Thursday, September 1, 2011

2 Peter 1:2-11

2 Peter 1:2-11

2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Fruitful Growth in the Faith

5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ,

This is your first response to the enemy, to the flesh, to temptation. You have been crucified WITH Christ. An interesting word, “with”. To have been crucified with Christ is to have put to death your flesh, your will, to have placed on the cross your desires, your agenda, your ideas, your past, your sins, your failures, everything that has to do with you has been placed on the cross and crucified, it was left there, nailed, drained of life, it was placed on Christ who “became sin” so now why do you toil with it as if it were still living, if you indeed crucified it. It is dead and just as Christ declared on the cross so declare every morning before battle, “it is finished”

It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me,

It is important to remember now who it is that loves you and reigns supreme. Remember that no heart is so scarred, so meddled with, so hard that Christ can not enter into it and revive it. There is no person so dirty on the inside who Christ can’t live in. Don’t ever cast yourself so short of grace as if you are the exception to the rule that Christ died for sinners. If Christ died for sinners, then you being a sinner have someone in your place. Stand up and “stand your ground” It is yours after all isn’t it? It already belongs to you! Away with you Satan, accuser, deceiver, liar, for you do not wage war against a son of man but against THE Son of Man. You were defeated before you even breathed your first breath of pride. Away with you! Your place is not in my heart, nor in my mind, but under my foot!

And the life which I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God

All decisions, all things done, all works are by faith. We “live by faith not sight” and as a result we can be assured that those things which Christ has told us are “Yes and Amen” Therefore, “be strong and courageous” always remembering that “The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing…” Remember that “whom the Son sets free, is free indeed” You don’t need to continue worrying or wondering if God is with you, He is with You and whatever promise He has made you, rest assured, while your heart may fail you, while your thoughts may cripple you, while your circumstance may say otherwise, know that He has already done it. “Do not think it strange” when people put you down, call you a fool or tell you your course of action, your way of being, your ideas are faulty and at best shallow. Remember the previous sentence, they are not yours, but His.

Who loved me and gave Himself for me.

The point at which we so often fail is remembering the place from which we receive our pardon, our victory, our faith, our stance. In my opinion this point should come first and it interesting that Paul mentions this, after all, he writing to the church at Galatia which at this point was losing sight of the grace of the gospel and being caught up in some other gospel based on the law and works. How often we base our stance with God on how we feel or how we are doing. Notice the verbs used, in the greek, these verbs are in a tense that imply an individed event, a one step process. Notice also no verb is used to apply to anything on our end. We are mentioned merely as the one on the receiving end of that which is being performed. It was God who loved, it was God who gave. The enemy comes and gives us some definition of what a Christian should look like, shows us how we don’t measure up and then proceeds to destroy us. You forget, just like me, that when God looks at us, He sees His Son. So take heart, the enemy is right, you do fall short and you are not the “perfect Christian” he says you should be, however, Christ lived the perfect life, and as far as God is concerned, we have “become His righteousness”

Because you say that I am a sinner, I will be righteous and saved... I fly to Christ who has given himself for my sins. Therefore, Satan, you will not prevail against me when you try to terrify me by telling me how great my sins are, on the contrary, when you say I am a sinner, you give me armor and a weapon against yourself...for Christ died for sinners... You do not terrify me but comfort me immeasurably. - Martin Luther

The article of justification must be sounded in our ears incessantly because the frailty of our flesh will not permit us to take hold of it perfectly - Martin Luther

Friday, August 19, 2011

Look Up, Not In...

2 Chron 14:11 And Asa cried out to the LORD his God, and said, “LORD, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O LORD our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O LORD, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!”

You ever felt like everything was against you. As though right when you go and do the right thing, or live out your Christianity the right way that some how, the attacks get worse, the discouragement becomes heavier, your lack becomes more apparent, name it and it comes just when you think all is well.

The same thing happened to King Asa in 2 Chron 14. He had just finished removing all the idols from Judah, destroyed all the garbage Judah was involved in and as the bible puts it “did what was good in the sight of the Lord”. In verse 7 we read that Asa goes and builds fortified cities because He sought after the Lord. It goes on to say that whatever he built prospered BECAUSE he followed after the Lord and sought His face and His face alone.

Interestingly enough, not a few verses later, He is attacked. How often this is true for us. Just when we start getting things together, just when we begin changing our attitude, just when our hearts shift, just when we begin to love, just when…..we get attacked. But I love Asa’s mindset and I think it is something we should be cognizant of in the midst of all our battles. We don’t struggle as the world struggles, because our battle is fought from a different place. We fight from victory, not for it and as Eph 6:14 says it (NLT) “Stand YOUR ground,” which is to say, the ground belongs to you and like Asa, we can declare “You are God, do not let man prevail against YOU!” Did you see it? He says, “prevail against You” as in, God, this battle is more than my petty issues, God this fight is more than about my own personal victories, this battle is about You, because what good are my victories if they don’t come from You?

How often we get so discouraged by our attitude, our hearts, our circumstances, our lack, our sin, our past, our our our….we forget who it is we belong to and that our lives are in fact, “not our own”. We were “bought at a price”.

So before you go to lift up the white flag of defeat, why not lift up the red flag of victory, the victory you have in and by His blood. Don’t get so caught up in your self that you lose sight of Him.

“Self-awareness is not sin, and it can be produced by nervous emotions or by suddenly being dropped into a totally new set of circumstances. Yet it is never God’s will that we should be anything less than absolutely complete in Him…If we will come to Him, asking Him to produce Christ-awareness in us, He will always do it, until we fully learn to abide in Him.” – Chambers

For every one look we look at ourselves, we should look ten times at Jesus – R. McCheyne

Monday, August 8, 2011


Psalm 130:4 But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.

I think of all the verses I have ever read on the fear of the Lord, this is by far the most interesting one and should, at minimum, make you really reconsider what most people believe the fear of the Lord to be. Reading verse 3 brings even more light on this and really makes you think about what is actually meant by the word fear.

Cleary the fear in this case is not the horror film fear we first think of, nor is it the decision making fear others may be thinking. No, this fear brings with it wisdom (Prov 1:7) because after all, it is the kindness of God which should lead us to repentance, lead us to loving Him more and should cause us to press on in this journey we call life.

I won’t say much else, except that I really want you to sit and ponder verse 3 and 4 in light of what you might think of the “fear of the Lord” and see if your definition matches to what is being conveyed in this is beautiful really...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Why Behind the What

Phil 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing…”

Most know the rest of the verse, but a few days ago for the first time someone put it in context for me. For me, being the mathematics guy I am, I have always been taught to look for the “why behind the what.” For me it is often hard to accept something without first knowing why. A bad thing for me as a Christian as there are moments where God gives instructions and then the months that follow are filled with every single question, concern, fear and worry under the sun.

But here in Phil 4:6 Paul tells us to be anxious for nothing. Great! Why? What is it that should cause us to not be anxious, what fact, what constant, on what ground are we to stand in order that we won’t be anxious. The answer is found in verse 5. It is obvious really, but often times we need His Spirit to tell us again and again. It is the process of guarding our minds and washing ourselves daily of the sin of worry and anxiety. Here is Phil 4:5b-6 in the ESV:

Phil 4:5b-6 The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Why shouldn’t you be anxious? Because the Lord is at hand. God has brought you to this place to grow you, to teach you, to show you, to give you the maturity you have longed for. Don’t despise this day of small things. Be anxious for nothing, the Lord is at hand, or the way I like to say it to myself “Chris, the Lord is at hand, therefore, be anxious for nothing!” Or as David so eloquently puts it, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

“We tend to think that a little anxiety and worry are simply an indication of how wise we really are, yet it is actually a much better indication of just how wicked we are. Fretting rises from our determination to have our own way. Our Lord never worried and was never anxious, because His purpose was never to accomplish His own plans but to fulfill God’s plans. Fretting is wickedness for a child of God. Have you been propping up that foolish soul of yours with the idea that your circumstances are too much for God to handle?.... Deliberately tell God that you will not fret about whatever concerns you. All our fretting and worrying is caused by planning without God.” – Chambers

Always factor God into your equation. “Be strong and courageous,” Why God? “Because the Lord your God is with you” (Jos 1:9) Oh, that’s why…

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


1 Chron 14:11 So they went up to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there. Then David said, “God has broken through my enemies by my hand like a breakthrough of water.” Therefore they called the name of that place Baal Perazim.

