.

Fear has many forms- fear of man, fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of abandonment, fear of war, fear of poverty, of what other will think, and the list goes on. The bible even describes a fear of fear.

I know people who live in Iowa who are afraid of whales. Imagine that. They have never seen a whale nor been to the ocean, but their fears are real.

I've talked to others who are afraid to go out of their homes. They have become prisoners of their own imaginations, housebound because of fear.

I'm sure you could tell me stories of your fears as well. They are part of each of our lives. Fear is one of the results of man's fallen state. In fact, when God shows up after the fall his first question to man, "Where are you?" brought this response, "I hid because I was afraid."

The clinical name for fear is phobia. We now have phobias for everything and there is good reason to be afraid. We are a fearful creature. The human being, both man and woman, struggle with fears their entire life. It affects us mentally, physically and socially. It weaves it's threads through all we are and think.

When fear comes over us it feels like a panic attack, blood rushing to or from our head, heart racing, thoughts confused, it affects everything when it happens. Fear is that dragon that suddenly changes everything. It affects us all. None are immune to its power.

In the bible the topic of fear is addressed often and clearly. The angels have to introduce each visit with man with this caveat, "Fear not...." One of the things I know about fear is that it betrays all we know about God and reality, it that fire breathing dragon...when we least expect it, but it happens no matter how long you have walked with God.

Why this topic? Because fear struck me today. A situation happened that had no reason for fear, but fear rose and my body responded. I thought, how amazing that I would be afraid when I know no reason to fear. In that moment I thought, Why am I afraid? What caused this? Why is fear part of this situation? It made me revisit what I know about God. You see, it's what I know about God that will dispel fear. Fear is a focus on ME, the solution? an intentional focus on God. More about that another time.

The topic of fear is in the bible more than 300 times. Some, to be sure, simply describe a response, but many give us help and direction. Let me mention just one here. I think it's that simple to put this dragon to flight. Here it is,

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety (fear) on him because he cares for you.

There it is. Fear has a solution, it's a big God. IF he is who he says he is (and he is) and IF he cares for me (and he does) THEN I can give him my fears and worries and trust him to take care of me. God is the ultimate dragon slayer. He's been dealing with these things since he made us. He is able and willing to help, so do not be afraid.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Quote of the day

A great quote for the day posted by my friend Tony. It's a wonderful reminder of our task....the task of loving the world as Christ loved us...

"If sinners be dammed, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for." - Charles H. Spurgeon

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The difference a day makes...

The tale of two day

It's the end of a great week of remembering what Jesus did for us....his death, his sacrifice, the resurrection and all that means to us. It's overwhelming if you think about the importance of these events. As I thought about the days around Friday and resurrection day it struck me that there are two days that are in complete contrast to each other.

The first day was Saturday. The day after the cross. It was a sabbath day. A time of rest, but a time of grief for Jesus' followers and probably the worse day of their lives. I can't imagine how they felt on that day as they thought through the last three years. The thoughts had to be about their hopes, their expectations. I'm sure they talked about it all. I can imagine the words, "but Peter, I thought he was the Messiah! How could he die like that? Were we fooled? What do we do now? Where do we go? What will the Jews do to us, we followed him for these last three years. How could the people vote for his crucifixion after he had done so much for them?" The questions had to be overwhelming, the discouragement, the depression must have felt like a dark cloud they couldn't escape.

But then Sunday happened. Jesus rose from the dead. It took nearly the entire day for the events of that morning to sink in. It wasn't until Jesus showed up in person that they finally understood....he was alive! And suddenly, in one day, everything changed.

Then comes the day that, as I thought about it, contrasts Saturday in a most dramatic way. Imagine these same men on Monday! Only one day between Saturday and Monday, but oh what a day that was! That day made all the difference. Imagine these same men on Monday. Smiles all around, giggles here and there, the cloud was gone, I'm sure the grief of Saturday was a distant memory. Now, in only a day, everything had changed. Now, in one day, all of humanity has changed. Hope was alive because Jesus was alive. One man changed everything in just a day....simply because he loved us.

As I think about this I realize this is still true today. The difference in our lives because of Jesus Christ is because, on a day in time he came to life in us. We trusted him and he saved us, forgave us, turned our sorrows into joy. In just a day everything changes and it's all because he loves us.

For me that day was December 8, 1964. It was an evening in church, but it was a day between darkness and light. What a difference a day makes, what a difference Jesus makes as he brings life into each of us as we trust him. What a difference a day makes!

He is Risen!

"Jesus Christ truly claimed He would rise from the dead. Only a small handful of self-deceived men have ever even suggested they might actually rise physically from the dead & their claims were eventually proven false. No one in human history did what Jesus did. He repeatedly & publicly predicted His death & resurrection, not only giving the specific manner of His death, but also the specific day of His resurrection." -John Ankerberg

He is risen! He is risen indeed! Today Christians celebrate an event of history that changed everything. On that early morning more than 2,000 years ago, Jesus rose from the dead.

