The Word Became Flesh and Dwelt Among Us

18 Dec


The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

This Truth is mind-boggling – He left His home in glory to save wayward and ungrateful humanity. He created us and loved us, with full knowledge that His love would not be returned. At last not to the degree that He loves. It’s a complicated relationship. It doesn’t have to be, but we’ve made it that way.

I wonder if the complexity makes it easier somehow – easier to live distantly from the One who shines a light on our dark souls. If I can say it’s complicated, I don’t have to hold myself to the burning light that both exposes darkness and reveals Truth.

But if I allow the light to encompass me I can live open as an imperfect man in need of a loving Savior – who humbled Himself by coming down to His creation and faced the humility of the cross.

Father, help me to simplify my relationship with You, accepting the beauty of your Son’s love and the power of your Spirit who empowers me to love as lavishly as you do.


What Do You Want?

24 Oct

25150-man-praying-800w-tnWhat do you want me to do for you? -Matthew 20:23

When Jesus stopped and asked the blind men on his way out of Jericho what they wanted him to do for them, his disciples probably wanted to blurt out, “Duh, Jesus!” They obviously wanted to be able to see – and Jesus surely knew that was their request. So why did he make them say it?

The blind men couldn’t work, so they stood along the road to beg. Their daily request was for passers by to give them a few coins so that they could eat. And now they had heard Jesus preaching in Jericho and knew that he was a healer. But they yelled out to him, “have mercy on us.” What did they mean by that? Why didn’t they say, “give us our sight – we want to see?!”

I think Jesus wanted them to articulate clearly exactly what they wanted. They were asking for more than mercy – they were asking for a miracle. They wanted their eyes open to see the world around them. So he made them say it out loud. And Jesus gave them just what they asked for.

We need to come to Jesus with specific prayers. Mark Patterson writes, “God does not answer vague prayers.” We need to be able to articulate just what we want, faithfully believing that he will give us that – or even better, according to his will.

What specific thing will you ask of him today?

Wait Continually

17 Jul


So you, by the help of your God, return,

Hold fast to love and justice,

And wait continually for your God.

-Hosea 12:6


God is speaking to the tribes of Judah and Ephraim, calling them back to Himself. He spoke through the prophet Hosea to remind them of the care and guidance He had provided for His people. These tribes were about to break a covenant with Assyria to make a deal with Egypt. They had lost sight of God’s promise to them and Hosea called on them to trust the Lord.

Love, justice, and patience are key traits of those who follow after God. This verse assures us that the One who calls us to live according to these traits will equip us to develop them. He is like a magnet to those who align themselves with Him. Though we pull away, we are drawn back by His love and provision.

We may feel the burn of the fire we so foolishly touch, He places a soothing balm on our burnt skin and restores us.

As the psalmist testifies (Psalm 40), He lifts us out of the miry clay and sets our feet on solid ground. He puts a new song in our mouth so that we can proclaim His greatness.

Wait continually…keep the faith and remain on the path. To the right and left are temptations aplenty that flash on the periphery, but we must keep our eyes before us as He lovingly and skillfully leads us to green pastures and still waters on the other side of the valley.

Act Like Men

20 Jun

manly-manBe watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

1 Corinthians 16:13




What does it mean to act like men? How does a man act? Especially in today’s culture that wants to equalize the genders – making women tough and men soft. Today’s men are more sensitive, kind, and nurturing.

The days of men smoking cigars in the waiting room while their wives gave birth with a doctor and nurses is a “manly” tradition that gladly went by the wayside. For too many generations manliness was equal to machismo, and men were expected to be harsh, aloof, and uncomfortable with feelings.

I don’t think Paul was thinking along these lines when he instructed the mean of Corinth to act like men. After all, he had just finished telling them to show extreme charitable love. No, I think Paul was talking about

Courage…resolve…sincerity…integrity…drive…protectiveness…paternal nurture.

Masculine traits often miss the gentler side of manhood. Being a man is not about chauvinism and emotional distance. Paul wrote the “love chapter” to men as well as women. Love is not a feminine quality, but a human quality. Specifically, it’s the hallmark of Christians who want to reflect the nature of Jesus.

