Tuesday, November 30, 2010


It's a quiet day for me here at home and I've been thinking a lot about the things that I am thankful for and the thing that I have been thinking of most often today is God's presence here in this world with me. It baffles me, it blows my mind, and it makes me weep with joy and gratefulness to Him for being here with us.

As we head off into this Christmas season may we all be truly grateful that Jesus Christ did come in the flesh as Immanuel, God with us, and after He ascended back into Heaven He sent His Spirit to be our comforter and guide. God truly is with us, shedding His love abroad in our hearts as He brings forth light into our dark hearts and then uses us to bring light into our dark world. Let us give thanks for He is good and His presence is with us even today.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Poor and Needy

As I read through the book of Proverbs over the last month or so, I was struck by the constant admonition to look after the poor. I hadn't ever really caught that before . . . but after this read-through, that's what has stayed with me for so long. Here's a sampling of what Proverbs says to us:

"He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, but he who is gracious to the needy honors Him." - Proverbs 14:31

"He who mocks the poor taunts his Maker . . . " - Proverbs 17:5

"One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD . . . " - Proverbs 19:17

"He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered." - Proverbs 21:13

"He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses." - Proverbs 28:27

"Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy." - Proverbs 31:8-9

How is it for us to turn away from those we see on street corners, asking for food? How easy is it for us to be afraid of those who wear raggedy clothes and walk on the other side? How easy is it for us to ignore the needs of those so close to us, while thinking all the poverty is across the ocean? O Jesus, forgive me, forgive us, for the failure to take care of Your children!

After reading Proverbs, I have felt such a heavy burden to do something - to do something more - for those who are poor and needy. Even now, as I read those verses, I feel a pressing urgency on my heart. At this point, I'm not even sure how the Lord will choose to us me. But I pray that when opportunities come, I will seize them, and not "[pass] by on the other side" (Luke 10:31 & 32).

I know I have posted these videos of Jon Foreman songs before, but they are so relevant to this topic of caring for the poor. Please, take some time to listen to them, to read through the book of Proverbs, and to pray about how the Lord would use you to take care of the poor and needy around you.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Count Your Blessings

"I'm thankful for toilets."

I led a small Bible study at my public high school and the week of Thanksgiving asked the question "What are you thankful for?" To my surprise, that was one of the guys answer. This was followed by all the usual things people say-- God, family, friends, food, shelter, etc. After the laughter died down I asked the guy what he meant by that to see if he was just goofing around and he responded, "Well, aren't you thankful we have toilets?"

This simple question struck me-- how much do we take for granted? While I'm sure we all don't live perfect, carefree lives, we do live in America where we're showered with luxuries people in other countries can't even imagine. We have clean running water, warm showers, vehicles, Caribous, toasters, refrigerators...the list could go on a whole lot longer than I'm sure you'd want to read.

1 Timothy speaks of this in chapter 6, "Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content". We have everything-- we are rich. It may not seem like it to many of us because we compare ourselves with the "rich" of America, but even the broke college student is rich compared to the majority of the rest of the world.

So what are you thankful for? I'm thankful for God, family, friends, food shelter...

And toilets. :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Psalm of Thanks

Psalm 136

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

2 Give thanks to the God of gods,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

4 To Him who alone does great wonders,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;

5 To Him who made the heavens with skill,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;

6 To Him who spread out the earth above the waters,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;

7 To Him who made the great lights,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting:

8 The sun to rule by day,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,

9 The moon and stars to rule by night,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

10 To Him who smote the Egyptians in their firstborn,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,

11 And brought Israel out from their midst,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,

12 With a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

13 To Him who divided the Red Sea asunder,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,

14 And made Israel pass through the midst of it,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;

15 But He overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

16 To Him who led His people through the wilderness,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;

17 To Him who smote great kings,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,

18 And slew mighty kings,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting:

19 Sihon, king of the Amorites,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,

20 And Og, king of Bashan,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,

21 And gave their land as a heritage,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,

22 Even a heritage to Israel His servant,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

23 Who remembered us in our low estate,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,

24 And has rescued us from our adversaries,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;

25 Who gives food to all flesh,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Just as the Israelites had so much to thank and praise the Lord for, so do we. As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, may our hearts not be focused simply on the food, seeing family, or even speaking short phrases of "I'm thankful for . . ." merely out of tradition. May we live in daily thanks for what the Lord has done for us: salvation, justification, sanctification. Food to eat, warm homes to live in, family and friends to gather with. The freedom to worship Him freely and read His Word daily. Homework to do, jobs to work at; toothbrushes and toothpaste. Eyes to see the beauty of His creation, cars to drive, intricately created snow.