Medical breakthroughs are something we hear about often today. There is some disease, some ailment which is plaguing us as human beings and then suddenly, after much research and work, we find the cure, we get some glimpse of light, and for the first time we are no longer subject to the confusion, the problems, the pain caused by the disease.

The same is true of us spiritually. There are moments in our walk where things can seem to get troubling. We have a big decision to make and we want God to speak to us, we are suffering from some trial and we want God to save us, we are dealing with past sin and we want God to restore us, but sometimes, we have to wait.

Because I dislike the idea of simply reading one verse, in the above section of scripture, David is anointed king, finally, after so many years of running from Saul. The moment he is anointed king, his enemies the Philistines waste no time in attacking him. Isn’t that how it is for us at times? Just when things begin looking greener, just when things start to pick up again, we are attacked. An old enemy of ours comes creeping into our house and begins mounting up an assault against us. An old habit, an old attitude, an old thought, a past sin, a trial, an illness, something comes to trip us up.

All of us have Philistines in our lives. The word Philistine comes from the Hebrew word for “foreigner.” Though for some of us, our Philistines are anything but foreign to us, they themselves are, because these are spirits, habits, characters and things foreign to the character, spirit, promises and things of the living God in us.

What I love most about this section of scripture is first the words David uses to describe his victory, and second the tools by which he achieved that victory. His words “broken through, like a breakthrough of water” immediately reminds me of the victory the children of Israel had when they crossed the Jordan River back in Joshua 3. There they were, on the brink of entering into the Promised Land, all that separated them was the Jordan River. God made a promise to them and because of their faith to take that first step and follow His presence, He broke through the Jordan and they crossed. God did the same thing here for David. He told David that the victory belonged to him and David responds accordingly, by going out and fighting.

Secondly, God’s tool was David. God didn’t go out and get someone else to do the job for David, but instead, used David. Why? Because God is a personal God, and rather than rid us of our problems for us all the time, their will be moments where we will have to exercise that patience James speaks of in 1:2-4. It is this patience that builds in us character, maturity and trust in God.

So often, we ask God for faith, “Oh Lord increase my faith” and we expect it to rain on us from heaven, while this can happen, it isn’t always the case. There are moments where God will simply ask you to trust Him and go out and fight yourself. He wants you to exercise your faith. That in no way means you are alone (Jos 1:9), it just means God wants to build in you something beautiful. He promises you His Holy Spirit, so it isn't like He is sending you out defeneless. Remember that He also provides us with armor (Eph 6:10-20). Put it on every morning. The Philistines never stopped attacking Israel, and your enemy won't relent.

So what is it for you today? Doubt? Fear? Depression? Uncertainty? Anxiety? Which Philistine is it for you? Fight back. Claim God’s promises, preach the gospel to yourself. Learn to do what David would often do in the Psalms, learn to talk to yourself. “Why are you cast down, o my soul, put your hope in God.” Talk to yourself, remind yourself of what God has said to you and be still, victory is already yours in Christ.

Above all, He loves you.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Don't be afraid...

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Blessings can be a beautiful thing, however, how often are we willing to accept them and how often is it we are willing to accept the responsibilities that come with them. So often it is easy for us to be excited about a new job, however, hate the thought of having to work and be their all day, so often we get excited about marriage, however, cringe at the thought of having to work at it, fight, or go through hard times. We’ll get excited about the newness and the novelty of something, however, when the time comes to jump into it, we cringe, we freeze up. Thoughts of past failures begin to creep in, the dreaded “what if” syndrome starts and what originally started as the most beautiful thing is now the very thing that is plaguing you. Or is it?

Is it the blessing or is it you? So often we like to shift blame and place our problems on the shoulders of something or someone else when in reality it is us. We are the issue. "if only my boss wasn't so nasty, if only my spouse wasn't so bitter, if only if only if only...". I make those statements on a daily basis and you know what I have found, doors swing both ways and we tend to place our problems on others rather than on our God.

God so often must remind us that He is with us. He promises to be with us wherever we go. He goes before us. It sounds rudimentary in our Christian walk but I think if there is something we often forget it is His presence. Difficulties strike and we wonder where He is, the what ifs begin to hit and we wonder why He would allow us to struggle and deal with those things. "God why would you set me up for failure?". I bet the children of Israel thought that to themselves at plenty of times. When reading through the story of their entrance into the promised land, I guess they forgot something Joshua had spoken back in Numbers 14:8, "if the Lord delights in us, He will bring us to AND give us this land." Notice is doesn't say bring us to and walk away. It says bring us to and give us, meaning, "He who begun a good work is faithful to complete it" which means God will keep His end, will you keep yours? We are called to trust, we are called to look unto Him, we are called to look past the what ifs, to see beyond the difficulties that lay ahead and remember the promised presence. Sometimes God does seem to be silent, but that's because He is going before us.

Sometimes, their will be a space between you and Him like their was in Joshua 3:4, but don't think He isn't with you. Don't think He forgot what He said in Joshua 1:9. The space is intended so that you can see that it is God who goes before you, the space is intended so that you can exercise the faith you have for so long asked God to increase. The space is meant to mature you and the space is meant to give you that which you really want, assurance. Assurance isn't something that rains down from heaven and gives us the goosebumps, assurance is experienced when we have that space between us and God and He shows up. When He turns around and says, "Ok, take a step into the water, I'm about to make the way and take you in a direction you have never been before". Maybe it is a new relationship, a new job, a new church, a new state, a new school. Whatever the case, You are promised His presence and though you may fear the worse case, don't ever think He brought you to this place for you to die. He did it because He has something in mind for you and all you need is a strand of faith.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

But God!

"What the heck? How could someone cut me off in traffic again? Me?! The nerve of them to do such a thing and to me, I am in such a hurry!" How often have I felt that way? I can't begin to tell you. The worst part of it is that it isn't just limited to morning traffic. I can be insulted or given a sarcastic jab from someone and respond as though I were majorly offended. Why is that? Simple answer is most obviously pride. It is the same thing that causes me to feel cut when someone else gets what I look to as an undeserved position, an undeserved relationship, and undeserved job. "When will it be my turn God? When will I get mine?" It's funny how often we cry those words out in our hearts. "But God! I don't want to wait that long! But God why doesn't this just go away! Why can't I just, but God, but God!" But God? I thought those two words when brought together were beautiful.

But God is one of my favorite phrases found in the bible, "But God showed up, but God wrecked house (as taken from the CLT [Chris Living Translation]), but God saved, but God restored." Sounds great coming from God, but typically coming from us, it is anything but great. Often it is some pride centered statement of discontent toward the God who should be sufficient enough for us. What I think we need is an honest reality check. We need a reality check. We need what David had in 1 Sam 26.

David was being pursued by Saul and in short had every right to kill Saul in order that he might take his rightful place as king, however, he didn't. Reading through the life of David I continued asking myself how it was David maintained such an attitude. To see Saul as "The LORD's annointed" (1 Sam 26:9) I am sure was part of it, but that is only the half of it. I think this view of Saul came first from how it was David esteemed himself, something which becomes evident to us in 1 Sam 26:20b

"For the king of Israel has come out to seek a flea, as when one hunts a partridge in the mountains"

Interesting comparison we have: a flea and a partridge. I don't think you need an explanation for what a flea is, however, a partidge is a bird whose wings are so small that when hunted, try as they might, they never can get off the ground and as a result are harmless. That is how David saw himself and that the ground from which his character grew, humility. David did what Paul speaks of in Phil 2:3 "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself."

