Thursday, August 30, 2007

For Annie, Justin and Jeffery

Remember my affliction and my wandering
The wormwood and bitterness.

Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me.
This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.

The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.”

The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.

It is good that he waits silently
For the salvation of the LORD.

Lamentations 3.19-26

Monday, August 27, 2007

His Workmanship (Eph 2.10)

The potters: with hands and wheel
The painter: his brush, his canvas, his palette
The architect: with pencil, and steel
The sculptor his stone, his chisel, his mallet

The poet with meter and rhyme
The composer: his verse, his staff, his chord
The weaver: with loom and time
The craftsman: his plane, his saw, his board

Before the work begins;
Seeing the end from the start
Each stroke, each note building on another
Each an expression of his heart

With precision and tireless care
He makes something out of nil
A marvel is in the making
A work that represents the Masters’ will

We are that work in progress
A masterpiece not quite finished
But the One who envisioned the whole
Will not allow the work to diminish

A day will come
When hammer will no longer be heard
When the loom will stand quiet;
When He’s written the last word
A day when the portrait is complete;
No more need for the pen
A time when the wheel will stop turning,
But until then…

Day by day, from glory to greater glory
His masterpiece in mind
Conformed into His image
Until the day we are two-of-a-kind

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hebrews 10.35-39 (TMSG)

Remember those early days after you first saw the light? Those were the hard times! Kicked around in public, targets of every kind of abuse—some days it was you, other days your friends. If some friends went to prison, you stuck by them. If some enemies broke in and seized your goods, you let them go with a smile, knowing they couldn’t touch your real treasure. Nothing they did bothered you, nothing set you back. So don’t throw it all away now. You were sure of yourselves then. It’s still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with God’s plan so you’ll be there for the promised completion.

It won’t be long now, he’s on the way; he’ll show up most any minute. But anyone who is right with me thrives on loyal trust; if he cuts and runs, I won’t be very happy.

But we’re not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

But Who Do You Say That I Am

I was approached after service on Sunday buy a gal who had some questions regarding the conversations she often found herself in with her parents. She was sharing that many of her visits end up in debates about politics, the President, the war and God’s role in all of it. She was expressing her general frustration and her concern that her responses to her parents were Biblical.

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate her concern; may we all be committed to speak in a way that represents the true heart of our Lord.

The bottom line was that she was convinced that the conversations were really fruitless and that the debates were really, mostly, for the sake of the debate. That is so often the case particularly when we join conversations that pick at the periphery of the issue of Jesus Christ.

My suggestion to her was to bring the conversation directly to the issue of who Jesus was and is.

This brings me to our text:

In looking ahead to what the Lord may have me speak about on Sunday I came to this classic passage in Mark 8.27-29:
Jesus went out, along with His disciples, to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way He questioned His disciples, saying to them, “Who do people say that I am?” They told Him, saying, “John the Baptist; and others say Elijah; but others, one of the prophets.” And He continued by questioning them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said to Him, “You are the Christ.”
That is the real question isn’t it? It must come down to the person of Jesus Christ; who He is, what He did, what He said, what He meant, what He promised. And until the question of who Jesus is is answered, all the other questions are really irrelevant aren’t they.

In fact, all the other question just get in the way. All the other questions can be a barrier to getting to the real heart of the issue.

Paul says in II Timothy: 2.14-16

...charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers... avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness...

Keep the main thing the main thing. Keep the conversations on Jesus.

Musings from Church and University

You will see a link to the left called "Musings from Church and University" which is written by a brother at LSC.

He is a gifted writer and thinker and I believe you will be blessed to check out his entries when you get a chance.

May the Lord bless your day.

Monday, August 13, 2007

I See Men as Trees

And they came to Bethsaida. And they brought a blind man to Jesus and implored Him to touch him. Taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around.” Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly. Mark 8.22-25

This is a unique event in the ministry of Christ, for a couple reasons:

Dont try this at home

First, He spit in his eye; man, that always cracks me up! The Lord used so many different methods for healing and that is a good thing. With the tendency we have to try to make a system, to find the magic formula, we would have ended up with “Spit in Your Eye Ministries International Incorporated”.

Seeing Men as Trees

Secondly, that the person touched with the healing power of the Great Physician was not immediately and completely healed. Now I do not know why it happened this way, but I am glad it did because it reminds of a few things:

That I can see people as trees as well. I can “chop” others down with my “cutting” words; I can “needle” others; if they offend me I often ignore them, you know, “leaf” them alone: I can find myself “barking at them”, well you get the idea.

This man saw people through still hazy sight, they were out of focus, what he needed was to be able to see men like Jesus saw them… clearly.