I pray that our entire lives will flow forth with thanksgiving and awe for the Lord and for all that He has done. For all that He has done because "His lovingkindness is everlasting". Praise the Lord!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Car, or Door #3?

Hey guys
I was thinking about what was going on with me about this time last year, and one of those things was that I was thinking about transferring. I was talking to a good friend of mine, and he said "You know Matt, if you're supposed to transfer, God will open the door for you. If you aren't supposed to, he's going to slam it shut." This really resonated with me and, the way it turned out, God opened a door. It's an example of why prayer is so important. Prayer is a way for us to stay in contact with God, we talk to Him, He helps our decisions become more clear. As we read in Psalm 16:7, "I will praise the Lord who counsels me, even at night my heart instructs me." Stay in your Bible and pray frequently, and God will make sure you know which direction to go.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Packrats are little gray varmints with skinny tails that burrow into the insulation of your shed. When my mom says - "You're a packrat, just like your father." - should I take it as a compliment? If I take it literally, I should be offended and concerned about my mom's perspective of dad, but she is just being truthful.

I keep almost everything. Most of the stuff I keep is completely useless. It takes up space, makes moving more difficult, and gives me the reputation of a rodent. Boxes get filled with pieces of paper, little trinkets, and utterly useless junk. Genetics may have something to do with this ...

Today, I was advised by an adviser with great advise. Looking at my academic career was both nostalgic and prophetic, but it also put my packrat tendencies to good use. I was encouraged to find syllabi from various college courses I have taken in the past, with the hopes of having credits apply to my major at a different school. Leaving the meeting left me hopeful. I have always dreamed of acquiring a four year degree in six years. Today that dream fell out of the clouds like a snowflake, landing on my pile of junk.

Digging through boxes, shuffling papers, sorting through notebooks, and scratching my head turned out to be very beneficial. Looking for six different syllabi, I found five of them. To top things off, the process of finding them was like free rehab for myself. I had to ask myself "Why do I hold on to so many things?"

This idea of being a packrat reminds me of how I look at my sin. I know that God has forgiven me for ___________ and He goes on to forget about ___________, but I hold on to _________ for a long time. Realizing that I keep my forgiven sin tucked away in the dark corners of my life has shown me how little I understand God's love.

The Bible uses a lot of beautiful language to describe how God is not a packrat.

Psalm 104:8-12 says
The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

When I hold on to my sin, I distort my own understanding of forgiveness. As I go on in life, I want to let go of the past. God graciously forgives me and He wants that to change who I am into someone more like Himself.

God is not a packrat - so why am I?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ready and Waiting - ?

Last Thursday night, as I was driving home from class in Bismarck, I stumbled upon a radio station I had never encountered before. I couldn't tell you the name of the host, or even the name of the program or station; however, what I do remember has really impacted me over the last couple of days. This man confidently declared that Jesus will return on May 21, 2011.

My initial reaction was that of scoffing, thinking of the verse in which Jesus proclaims that: "'But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.' . . . 'Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.' . . . 'You also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will'" (Matthew 21:36, 42, 44). I don't think Jesus will return on May 21, 2011 because it's a date that man has set; a date declared by some believers as the certain date of His return - so they are expecting it. From what I can see in Scripture, Jesus will come when we are least expecting it.

But, that confident declaration on the radio got me thinking. If Jesus' return was certain to happen on May 21, 2011, what would I be doing differently? Why should I even bother going to class? Why don't we just travel the globe, evangelizing to the lost? Why are people planning weddings for next summer - why not just elope?