It was an event that no one expected. It had never happened before or since. It changed everything for the human race. Now, there are two events of history that prove that God loves us- the cross and the empty tomb. Soon he's coming back. Soon we will see him. It's future history, but it's as sure as the fact that he rose from the dead. I can't wait to see him...the one who died for me.

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Quote of the day

"The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the crowning proof of Christianity. If the resurrection did not take place, then Christianity is a false religion. If it did take place, then Christ is God and the Christian faith is absolute truth." -Henry Morris

Saturday's cartoon

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

John 3:16-18 (The Message)

16-18"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Great promises

There are some wonderful promises in the Bible that should be part of our lives. Promises from God give us hope, strength, build our faith and reassure us that God is not done with us yet. Here's one of those promises,

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Those words have been an encouragement in difficult days for millions over the centuries. These are rich words of promise, hope and reassurance from God that he will never stop loving us, but even more wonderful is this...nothing can separate us from his love. We are more than conquerors because God loves us. Victory comes not in battle, but in relationship. Conquest comes for us not in power, but in God's presence. Peace comes because in the midst of anything, any problem, any struggle, any pain, one thing is sure....God loves me.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A high calling

For several days now I've been thinking about a passage that is challenging me to think through its implications both in my own life and in the lives of those who call themselves Christians. Here are the words from Ephesians that have challenged me,

"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;" -Eph. 5:1

I didn't get much further in the passage. That first phrase stopped me. This is such a high calling that most of us simply read over the implications. Stop for a moment and think about those eight words. What would change if that were your passion? How would you make choices with that as your model for life? How would your interaction with others change? What does this mean for your life today?

We all model someone. For most the models for our choices are the "celebrities" of television or politics. We all look to someone to emulate. We all have someone we have chosen as our hero, our mentor, the one we want to be like. It affects our choices. It molds our behavior. We all do it. Who are you imitating? What guides your choices?

The high calling of the Bible is to be imitators of God. For today, let me simply dangle that model in front of you for your consideration. "Be imitators of God, as beloved children." Look to him as your model for life, for choices, for how you interact with those around you. What would change if this were true of your life?

I'm still working on this in my life. I don't want to read further until I've worked out what these eight words mean for me.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wisdom and understanding

Job 28:28 And he said to the human race,
“The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.”

We are in a time when knowledge has increased exponentially, but sadly wisdom and understanding are hard to find. We know more than any generation in human history, but we apply less. Somehow we have disconnected knowledge from application. Somehow we think that what God says will not really apply to us. Somehow wisdom and understanding have declined as knowledge has increased.

The verse I noted is one of my favorites. It's the legend for these two keys words in scripture. In this short verse God defines words we wouldn't understand without his help. Here is the same verse from The Message, "Then he addressed the human race: 'Here it is! Fear-of-the-Lord—that's Wisdom, and Insight means shunning evil.'"

Wisdom is fear of God and the application is understanding, to shun (run from) evil (sin). Wisdom and understanding are knowing and doing. They are tied together. One produces the other. You don't have understanding (the application) without wisdom (the knowing). One, wisdom, causes the other, understanding, to act. Wisdom is the noun and understanding is the verb. Wisdom is fear of God. That's why Paul writes in 1 Corinthians that men in the world do not have the wisdom of God, or you might say that differently, men in the world do not fear God and you see the results in their lives...they live contrary to what God tells us in his word. They lack understanding, they don't run from evil, in fact they embrace it. For a man without God sin is an intimate friend.

Solomon explains this further when he wrote, Prov. 6:32 "Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul." How do we look at all of this? How did Solomon know this? It's clear. Wisdom is a fear of God, a reverence for him that affects your life, your choices. The results of wisdom are seen in a life. If I fear God then my life, my choices change, I live a life of understanding- a life that departs from and even avoids evil and sin. If I choose to sin, as Solomon describes, it's clear I have no understanding (a proper response to wisdom) and so his implication is that this man doesn't have wisdom either. No understanding, no wisdom. You can see by the choices a person makes if there is a real fear of God in their life.

My work as a pastor often deals with the choices people make and their results. Many come to me, as they would to an emergency room, hoping to prevent "death" after they have already made bad choices. I wish I could start much earlier and talk about wisdom and understanding, but many of my visits are with people who are now experiencing the results of living a life without wisdom and understanding. They come to me in an attempt to prevent the results of their choices. Paul talked about the results of bad choices when he wrote, "For the wages of sin is death." There is a payday for having things our way.