Patience, kindness, humility, forgiveness, and charity are manly attitudes. And men are to be leaders in these behaviors. We are to show the way and not shrink back. We are not to respond in anger when wronged, but refuse to be provoked to exasperation.

Men figure things out. They build and fix; they work hard and see things through. A man seeks the truth and makes a way for others to enter in. Men are standard bearers of hope, guiding the way without fear or discouragement. As our culture becomes more chaotic and complex, where sides are taken and hatred is seen as a fitting response to differences of opinion, men must act like men and display their strength in love and charity.

Called “As Is”

22 May


Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. this is my rule in all the churches. I Corinthians 7:17

Paul is writing here to the church in Corinth and this verse is in the middle of his teaching on marriage and sexuality. He expands the message at this point to include various situations a believer may be in when they choose to accept Christ.

The core message of this verse is to encourage contentment, or at least acceptance, of one’s station in life. We shouldn’t strive for what we don’t have – money, circumcision, freedom, or marriage.

We spend a lot of our lives being dissatisfied. We compare our lives to others or to an ideal cultural standard, and expend great amounts of energy anxious to acquire what we lack.

Paul wants us to put our energy toward things that are spiritually important – like unity, service, and holiness. Discipleship is not about becoming more like Christ, not conforming to church and community expectations.

I don’t think Paul is crushing all ambition in this chapter. Instead, it’s a matter of discerning our calling and position, and letting God work through us and in us no matter our condition.

Any ambition that rises up within me needs to be prayerfully considered to determine whether it’s my flesh wanting to achieve and accomplish for some earthly reward, or if it is truly the Lord planting a seed of possibility that I am to pursue with His guidance. If it is of the Lord, He will equip and empower me. If I find that I’m anxious and struggling, I have to realize the root of the dissatisfaction and ask the Lord for the strength to accept my condition.


Lord, help me to lead the life that you have assigned to me and not waste effort pursuing someone else’s life. Give me the ability to discern whether ambition is from you or my flesh. Thank you for using me in my current circumstances.

Enriched in speech and knowledge

24 Apr

“that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge”         1 Corinthians 1:5

Enriched in speech and knowledge. More clearly, they were abounding in these. A special, Holy Spirit enabled comprehension of spiritual things. They were able to explain, with “holy eloquence” and understand the message of the gospel, a rich treasure of holiness that they should cherish.

The Geneva Study Bible commentary states, “He refers to that by name which they abused the most.” The Corinthian church had this precious endowment and neglected it to the point of abuse.

Paul first recognizes and congratulates the Corinthian believers for possessing the endowment, gaining ground on which to build his argument that they were lacking.

The fact is, we are Corinthians in a new age. We love to study Scripture, and we can often explain it with an illustrated, 3-point outline, yet we lack the spiritual discernment to see that the truth that we preach has failed to take root in our own lives. We enjoy the game, but resist the transformation required of a disciple.


Lord, may I be transformed as I consider the gospel and the truth that it conveys to my life. May I have holy eyes to see my arrogance and lack of zeal to be a doer of the Word and not a hearer only. Make we aware of the treasure you have placed in my heart and mind, and help me to invest it wisely for true spiritual relationship with you.

Driving out the “Ites”

21 Sep


And I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of the land to a good and broad loans, a land flowing with milk and honey, to a place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. -Genesis 3:8

And I will set your border from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates, for I will give the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you. -Genesis 23:31

In order to possess the land that God has marked out for the Hebrew people, they had to drive out all of the inhabitants of that land. To avoid becoming defiled and corrupted by those in the land – those who followed other gods – the people of Israel needed to push whole nations away; all of the “ites” had to be expelled.

Metaphorically, we need to drive out the “ites” from our lives in order to take possession of the spiritual land the Lord has planned for us. We can’t allow remnants, rituals, or riches to remain or we may be tainted by the seemingly harmless, but truly dangerous elements that have taken up residence in our promised land.

What are the “ites” that must be driven out?

  • Pride?
  • Selfishness?
  • Settling?
  • Jealousy/envy?
  • Anger?
  • Ambition?
  • Safety?
  • Wealth?
  • Logic?

We must identify our “ites” so we understand the enemy that must be expelled.

Pray that God would reveal a map of the landscape of your heart and give you the courage, resolve, and spiritual strength to put on the spiritual battle armor to begin taking possession of your promised land.

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