That got me thinking even more: isn't that what I should be doing now? The exact date of Jesus' return is uncertain, yet do I live with expectancy that He is returning, and returning soon? I should be living every moment of every day with the realization that at any second Jesus could burst through the clouds, coming in power and might, calling believers home. Am I excited for that? Am I ready to go?

I discovered that honestly, I'm not. Although I am a saved believer, I am still a selfish one. There are still things I want to do in this life - like become a mom, get a job teaching . . . Man! Am I selfish or what?! Who am I to put my own desires ahead of the Lord? Shouldn't I be rejoicing exceedingly at the very idea of His return happening soon?

Tonight, I prayed for the Lord's forgiveness regarding my selfish attitude, and that He'll replace it with that exceeding joy and constant anticipation of His return. What about you? Are you ready for His return? Are you ready to give up that which you so longing for in this lifetime for a lifetime with Jesus in eternity?

"Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." - Galatians 5:24

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Knit Together in Love

As the snow fell all yesterday, I began to think about all the reasons why I love winter. My list included things such as snowball fights, warm sweaters, hot chocolate, fuzzy mittens, peppermint candy canes, cookies, fireplaces, and so on. However, none of those come close to my absolute favorite thing about the cold winter months--spanning from November to April here in Minnesota.

I love conversations. Winter is the best time to sit and share what God has been doing in your life and hear what He's doing in other's lives as well. Really, what better could you do on a day of drizzly snow with temperatures reaching below zero? How often do we listen though?

God calls us to fellowship; He longs for unity within the body. Colossians 2:2 says, "That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ". Again, in Psalm 133 is reads, "Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity".

Tell others of what God's doing in your life; you will truly be astonished if you sit down and list what He's blessed you with and what He has or is currently pulling you through.

Today I challenge you to listen.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Chose to love - always

Did you choose not to let Jesus love today? Yesterday? Last week?

Like seeing a new person in church all alone, but not going up to talk to them. Or inviting your friends to a church event, but not the “outcast” standing just 10 feet away from you. There are times even when we yell or snap at others when they make us angry, or irritate us. And many times we don’t tell a coworker about Jesus when the opportunity arrises. We go through many moments in each day, and encounter many people during different moments. God has put us in every one of those moments, in every situation, in every conversation. In those moments, situations, conversations, we have a choice. We can either let Christ’s love spill out of us, or keep it contained inside.

God commands us to love one another several times in the Bible. But the book that sticks out to me the most when thinking about love is 1 John. In chapter 3, John specifically talks about how we, as children of God, are to love one another. So many areas that could be pointed out, but verse 18 sums most of it up:

Little children, let us not love [merely] in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth (in practice and in sincerity).” (1 John 3:18 AMPLIFIED)

We can go to church and talk about loving others, we can think of the examples of how Christ loves others, we can even think of ways we could maybe help others. But how does that impact anyone else – how can Christ touch other lives through us when we don’t? But when we love in deed and truth, or in practice and sincerity, then we choose to let Jesus love others today through us.

I have had several instances where I chose not to let Christ love people. They are new to the church, Youth Group, or Kids Club, but in my selfishness, I don’t make the effort to get out of my comfort zone and love them – like saying hi, making conversation, asking them how they are doing, making them feel welcome and loved – simple things really, just showing that I care, and letting Jesus’ light and love shine through me. God hit me with that reality last night, and now I pray that He would give me another chance, and that when that time arises I would snatch it like nothing ever before, and love others by His strength and love. And He does give us strength, especially in times where we don't feel like loving others, or even know what to say or do. God is love, and He can and will show us how to love!

“This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.” (1 John 3:23)

As followers of Christ, let us follow His example, and seek others to love, rather than letting them find us. It is hard to find a light switch in a strange, dark room – let’s turn the light on for them.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pedal with Jesus

Being an optimist makes it difficult to complain. I have learned the optimistic way to be pessimistic. By using the words "My least favorite ..." before announcing the negative aspects of something in this world, I adhere to my optimistic tendencies. Now I am an extreme advocate for the winter season, but my least favorite thing about winter is the fact that riding my bike happens less frequently. November has been beautiful so far with warmer than usual temperatures keeping me pedaling in the afternoon sun.

