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Archive for December, 2010

Born So

December 21, 2010

Scripture: He was born blind so the power of God could be seen in him. John 9:3

Observation: This is, in some ways, a non-answer answer. This unnamed man (Everyman) was born blind so the power of God might be revealed in his life. In chapter 11, Lazarus dies, and the glory of God is revealed in his death. All of us, every single one of us, are born so the power of God might be revealed in our lives. And whether we live or die, or live again, it is all to the glory of God.

Application: I was born so the power of God might be revealed in my life. I was born short, near-sighted, somewhat talented, fairly bright, so the power and glory of God might be revealed in me.

Prayer: Lord, whatever I do, may it be to Your glory and honor. May I, with all that I am and all that I have, honor You. May others see Jesus in me because You are at work. I ask it in Jesus’ name.

December 18, 2010

Scripture“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”  John 4:34

Observation:  Jesus’ mission is to do God’s will.  He prays for God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven.  He does not live by bread alone, but His food is God’s will.

Application:  Am I (we) not called to be on the Master’s diet?  God’s will be done.  The goal of human history is for God’s will to be done.  And every time I am off-course, it is because I am seeking my will, not His.  My food is to do the will of him who created me.  My call is to listen to God’s voice, and follow Him.  My mission is to be on a mission from God.

Prayer:  Lord, help me live each day as on a mission from You.  Help me seek Your will and perform it.  Help me listen for Your voice and heed it.  Help me keep this from ever being about me—but always about You, and Your kingdom.  In Jesus’ name I pray.

December 14, 2010

ScriptureNo discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  Hebrews 12:11

Observation:  Discipleship.  Discipline.  Disciple.  The intentional, habitual, structured acts of following Jesus which produce the desired results—externally (righteousness) and internally (peace).  Training—repeating the actions again and again and again until one does the event perfectly.  Discipline is doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting greater results.

Application:  Many have personal trainers (or, life coaches) or mentors who teach exactly what to do to achieve the desired results.  I have S.L.I. (Jorge and Craig) and the team.  God is giving me the discipline to stick to a regimen of reading, journaling, praying, fasting.

Prayer:  Lord, I don’t know how to thank You enough for giving me the grace of spiritual discipline.  This has so enriched my life.  I am better, clearer, more focused because of this gift.  I have not arrived by any stretch of the imagination, I know.  But thank You for putting me on the way.  Help me do this process with my food and exercise plan.  I want to be healthy and strong in order to minister well—and be a witness to others.  In Jesus’ name.

December 11, 2010

ScriptureFor the word of God is full of living power.  It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires.  It exposes us for what we really are.  Hebrews 4:12

Observation:  We think we are what we look like.  Blond or blue-eyed, heavy or thin, white or black, good-looking or butt-ugly.  TV has magnified this.  But it is our inside, not our outside, that is our real us.  God word exposes that—and shapes us.  A knife can stab our skin; only God’s word can slice and shape our soul.

Application:  Because of God’s word, I see myself as I am—a sinner, now saved by grace.  I am now, through God’s living Word-become-flesh, saved and in the process of being sanctified.  I see myself through a mirror clearly—created by God, marred by sin, saved by grace, and growing into the likeness of Jesus Christ.

Prayer:  Lord, like people who live together grow to look more and more alike, I want to grow more and more into Your likeness.  May You, the Word-become-flesh, reveal Yourself in me, as Your written Word shapes me, directs me, fills me, uses me.  May Your word be the first thing on my mind each day, may it be the skeleton of my life; may it be my support, strong and true.  In Jesus’ name.

December 10, 2010

ScriptureDo your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.  2 Timothy 2:15

Observation:  Doing one’s best includes fleeing evil and pursuing righteousness; guarding the good deposit; warning others; preach the Word; correct, rebuke, encourage; do the work of an evangelist; endure hardship.

Application:  Paul’s charge to Timothy is also God’s charge to me: guard the Treasure we call Gospel; and freely share it with everyone I can.  Be holy in heart and life.  Challenge the faithful; correct the off-course; encourage the broken and hurting.  The tough part is doing it well.  The bar is set high.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, I want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  But, I have not done my best, let alone lived up to the standard Paul expresses here.  I confess that.  From the day forward, I want my ministry to be approved by You.  I want to be a workman/craftsman of the Gospel.  Keep me focused.  Keep me faithful.  Keep me fruitful.  I never again want to be ashamed.  Use me, I pray, in Jesus’ name.


