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Tuesday, June 14, 2011


This morning, I was sitting on a beach in North Carolina, keeping an eye on my two younger children. As I gazed across the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean, dotted with fishing boats and yachts, I noticed several shiny gray shapes. Dolphins! I was actually observing wild dolphins! I yelled to the kids, "Look! Dolphins!" By this time the dolphins had re-submerged, and my children went back to digging in the sand.
This exchange had lasted only five or ten minutes, but it was long enough for me to come to two realizations. First, observing these magnificent creatures took my mind off all the worries and stresses in my life. Have you ever noticed how God uses His creation to refocus our lives? For that brief moment in time, my mind was focused on those dolphins, and on my own little miniscule sliver of creation known as my life.
Second, it was almost a role reversal between my children and myself. Here I was, at 36, excited and in awe of something wonderful. I was almost like a little kid again. And when I was expressing my wonderment, the kids looked up, saw nothing, and went back to what they were doing. It was kinda what we parents do when our children want to tell a tale of wonder, and we go back to reading the paper, or watching the ballgame.
Let us noit forget to hold on to that childlike sense of wonder and awe at creation.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Lessons In The Night

This week has been absolutely horrid! I'm not going into any details, nor will any be provided upon request. Suffice it to say that this week, my world has been completely shaken up. I've been asking the usual questions, about why all this is happening, and spending a good deal of time in tears. In the midst of this, I was reminded of how God "comforts us in all our affliction" (2 Cor 1:4a, ESV). I know God is more apparent in our trials than when things are going well. I have probably prayed more in this last week than I have over the past year. Through this trial, I have discovered a few things. first, trials are an opportunity to either distance ourselves from God, or run to Him. Second, trials are an opportunity to either give up, or to have our resolve strengthened. Finally, trials remind us of what is needed, as opposed to what is wanted. Though I am still in the midst of this trial, I can see a deeper reliance upon God's grace, a strengthened determination, as well as what is really important in life. continued prayers are appreciated, as I will be praying through this time as well.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spritual Fitness

Many people who know me know I've started on an exercise program called P90X. It combines intense workouts with a balanced diet. As I am going through this rigorous exercise regimen, it reminded me of something Steve Farrar wrote in his book, Point Man. Steve states how prayer is a lot like exercise. When we exercise, we plan when we will exercise, where we will exercise, what exercises will be done, making sure the exercises are being done correctly, and accountability.  This is almost identical to what we do when we pray. We need to carve out a block of time to pray. In other words, we need to prioritize prayer. We needs to have certain place where we pray. I'm not going to give a certain place, but place that is quiet where you can focus on God is essential. you need to have a prayer list. This allows you to focus your prayer, and not let your mind wander. We need to be utilizing Scripture, so we know we are praying within God's Will. You also need to be accountable for this, as any true change can only come if you know someone is pushing you along, as a trainer would in exercise.
Prayer is essential in the growth of a Christian. As we pray for God to work in our lives and the lives of others, it develops our spiritual muscles. We are strengthened to do the work He has called us to do.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Good Cleansing

A couple of weeks ago, I did a full body cleanse to remove toxins and excess waste from my colon. I will tell you it was not a pleasant experience, but I have felt better since then. In fact, the other night, I was able to eat fish without running to the bathroom for the first time in several years. And for those of you who ever wondered, the rainbow trout at Red Lobster is absolutely delicious!
This cleanse got me to thinking how we need to be cleansed spiritually as well. David was Israel's greatest king. He is known as the man after God's own heart.  But he did something that would serve as a turning point in his life, and in the life of his subjects. Instead of going to lead his armies against the Ammonites, he stayed at the palace in Jerusalem. One night, he noticed a woman bathing. More than noticed, the Bible says "the woman was beautiful to behold." You could almost see the drool run down his beard as he ogled her. As many of you may know. The woman was Bathsheba,and she was married to Uriah, one of David's soldiers. Well, David slept with Bathsheba, and got her pregnant. Instead of confessing his sin, David tries to cover it up, by sending for Uriah, and hoping the husband and wife would share in matrimonial bliss, and no one would be the wiser. Instead Uriah, who was a Gentile, refused to have better sleeping arrangements than his fellow soldiers. So David orders Uriah to be a sitting duck at the battle,and make sure he dies. After Uriah's death, Bathsheba moves in with David.
Though David thinks he's now off the hook, God sends Nathan to David to let the king know that his sin was not unknown to God. As Nathan shows David his sin, the king repents. The result is David writing Psalm 51. He begs God to cleanse him from his sin. He pleads with God to be given a clean heart.He begs that God be merciful towards him.
This Psalm acts as a spiritual cleanse. it reminds us that no matter how gross our sin, God has the grace to cover it. In the film Amazing Grace, there's a scene where William Wilberforce is speaking with his former pastor, John Newton, who has gone blind. Newton reminds his young friend that "I am a great sinner, and Christ is a great savior."
Some people reading this are dealing with sin. Some may feel as David did, that "There is no soundness in my fleash because of your anger, nor any health in my bones because of my sin" (Ps 38:3, NKJV). You only have one option. You need to admit your sin to God, and trust in his grace and mercy.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Necessity of Accountability

For a little over a week, I have been working at getting rid of some weight. In order to be healthier, I needed to drop about 95 pounds. The first thing I did was not to figure out an eating plan or exercise regimen. One of the first things I did was to start spreading the news that I was wanting to lose weight. Why in world would I do that? It's simple. The more people know that I'm trying to drop the pounds, the less likely I am to be making unhealthy choices.
Whenever you set a goal, accountability is crucial. If you are trying to overcome an addiction, you need someone to help strengthen you. If you are trying to beat debt, being in a class will help encourage you. If you are trying to lose weight. you need someone to push you along during the difficult times.
In the Bible, especially in the New Testament, you rarely see someone acting alone. Jesus had His apostles, and He sent them in groups. Paul almost always had a companion, whether it was Barnabas, Silas, Luke, or Apollos.
The writer of Ecclesiastes had it right. "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him--a threefold cord is not quickly broken" (4:9-12, ESV).

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Prince of Darkness Grim, We Tremble Not For Him

This post's title comes from the classic hymn "A Mighty Fortress," penned by leader of the Protestant Reformation Martin Luther. In this hymn, Luther reminds us that we have no reason to fear the wiles of Satan and his minions. In the more recnt worship song, "He Reigns," made popular by the band the Newsboys, we are reminded that the leader of all those who oppose God tremble at the prasing of El-Shaddai.
Some of you may wonder why I'm speaking on this particular subject. It's very simple. It seems that we have forgotten who the dominant force in our lives is. Those of us who are among the people of God, those who have trusted in Christ, we have a form of schizophrenia. According to author and seminary professor Steve Brown, one out of three men in the church are addicted to some sort of pornography. We walk about as though everything is just peachy, and forgetting that Satan "prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Pet. 5:8, ESV).
Luke gives an interesting story in the book of Acts regarding spiritual warfare. In Acts 19, Paul was preaching and healing diseases and exorcising demons in the city of Ephesus, in modern day Turkey. Seven men, whose father was Sceva, the Jewish high priest, saw that Paul was commanding spirits in the name of Jesus. These men decided to try this, and so they approached a demoniac, and declared "I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims" (v. 13). The demon inhabiting this one man responded by giving these seven fools a major league butt-kicking.
In the epistle written by James, we are told to submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee. But in order for Satan to flee, we must first submit to God. We must acknowledge God's lordship in our lives. Once we've done that, we must resist the devil. Only then will Satan flee