My least favorite thing about riding bikes is going against the wind. As I pedal harder than normal, I go slower than normal. My flowing locks are similar to amber waves of grain, but my ground speed is like molasses flowing uphill in January. I am not crying about it, I just got a bunch of dirt blown into my eyes. Bicycles with humans on them are about as aerodynamic as a Winnebago. Seeing other cyclists, I clinch my teeth, put my head down, and try to prove to them and to me that I can do it. Going against the wind is my least favorite thing about riding bikes.

On the flip side, going with the wind is great! Speeds increase with little effort. Like a catamaran on the open sea, I use the wind to my advantage. Now I am passing school buses and chasing migratory birds. Combining the effects of a strong tail wind with the pull of gravity, my cheeks flap so violently I fear my beard may fall off. I'm not crying about it, I just went so fast with my eyes wide open that my tear ducts were activated. Fellow cyclists smile, acknowledging the joy that has overcome my entirety. Going with the wind is memorable and one of my favorite things in life.

A few years back, some folks were kickin it in one place when God decided to show up ...

"And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting." (Acts 2:1-2)

I wonder if Peter thought John had left the window open and there was an evening storm building outside. Random thought. Sorry.

The Holy Spirit filled the room. Sometimes I notice when the Holy Spirit shows up in the room, encouraging me to live my life glorifying God, and I do the opposite.

I willingly start pedaling against the wind. After a while I feel worn out. I'm going nowhere fast. Finding myself frustrated because I know it's easier to go the other direction, my body keeps pushing as my heart pounds harder. Attempting to hold onto my pride, people notice that I'm working harder than I have to, I'm wearing out quickly, and I'm making excuses to justify my behavior. My least favorite part about relying on my own strength is admitting that I'm wrong.

Turning the opposite direction brings joy back to my heart. The wind is pushing me forward. My body begins to rest. Moving forward, I notice the scenery. No longer winded, I have significant conversations with the people around me. Instead of a tornado of negativity smashing inside my skull, my thoughts are clear, focused, and positive. Realizing the ease of going with the breeze, I must remember where I'm coming from,and look forward to where I'm going.

When the Holy Spirit makes it clear to me what sin I need to repent, what steps I need to take, or what person to pray for, I have the choice to follow my Guide or do my own thing. As I've learned what intimacy with the Almighty is like, I realize that happens when I'm going with the wind. What made me choose to go against the wind, making my relationship with Christ suffer?

Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." (John 14:25-26)

I want to pedal with the wind on a tandem bike with Jesus.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

God's Plan, or Your's

So, here's my thoughts for the week.  Do you ever think that God should be doing something that He's not doing or shouldn't be doing something that He's doing?  

As I was praying about what to write I began to think that I am sometimes like that.  I don't even really consciously think about really but I know that sometimes I do question what God is up to.  I'm reminded of the disciples questioning Jesus, especially Peter, as He is preparing and telling them that He is going to die soon.  Peter jumps in and says, in the way that Peter did many things, that it would never happen and that Jesus shouldn't be saying such things.  

Jesus, in effect, rebukes him as He tells Satan to be get behind  Him for what he was thinking was not of God.

Think about that.  Peter told Jesus that what He was about to do was the wrong thing for him to be doing.  How stupid and foolish that sounds to me, especially for a guy like Peter.  I mean he'd been living and walking (literally) with Jesus for almost three years.  You'd think he would have figured out by now that Jesus knew what He was doing.  Such is not the case though.

Are we not the same?  We question what God is doing, even though many of us have been walking with God for a long time now.  You'd think we would have figured out by now that He knows what He is doing.  He's never failed us in the past.  He's never been wrong about the way that He has done things before.

Peter was nearsighted though.  He was only looking in the temporal.  As far as his eyes could figuratively see.  God, though had another plan, and it included Jesus going to the cross to pay for the sins of all mankind.  Here's the ticket: God's plan for Peter, the other disciples, and the rest of humankind was way better than anything Peter could conceive that it was supposed to be.