In a culture that deifies knowledge I would love to see a passion for wisdom
and it's application, understanding, become once more an important part of the Christian life. It would dramatically change the choices we make if a healthy fear of God was once more part of the Christian life.

Saturday's cartoon

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Big History

I just watched a video by David Christian called "Big History" on T.E.D. It was fascinating. He began with a video to show how impossible, improbable it is to go from chaos to order and then proceeds for 15 minutes to whimsically declare that's exactly how the universe came to be. With no reason or real defense he described how the universe just suddenly happened, and how order began.

If you were listening closely you had to wonder, who could possibly believe any of this? With no apology or embarrassment he declared evolutionary events of the last 13 billion years as if they had really happened. I was amazed, humored and honestly surprised anyone stayed through the whole speech, but they did. Maybe what kept everyone distracted were the beautiful PowerPoint slides he used. Maybe it was his British accent, but whatever kept the crowd enthralled with his speech simply missed me. I could not believe he could make such bold statement in complete contradiction to his opening statement and yet declare it all with great flair and confidence.

Maybe that's the secret....maybe all you need is a British accent, a few credentials and a boldness to declare the impossible. In fact, that's exactly what David did. Without evidence or proof he described how the Universe came to be. As he spoke my thoughts raced, "how does he know that? where's the proof? that's a bold statement you can't prove!" On and on I debated him in my mind as he spoke. Surely even a simple man like me could see through this silliness, why do so many buy into this without question or rational thought?

It's clear, after listening to David's speech, that to believe in evolution takes more faith that it does to believe in the Bible. Yes, I said it, but just to make sure I'm clear let me repeat it, it takes more faith to believe in order coming from disorder, something coming from nothing, complexity coming from simplicity, all breaking the second law of thermodynamics than it does to believe in the Bible and the God who says very clearly and simply, "I made all of this!"

After watching David I'm more convinced than ever that this is a faith discussion, not a knowledge discussion. I wonder if they realize that?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Easter according to Oliver

My friend, Bill shared this in an e-mail this morning. It's a description of Easter from his 4 year old grandson. I don't think I've heard it explained any better,

Oliver: "This is death (holds up fist) and this (other fist) is Jesus." (Slams fists together.) "Jesus beat death. God won. Death is dead and death will stay dead forever! God can give you a new body."

Wow. From a just-turned-4-year old. And this, folks, is what Easter is really all about! --Wendy (his mom)

Monday, April 11, 2011

A smile for the day

The most important thing

I just finished teaching through the first three chapters of Ephesians and as we finished chapter three we came to Paul's closing prayer for the first three chapters. After some wonderful theology Paul's prayer focuses on one thing- that they would understand how much God loves them.

Honestly, it doesn't seem to fit, but what Paul knew was that if you understand the love of God then everything else fits very nicely, thank you. It's God's love that brings all the theology of this book into sharp focus and makes faith possible in the midst of questions we can't answer. If we could understand the love of God, even a little, it would buffer the pains and arrows of life. It's that important. In fact, it's the most important thing.

The atheist will argue with you contending that if God is all powerful and all good we have a problem. From those two parts of God's nature they try to refute God's existence, but they are focused on the wrong things. The key thing they must address...the key thing we each must address is the love of God. Does he love us? If so, if there is evidence for God's love and his resolution of our problem, then I can endure the pains and woes of the difficult days because I know I have a wonderful God who is madly in love with me. It is the most important thing.

So, Paul concludes three amazing chapters with this prayer, "And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

To know that God loves you is the most important thing....and he does....he proved it at the cross.

A defense of the faith

This morning, as I read Paul's defense before king Agrippa in Acts 26, I came to Paul's words as he quoted Jesus on the day of his conversion. Here is Paul's defense based on Jesus' words,

‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

The contrast between life and death, light and darkness couldn't be any clearer. Jesus tells Paul that the condition of mankind is one or the other. There isn't a third option. Here is the contrast from Jesus' words to Paul,

Man is either, -blind or seeing
-in darkness or in the light
-under the power of Satan
or under the power of God
-unforgiven or forgiven
-no place with God's people
or having a place among the saints

We all live in one of the two kingdoms. What a contrast. Two kingdoms, two rulers, two people groups. In Satan's kingdom is blindness, darkness, his rule in the lives of his people, sin unresolved and no place with God's people. It's not a pretty picture, not a kingdom anyone would claim with gladness, not a ruler who is kind or gracious.

Then, in the other kingdom ruled by God is sight, light, his loving rule in the lives of his people, forgiveness of every sin, a place with the saints. The choices are clear.

We all begin in the kingdom of Satan, blind, in darkness and unable to see where we are going, ruled by a wicked master, caring about the weight of sin and outside of God's family, but when anyone trusts Christ all of that changes.