It wasn't David's resolve or self-worth that allowed him to carry such a humble character, it was David's view of himself. It was the fact that David had come to terms with the grace God had given him. David wasn't looking to be king, David didn't even really understand what the whole thing was all about. Simply put, David saw himself as a lowly shepherd whose aim was to put a smile on the God he served, nothing else.

How often are we offended by others and tend to put our schedules, our agendas, our ideas, our thoughts, our cards out first and tend to leave others in the dust. This is something I have learned in my own relationships and am continuing to learn, I am not who I think I am. I am not the spiritual guru with all the answers, I am not the guy who trusts God all day every day, I am not the smartest man in the room and I am not the guy who "has it all together." I am the guy who everyday has to be reminded God loves him and that nothing can separate him from God's love. I need his grace daily, and the more I read, pray, serve and fellowship, the more I come to terms with the fact that I am the worst person I know.

Don't stop there though. Remember that their is a Romans 8 in the bible and that we are told there is now therefore no condemnation, so don't beat yourself up about it, just change it and understand that it is not by your strength that you'll do it, but by His Spirit. Humility does not come naturally, however, Christ's nature in us is centered around lowliness of mind, we just have to surrender...

"Your spiritual poverty enables you to enter the world of the other, even when you cannot identify with the world-e.g., the drug culture, the gay world. The poor in spirit are the most nonjudgmental of peoples; they get along well with sinners." - Brennan Manning

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Luke 15:18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’

I was listening to an amazing teaching this morning and the speaker made mention of the above story, specifically the son’s approach to the father. We are all very well familiar with the story, however, the insight he gave to it rocked my very core.

“Seek first the kingdom of God and all His righteousness” is a verse often quoted by many a Christian, however, the son in the parable of the two sons takes this statement to another level. Notice something about his approach to the father, ‘make me like one of your hired servants.’ He didn’t ask for comfort, riches, or even happiness, he simply asked for acceptance, the acceptance of his own father, to be but a servant like all the other slaves in his fathers household, specifically, a hired servant, the least of these in his father’s household, that was the position this son desired.

As a result, the image of his father as master and judge, quickly faded as he found himself not only being accepted, but being clothed, cleaned and celebrated, all because his approach to the father was different. He didn’t go to him for comfort, but he got it. He didn’t go for riches, but he got them. He didn’t go for status, but he got it too. The one thing he went for was acceptance, and from this, sprung every other thing he could have ever wanted.

That should be our approach to our Father. Lord we don’t need anything BUT Your acceptance, to be allowed to sit at Your table. May our hearts be bent this way, may we stop our self-seeking nature dead in its tracks and seek Him for Himself.

“Aim for heaven, get earth thrown in. Aim for earth, get neither” – Tim Keller

“And I will suffer great humiliation once I come to acknowledge and understand that I have not really been concerned about realizing Jesus Christ Himself, but only concerned with knowing what He has done for me. My goal is God Himself, not joy nor peace, Nor even blessing, but Himself, my God. Am I measuring my life by this standard or by something less? - Chambers

Monday, May 9, 2011


Psalm 119: 11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

I loved Cinnamon Toast crunch, so much so that when I was younger, I used to have to hide the box from my brother so that he wouldn't eat it. I mean I tried writing my name on it, which really did nothing because once he picked up the box and say the name, rather than say "I ate the box of cinnamon toast crunch", he simply said "I ate Chris' box of cinnamon toast crunch." I even tried telling him not to do it, which in my brother's defense is difficult, after all it is probably the greatest cereal in existence (that and apple jacks). But it wasn't until I started taking the box and hiding in a place that only I could find that I began to enjoy the cereal, because I actually got to enjoy the whole box, not just a bowl.

An applicable example to what the word hidden means. To hide something in this case isn't to hide because you’re ashamed or embarrassed, the hidden is one that is of security, to safely deposit, to put in a place so secret that no one can take it from you and only you can enjoy it. That is the kind of hidden that is meant in this verse and it is this kind of hidden that we should all practice with God’s word. It isn’t enough to read it, but to also hide it so deep in our hearts that no spiritual attack, no earthly trial, no menacing thought can rip from us the peace we have in the Word of God.

Did you know that worrying is a sin. After all it is Jesus that tells us “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” Worry is itself you telling God that for some reason, He may just be wrong, you may have a point and despite what He has shown you or told you, “nevertheless” as the people in Numbers 13:28-29 said, there are issues, there are problems, there are things that He won’t be able to handle.

You are about 12 inches away from peace, from strength, from joy, from knowing God is with you. I say that because the distance between your head and your heart is about 12 inches and at times that is the only gulf that stands between you and getting to the place you need to be. Hence the need for prayer, hence the need for bible study, hence the need to sit at His feet and “learn from Him” (Matt 11:29).

What has God told you that is personal to you? What has God promised you that right now, you just don’t feel is going to happen? What is it that has gripped your heart so tight that right now you don’t even feel like God is with you? Whatever it is, take it off and give it to the God who is with you and allow peace to reign. Let His perfect love cast out fear. Take the word He has given you and hide it in the deepest part of your heart. Go to the “secret place” as Christ tells us in Matt 6 and there, learn to pray, learn to listen, learn to cry out to God who is waiting for you, in fact He died so you could…

“There is nothing Christ dislikes more than for his people to make a show-thing of him, and not to use him. He loves to be employed by us. The more burdens we put on his shoulders, the more precious will he be to us.” - Spurgeon


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Prayer for Pure Gold


When did I get this idea that by giving up things I can get to you? What is it in me that continues to pursue you through my own means and not yours? Why is it that despite my acknowledgement of Your Spirit I continue to try and reach You through my own Babel? Lord, show me places in which I must obey and show me places in which Your Spirit lacks. Reveal to me those dead weight areas that are dragging me down and lead me to the cross. It is at the foot of the cross that there is room for my weights. Lord allow me to wait on You and to desire only the fruit of Your vine. Fill me Lord, apart from You I have nothing and am nothing. I am the problem with the equation to which the solution is You. Let me not depend on my own understanding and wisdom and please let me look to Yours. Don’t let this be another pretty little prayer nestled into the back of my mind to ease the pain of coming to grips with the fact that I am nothing more than a sinner clothes in righteous rags I call good works. Break the very core of me and allow me to experience the resurrection life. Lord, show me places where I am to involved and allow me to decrease so that You may step in. Cleanse my desires, cleanse my heart, and purify my every motive, until every thought, desire, idea and plan has been brought into full submission.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Problem with a platform - John Acoff

I read this just now and I had to repost it. There is so much truth behind it and me being the person I am, always have me on my mind. Crazy when you start to admit that to yourself and even more when you realize the lengths God goes to to remove these problems from you, nevertheless, we still struggle. Any way, check out this blog from Jon Acoff, it is spot on with stuff I deal with, especially having this blog...enjoy!

[check out his site whenever you get a chance, the guy is awesome!]

^I felt like using brackets....they are way cooler than parentheses, that and the fact I had to look up how to spell parentheses upsets me...

Stuff Christians Like

It only takes about three followers on twitter to become a punk. I know this, because I did.

When Stuff Christians Like took off three years ago I went off the deep end a bit with my ego. I got cocky. I got arrogant. I got extra handsome.

See? That just slipped out. Even in describing my narcissism I proved my narcissism. It’s a problem. I’m working on it.

But when you get a few followers on Twitter or start a blog or open a facebook account, something weird happens – you get a platform.

It’s true, you might just post photos of your cat water skiing or flowers you think look like former president Grover Cleveland, but the reality is that we all have platforms. They might be small, they might be large, but a platform is just a place where you share ideas from. That might mean speaking at main stage Catalyst to 13,000 people or beside your mailbox, speaking to your neighbor. They’re both platforms.

