Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Many novels and "love" songs have been written, describing feelings of love ranging from romantic to familial, from the joys of finding one's soulmate to the pain of being rejected in love.

In describing these feelings, the artist may strike a chord at the emotional level. But these descriptions are woefully inadequate and often reveal an ignorance of true love - "Agape" love which originates and flows from the heart of God!
(Agape is the Greek word for the Divine love of God!)

An author or songwriter may have experienced the joys of love or the pain of unrequited love on a human level but still have little or no experience of the deeper love which only comes from God.

The unbelieving world proposes many ideas of love such as romance, physical attraction, tolerance, pacifism or communal living. These ideas seem right but are not rooted in or birthed from a relationship with God. These types of love can be real but they must be revised according to God's perfect blueprint.

Not only must they be in accordance with God's vision, but they must also flow into us from God and out to the world. All love that is initiated from the mind and heart of fallen men cannot help to be self-centered and self-empowered.

But true "Agape" love is initiated by God and can only flow out from man as it flows into him when he enters into and grows in a close relationship with the living God!

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1 John 4:8

This verse does not merely say that "God is loving." It says that He is love! He embodies and emanates love from His very being. He is the source of all true love! How can we possibly think we can truly love without Him!

Jesus gave us the two great commandments:

Monday, August 26, 2013


We all know that from the day we are born we start aging. It seems to go upward to a point and then at some point, we begin to show signs of decay. We speak of this process as "the circle of life" or remark that someone is "not getting older; they're getting wiser." We celebrate the fact that a person is very old but can still drive a car or carry on a conversation.

We should make every to look at old age as optimistically as possible. But there is another side to aging!

Recently I observed a very old woman who was hunched over and walking with great difficulty down the stairs of her front porch. Suddenly I saw aging for what it is - a curse. Don't get me wrong. This process of downward corruption will eventually take hold of all of us if we live long enough.

At the same time, we should not close our eyes to the fact that it was never a part of God's original design but came as a result of sin entering the world! This old woman struggling with weakness and pain would never have been in this condition were it not for the curse!

Try to imagine her for just a moment, not as an old woman who is experiencing the natural course of life but as one who is gripped by a curse! Try to see her, not as an old woman, but as a young woman who is now displaying the result of the curse in her life!

We look at ourselves in the mirror and realize the curse is taking over. Some might think it looks distinguished for a while but eventually it takes it toll!

We begin to feel arthritic pains, clogged veins or loss of sight or hearing. It might be a matter of humor to an extent but most older folks know one thing - you are the same on the inside but your body is decaying!

Friday, August 23, 2013



In his wonderful book, "The Pursuit of God," A.W. Tozer writes of one hundred pianos being played together as a metaphor for unity in the body of Christ.

Pianos must all be in perfect tune with each other if the music they play is to sound right. If they are out of tune, even slightly, the music will sound dissonant and annoying.

Tozer makes the point that pianos can be tuned in two ways. One is to tune to each other. The other is to tune to a standard, internationally accepted pitch. The pianos may be tuned perfectly to each and yet not be tuned to the standard. If another musician whose interment is tuned to the this standard pitch tries to join in, the music will again sound dissonant and out of tune!

If instead, the pianos all tuned to this standard, they will also automatically be in tune when they come together!

Such is the case with church unity!

Unity may be forced. It may be part of a program or demanded by the leaders. Members of a congregation may make the effort to "tune" meticulously to each other. Yet they can still be out of touch with the standard.

You may have guessed by now that God is the standard! Unless we are in tune with Him, we are out of tune, regardless of how much "unity" we have with each other!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013


What brings you joy?

A new house, car, clothes? New friends or relationships?

We often confuse joy with other words. Happiness is a word which has the same root as the word, happenings. It is said that wishing "happiness" to someone evolved from wishing "good happenings."

Happiness is primarily outward. It is a feeling or state of mind that comes from landing a good job, finding your soulmate or winning the lottery.

Joy can be described as an inward thrill or excitement that is often experienced in spite of the outward circumstances or "happenings" in our lives rather than as a result of them!

The biblical meaning of joy is something born of the Spirit of God. Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians chapter five.

Perhaps the best definition of joy in the Bible was written by David in Psalm 16:

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11

"Good happenings" can bring us a temporary "rush" but the Divine Presence of God is the only source of true inexpressible joy!

The Apostle Peter also spoke of this joy:

Whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.
1 Peter 1:8

God knows we are human and we all need a certain amount of "good happenings" in our lives.  But that does not change the fact that not even the best circumstances cannot impart the joy of the Lord to us! That can only come from being in God's presence!

As Christians we often fall into the trap of attempting to use God to change our outward circumstances, hoping it will result in abundant joy.

God will meet our outward needs but the inward joy that comes from knowing God can only come from Him!

The old hymn written by Helen H. Lemmel in 1922 expresses it so well:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


So many of the principles of that Jesus taught turn the ways of the world upside down!

