Monday, June 6, 2011


Abram -- later know as Abraham -- is probably my favorite Bible character. I relate to him. In Genesis 15, God makes a promise to Abram and Abram asks for confirmation. Less about a lack of faith and more about God helping him with his unbelief (see "Lord, I believe help me with my unbelief") and the fact that Abram would need something to look back to and hold on to when the promise seemed distant.

As we move through the passage, Abram is told to prepare a sacrifice and the verses that follow
in Genesis 15:9-11, are what were resonating with me last week and now make sense today: "The Lord told him, “Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 So Abram presented all these to him and killed them. Then he cut each animal down the middle and laid the halves side by side; he did not, however, cut the birds in half. 11 Some vultures swooped down to eat the carcasses, but Abram chased them away."

Vultures -- I had never seen that before. Birds of prey. Birds that come to steal what someone or something else has conquered (or in this case prepared for a sacrifice). It is interesting to me that Abram had the sacrifice prepared and ready. And, yet, he had to chase away vultures. I got to thinking today. What vultures appear in my life? I am prepared to give more than normal. I am prepared to walk in faith. I am prepared to embrace God's promises. And, in come the vultures of fear, doubt, and disbelief. We must fight against vultures in our lives. And, perhaps, we would do well to listen to Jesus' word about some other birds (not vultures): "Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?" (Matt. 6:26 & 27).

Monday, March 21, 2011

Leave the driving to us...

Amtrak -- the train company -- used to have a commercial that said "leave the driving to us." Your job with them was to get on the train. Of course, you had to pay and follow the rules, but as long as you did and were on the train, you could sit back and relax. The outcome -- where you were going -- was already known.

We all want to quantify outcomes and responses in our lives. Whether we want to know what the answer will be from the city on our architectural plans if done as such, the answer from immigration if we present such paperwork, or the answer from God if we do x, y, and z. We all want to know the outcome to certain inputs. The reality is that at some level we all want to control situations. That's what it really is at some basic level. The need to be in control. To control our lives. And, yet, Proverbs has a much different idea.

In Proverbs 21:31, we are told that "The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the LORD." That is, the final outcome is not in my control. I know that, but I don't like that. I've learned that time and time again. And, yet today, I am reminded of just that. I must make ready, but the LORD determines outcomes. It doesn't mean that we don't prepare, in fact, we are told earlier in a sampling of verses to: do what is right and just, plow ours fields, have plans, be upright, look after the poor, not love pleasure, pursue righteousness, save, give without mention a few. Then, the writer says, relax, God is in control.
That seems at first frustrating, but once you think about it you realize that God only asks you to do what you CAN control -- YOU...your thoughts, your actions, your motives. When you focus on the issues you can control, God then says He will take you to victory. So, now, the hard part. We normally don't want to focus on us, we want to focus on results. What is it that God wants you to do? You've heard Him tell you. You know what it is that you cannot escape from being replayed in your mind. Stand up for truth? Pursue righteousness? Pray and ask God what He wants you to do that is within your control and then trust the results to him.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I hear all the time that we want "God to bless us." And, so, people pray for God's blessing as if prayer is some magic dust that when sprinkled on top of our lives it can erase all of our behavior. James says that simply is not the case. He says the following on blessing, "But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do." It's real simple, just not easy. Do you want to be blessed? Begin to live out God's principles in your life. It will set into motion the built in good consequences (blessings). Why would God bless an area of your life that you have lived in open opposition to His teachings? Would you bless your child if he lived in open opposition to your desires? No! And, yet, we think we can "force" God into blessing us. Quite silly. Worse than silly, it is insulting. The easiest and most straight forward way to invite God into an area of our life is not by prayer. It's by asking God His opinion on the subject and then agreeing with Him and living by it. I am not suggesting that prayer is not an ingredient. But, let's quit thinking that our actions have no consequences. Do you want to be blessed? Just do IT!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Self Hatred

I know....A strange title to a blog entry. But, I wanted to take a moment to look at what Proverbs says as to whether or not you really love or despise yourself. In Prov. 15: 32& 33 it says, "Those who disregard discipline despise themselves,but the one who heeds correction gains understanding. Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the LORD and humility comes before honor."

