Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Our culture is a strange one.  A culture that aspires to be known, to be acknowledged.  I think it's a human condition because we all want to be known, to be "somebody" but how hard it is for us to be unknown, to be a nobody to the world.  It's as if we have failed if we are not known, if we aren't "somebody."

And yet, it's most wonderful to be off the public radar, to be unknown.  This morning I read these words and thought about the unknown ones and what is awaiting them.

2 Cor. 8:18 We are also sending another brother with Titus. All the churches praise him as a preacher of the Good News. 19 He was appointed by the churches to accompany us as we take the offering to Jerusalem—a service that glorifies the Lord and shows our eagerness to help.

As I read those words it was amazing to me that in their midst was a man well known to the churches, praised by Paul and gifted in the work of God, but his name is not mentioned.  We have no idea who he is!  Paul just calls him "another brother", one who "all the churches praise".  He's unknown to us. 

I'm sure there was a reason Paul didn't mention his name, but he mentioned everyone else in his circles by name why leave this great man of the church unnamed? 

I wonder if we realize it's not important that others know who we are and what we have done, what we have sacrificed for God.  In our culture we all want our praise and glory now, but how wonderful it is to be unknown, uncelebrated by the world around us.....because then, when God highlights who we are and what we have done we will enjoy his rewards.

In the passage I quoted above there follows another unnamed man who would also be involved in the work.  How wonderful it is to be serving God and unknown to the world.  It gives us the promise of one day being known and acknowledged by the only one that matters....our audience of one.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The worst sinner!

There is a humorous "debate" on another site about who is the worst sinner.  I'm humored that it is a debate at all.

When a man knows his own heart in the face of God's holiness we would each honestly say, "I am the worst of all sinners!"  It's a title we would each claim in the light of God's presence.  How wonderful is his grace that he would love one like me!

Ironically there are many who would tell you they will get into heaven because of their good deeds or personal sacrifice, but if they knew the holiness of God and understood their own hearts they would gasp in shock at how sinful they really are.

No one will get into heaven because they are good enough. Not one!  The truth is that we are each a life of filthy deeds and evil thoughts selfishly trying to get what we want even if it hurts someone else.  The true nature of man is worse than we could ever imagine.

And yet....God loves this sad mass of humanity and has provided a wonderful solution in the cross of Christ.  It's the only solution because we are each so bad that nothing else will meet the need.

Paul wrote these words in Ephesians,

Eph. 2:4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Who's the worst sinner?  I AM!  And thanks be to God he has provided a way for me through his wonderful grace.  

One day I will see him and he may ask, "why should I let you into my heaven?" and I must honestly answer, "you shouldn't, but because of what Christ has done and my faith in him I am your child."  

In a world of evil all around there is a heart that is more evil than them all....it's mine...but thanks be to God who has forgiven me everything and made me his child because of what Jesus has done.

Amazing grace!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Why do we think that trials are not part of God's good and kind plan for 
our lives?

Someone will do it

Don't you hate it when you see yourself in the actions of one of the "bad guys" of the bible?  Jesus tells parables that cut across cultural lines, nationality and time.  It's these parables and stories that cut to the heart of our actions and lives.

This morning I woke at 3am.  I couldn't sleep any longer.  I woke praying for a widow in need that I had just talked with hours before.  I couldn't help her with her needs, but I wasn't comfortable with that as the end of the story.  It's uncomfortable seeing yourself as one of the bad guys in the parables as I just walk by a need, a person lying by the side of the road.

But you would reply, and so do I, "we can't help everyone" and that's true....and yet, when you walk by a need do you think, "someone will do it"?  This morning I realize that I'm someone.  I don't want to be the priest who just walks by on the other side of the road, but what can I do?  When needs are all around, when people are crying for help, what can I do?  What should I do?

The Good Samaritan felt compassion and it moved him to action.  He used what he had and met the need as best he could.  Can I do less?  To just walk by and pacify my conscience with the thought, "Someone will do it...."  simply won't satisfy this morning, so I am seeking God's provision for one by the side of the road......

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Psalm 138:8The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;

Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting;

Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

Scripture gives me great hope because it's clear that I'm not done yet.  When I look at who I am after all these years I can easily admit I'm not making much progress, not growing as I wish, not the man I wanted to be....but I'm not the potter....I'm the clay.

I'm a work in progress and the potter will not stop until his work of art is complete.  He has in mind what he wants this piece of clay to look like.  I have no idea what this work of art is to look like....I'm still being molded, but one day he will finish with a smile and declare that his work of art is finished.  I'm that work of art!  But I'm still on the wheel, still being molded, still finding lumps that the potter must work out so the fire will not crack me.  I'm still being formed into the masterpiece the master plans to make.

What thrills me about this little verse in Psalms is that God will not give up on this little piece of clay until his masterpiece is done!  I might not look like much yet, but just wait....just wait till the potter is done....I will be amazing!

Paul writes about this in Ephesians 2 when he says, 

" For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."  

How exciting....not only am I a masterpiece, but I'm a masterpiece with a purpose!  I have things to do that only this little piece of clay, this masterpiece of the potter, can do.  