And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

Acts 20:35

How can it be more blessed to give than receive? Shouldn't we strive to get all we can, chase our own dreams and accumulate wealth. Even in the church, these ideals are often espoused.

God created us to give! What a different world if, instead of striving to have our way and fight for our "personal rights," we channeled our energy into giving!

Here are just a few of the ways man's ways are diametrically opposed to God's ways:

Manmade Principles              Jesus Principles
Take                                         Give
Me first                                     God first
Rule                                          Serve
Accumulate for self                  Disperse to the needy              
Lie to protect self interests      Admit the truth
It costs to serve God               IT PAYS TO SERVE GOD!

Paul told Timothy that GODLINESS IS PROFITABLE!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3:3

Being born again is the key to seeing the Kingdom of God. There is no reason to think that it should stop there!

Once we submit our hearts fully to God, our eyes are opened to "entry level" insight into the Kingdom of God. But God fully intends for us to progress in our discipleship!

If we want to grow in the knowledge of God, we must not be satisfied with becoming a Christian. We must push ourselves to grow to full maturity in Christ.

This is not merely for the sake of acquiring head knowledge about God. Our level of growth in Christ determines our level of understanding Him and representing Him to the world. A lack of spiritual growth in Christ causes at least three problems.

1. Less than Holy living! This is so often misused to demand perfection from a legalistic perspective. Nevertheless God commands that we live holy lives! When we fail to grow in Christ, we fail to grasp what Holy living means, let alone accomplish it!

Sunday, August 11, 2013



For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
1 Corinthians 1:21

When Jesus taught His disciples, a large number of others also gathered to hear him. He often spoke to them in parables. Afterward, His disciples came and asked him why.

10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”
Matthew 13:10

It has often been said that Jesus was a great storyteller and used stories to win people to the kingdom.

The mind-blowing truth is that Jesus used stories to hide the secrets of the kingdom from curiosity seekers, the uncommitted and the unrepentant among the crowds!

11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given."
13 ...Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
Matthew 13:10-11, 13

Jesus gladly explained the hidden meanings of parables to His disciples!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013



It has been said that one of the definitions of sin is simply "missing the mark!"

The "mark" could be defined as being everything God wants us to be and living our lives as God designed in His perfect will.

Imagine a world where everyone hit the mark?

No locks, no lack, no fears! No one would litter or deface property. No one would break into another's home or steal their property. No one would ever want to harm another, including emotional harm! Love, peace and joy would fill the earth!

Outwardly, such a world will never exist until Jesus returns and rules it His way! Sin is behind the confusion in the world and the ineptness of all governments. Some governments may be preferable. Churchill said, Democracy is the worst form of government - except for all the others."

I regret to report that I cannot change this world to be that perfect place!

But I can do something - I can strive to hit the mark in my own life!

At first glance, this probably doesn't seem like a great news flash. How hopeless and mundane it sounds that the answer to a better world is to "Be the best that I can be!" That's because it is!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Sometimes it is hard to be great at one thing if you also pursue another at the same time.

Someone said that if you chase two rabbits you probably won't catch either one!

This principle has been the impetus behind many success stories. Many musicians, athletes, politicians and CEO's have adhered to this principle. They have testified of how sacrificing all was the key to their rise to the top. To be successful at one thing, they sacrificed others.

But what if that which is sacrificed is also worthwhile or of even greater value?

Many successful people have sacrificed families, relationships, morals and God to get to the top. They are lamented by others as having "sold their souls" in exchange for success.

Jesus spoke of the fallacy of this mindset:

For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Matthew 16:26

It is vital that we realize that more than one thing is to be focused on and equally valued in our lives!

The Christian life also has many important aspects such as Bible study, prayer, ministry, time with God and time with others. These all work together to make us successful in our Christian lives.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us
Hebrews 12:1

God challenges us to run a race in this verse!

One of the great implications I find in this verse is that there is a race set before us!

Four Things to Understand About This Race:

1) God is the Master Designer of the race that we must run.
     - He specifically designs a race for us - more importantly for me!

2) I do not have to compete against anyone.
     - In this way, it is not like any other race because I am only competing against the standard that God    
       has placed in front of me.
     - God knows my abilities (or lack thereof), my calling and the gifts and talents He has given me. He
       will never expect me to keep pace with someone who has more than I do!
     - Nor will He give me unrestrained accolades for running at a pace far below my potential!

Thursday, August 1, 2013



A church can be a comfortable place - perhaps too comfortable at times!

The leader of a local congregation is usually called a "pastor" or "leader" - one who gives his life to shepherd the people of his church under the guidance of The Great Shepherd, Jesus Christ!

Some give their pastors a hard time but most appreciate the loving dedication which their pastor gives to feed them with the word of God, help meet their needs and be there through the good times and the hard times!

Along with pastors, God has appointed others to lead the church…

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
Ephesians 4:11-12

Many churches only acknowledge the position of pastor but God has included four other ministries in this lift of gifts, often called the five-fold ministry.