And I think one of the biggest reasons people don’t want to hear what’s being said from Christian platforms is that they think we’re hypocrites.

And I think hypocrisy is a form of arrogance.

The definition of arrogance is “having or showing an exaggerated opinion of one’s own importance, merit, ability, etc.” Arrogance is about pretending.

The definition of hypocrisy is, “a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.” Hypocrisy is about pretending.

Whether you label it arrogance or hypocrisy, it’s easy to pretend when you find yourself with a platform. The problem is that platforms are such great places to “perform” from. It’s easy to just be you when no one is watching but on a platform there’s a great temptation to manufacture the best version of you. For a while, I wasn’t that concerned about it until I saw something in a familiar verse that I’d never noticed before.

In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about his famous “thorn in the flesh.” I say famous because it’s practically Christian law that you have to assume his thorn was also the exact same thing you struggle with personally. We’ve all read those verses, but what I missed was the reason Paul said he had the thorn in the flesh. Here’s what 2 Corinthians 12:7 says:

“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.”

That is terrifying.

Paul just said that in order to keep him from becoming conceited God allowed a messenger of Satan to torment him. Conceit is so high on the list of things God is against that would sooner have Paul tormented by a messenger of Satan. Of the two, judo chop by Satan’s minion or Paul becomes conceited, God went with the judo chop.

That’s crazy, right?

Of all the things we focus on, of all the sins we shine a critical light upon, I think arrogance sometimes gets a free pass. We talk about pride every now and then, but I personally haven’t looked at it like I think our God does.

I don’t have a neat wrap up. I wish I did because I think most blog posts should. And it’s more fun to write the ones that end with grace than it is the ones that end with a groan. But that’s where I’m at.

I want to be humble.

I want to be real.

Instead of people saying “Christians are so hypocritical” I want them to say, “Christians are so honest.” And I think that starts with you and I and the way we live on the platforms we’re given by a God whose heart breaks when we get swallowed up by conceit.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Inner Being

We always fall short, thank God for His mercy. I want to do this proverbs thing every day for the month, however, I am finding it increasingly difficult to given all the things I have to do. So is that it? Is that the end of the road? Not quite. See if this was something that really meant a lot to me, then I would really be doing it regardless of the time, I would be waking up earlier and going to sleep earlier just to make time to do it. It is obvious, we aren't all we crack ourselves up to be. We make promises we can't keep, commitments we can't see through, statements we don't follow through on. I am being pretty transparent with you right now and with every good reason, there are things we all committ to that for one reason or another we don't do. So is that it? Or is there a purpose behind it all? There is...

This has once again shown me just how little I really am and I how much more work I really need. God can speak to me all He wants about a matter, but it isn't until I get up and decide to internalize it and begin believing it that it is going to make a different. I can be forgiven and not feel forgiven, I can be loved and not feel loved. So many of us get stuck in this idea of feeling. We look for this happy go lucky feeling. While those do exist and they do come, we shouldn't sit around waiting for them. We can't, it isn't part of the whole faith not sight deal from 2 Cor 5:7. Sometimes if God tells us something, we just have to see it through, regardless of how we might feel about it.

All that being said, I wanted to share with you a devo someone sent me this morning. It was pretty awesome and for me, definitely spoke to me plenty. I pray it blesses you as well...

The Inner Man
by Ray Stedman

A devotion for March 12th

...he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being... (Ephesians 3:16b).

What is your inner being? Many take this to mean the soul, with its faculties of reason and emotion and will. But I don't think this is what Paul means here, because in 2 Corinthians 4 he gives us a clue about what he does mean when he says “the inner being.” There he says that “our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (4:16 NKJV). That is, for Christians there is something about us that is getting old, decaying and deteriorating; but there is also something about us that is getting more vital, increasing and becoming richer and deeper and stronger every day we live. And that is what he calls “the inner being.”
Your soul grows old as well as your body. It is clear that the soul is part of our life linked with the outer person, which is perishing day by day.

But that is not the inner being. The inner being is the human spirit. It is here that God begins the work of recovery. Not in the realm of our feelings, but in what psychologists would call the realm of the subconscious, the deep-seated part of our life, the fundamental element of our nature. When you are really discouraged, really brokenhearted and have given up, your condition is often described as dispirited. That is an accurate term. Your fundamental nature is dissatisfied. It is not merely a question of temporary boredom. That would be in the realm of the soul. But this is something that touches the spirit, right at the deepest level of human life, and you find yourself filled with despair and indifference.

This is where the recovery must begin. And what the apostle tells us about here is the capability of the Creator himself our loving Father, to give us a fresh infusion of strength by His Spirit into our spirit, the inner being. In 1 Corinthians 12, speaking of believers, Paul says, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body, . . . and we were all given the one Spirit to drink” (v. 13). That is what our human spirits are for—to drink of the Spirit of God so that we are refreshed and revitalized. Just as taking a drink refreshes your body, so drinking of the Spirit refreshes your spirit, at the deepest level of your life.

That is not the realm of feeling. We get so hung up in this process of spiritual recovery by always wanting an instantly good feeling. Relief will come, but it doesn't start there. It starts down at the level of the spirit and may be nothing more than some consciousness of reassurance that things are going to work out.

This beginning step is not your responsibility; it is God's. All that is necessary is that you ask Him for it. Paul prayed that these Ephesians might have this granted to them. When we ask on that level, God promises to give.

Thank You, Father, that I can come to You ask that You would strengthen me in the inner being, and that because of Your great love I trust that You will answer this cry of my heart.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ashes, Chambers, and a lot of accounting....

Today I should be blogging on Proverbs 10 and I have some notes I took from Proverbs 9, but work has been insane...just wanted to post up something so you didn't think I was out of it...

The Lord loves me and you, and man is that awesome. Definitely thankful that He understands me....wanted to post this for you, just two things that have blessed me in the last 2 days. Pray for me, work is getting crazy!

Allow God to have complete liberty in your life when you speak. Before God’s message can liberate other people, His liberation must first be real in you. Gather your material carefully, and then allow God to “set your words on fire” for His glory. - Chambers

Psalm 103

11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father pities his children,
So the LORD pities those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.[a]
17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting
On those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
18 To such as keep His covenant,
And to those who remember His commandments to do them.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Living Wisdom

Proverbs 8:15 By me kings reign, and rulers decree justice. 16 By me princes rule and nobles, all the judges of the earth. 17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me.

Sound like someone we know? I couldn't really decide on a verse from this section today, I loved the whole thing. The chapter is about wisdom, or is it? As you read it and begin paying close attention to the description Solomon is giving this thing called wisdom, quickly you realize that these verses, all of them, can apply to someone in the bible.

The chapter is about wisdom, but while wisdom is important in making every day decisions, we must realize what kind of wisdom is the kind that matters and really put that one to use.

In Eph 1:15-21, Paul prays for the church at Ephesus, specifically that they have wisdom, but not just any kind of wisdom, eternal wisdom:

15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding[c] being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

I urge you to really read Proverbs 8 through and through. It really is a beautiful chapter. Understand something about this wisdom Solomon speaks of. It is the wisdom that transcends all other wisdom, it is the wisdom of Jesus Christ, the one who is before all things and through whom all things were created and have been created (Col 1:15-17, John 1:3).

Jesus is the spoken Word of God. He is the wisdom of God revealed to us, "the mystery revealed" as Paul calls it in Ephesians 3. By the wisdom of Christ we should see all things in life and realize as Col 1:15-17 tells us, everything was created for Him. All things were created to glorify the Father.

I take for granted this wisdom that has been revealed to me. I often live life defeated, as if the wisdom of Christ can do little for me. It is like spitting in the face of Christ, something the centurions did to Him and something we do every time we don't think He is able enough or sufficient enough and yet, like He did that day on Calvary, and He does everytime for us, He pours His love and forgives us and makes intercession for us daily just as He did on the cross when He cried out to His father and said "Forgive them."