How will we begin to see others as Jesus does, to look upon our brothers and sisters in Christ with love, to look on the lost with a burden for their souls, to look on the needy with hearts of compassion, to look on your spouse as a “fellow heir of the grace of life”, to look on your children as gifts from God?

A second touch

Often it takes a fresh touch, a second touch from Jesus, just to refresh how we look at others.

It is terribly easy to get cynical and bored and impatient and frustrated with those we are around the most.

Perhaps today would be a good day to get a second touch from the Lord that we might see others as he does.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Up to Our Necks

Then he brought me back to the door of the house; and behold, water was flowing from under the threshold of the house toward the east, for the house faced east. And the water was flowing down from under, from the right side of the house, from south of the altar. Ezekiel 47.1

In Ezekiel’s vision there is a torrent of water that flows from the temple, past the altar and it becomes a river. In fact it is a river that gets deeper and deeper and the prophet goes. It first reaches just to his ankles, then to the knees, then to the loins, then it was up to his neck, deep enough to swim in.

I long for a deeper walk with Jesus; I hope that you do as well. I long for a deeper work of the Holy Spirit in my life, that ultimately I would be covered, overwhelmed, filled with His fruit, His gifts, and His presence.

But notice the path of the river; it flows from it source, pass the altar. The altar in scripture speaks of the cross. If I am going to experience the deepest work of God in my life, I must first go there. You can not get to Pentecost before first coming to Calvary. Death comes first, an emptying of my vessel before it can be filled. First the Cross, then the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

The Lord will not anoint the flesh with power.

Jesus alludes to this same picture when speaking of the Holy Spirit:
“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7.37-38

I am beginning to get my mind around the direction of the flow here. The river will flow out of us, the torrent gushes away from us. What does this tell me? It tells me that the work of the Holy Spirit in my life is to be used for the benefit, the refreshing, the quenching and ministry to others. The work of the Spirit in my life is designed really to flow from my life.

Oh Lord fill us afresh with the work of your Spirit. If there is in us any area that has not yet been laid upon the altar, not yet crucified, reveal if to us Lord that we might go deeper.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Isaiah 25.1

O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You,
I will give thanks to Your name;
For You have worked wonders,
Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Isaiah 12

Then you will say on that day,
“I will give thanks to You, O LORD;
For although You were angry with me,
Your anger is turned away,
And You comfort me.

“Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
For the LORD GOD is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.”

Therefore you will joyously draw water
From the springs of salvation.

And in that day you will say,
“Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name.
Make known His deeds among the peoples;
Make them remember that His name is exalted.”

Praise the LORD in song, for He has done excellent things;
Let this be known throughout the earth.

Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I Double-Dog Dare You

You know how it goes, the first person says, “I dare you to eat it all”
Second person, “I don’t know…”
“I double dare you”, says the first, ratcheting up the intensity.
“Man, that’s a lot, I don’t know if I can”
Then the gauntlet is laid down with a final taunt, “I double-dog dare ya”

It reminds me of my childhood and the playful challenges of one friend to another.

You might not realize that there are dares in the Bible, several of them as a matter of fact.

From I Samuel 17 it was King Saul who “will enrich the man who kills (Goliath) with great riches and will give him his daughter and make his father’s house free in Israel.” (His daughter, as it turns out was not much of a prize, but that is for another day). It was a young shepherd boy by the name of David who answered the challenge to face the giant.

In I Chron 11 King David is heard making his own dare when he says “whoever strikes the Jebusites first will be my commander”, and it was Joab who took up the challenge

Again, in Joshua 15 it is Caleb, the man of faith, who said, ““The one who attacks Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will give him Achsah my daughter as a wife.” And it was Othniel who answered the dare.

One more to consider is in Malachi 3.10 where it is the Lord himself who says, "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this”, I dare you to give as I have instructed you to.

The application I want to suggest is this.

There are many in the body of Christ who, though wanting to be used will wait for an invitation.

But there are others who, when seeing an opportunity, will just go for it. Like Joab, they will find a way in, like David they seize the opportunity, like Othniel they will go for the prize; and, even as Malachi 3.10 challenges the reader, they just act in obedience according to God’s Word.

May I encourage you… don’t wait for an invitation.

Listen if the Lord has put something on your heart, if the Lord has asked you to get involved, if the Lord has given you gifts - the time to use them is now. We can’t allow something like “no one asked me” to get in the way of fulfilling God’s calling on our life.

We have to go for it.

When is the last time you took up a dare, accepted a challenge; when was the last time you said to the Lord like Isaiah did, “Here am I Lord, send me”.

Even within the ministry right here at LSC there are so many ways to get involved, take a chance, go for it, don’t wait around to be asked, use your gifts, find a way in… I double-dog dare you!