That's Paul's defense before Agrippa, "I was in the kingdom of Satan but have now come into God's kingdom and I want everyone to join me." In the story of this encounter Agrippa says, "In a short time you would make me a Christian too!" And Paul replies, "yes, and everyone else as well."

Why wouldn't we want those we love to find sight, light, forgiveness, a new loving ruler and a wonderful family? Paul's defense of the Christian faith is based on the contrast between two kingdoms. Who wouldn't want to be part of God's kingdom? Who wouldn't want light, sight, forgiveness and life? When the choices are this clear it makes a discussion about Christianity a very simple one....which kingdom do you want to be part of?

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Today is baby dedication day at our church. It's a tradition that I really like. To see these new lives committed to the Lord is a real blessing to me. What a commitment by the parents to make these babies their primary mission field. It's a great blessing and raise children and pray for them as well that they would know Christ and pursue him. In the times we live in it's a challenging task, but what a joy to see these sweet babies coming to faith and growing into men and women who seek and know God. I can't wait to see what God does with the babies committed to him today.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


The words of a commentary come to mind this morning as I start my day, "The best word to describe someone who has not trusted Christ as savior is 'without.'" It's part of a commentary on the book of Ephesians. As those words came to me early this morning I thought, what would be on the list of the things that someone would be without? What is the man or woman missing if they don't trust Christ?

The world would say that if you become a Christian "you will really miss out." The implication is that there is a lot of good sinning to be had and if you become one of those Christians you can't "have fun." But, I wonder, what would be on the list of the things a person without Christ would be without. Here's a few as I think about this,

1. without hope
2. without a promise
3. without a future
4. without God
5. without peace
6. without joy
7. without direction

I'm working on the list, but those few come to mind in a moment of typing. It strikes me that if you are without Christ you are without a future, without direction, without a promise, without God in the world. Instead of "missing out on the fun" the Christian is really the most blessed of people because they are no longer "without."

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


The unseen hand

This morning, as I read Jesus' prayer in John 17, I came to this verse....a verse I had never really seen before. It's always amazing to me to see new things in a book I've read hundreds of times, but each time I discover something I never saw before. I know that's the work of God. At the right time, just when I need it, he shows me something new to help me in my walk. I'm sure we miss a lot as we read the bible because the deep insights that are hidden in the words we read just aren't needed right now. Then, just when you need them, you see something new. Here's my "something new" for today:

"When I was with them, I WAS KEEPING THEM in Your name which you have given Me; and I GUARDED THEM and not one of them perished..." John 17:12

It strikes me that Jesus did his best defensive work on his knees. He prayed for these men. He appealed to the sovereign of the universe and kept them, guarded them even when they had no sense of threat or trouble. Kept and guarded. What interesting words to use. Kept from what? Guarded from what? What did Jesus know that these 12 did not? What was happening that they were completely oblivious to?

I realize this is still happening. Jesus is still praying to the father, interceding for us, keeping and guarding us from dangers and problems we are completely unaware of. Kept and guarded, what a wonderful reality for the believer today. As we walk through each day there is a sovereign God walking with us, protecting us, guarding us, accomplishing his perfect will in our lives. I look forward to the day when I discover all that he has done in my life to keep and guard me from the enemy, from the world, from my own flesh. It will be another opportunity to praise him for his wonderful love as we see all that he has done for us. Kept and blessed we are.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Big prayers

I'm in the middle of Ephesians 3 today as I prepare for my next class in the book of Ephesians. This is the end of the doctrine of the book and Paul concludes with an amazing (I know, I use that word a lot) prayer. I think Paul wrote down some of the best prayers ever prayed by anyone. I wish I could have heard him pray out loud. What must that have been like? How did his prayer life change as he grew in faith? I think this prayer tells us a lot about what he knew about God.

In this prayer, at the end of chapter 3, Paul begins with these words, "I bow my knees before the Father," This is not the usual posture of prayer for a Jew. They prayed standing, so to kneel is a sign of worship, of submission, of humility, it's an obvious surrender to the Lord. What a beautiful picture this paints. I can imagine Paul, on his knees, praying for the church he had invested so much in. He knew that without God's work in their midst all his efforts were in vain. He surrendered to God's ability to take care of them and then he tells them what he's been praying. Paul prays that these believers would understand God's love for them. It's a big prayer, it would take a big God to answer it, the answer would change any believer's life.

Imagine, if you can, how different your life would be if you really knew how much God loves you, if you really understood it? That's Paul's big prayer- that these believers would really know how much God loves them. This is his concluding prayer after three chapters of doctrine...."I pray you will know how much God loves you." He could have prayed for anything for them and he prays for them to know the love of God? It's clear Paul knew something we don't. He knew the love of God personally and it had changed his life. I wonder, if we prayed this prayer for each other, what a difference it would make in our lives? I think I'll try it....