Imagine this: If Solomon (who I truly believe was filled with the Spirit when he wrote this chapter because I can't help but think this is purposely paralleling Jesus) wrote this chapter about wisdom in general and shows how wisdom is what governs all things and is before all things, how much more than the wisdom of the revelation of Jesus Christ. He is the mystery of God revealed to man. The next time you say God doesn't speak to you, look up at the wisdom nailed on the cross (and this applies to me short I fall.)

"The bible says in Hebrews 1:3 that all things are held together by the power of His word, His pinky if you will. Now is this someone who you think came into your life just to be your assistant?" - Tim Keller

"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." - C. S. Lewis

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Maybe Tomorrow...

Prov 6:9 How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep— 11 So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, And your need like an armed man.

(Sorry about yesterday, I don't think I had a minute to sit...I owe God Prov 5)

"I don't feel like it." Something I utter more than I really want to, or do I? See the man in me wants to basically do nothing all day. If it were up to me, I would sit in bed and sleep all day not doing a thing, but I can't. I can't just sit and let the day waste, not just because there are consequences with regard to my ability to live, but because when one reads the story in Matt 25 of the three men given their fair share of talents and how the master goes and deals with them, it becomes clear that God is not in the business of liking laziness.

Verse 10 spells out how it works with us. It all starts with a little sleep here, then it goes from sleep to slumber, then it goes to us just flat out folding out hands and refusing to do anything. It all starts with a little compromise here, a little compromise there, and before you know it, your life is wasting. When I lost my job that month and a half, I could have easily slipped into this. In fact I did for almost 2 weeks. I remember people asking me if I had applied, of course I would say I did, but in reality, no. I would lay in bed and sleep until my little heart desired to wake up. I really didn't care much for working.

God didn't make us to be lazy, He didn't make us to do nothing. I am often reminded of the story in Joshua 5-6, specifically where the Commander of the Armies of the Lord (aka Jesus in the Old Testament, also known as a Christophany) appears before Joshua and lets him know, "I am totally with you!" Now, could you imagine what would have happened if Joshua would have sat down and done nothing from there. Imagine if he had had the "God is going to do it, therefore I don't have to do much" attitude? The providence of God favors not the idle. God is not a fan of idleness, He wants us to use those things, those talents which He has given us for His glory. So often we all get lazy, and maybe in the sense of physical work, but in the area of spiritual work. I can work 60 hours a week for the next two months and still be the laziest person on the planet.

Our minds are often stuck in the temporal that we often miss out on the eternal reality going on around us. There are always two sides to the same coin, there is of course the present consequence, but there is always an eternal consequence to a thing as well. Though we may not see it or believe it, there is. It isn't just about working for a paycheck, it could be about working to show a boss what God can do in the life of a person. It isn't just about obeying your parents because they are your parents, it could be the only witness they have to what Christ has done in the life of their child. It isn't just about cleaning your room, it could be your sibling seeing how responsible you have become and wondering what is it that has changed.

Look for the eternal in everything and don't be so lazy. Laziness comes from many avenues of which disqualification, despair, discouragement are a few. Look for the eternal in what you do, it may be what keeps you going in those moments when even that paycheck doesn't look for appealing.

"We should pray as though everything depends on God and work as though everything depends on us. Praying for the Lord to guide your footsteps will be ineffective unless you are willing to move your feet!" - St. Augustine

Friday, March 4, 2011

Easy as 1, 2, 3...

Proverb 4:20 My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart;
22 For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh.

We all have struggles. Our struggles can sometimes weigh us down and if left unkept can take over. We can often be paralyzed by the things going on around us or the things going on inside of us. How do we defend? How can we possibly get past this thing, this thought, this sin? I know that by myself I'll never be able to stop. Sure I may stop for a season, but eventually, I'll fall right back in if I don't give it over to Him and let Him speak to me instruction.

So what do you do when you fall right back into stuff like doubt, worry, worhtlessness, fear, anxiety? Well I'm sure in all of this God has at some point given you some words, some instruction, some comfort and now your job is to continue based on those words. No you may not feel like moving, but since when did this walk have anything to do with feelings? Around this time last year, a friend of mine gave me the above verses and with them a three step process to helping me overcome garbage. It may sound simple and some people may think it is so beyond them, but try it and see what happens.

1. Give attention to my words, incline your ear to my sayings

As Jesus said, "He who has ears, let Him hear." Listen to what God is telling you, look for His voice. As God said in Mark 9:7 to the disciples, "This is my Son, hear Him!" Before you even start go find that verse that the Lord gave you that morning you cried out and prayed, that night you went to bed feeling defeated. Find those words of life that your Father gave you. Notice it says give attention to and incline your ear. This means you can't just read them and keep going. You have to give them attention and by attention, I would say undivided.

2. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart

Plenty of people do this with verses at work or at home. Take those words and write them out. Put them in places your eyes will see. Places where you can constantly be reminded of them. The second half of the verse is key. Remember that Christianity isn't a religion. When people those self-help courses, they often think that repetition will fix their issues. This goes beyond repition, keep them in the midst of your heart. Pray that the Lord opens the eyes of your heart and makes it reality in you.

3. For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh.

Don't take lightly to the fact that God spoke to You. The God of the universe, the Creator of everything, spoke to you. Despite our tendency to doubt His words, understand it is God speaking to you. The result of the above two steps with time will yield life and health to you.

Again, this probably sounds very friendly like one of those make yourself feel good devos, however, I don't mean for it to be that way. Remember in Joshua 4, when God commanded the children to set up stones as a remembrance of what He did for them at the Jordan river. So often we act like the man in James 1:23-24. We see what God has shown us, and we walk away and forget, don't let it be the case. Never forget what God has spoken. Hear His words and respond. Don't let fear or worry grip you. Don't be like the children of Israel in Numbers 14 who were afraid to enter into the land. I bet if they had really remembered what God has done for them that lead to that point, they would have stormed Canaan and wrecked everyone.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pain is Gain

Prov 3:11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction; 12 For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights

It was last October and I had only been working at this accounting firm for 2 months. My boss was a nice guy and wasn't at all strict on me when it came to time or leaving early or anything really. I had the freedom (so I thought) to do as I pleased. There was something about Col 3:22-24 that I guess I didn't feel like obeying, or maybe it was the fact that I had gotten this job in the first place by God's grace and that He had taken me out of this crazy corporate job that I had forgotten, whatever the case, I wasn't being a good employee. Additionally, I wasn't being a good witness either. It bit me.

I got fired just two months into the job and my ex-boss had many choice words for me that day, good ones, but there were a set of words that let me know what had happened to me that day. "You're a Christian, and you aren't working as hard as you should. It is stewardship Chris, and it isn't something you've displayed very well." That's when it sank in and two weeks after that, I spent all my time realizing I had been a horrible steward with God's blessing and had been a horrible witness to several people I had been talking to in that office.

Sometimes God has to smack us (lovingly of course) and correct us in order that we might grow. In the Hebrew, the word chasten has no implication of punishment whatsoever. Chastening here speaks of someone admonishing someone, earnestly urging them with instruction, to correct, to teach or to discipline. To teach? Earnestly urge? Doesn't sound negative to me. It isn't. The best picture of chastening is just what the verse says, a father correcting his son. Think of it this way, if you had a son or daughter and you saw them playing in the street when cars are constantly driving by at 50+ MPH, are you going to let them play? Sure they are having fun doing it, but is it love if you let them get hit by a car? Is it love if you allow them to be damaged? Even more so, imagine you just let them go without any correction, then when something did happen to them, they would blame you.

Everything God does, God does out of love because God is love. Sometimes we aren't always going to like what He does, but He does it because He loves us, He does it because He has our best interest in mind (Rom 8:28, Gen 50:20). The point isn't to become upset by the situation and let that unfold us, the point is to become aware of the correction, of the Father behind the correction and look for the lesson. It is what we are called to do in every situation in life, look for the lesson, look to see what the Lord is teaching us.

