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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Quiet Time: Be Boastful

1 Praise the LORD!
            Praise God in His sanctuary;
            Praise Him in His mighty expanse.
2 Praise Him for His mighty deeds;
            Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
            Praise the LORD!
Psalm 150:1-2 & 6 

Praise: to be boastful. To be blown away.

It should be easy to praise God in church. After all, corporate worship is basically boasting about the God we love. From Fanny Crosby to Chris Tomlin faithful psalmists have worked hard designing songs boasting about God’s greatness. But when was the last time you did?

I hear someone saying, “I can’t carry a tune much less write one.” Well, that may be true, but you can probably string together a few lines of poetry. Check out No Talent No Problem.

The psalmist was blown away by the God of Israel. He looked at the world He created, saw the signs and wonders of the seasons, the preciseness of times, days, and years (Genesis 1:14) and was moved to write a song boasting of God’s greatness 

Spend time today observing the preciseness of God’s creation. Notice how everything happens within a very specific period of time.

Remind yourself throughout the day, “This moment was created by God.”

Write a song or poem boasting about how God showed Himself through the moments He created today. 

LORD, help me to live today mindful of the moments You have created. By Your grace, I will praise You for You have created all things for Your glory; including me.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Quiet Time: I Can Know

Sarolta Bán (Digital Artist)
I Can Know
Knowledge is powerful

"Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;
- Deuteronomy 7:9
I can know:
 God personally
   God as LORD of my life.
      He alone is God.
         He is faithful.
            He keeps His covenant (agreement, pledge, promise).
               He keeps His lovingkindess (devotion, unchanging love).
                   This knowledge will impact future generations.
                       Future generations will be drawn to love and follow Him.
   This is a promise that extends beyond today, tomorrow, and time eternal.

If I say that I know God personally as LORD of my life, the only God, Who is faithful, true, and loving; then, I will love Him. If I love Him; then, I will keep His commandments (John 14:15 & 1 John 2:3).

If I keep His commandments, then,  my love for God will be evident to those around me. If my love for God is evident, then, my children and my children’s children will see this relationship. If they see, then they will believe, If they believe then...

 PRAYER SUGGESTION: Go back a contemplatively read through the "I can knows" turning each line into a personal prayer. (ie: Thank you God for making yourself known. Help me to get to know you better each day.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Quiet Time: Hedges and Highways

Hedges and Highways
A DIY approach to thorn bush removal

The way of the lazy is as a hedge of thorns, But the path of the upright is a highway. – Proverbs 15:19

“If you want to know the easiest way to do something; watch a lazy man work.”

The first time I heard this statement, I found it funny. But, it cannot be true. Because, a lazy man simply will not spend the time it takes to think through a job, let alone, accomplish it in the most effective and efficient manner.

The bible actually contrasts the slothful man with a person who pleases God. I suppose that’s how laziness made it to the list of “Seven Deadly Sins”. 7 Deadly Sins 
Consequently, there’s a promise in this verse for the Christ follower to remember: God makes the right walking man’s way sure like a raised well trodden road in the wilderness.  This sure sounds better than the dark overgrown briar patch path in the woods for the sluggard.
Sometimes what is perceived as laziness is actually a lack of knowledge. That’s why I love “How To” books. We can actually learn a lot about overcoming laziness from them. I have one that has grown  dog-eared from use over the years. It is easy to follow and chock full of illustrations, as well as, the perfunctory step by step approach to completing the task that most all DIY books list.

Taking the DIY approach, may be helpful in avoiding laziness.
First, we pray for God to help us do the project for His glory (1 Cor. 10:31). Next, act with knowledge by actually reading the instruction pamphlet (Prov. 13:16). Then, get advise; or, at least check YouTube , especially, if it’s something we’ve never done before (Prov. 11:14). Finally, make a list of all the tools and parts needed laying them out where they’re easy to reach (1 Cor. 14:40). Finally, just do it (Prov. 14:23).
My attic ladder installation list

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Song Series: I Have Decided


I have restrained my feet from every evil way, That I may keep Your word. – Psalm 119:101

Every person makes a choice.

Feet walk us where we want to go.

evil is real and can be pursued.

the Word can be rejected as well as, accepted.