I find it interesting that the Bible in so many places talks about the importance of discipline and correction by others in our lives (accountability). And, in this passage, it says that if you disregard discipline you "despise" yourself. It contrasts that with the person that heeds correction and then "gains understanding." It concludes with the reality that "humility comes before honor."

I believe the Bible is saying something really basic. We don't have all the answers. If that is true then, we must surround ourselves with people that will offer correction and discipline in our lives. Of course, to do that you must embrace the fact that you don't know it all and that can only occur in the context of true humility. Here are some basic steps to begin the process of gaining understanding and honor:

1. Admit that you don't know it all. Humble yourself before God.
2. Seek out others in your lives that are trustworthy people.
3. Ask those people to speak into your life. Encourage it.
4. When they do, know that it is not an indictment on you as a person. Rather, it is proof that you are a wise person that loves himself.
5. Pray about what is communicated and ask God to reveal to you whether it is truth.

Do you despise yourself?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Whatever You Do

I Cor. 10:31 says, "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

I sensed God telling me that God is the God of our whole being, not just Saturday night or Sunday morning. That's a cool thing. It means that whatever we do can be an act of worship! Italian dinner....worship. Fishing....worship. Walk in the park....worship. Negotiating a contract...worship. Helping kids....worship. Being a loving spouse....worship. Talking with clients....worship. We can invoke God into any activity (in fact He desires to be invoked and involved) and it can become worship.

As we become aware of this fact in every area of our lives it becomes humbling. Humbling in that we realize that God really does care how we represent him Monday through Friday and humbling in that we desire to honor Him in it. There is no formula for how to honor Him as far as practice, but there are His principles to apply. As we do, we invite Him to take over for the results which is a relaxing place to be. The Author of life invites us to cast all our burdens on Him.

Monday, October 25, 2010


In one of my favorite dialogues of all time in "A Few Good Men," the following takes place:

Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee (Tom Cruise): I think I'm entitled to them.
Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I want the truth!
Jessep: You can't handle the truth!

Every time I listen to that scene I get goosebumps. Deep down inside we want truth, not just answers. The challenge presented is that we are told today that "truth" is relative. And, this is no new concept. Listen to the other great dialogue I love:

You are a king, then!" said Pilate.
Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."
38"What is truth?" Pilate asked.

Even in Jesus day, truth was seen as something that is relative. Like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder. The problem with that world view as a Christ follower is that truth is not a concept. It's not relative. In fact, it is a person. Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life..."

Truth is a person and his name is Jesus. What I am not communicating is that there is always a black and white answer on all things. There's not. And, that's why it is so important for us to understand that the person of truth wants to lead you into truth in your life.

As Christ followers, we must stand firm on the clear cut truth of the word. We must extend grace in areas of grey. And, for our own specific life issues, we must seek Truth. Be careful, though. If you just want "answers," he's not the right person to speak with. Sometimes, truth is hard to handle.

Ask, God for truth the ability to handle the truth as it applies to your life.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bottle Caps

Words. They matter. We are told they can destroy or build. We are told to use words that edify the hearer of them. And then, there are words that you and I just need to hear. From God. There are times when we need a timely affirmation from God. The question is what manner will he use to communicate to us? I don't want to speak about the conventional ways he uses -- the bible, friends, etc. I want to talk about the fact that the God of the universe can use whatever medium he desires. And, so about bottle caps....

Two nights ago I had just received some messages from someone that were not nice. While not overly upset, i was frustrated by this person. A little later, I took off the bottle cap to a drink I was going to have. And for some reason i looked at the underside. I didn't know there were words on it. It said, "all we need is humble patience." I sat there and said, you're right ---Patience laced with humility.

God communicated to me in an unconventional medium. You cant convince me otherwise. God will speak. Even through a bottlecap....