I think often times we mistakenly look at God's wrath and anger in the wrong way. "God wrath is God's love in the face of sin" - Ravi Zacharias

"Am I prepared to let God grip me by His power and do a work in me that is worthy of Himself? Sanctification is not my idea of what I want God to do for me; sanctification is God's idea of what He wants to do for me, and He has to get me into the attitude of mind and spirit where at any cost I will let Him sanctify me wholly." - Chambers

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dwell where you dwell...

Proverbs 2:21 For the upright will dwell in the land, and the blameless will remain in it.

To be blameless, we all know what blame is and we know what being blameless is based on the definition for blame, however, can we ever really be blameless? Stop and thing for a second, when was the last time you were blameless? When was the last time God looked down at you and said, "Wow you are so perfectly blameless, I have no reason to think you have even a hint of sin." Yeah me neither. I think on a daily basis all of us at some point or another have a flub, a moment of weakness, a time at which we drop the ball.

Whatever the miss, lets face it, none of us will ever really be blameless. There was only one blameless man in all of history and thank God for Him, because it was His blameless life that got me to look blameless before God. "Wait but you just said we aren't blameless before God?" I know, however, when we are covered in the blood of Christ, we are blameless. The bible says we have on us Christ's righteousness. Though our own righteousness is as filthy garments before God, He chooses to replace our nasty garments and give us those of His son so that we can stand before a holy God and be in relationship with Him.

Sounds basic I know, but let it sink in. I think a lot of us (myself included) have this tendency to sell ourselves short. We tend to sometimes get so consumed in a screw up, whether it be our past or our present, sometimes we tend to dwell on something we shouldn't. Rather than forgetting those things which are behind me and pressing on, we sit and dwell, and dwell, and dwell and before you know it, the good land in which you once were going to dwell in or were dwelling in seems off because you lost sight of Him.

You miss out on what God is doing for you this very day when you do that. The verse says the upright will dwell in the land and the blameless will remain in it. I know there is no way any of us will ever be blameless, but by His grace, we are. In God's eyes we are more than conquerors. Of course it has nothing to do with us and everthing to do with what He already did, but the fact is, we won. Don't be so hard on yourself and think you have been in some way disqualified simply because of your past or because of some mistake you made last week.

I read a blog by John Acuff not to long ago (he is really good) and in it he said something that hasn't left me to this day. I don't remember the quote but it went something like this: There is no such thing as the best Christian. I think this whole idea of best Christian is something the devil made up and uses to discourage us on a constant basis. Every one doubts, everyone worries, everyone sins, everyone messes up, everyone falls short.

I agree with him. Don't let the picture of the holiest saint with a halo over your head keep you from pressing on. The past is exactly that, the past. No, you'll never be blameless, but recognizing that you won't be is the first step. Just ask Jesus, it is no wonder of all the phrases to start His earthly ministry, He began with the words: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt 5:3)

"The bedrock in Jesus Christ's Kingdom is poverty, not possession, not decisions for Christ, rather absolute futility - ' I cannot begin to do it', then He says 'Blessed are you." - Chambers

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Constant Sermon

Proverbs 1:20 "Wisdom calls aloud ouside; She raises her voice in the open squares."

Wisdom is defined as "knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action." I like that last part, judgment as to action. What does it mean that wisdom calls aloud outside? How could wisdom possible do such a thing? And if so, what kind of wisdom are we talking about? To answer this you have to go back to verse 7 where it says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. By fear, we don't mean a trembling fear like that of the demons (James 2:19), I am speaking of a reverence for the Lord. It is here where we start with wisdom, it is having a reverence for the Lord and understanding our surroundings through that lens that we begin to see the world for what it truly is. If we were to internalize this, it would do wonders for us.

In Romans 1:20, it says that creation declares the glory of the Lord and it is this creation that must be seen through the above lens. So often we fail to see the world for what it really is, we fail to see others for who they really are. Why don't we see others as who they really are, a person created in God's image? Why don't we see creation for what it really is, our constant reminder of His love?

"The heavens declare the glory of unto day utters speech, and night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor langauge where their voice is not heard" (Psalm 19:1-3). Understand something, so often we are so caught up in literally hearing the voice of the Lord or wondering why He isn't saying much that we miss the most beautiful and loving of all His words: His creation. It is His creation that if looked at through that lens of godly fear, can in many ways calm us in our worst moments. No storm or trial can out do or out preach the lillies of the fields or the grass on which we walk.

It is the second we begin to internalize what Christ said in Matthew 6 that we allow the sermon His creation is constantly giving us to relax and unnerve us. "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin." Why do we? Ever stopped to wonder how much of your day you spend worrying about the dumbest things? I have found that in my own life, worry and doubt are what grip me most and there are days I don't feel the love of God, nor do I feel like I even love God, however, creation tells me other wise. Creation tells me He is madly in love with me. It tells me that if He cares enough that one sparrow doesn't hit the ground without His knowing, and that if we are of more importance to Him than sparrows, that no matter what life may bring, no matter how scared or unsure I may be, no matter how gripped I may be by my fears or my lack of worth, that God will provide, that God will guide, and that God will finish what He has started in me.

Today, listen to creation, what is God trying to teach you through it? Relax, God is in control.

"If you have been bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, it will be one of the greatest assets to faith when the time of trial comes, because your faith and the Spirit of God will work together. Learn to associate ideas worthy of God with all that happens in Nature - the sunrises and the sunsets, the sun and the stars, the changing seasons, and your imagination will never be at the mercy of your impulses, but will always be at the service of God." - Chambers

Monday, February 28, 2011

Time to write.....a lot

For me, writing is a blessing, it is theraputic and it also allows me to express myself in a way I am most comfortable. I love writing, so much so that God has really placed it on my heart to spend more time with Him (yeah He does that, it's part of the whole loves us thing).

For the month of March, I'll be doing something a little different from my normal routine of life; mixing it up if you will. I love going through the book of Proverbs. Each verse is almost like a teaching all by itself. Proverbs is like the hard candy of the bible or as a friend once put it "The P90X of the bible." It isn't something you can just read once and never return to, Proverbs requires you to sit and suck on the hard candy to get all you can out of it.

This is exactly what I am going to do. Every day in the month of March, I plan on reading through a chapter in the morning and picking a verse or two that the Lord puts on my heart and writing about it. I wanted to share it with you guys because originally when I started this blog, I was very adamant about sharing with others what the Lord was showing me and doing in me. I want to do it again.

I'm never really sure who reads this blog or not, but I rest in the fact that God's word never returns void and He uses us to accomplish His good works. He puts in us according to His good pleasure works that would glorify Him. Imagine, the almighty God, creator of the universe, choosing to use the most disobedient of His creation to do His Him.

Pray for me this month, that I stick to what I have placed before God as something I want to do for Him. I pray it blesses someone and that at the end of the day we all grow a little wiser, a little more faithful and that we see His love.

Habakkuk 2:2 Then the LORD answered me and said: “ Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry. 4 “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.

Psalm 40:10 I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth From the great assembly.

Monday, February 21, 2011


This morning Oswald Chambers got me good. For a while now, he has been speaking on something we so often miss in our own lives and it is a dangerous seed indeed; so dangerous and important, that Jesus spends most of the gospels combatting such a belief: pharisaism. All of us can have hints of it in our lives and if kept unchecked they can lead us into dangerous places. This disease can take the purest act and turn it into the most prideful, self-driven deed that exists. This is why it is so important for us to recognize it in us and give it over to God.

Here is the quote from Chambers this morning:

Concern over our personal holiness causes us to focus our eyes on ourselves, and we become overly concerned about the way we walk and talk and look, out of fear of offending God. “. . . but perfect love casts out fear . . .” once we are surrendered to God (1 John 4:18). We should quit asking ourselves, “Am I of any use?” and accept the truth that we really are not of much use to Him. The issue is never of being of use, but of being of value to God Himself. Once we are totally surrendered to God, He will work through us all the time.

