Archive for the ‘Delighting in God’ Category

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A MERE SPIN MASTER OF THE RIGHT – Nov. 20th

November 20, 2012

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life…” Deut. 30:19

The US presidential election is over but that has not stopped the political pundits from continuing the “spinning” of their party. I realize that intelligent people can mine data for salient facts. However, the simple answer can be pushed aside in all the analysis. My analysis of the election – people voted for the candidate that they feel will provide the best future for themselves and their families. We will find out if it was a good choice. The only other arena with as much advocate “spinning” is religion. 

There is an on-going battle raging between secularists & religion; atheists and God-believers. I am typically cast on one side of the debate. However, is it a debate that I should be having? Christians often get caught up in debating issues that we are convinced will affect our lives and the lives of our family.  We forget our purpose. We cast as foes the very people that we are sent to reach. We alienate, through the pursuit of our own self interest, the people who need the clear choice of the gospel presented to them.

I don’t want to be a mere spin-master of the right. I want to cut through all the spin and distraction of religious issues to clearly speak what I believe about the choice before every person. I want to be like Moses and be able to say that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse.  I want my “foes” to know that they are not my foe. I want them to know that I desperately want them to choose life. That is my message, spin free.

PRAYER: Father, Thank you for giving us a clear choice. Thank you for providing a way of escape from death and curses.  Lord, give me wisdom to know what debates I should engage in. Give me the strength to be willing to sacrafice my own self-interests for the purpose of your gospel. Open my eyes to those who feel like foes and love them as you do.   Amen

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ACHIEVING THE IMPOSSIBLE – Nov. 19th

November 19, 2012

“For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you , neither is it far off.” Deut. 30:11

I am a triathlete. I feel a little silly about claiming that title but this year I completed my first sprint triathlon.  I have been surprised by the consistency of the responses. They always seem to have some variation of “I could never do that”.  That makes me laugh. Now that I have experienced one, I realize that most people can finish a sprint triathlon with a little training.  The reason they don’t even try is due to what they are telling themselves, “I can’t”. My goal is to do an Ironman. That does not seem possible at this present time but I have a plan. I know that after I have done an Olympic distance and a 70.3 distance that I will then have the confidence to achieve an Ironman. I am going to break the “impossible” into achievable tasks until the “impossible” is ordinary.

Many folks are caught in the same “I can’t” mindset in their spiritual life. They have struggled for years with obedience and consistency in spiritual disciplines. We can get so focused on our defeats that “I can’t” is all we hear.

I am here to tell you that you can! Whatever you are struggling with may seem impossible at this moment but it is not. The impossible is achievable when you break it down. I fail all the time but I focus on the victories, achieved through the Spirit, that are taking me down the slow road of sanctification.  My task, every morning, is to set my mind on the things of the Spirit (Rom. 8:3-8). I do this through reading my Bible and prayer. This focuses my mind on what I love the most, which strenghtens me to kill sin before it’s sin. John Owen in “Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers” gets it right:

“Rise mightily against the first actings of your distemper, its first conceptions; suffer it not to get the least ground. Do not say, “Thus far it shall go, and no farther.” If it have allowance for one step, it will take another. It is impossible to fix bounds to sin. It is like water in a channel – if it once break out, it will have its course. Its not acting is easier to be compassed than its bounding.”

Too often, we play with sinful thoughts and give them a small place in our life, where we can affectionately caress them. We cannot control sinful desires. It is just  a matter of time before those sinful desires break out. Killing sin is much more achievable when it is a thought, before it has made a channel through our life. We need to take a stand like the Lord of the Rings, Gandalf and tell sin, “You shall not pass”.  

You can do this. It is not too hard. It is not impossible. Jesus tells us in Mark 9:23 that “all things are possible for one who believes.” Believe and break it down: Set your mind on the Spirit; remind yourself of what you love most and what you want the most; then FIGHT – fight for the control of your mind; kill every one of those sinful desires as they spring up; refuse to let them pass, but take them one at a time. Don’t worry about the whole day, just deal with the one thought before you at this moment. Kill it, praise God for it and soon you will be through a whole day. You can do this, it is not too hard, neither is it far off.

PRAYER: Father, I believe; Help me in my unbelief.  I believe that through the power of your Spirit that I can have victory this very day. Lord, I need your strength; help me to achieve what is impossible in my life without you.   Amen

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HAVE YOU BEEN PUNKED BY THE LAW? – Nov. 16th

November 16, 2012

“Keep silence and hear, O Israel: this day you have become the people of the Lord your God. You shall therefore obey the voice of the Lord your God, keeping his commandments and his statutes, which I command you today.”   Deut. 24:9-10  

I have had the chance to watch government function at the local level as part of my job. Governments are very good are making laws and ordinances to solve problems. I  have never really been “delighted” by legal code. I have known some lawmakers to be rather self-righteous in their conviction of the laws that they pass. Until, they’re affected by those laws. I have seen many a government official struggle with their own ordinances and standards when their adherence is expensive or inconvenient. It is a statement to a lawmakers lack of integrity when they exempt themselves from their own laws.

God is a lawmaker. God’s law can be very daunting until we consider that God does not exempt himself from his own law. God is not punking us with his law. He did not play some cosmic joke on us by giving us a law that we could never fulfill. God is revealing to us who he is by giving us a law that He will not break. The laws tells just as much about God as it does about ourselves. The law gives us a deposit that we can take to the bank about our incredible God: 

  1. There will never be another god that comes along who is greater than he is. He is the only game in town. If that happens, then God breaks his own law.
  2. God will never serve or worship anything other than himself. If anything is ever above God, then God breaks his own law.
  3. God’s glory is a big deal. It is very important; he will never consider his own name as unimportant. If that happens, then God breaks his own law.
  4. God is holy and will always maintain his holiness. If He allows the holy to become unholy, then God breaks his own law.
  5. God is due all honor and will respond appropriately to maintian His honor. If he allows himself to be dishonored, then God breaks his own law.
  6. God will never take an innocent live. The innocent have nothing to fear from him. If God unjustly takes a life, then God breaks his own law.
  7. God will never break his covenant with his people. If he were to abandon us for another, then God breaks his own law.
  8. God will never cheat us. He will never do an unfair deal with us. His scales will always be fair. When God offers us something, we should take it because it has to be a good deal. If it wasn’t a good deal, then God breaks his own law.
  9. Everything that God says is true. We can trust what he tells us. If God tells us something untrue, then he breaks His own law.
  10. God will never desire something that is not his. When God covets our love and obedience, it is because it is already his.  It is due him. If it wasn’t due Him, he would be breaking his own law.

 God’s law tells us what we can take to the bank about him. This is why we can delight in God’s law. It tells us what an incredible God we have.

PRAYER: Lord, you are incredible. Thank you for your law and what you have communicated to us through your law. Write it upon my heart. Make it a part of me as you change me more and more into your image.  Help me to delight in your law, as I delight in you.   Amen

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