"The Lord will accomplish what concerns me." In other words he won't quit working in my life until he has finished his masterpiece and signed his work.  I love that artists sign their work.  They want the world to know who made it.  They are proud of what they accomplished.  And like the artists of the world, God says one day he will write his name on me....a finished masterpiece designed by the creator of the universe with works for me to do.  

I'm so encouraged that the great potter plans to make a masterpiece and won't stop until it's done, until I'm done.  I can't wait to be that finished product....that masterpiece that glorifies Him....and even now I pray that he will be glorified in my life....even while I'm still a work in progress.  

God's working in my life, in your life.  Celebrate that today because one day we will say, as we look at our lives and what God has done, "God, you made me a masterpiece!  Thank you!"


I wanted to take a moment and offer these posts to those who would like to use them.  You are welcome to copy any of my posts and use them to encourage others.  The only thing I ask is that you leave them as they were written and include an author credit and link here.  Other than that copy away!

Saturday, September 13, 2014


I don't know if you have ever felt it, that feeling of complete and total failure.  It's one of the worst feelings I have ever experienced. 

Many struggle with it.  Jobs lost, marriages ruined, relationships destroyed, children alienated.  All of these make us aware of our weakness and failure to do those things well, to be a success at something...at anything. 

There is a partner to failure, it's depression.  It may be, at times, that the depression arrives first and failures are then unavoidable, but that's just a thought I've been dwelling on for a while.  I've noticed as well that I find myself feeling an overwhelming sense of failure when there is really nothing wrong at all.  It's a terrible cloud, but one that plagues us all at times if we are honest.

We each struggle with failure.  We don't think we are pretty enough, happy enough, successful enough, good enough, that we don't have enough friends, enough money, that we don't do anything "important".  On the list goes, but in the midst of whatever we do many of us feel the tug of failure pulling us down constantly whispering in our ears..."you're not good enough, you won't make it, you don't fit in, you won't get that job."

Knowing that this cloud hangs over us all at times makes it clear why we so desperately need God.  Our expectations and goals are far above our abilities and so we live with the high jump bar at 20' knowing the highest we have ever jumped is 5'.  Failure is sure. Doom is near.

At least that's the way it feels.

Then comes Jesus to deal with all of this in the gospels.   In those amazing encounters with failures he embraces them, loves them, forgives them.  He tells them he really likes them!  He loved eating with "sinners" and they loved him.  Why?  Because as bad as the world considered them to be and as bad as they felt about themselves there was one person who loved them and really liked them....Jesus.

The rich young ruler, the woman caught in adultery, the leper begging for help, the tax collectors, the foreign mother with a sick child and so many more.  All of them, if they could tell us their stories, would admit they felt like failures, but there was one who didn't see them that way.  He really loved them....even in their mess.  He enjoyed their company...even when the "religious people" wouldn't even look at them.

Jesus loves failures because failures know they need Jesus!  

I'm really glad that the story of Jesus is the story of God loving broken, struggling, failing people.  People like you and me.

Here's what God says about people like us, the failures of the world,

1 Cor. 1:26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. 27 Instead, God chose those the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose people that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.28 God chose the ones who are despised by the world, some of us considered as nothing at all, and used us all to bring to nothing people the world considers important. 29 As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.30 God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. 31 Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”

So, if you find yourself struggling with self-doubt, the cloud of failure, failing at everything, failing at anything....know there is a God who loves people like you and me.  Isn't that great?

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Update on a crazy life

Once more I find life capturing every moment.  I am sorry I have not been here in a week.  It's often best to refrain from writing when you have nothing to say and that has been my situation of late.  I will be back.....life has simply kept me wrapped in "busy" and I haven't had time for even a moment of silence and contemplation.  Perhaps today I can escape for a bit and recapture my time with God.  Thanks for your patience.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

They will know....

In the book of Ezekiel there is one theme.  It repeats itself over and over again.  In the midst of captivity, at a time when the Jewish people are scattered, when all hope of a future seems lost this theme is repeated more than 60 times in this book....it's the passion of God.

"They will know that I am Lord" is the resounding words of God to the prophet.  He repeats them over and over with a clarity you can't miss.  God wants his people, all people to know that HE is Lord.  

When men declare that evidence for God is minimal at best God declares that one day all men will know that he is Lord of heaven and earth.  It's his desire for each one of us to know him.  

I've often heard the argument, "but what about the African who has never heard?"  God will make sure he hears.  Don't worry about him, but realize you have heard...now what are you going to do?

They will know that I am Lord.

One day everyone will know that the God of the bible is Lord of heaven and earth, creator of the earth and heavens, savior of whoever will come.  One day we all will know.  

Monday, September 01, 2014

A world without God

If there is no God then life is a tragedy lived by madmen.

Quote of the day

"The way we are with each other is the truest test of our faith. How I treat a brother or sister from day to day, how I react to the sin-scarred wino on the street, how I respond to interruptions from people I dislike, how I deal with normal people in their their normal confusion on a normal day may be a better indication of my reverence for life than the antiabortion sticker on the bumper of my car." -Brennan Manning

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