December 8, 2010

Scripture…Train yourself to be godly.  For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things….  1 Timothy 4:7-8

Observation:  Paul’s advice to Timothy is practical: read Scripture, teach, and preach.  Set an example in speech, life, love, faith, and purity.  Point out the truth to be a good minister.  Grow into godliness—intentionally, with discipline.

Application:  As Elton Trueblood says, I dare not be soft or indulgent—I must train rigorously, live abstemiously.  I do so with prayer, scripture reading, journaling, fasting.  One more example of ‘long obedience in the same direction.’

Prayer:  Lord, help me train for godliness, for the Olympics of the spirit.  Help me keep a daily routine of prayer and reading; a weekly routine of worship and fasting; a monthly routine of a day apart; a quarterly 2-day retreat; 1 week per year.

December 7, 2010

ScriptureWhatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men….  It is the Lord Christ you are serving.  Colossians 3:23-24

Observation:  Paul begins several of his letters with a startling thought—he is a slave of Jesus Christ.  It is Jesus who is Paul’s Master and Commander.  He bows to no man—but the Son of God.  That is also his call to the Colossians—serve Jesus, and only Jesus.

Application:  Like Jesus, I am to be about my Father’s business.  I don’t freelance.  I am not an independent representative.  I am bought for a price—the precious blood of Jesus.  It is easy to lose sight of this, and seek to please men rather than God.  But, from this day forward, I am a slave of Jesus Christ.

Prayer:  Lord, fill me with Your mind-blowing, heart-warming, life-changing power until I am fully Yours.  Help me not to stray; not to veer off-course; but to be on track with honoring You by my service.  I want to love You and honor You with all that I am, all that I have, and all that I do.  In Jesus’ name.

December 6, 2010

ScriptureTherefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling….  Philippians 2:12

Observation:  That word again—obey.  One might start to think it is important.  But, how we hate it.  It is a 4-letter word, for sure.  Is ‘discipline’ better?  Or, ‘persistence?’  Or, ‘faithful?’  it is 20, 30, 40 years to overnight success.  It is NOT being a flash-in-the-pan, but day after day after day after day of adding fuel to the fire.  Always stoking it.  Never leaving it untended.

Application:  As Elton Trueblood writes, “…we dare not be soft or indulgent with ourselves.  Excellence comes at a price, …that of inner control.  The failure to train rigorously and to live abstemiously denies (us) freedom….  Discipline is the price of freedom.”

PrayerDear Lord, three things I pray:

To see You more clearly,

Love You more dearly,

Follow You more nearly, day by day.


December 3, 2010

ScriptureRather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.  Romans 13:14

Observation:  To clothe oneself with Christ—is that the same as ‘to put on Christ?’  Is it to imitate Christ?  Is it to follow in His steps?  What do we know about Jesus and how He lived?  1) He prayed.  2) He read Scripture.  3) He preached.  4)  He taught.  5) He healed.

Application:  Jorge says it is all about behaviors.  Behaviors are choices.  I can choose obedience or disobedience.  I can opt for slumber or faithfulness.  I can pick hot over lukewarm.  Each choice is a step closer to long obedience.  Each compromise does not move me toward the goal of holiness of heart and life.    Little choices—moment by moment—will move me closer to Christ, or farther away.

Prayer:  Lord, I choose this day, to put on You.  I choose the behaviors You lived.  I choose the path of years and years of unseen, unheard growth which erupts in a 3-year period which sets the stage to change the world.  Would you bless the latter part of my life, and especially my ministry, more than the first?  For Your glory—and the world’s sake?  In Jesus’ name, I pray.

December 2, 2010

ScriptureBe joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Romans 12:2

Observation: Paul reminds the Romans, be faithful in prayer.  I am reminded of the persistent widow.  Every day she goes to the judge and makes her request known.  Every day.  Rain or shine.  Hot or cold.  Convenient or not.  Bulldog tenacity.  Never-let-it-go obsession.  She stalks him.  When he goes to the bathroom, she is there.  When he gets his breakfast out of the microwave, she is staring in the kitchen window.  She makes him rabbit stew.

Application:  I am called to be faithful in prayer.  It is the air I breathe—moments spent in communion with my Lord and Savior.  Every day.  Bulldog tenacity.  Never-let-it-go obsession.  Making my requests known with prayer and thanksgiving.

Prayer:  stir in me, O Lord, the passion to meet You, day after day after day….  I want to know You, and the power of Your resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in Your suffering, becoming like You in Your death.

This is the air I breathe

Your holy presence living in me

This is my daily bread

Your very word spoken to me

And I’m lost without You

I’m desperate for You  *

* Breathe, by Marie Barnett