Holiness is a wonderful thing for us to go after, however, it can't be our ultimate goal. Our ultimate goal ought to be showing that love, grace and mercy to others in response to it first being shown to us. So often we (and I am first) get caught up in wanting to be the "best" Christian, that we lose sight of Christ crucified. Never let anything stand in the way of you and the cross. God is the one that will sanctify us, not our works, those are just evidence of sanctification. God's will for us is to continually be sanctified (1 Thess 4:1-3) and abound more and more in Him.

Let's all be careful not to make personal sanctification our end goal. Because in that phrase "personal sanctification" there is implied focus on the wrong thing: myself. Don't ever get so caught up in showing people what God has done in you that you fail to show them God and the best way to do this is love.

These verses came to mind as I read the devo, I pray they bless you and help make you better equipped for kingdom business. :D

About our righteousness

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.

His work

Zech 3:4 Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.”
5 And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the LORD stood by.

On our driver

Col 1:27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Our compelling argument

2 Cor 5:14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Alarm Clocks....*sigh*

I don't think their exists in time a more annoying sound than that of my alarm clock. What is interesting is the sound itself could be a song, a beep, an obnoxious explosion, regardless of the noise, it woke me up and I wish the machine which made the noise would die. Serioulsy am I the only one that hates waking up in the morning? I mean, it isn't so much I hate my life (quite the opposite), as much as it is I hate waking up.

The alarm clock reminds me I can't sit in tranquil sleep all day, it reminds me I have things to tend to, it reminds me I'm not in heaven yet, needless to say, it tells me a lot of things I wish I could sleep through.

Alarm clocks aren't limited to just waking up though, sometimes it makes or breaks that meal you have slaved hours over, or it determines how punctual you want to be to an event. Though not always friendly, alarm clocks serve the purpose of reminding us we need to do something.

Job 1:20 Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped.

Something struck me about this verse as I read it. Job's alarm clock went off. It was time to get to work. What do I mean? Well recall that earlier in the chapter in what seemed to be seconds, Job lost everything to his name with the exception of his health (which he would lose not 5 verses later). Job's response is something I can't honestly say I would do, in fact for me, I may have a fist pumping moment at God and say "What the..?!?!" but not Job, though there was plenty of agony and confusion to be felt, that didn't in any way stop him from doing what he knew had to be done.

So what about you? What do you do when your alarm clock goes off? You know, the one that goes off when some random thought comes into your head and now you decide whether or not you want to dwell on it, or the one that goes off when you are unsure of what to do next, or how about the one that goes off when you don't hear anything from God in response? All of us have built into us alarm clocks. They remind us when it is time to seek His face. They have names like worry, fear, doubt, discouragement, anxiety, nostalgia, guilt, shame, self-condemnation, unforgiveness and so on. What some of us tend to do is exactly what we do every morning when we wake up, we hit snooze. Rather than respond to these alarms the way we are supposed to, we hit snooze and just ignore them, only to find that when it is time to act, we don't have enough time or confidence and then we end up losing or missing out on something huge.

Everyone worries, everyone fears, everyone has their doubts. It is normal, just don't sit there. Take action. If God has spoken, then your response should be to bring those things to light and claim those promises. Claim grace, claim peace, claim redemption. Don't let these things just remain as concepts in your mind, concepts are easily manipulated, make them realities. Live based on them, don't just think about them. Grace is a beautiful thing, however, if I leave that sitting in my head, I can easily excuse or explain away certain things and end up missing out due to what I call "analysis paralysis".

Understand something, God is constant, and His love abounds more than you and I can think or imagine. In those moments where you feel dry, or you feel as though your losing it, remember this: He will never leave you nor forsake you.
"Oh ye of little faith, why did you doubt?" Mark 4:40. How many times does He have to ask us that before we start getting it? When are we going to begin living by faith and not sight? (2 Cor 5:7).

God's command to us when we get these ways is this: Take every though captive (2 Cor 10:5). In Psalm 34, we get a beautiful picture of what happens when we continue seeking Him despite all of the above mentioned feelings,

Psalm 34:4 I sought the LORD, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.

I like that it almost personifies fears. It is almost as if fears is a person from whom we can be delivered so long as we allow there to be only one type of fear in our lives, the fear of the Lord (Prov 1:7).

So the next time your alarm goes off, stop what your doing and respond to it, "Arise you who are asleep..." and pray.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy Birthday

A year ago today, I started a blog for the sake of having a blog, little did I know then what an impact it would have on me even a year later today. Looking back on my posts and just remembering where I was and where I am now has been pretty awesome.

I am no saint, not even close, but I'm a little closer than I was last year, though some days it doesn't feel that way. God has shown me a lot in this last year and has done so much more.

I think the hardest lesson I am learning right now though is living by faith and not by sight. Something I have picked up on in myself and something I pray God helps me work out is this idea of focusing on the glory moments rather than just being faithful in the little.

Zechariah tells us not to despise the small things and he couldn't be more right. 2 Cor 5:7 has been a huge staple in my life these last few weeks. Sometimes we get so caught up in the results of what God has done in us that we forget God. Sometimes we get so used to Him spoon feeding us encouragement that we forget He isn't always going to operate that way. When we pray "God give us more faith," He does just that and as Jesus reminds us in John 15, often it requires pruning and sometimes that means He may not say much to us. That doesn't mean He isn't there, that doesn't mean you lost Him. It just means He is giving you what you asked for, more faith.

God's grace has been an issue for me as well. Accepting it I have found is harded than I thought. When your mind is bent on working for your stuff and the flesh says you have to go out and get on it, it truly is a situation of death to self. I heard an interesting quote this morning from Bob Coy, (I'll paraphrase), God is in the business of blessing us and giving us gifts that we should put to use and give back to Him for His glory, the one thing though that God can't give us is obedience, that originates in us. God can't force us to obey, He can only take things from us and that isn't obedience, that is chastening.

I'm learning that God isn't always going to work the way you think He is, and just when you think (because we all do at some point) that you have it figured out, He may have had something else in mind.

Love isn't as easy as everyone paints it out to be, in fact, it is sometimes a hard decision to make, especially when your flesh is always looking out for itself. Love is centered around being others-centered. For an example, see the cross of calvary.

Most of our problems and questions can be answered at the cross and by that I mean that our tribulations, our trials, those things about us we hate, they can all be left at the foot of the cross.

Don't think you have it all, it will hurt so much more when you realize you don't.

God isn't done with you, it is a lifelong process, that's why we are called to run with endurance. If it were to run with speed then many of us would have died by now...

You aren't always going to feel God. The Euphoric feelings will come and go, you will have your ups and downs, valleys and mountain tops. Thankfully, our faith is based on a constant, consistent Person, not our own hearts....(could you imagine it the other way around...?)

The devil is a jerk and he knows what he is doing, God is bigger though.

It has been a sweet year, plenty more lessons this year I am sure. Hopefully God has some serious rain on the horizon for us all. If you're in a desert right now, be of good cheer, it is nice to know that this isn't eternity for us, and that is something we need to remind ourselves of everyday...

Happy Birthday blog!

Monday, January 31, 2011


Ever felt disarmed? Ever felt as though right where you stood, you had no means, no weapons, no control? Nothing could prepare you for what you were in and it was at that point in time that you felt as though you could do and offer nothing? It is interesting what happens to us in those moments, we discover what really does work and what doesn't.

It is something I took from Nehemiah when I went through the book and something that springs up time and again in the gospels. Prayer. Prayer is so important to us and yet we often forget it should be our first response to any and every situation. It is amazing what a prayer can do to a soul that is squirming inside itself. You can start a prayer in one state of mind and quickly find yourself in another by the end of it.