The first dinner date my wife, Deseri, and I had was to a lakeside restaurant located in a very rural area of our state. I wanted to make a good first impression, so, I chose the secluded café for its noted ambiance and beautifully prepared meals.  Night fell as we drove to the place and, to make matters worse, a terrific thunderstorm set in within the first few miles of our leaving the main highway (no GPS back then). Visibility was terrible; we could hardly see the street, let alone street signs.  After a couple of hours on the back roads, we finally found our way to the interstate only to discover that we had traveled nearly one hundred miles in the wrong direction. The good news is, she married me anyway!
Sometimes our plans are good, our pace is routine, but our path is uncertain because we have no map to check once the storm sets in. Except for the grace of God, we would never find our way back to the right road.  
Every person makes a choice every day to walk in the Way or to walk away.

1. Determine to follow God’s plan.

2. Surrender to God’s pace.

3. Follow God’s path.

4. Check God’s print.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Song Series: Let Us Adore

Let Us Adore
Using more than half a heart

 7Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. 8And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship (adore)  Him.” – Matthew 2:7-8

Herod had Jesus in the midst of his kingdom but nowhere near his heart.
The magi had Jesus in their hearts while they were nowhere near their kingdom.

Herod said that he wanted to join the magi in worshipping the Christ child; but, what he really wanted to do was murder Him. So, how can a person like Herod, who knew so much about the coming Messiah, be so far from knowing Him as Savior? Because Herod had no faith.  And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.(Hebrews 11:6).

It took at least two years for the magi to reach Jesus. Now that’s faith. When they found Him, “ they fell to the ground and worshiped Him.” (Matthew 2:10) TWO YEARS, before their faith became sight. And the first thing they did was fall down.

I recently read an article title NIGERIA: CHRISTMAS IN MAIDUGURI,  by Voice of the Martyrs, describing how “Dozens of children clapped and sang as a Christmas celebration began in a Maiduguri church. Although they were among the thousands of Christians who fled Islamic extremist violence in northern Nigeria, inside, there were smiles and songs.” These kids and their parents were forcibly driven from their villages, presently living as refugees, and unable to return to their homes, yet, they had the joy of Jesus ringing in their hearts. That is worship…that is faith…that is….so, convicting. 

“Let Us Adore”, is the 11th track on the Wake Up the Wonder album by Elevation Worship, it is an acuminating song reminding the worshiper that Jesus deserves to be adored with abandon. The first verse reads:

For the unclean, the unholy

For the broken, the unworthy

You came, Jesus You came

For the wounded, for the hurting

For the lost and for the lonely

You came, Jesus you came


May-be we need to make a concerted effort to get away from  the familiar things that distract our hearts from all Jesus is this Christmas to better remember why we adore Him.



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Quiet Time: God in the Darkness

God in the Darkness
Pressing On In God's Presence
"The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." – Deuteronomy 31:8

A pastor friend recently shared how God often shows up in the darkness.

So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. – Exodus 19:16

And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. – Matthew 14:25

One thing struck me: How God sometimes cloaks Himself in order to grow our faith. Like the Hebrews and even Moses (Heb. 12:21) we may be full of fear; but, soon enough we find that His presence dispels our panic.

It’s easy to freeze when fears arise; however, if we press on, like Joshua (Deut. 31:8), we soon find the promises of God made sweet by His presence.
How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
- Psalm 119:103

Honestly, I don’t always see God in the circumstances, but that’s okay. I know He’s near; even when my faith is small.  
“If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13)
And that is enough to keep moving forward.

You can't wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Quiet Time: Trust Takes Time

Trust Takes Time

For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest upon the land of the righteous, So that the righteous will not put forth their hands to do wrong. – Psalm 125:3

Recently, someone very close to me revealed that they’d been living a lie. I listened quietly to their confession and worked hard at not being judgmental. Frankly, their bad behavior really had no affect on me “personally”, but it certainly affected my personal relationship with them. It’s going to take some time before I trust them again.

Interestingly, the reason this loved one gave for moving in the wrong direction was their weariness in doing what they knew was right when everyone around them dispassionately did what was wrong. In other words, they simply became tired of trusting God.

When Christ followers lose their ability to patiently endure, they also lose their ability to walk in fellowship with Christ.  We realize that our personal relationship with Jesus is affected by sin, and sin hurts (Psalm 32:3-4). But we are also encouraged that our Advocate stands ready to forgive (1 John 2:1). Albeit, the consequences of our actions continue.

 God’s word tells us to trust Him, regardless of the circumstances, because He’s not only the test giver but the time keeper; and, trust takes time.

Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. – Psalm 126:5

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. – Galatians 6:9

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. – 2 Corinthians 4:17


You get to choose: the bruise of offense or the balm of obedience.