Do you have anything in your life that you are questioning God about?  I would encourage you to entrust it completely to Him.  His plan for you is way better than anything you could ever imagine, no matter what you might conceive it to be.

Something else that I just thought of too is this. When God wants to bring about something good in your life it most often comes through the path of suffering. That's often the reason why we question what He is up to, but suffering is the process by which He has chosen to accomplish much in this fallen world; so do not run from it. Rest in Jesus and find yourself rising above it with wings as of eagles. :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Just the Ordinary

For the past ump-teen years, out here in Beulah, ND, the clocks have been set to Mountain Time. It's kind of a strange deal too, when you consider that there are many towns west of Beulah that are in Central Time, such as Williston. There had been talk for years about switching the county to Central Time, but there were always those buggers who fought long and hard against it. Claims such as:

"Our crops can't take that much sunlight!"
"My chickens will NOT know how to lay eggs on Central Time!"
"Those cows won't milk on Central Time!"

were in abundance, despite their ridiculous nature.

This year, the battle ensued again. And though the old arguments arose yet again,they did not prevail. Earlier this fall, it was announced that Mercer County would switch to Central Time at Daylight Savings Time. So, instead of setting our clocks back an hour and regaining that wonderful hour of sleep, we kept them the same.

And that was it. All of a sudden, an entire county was in a different time zone. No fireworks proclaiming the switch, no barren chickens or empty cows . . . the entire battle doesn't even seem like it took place. Switching time zones hasn't altered anything at all.

Is it weird that this disappointed me? I figured something cool should happen . . . after all, how often do counties change time zones? As I pondered the ordinary-ness of our first few days living on Central Time, I was reminded of something spoken by Pastor Haugen in Luke class my senior year of AFLBS . . .

"God's way of doing this is different than man's way of doing things. If something is not big and splashy, dynamic and awesome, we have the idea that it's not very good. God's way is different - He has a very strong tendency to take that which is insignificant and despised in the eyes of men to accomplish His purpose."

Pastor Haugen spoke this in reference to the prophecy and birth of Jesus Christ. There were no fireworks celebrating the birth of the Savior; there was no royal procession bringing Him honorary gifts; Christ's birth . . . it was simple. In fact, the birth of Jesus is simply summed up in a few short verses:

"While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger." - Luke 2:6b-7

Thousands of years of waiting for the Messiah to come . . . and that is how He came. Humbly, simply . . . not as we would have imagined.

Praise the Lord that in EVERY situation -

"'My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' declares the LORD. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts'". - Isaiah 55:8-9

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Baby Steps

My wonderful nanny girl whom I love dearly has been in the slow process of learning how to walk for the past two months. She loves to walk, but only if she has a firm grip on someone's finger; walking without someone has been completely out of the question. If I slipped my hand away she would whine and cautiously lower herself to the floor. I knew I would never let her fall, so at times it just annoyed me that she wouldn't step out in faith and be confident that I would be there with her the whole time.

Did you catch that? This past week I sure did; I wouldn't step out in faith. We are all similar to my little girl in many ways; we like to have a firm grip on God as He controls our paths. If God lets go and wants us to have faith in His provision and guiding, He won't let you fall.

Abraham is the first one that comes to mind when I think about stepping out in faith. Hebrews 11:8 says, "By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going"

Not knowing where he was going.

It's easy to follow God when He holds our hand and directs the path in which we take, but it's not as easy when He calls us to do something that's so completely foreign to our minds as walk by faith.

My nanny girl learned to walk this weekend, praise the Lord!
That made me question myself; have I learned to walk yet?
How is your walk today?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Traveling Light

Hey guys
Once again I'm going to take a post from a verse I recently came across during my readings. Today the verse is John 16:33 - "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have troubles. But take heart! I have overcome the world." I absolutely love this verse. Once again it's Jesus reminding us not to worry about things. Our problems come from the world, whether it's school or relationships or something else. It's great to know, though, that if we keep putting our trust in God, He'll help us to overcome those problems. The verse also reminded me of a song, Traveling Light, by Joel Hanson and Sara Groves: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hgnsMg4z2I
The song too is a great reminder to lay down your burdens, to give them to God, and let him carry the load for you. Put your trust in God, and life will get a whole lot easier.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Living life every day makes everyday life livable.