We are never disarmed and God had to show me this in a way I never saw. There I sat with a very close friend of mine next to a woman who needed ministering. Now, this wasn't just any woman, her name was Emelina, and she was 98 years old. She was alone in a nursing home room living out the last days of her life. There she sat by herself, almost motionless, with nothing but an oxygen tank and a bed. Around her were pictures of a once vibrant woman who looked like she belonged in a magazine. Now she sat alone, in a half lit room, with little if anything to say.

What was going through her mind? You think she was thinking back on all the things she did as a child? Think she was so happy about all the times she spent worrying about things? Think she enjoyed having nothing to look forward too? A sad reality rushed into me and at that point I had nothing to say. I was looking at the end of life in person, "but it didn't have to be that way!" I thought to myself. How on earth could I fill the gulf that stood between her and I? What could I possibly have to offer her? No apologetics, no teachings, no wise words, nothing I had in my mind could in any way fill the gap that stood between her and I. We fed her some vanilla pudding and spoke to her regarding how beautiful she was and how beautiful her dress was, really I didn't say anything, I sat and cried. Then He spoke to me, "Pray Chris, just pray." So I did.

After praying on my own, I looked up and said, "I think we should pray for for her, could you pray?" My close friend looked at me, now teary eyed, and began to pray for her. We both began sobbing as she prayed that God would remind this old woman of the love He had for her and what His son had done for her. I have never in my life wanted a person to accept that more than I did as I sat and wept. I wanted so bad for that woman to respond. I wanted her to truly feel what is the depth of God's love for her.

At that moment, the gap was gone. The gulf was closed. I felt in my heart she had heard us. All this woman needed was prayer, a simple reminder of God's love for her. It was at that moment I realized we were His reminder, our prayer, our presense was His reminder to her that God was thinking of her.

It is true what Paul says in 1 Cor 1, God uses the foolish to shame the wise. At that moment in that room, I was shamed. My human intellect, my human ability to reason, all of that went out the window when I looked into what many would call hopeless. Dry bones, as Ezekiel described them. And yet, who am I to judge if they could live or not? Wasn't Ezekiel's response to God "Oh Lord only you know"? At that moment, God used a person who said nothing to me, to bring me to my knees and humble me.

Sometimes words won't go far, sometimes reasoning will do nothing, gaps created my age will seem huge, gulfs caused by circumstance will seem eternal and yet, in the midst of all that, His voice travels over from the other side. We may not have anything in common with someone, but few people will deny prayer. Its language is universal and its impact, eternal. Sometimes, like Jesus tells us "This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting." (Mark 9:29)

I'm not sure what will happen to my new friend, however, I do know this, Pray. I ask you to consider this woman in your prayers this next week, and do read Ezekiel 37. Whoever that person is in your life you think is far off, consider Jesus' words to us in Mark 9 and consider Ezekiel's response to God......then pray

Friday, January 7, 2011

Silence Denotes Agreement

Numbers 20:12 Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them."

Moses and Aaron, two guys who spent a whole mess of time together. Brothers, both representing the Lord in the ministry that was leading the children of Israel. So what happened when Moses struck the rock twice instead of speaking to it? Why were both Moses and Aaron disallowed? I mean I can see why Moses would be, after all he was the one who struck the rock.

Notice though in verse 12 that Aaron was punished as well, why? Reminds me of something a creative writing teacher of mine used to tell us whenever we would practice for mock-debates in class: "Silence denotes agreement." Where was Aaron's voice throughout chapter 20? Why didn't Aaron speak out against Moses and remind him "Hey bud, this isn't how God told us to do it!" Iron is supposed to sharpen iron and as Moses' brother, Aaron should have been there to speak against Moses on the way he was going about the whole thing, not to mention Aaron was high priest!

1 Tim 5:20 tells us that when an elder is in the wrong, it is best we correct them, and in public, lest some be misguided and in the same way Aaron should have said something to Moses. But he didn't and this cost him. James 4:17 says "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin," and because sin is sin in God's eyes, Aaron was at fault just as much as Moses.

Moses blatantly misrepresented God, it was a conscious decision in his head most likely fueled by anger and frustration. Where God told him to love the people, Moses chose anger and gave into his frustration. Where God told Aaron to be Moses' speaker, Aaron chose silence and did nothing to correct or guide Moses.

So my question then is how often do we do the same? Whether consciously or unconsciously, how often do we misrepresent God in todays world? The bible calls us to be ambassadors for Him, however, how often (and I hate that this is true of myself) do we neglect those around us? We were as Paul says "trusted with this glorious gospel" and yet so many of us live as though we have nothing to share with the world, when in reality, we have THE good news.

What about when we see a brother or sister living like a fool, do we take time to pray for them and ask God to open the door to approach them or do we enjoy our own security and just watch as they are burned? I have a heart for this because I was that fool at one point in my life (sometimes still feel like him). James 5:19-20 exhorts us to turn a brother from sin and with it comes a promise:

19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

So think about it, next time you see a brother or sister doing or saying something foolish, don't be so slow to pray and talk to them. Just be sure to do it in love. We all need to be less consumed with ourselves and more with Christ, that should then produce a love for others. This doesn't happen overnight, however, the more you show love, even when you don't want to, the more you'll enjoy it. And if you're in the face of someone who isn't a Christian, then love is a must! Remember that "Of 100 men, 1 reads the bible, the other 99 read the Christian" - DL Moody.

"Love is first a commitment, then a feeling" - Tim Keller

"Could a mariner sit idle if he heard the drowning cry? Could a doctor sit in comfort and just let his patients die? Could a fireman sit idle, let men burn and give no hand? Can you sit at ease in Zion with the world around you DAMNED?" - Leonard Ravenhill

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Source Amnesia

Exodus 33:14 And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here."

Moses, someone the bible says was the humblest of men (Num 12:3) and yet he too had his own issues. I can’t help but remember what happened to him when he went up to the mountain and was in the presence of the Lord. What it would be like to be face to face, one on one with God in such a manner, where he “speaks face to face as a man speaks to his friend.” Could you imagine? Must have been pretty awesome, majestic, scary and glorious all at the same time, standing in the presence of God and Him talk to you clear as day.

The part that always gets me is later on in Exodus where he covers his face with a veil because he doesn’t want the children of Israel to be discouraged. That spoke to me. Moses fades. Moses needed that constant replenishing as do we. How many times do we begin to rise up to something and as soon as we hit the top, we often forget God. We forget that He got us there, we forget all His work, we forget His hands, we forget Him.

I find comfort though in verses like 2 Tim 2:13, though we might be faithless, He will remain faithful. I think something a lot of us miss out on these days is God. No seriously, we miss out on Him. We are very good at remembering we are forgiven, we are good at remembering we have grace, we love the idea of having mercy and we enjoy every last one of our blessings, however we miss out sometimes on one key thing: God. Notice in the verse above, Moses wasn’t promised anything outside of His Presence. That was it.

I aspire to be the kind of leader Moses was. Though he didn’t always glow with the glory, though he stuttered, though he was at his beginnings over zealous and over confident he still prayed, still lead the children and in order that they wouldn’t know the glory was fading, he veiled himself, so that they wouldn’t lose hope. Moses even went so far as to be willing to have his name removed from the book of life for the sake of those he was leading. Moses may not have always had the best speech, he may not have had the best wife, he may not have always made the wisest decisions, however, he had one thing, and he knew he had it well, God’s Presence.

Let us this day remember the Forgiver, let us remember the Giver of grace, the Merciful whose mercies are made new every day. Though we might sometimes fall out of touch with the forgiver, though we might sometimes fall out of touch with the Grace Giver, don’t ever think He has fallen out of touch with you. Though you may be faithless, He will remain faithful. You are still forgiven, you are still under grace, and those mercies, they are new EVERY morning.

You probably heard it a million times during Christmas, but I’ll say it again, and hopefully it’ll carry more weight for you this time around.

“It is not about the presents, it is all about the Presence” – a million different people