Unfortunately, everyday life isn’t always memorable. I distinctly remember the moments in life when God gives me a high five on the mountaintop. I recall the warmth of His embrace in the bottom of the coldest valley. Some days are neither great nor horrible.

What about yesterday?
What about today?
What about tomorrow?

Everyday life is when I need God most.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ

As I sat in the parking lot at work this morning reading in Romans I thought, what would go through my co-workers minds if they saw me reading my Bible and does my behavior at work reflect my faith in Him? I know I have had moments where I have failed to honor Him with my actions and my words. 

Romans 13: 11-14 says "And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh."

In a scene from his music video for "The 11th Dimension" Julian Casablancas writes a quote on a black board that has been stuck in my mind for a few weeks now.
"Sin is honoring desire above what you know is right"
Now I am by no means looking to the lead singer of the Strokes as a moral compass, but that phrase really got me thinking. 

We do not fall into sin accidentally, when it comes right down to it sin is intentional. We don't sin mistakenly, we know when we are sinning. And when we sin we chose to honor something above God. Sin directly dishonors God. I hope that each day I keep in mind to be clothed in Christ, I hope that others see Him in me and that I honor Him not my own selfish desires.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Joyful Trust

Today I have just been kind of sitting around thinking and praying about life.  I've kind of been feeling restless lately.  I'm itching for something more to do.  Some new kind of adventure or some other task that God wants me to do and I'm beginning to realize how this is fitting so very nicely into something that God has been trying to teach me lately.

You see, I often know what I need to do but I don't always do what I know I need to be doing with joy.  I tend to just kind of slavishly do it.  Instead of taking joy in what I am doing and enjoying the people that I am with or what I am doing I can get lost in what I think I would rather be doing.  Reality for me though is that when I am doing what I am doing with joy, satisfied that God is in control, and I'm not longing for that which I think I need or need to be doing.  I find that I really am doing what God wants me to do and that is exactly what I want to be doing.  

Are you guys like that?  You want to do God's will so bad that you are always, or at least sometimes, wondering if there is something else that you should be doing.  I'm like that and I am finding that taking joy in what we are doing and trusting God at the present time are two of the things that God wants us to be doing when we're doing the things that He wants us to be doing.  It's hard though isn't it when you think there is more that God wants you to do in life, when you have high hopes and dreams for something and He is asking you to wait on His timing, or when you know you are not yet what you should be?  Doing life with joy, trusting that He is in control and you are right where He wants you to be is what He is asking of us.  

Abraham kind of screwed himself over, and the rest of the world, when he didn't wait on God's timing for his son to be born; so my suggestion to you while you wait is this: Do it with joy and trust that what God says He wants to do in you or through you will come to pass.  We cannot make it happen.  Trust that He can.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Why do we pray? Why do you, friend, pray?

It is simple communication with God? Is it us bringing our concerns and desires before Him? Do we simply pray because that's just what Christians are to do?

O. Hallesby wrote in his book on Prayer, "Only those who are truly helpless can pray." What a shocking realization . . . and what a wonderful truth!

Yesterday morning, as Pastor Shane McLoughlin preached on this subject of helplessness, I could not help but remember the discouragement I had felt only a week before. The discouragement of my heart was to due to circumstances I cannot fix or change. It is the Lord who does all the work necessary for salvation - it is He who died, He who softens hearts, He who grows faith, He who convicts, He who saves. The Lord doesn't need us, He doesn't need me - He chooses to use us, but He is not dependent upon us. We are dependent upon Him.

"What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth." - 1 Corinthians 3:5-7

"Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." - Hebrews 4:16

"I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep." - Psalm 121:1-4

"'Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.'" - Jeremiah 33:3

"'Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.'" - Matthew 11:28-30

Do we recognize our helplessness before the LORD? Do we recognize that we can do absolutely nothing without Him? I pray that each one of us will come to that place quickly, instead of relying partially on the Lord and partially on ourselves to accomplish His work. Become helpless, become weak, because then the Lord's power shall be perfected in us (2 Corinthians 12:9).