Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Week 26:

This week, spend time in meditation over this passage.  Follow the instructions below the passage as your guide.

Job 37:19-34
19 “Tell us what we should say to him;
    we cannot draw up our case because of our darkness.
20 Should he be told that I want to speak?
    Would anyone ask to be swallowed up?
21 Now no one can look at the sun,
    bright as it is in the skies
    after the wind has swept them clean.
22 Out of the north he comes in golden splendor;
    God comes in awesome majesty.
23 The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power;
    in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress.
24 Therefore, people revere him,
    for does he not have regard for all the wise in heart?”

You will be reading this passage three times following the guidelines below:

1.  First reading.  Read the passage through, one time, slowly.  Pause between each clause.  After you finish this first reading, be silent for a minute or two.

2.  Second reading.  Read the text slowly once again, pausing between phrases.  But this time pause even longer and be aware if any of the words or phrases that catch your attention, or seem to stand out in some way.  Make a mental note of those.  After you finish the second reading, write down those special words or phrases.

3.  Third reading.  Reread the passage up to the word or phrase that touched you in some way.  When you reach that word or phrase, stop and repeat it a few times.

4.  Pondering.  Reflect for a while on the phrase that moved you.  Repeat it a few more times.  Let the words interact with your thoughts, your memories or any other Bible passages that come to mind.  Let it touch your heart, desires and fears.  Begin to wonder, “What might God want to say to me specifically”?

5.  Prayer.  Turn that last question into a prayer, asking God, “What is the word you have for me in this passage, God?  Is there anything you want to say to me today?”  Listen.  Write down anything you sense God might be saying to you.

6.  Rest.  Be still and silent for a while.  Enjoy being in the presence of God.  In this step you move from doing to being.  Simply be for a while.

7.  Response.  Ask yourself and God, “What am I being called to do as a result of the word I have been given?”  Perhaps you are feeling challenged to love God more, or to accept some aspect of who you are, or to serve someone you know or to begin changing some aspect of your character.  Whatever it is, write it out.  “Today God is calling me to be a more ______ person.  Be with me God and teach me how.”   Thank God for the word and the calling you have been given.

Click HERE to purchase Weekly Devotional Thoughts: Weekly Applications of God’s Word on Amazon Kindle and write a review.

Don't forget to visit my Amazon links.  General purchases:  Click on the Banner at the top of the blog.  For a list of my favorites go to:  http://astore.amazon.com/weekldevottho-20

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Where am I exposed...?

Week 25:

Ephesians 6:16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

This week I am re-using a passage that I have blogged on before in the article titled:  Shield of Faith…  I am constantly amazed how God can use just a few words and still tell me so much about myself, my life, and how He is working on my heart and soul.  I have mentioned before several times that I have been on this transformational journey over the last several years.  During this journey, this passage has been speaking to me in several ways and over a long period.  One of those ways has shown up for me in the form of how I am exposed to the “flaming arrows of the evil one.” 

There have been three points of revelation where this passage has shown up for me.  One of those areas of transformation work for me has been my involvement with The Crucible Project.  As I have mentioned before, The Crucible Project is a ministry dedicated to helping men live lives of authenticity, integrity, power, purpose, and passion within their Christian journey.  Through participating and staffing in this work, I have found a group of men who hold me accountable in my life and help point out places where I need to putting up my Shield of Faith in order to extinguish the flaming arrows.

Another area of transformation work for me has been the study of Theophostic Prayer.  In a nutshell, this work helps one replace the lies that he/she believes about himself/herself with the truth that Jesus know about him/her.  One of the things that Dr. Ed Smith points out is that reactions to life are a form of exposure or uncovering of lies we believe about ourselves.  When I read this, I immediately thought of the above passage.  The evil one is shooting flaming arrows in places where the shield is not covering. 

I third area of study for me has been around how I view God.  There have been three sources of revelation for me around this part of my journey:  First has been mentioned in the form of my continual work with The Crucible ProjectThe second has been a book that helped me see the narrative that I project onto God.  This book is The Good and Beautiful God.   Third, an area of work I have been experiencing with Dmitri Bilgere and his idol-breaking work from his book Gateways to God.  These three sources have helped me to see how I view God vs. how He really is character-wise.

The three of these transformational guides have helped me to begin looking into my heart and my soul to discover where I am exposed.  When I think of a shield that a soldier might use, I notice how it does not cover every part of his body.  From this, I see that he has to be constantly paying attention to where the enemy may strike next.  When I have a reaction to life that is out of balance emotionally, I need to ask myself, “Where am I exposed?  What has caused this reaction?  What lie might I believe about myself?  What idol may I be exalting up in the place of God?”   

By being exposed, I am able to move the Shield of Faith into the position(s) it needs to be in order to protect my heart and soul.  Instead of looking at blaming others for my reaction to life, I need to look at where I am exposed and where my shield needs to be placed.  When I am overwhelmed with bitterness, where am I exposed?  When I am judgmental of others, where am I exposed?  When I fly off the handle with unbalanced anger or rage, where am I exposed?  When I am blaming others for my circumstances, where am I exposed?  When I am caught up in gossip, where am I exposed?  The list can go on.

My challenge is to recognize what is going on and to ask God to reveal to me what is the source of my exposure?  What transformational work do I need to be doing now?  Where do I need to strengthen my faith and place the shield?


1.      After reading this article, where do you sense you may be exposed?
2.      What indicators are telling you that you are exposed?
3.      Where are you out of balance emotionally?
4.      Where in your life right now do you suppose you need soul work?
5.      Pay attention this week to where you react to life in an unbalanced way.  Ask God to reveal to you where you need to place your Shield of Faith.

Click HERE to purchase Weekly Devotional Thoughts: Weekly Applications of God’s Word on Amazon Kindle and write a review.
Don't forget to visit my Amazon links.  General purchases:  Click on the Banner at the top of the blog.  For a list of my favorites go to:  http://astore.amazon.com/weekldevottho-20

Monday, June 9, 2014

Welcome to the Table...

Week 24:

Note:  This week’s Devotional Thought is written by guest writer Ryan Lassiter.  Ryan is the Director of Children and Young Families Ministry at Golf Course Road Church of Christ in Midland, TX.  Ryan authors his own blog titled: My Missional Journey.  Be sure to visit his site.  One of Ryan’s passions is to teach others to look at the Bible from a narrative point of view.  I am honored that he agreed to author this post.

Luke 24: 15-16 – 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.”

Luke 24: 30-35 – 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.  32 They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”  33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together.  34 They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!”  35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.”

I have learned lately that when we read Scripture, maybe our first question ought to be, “What does this tell us about God?”  So often we read and immediately ask, “How does this apply to me?”  The more I learn about Scripture, the more I believe the underlying story is always God.  It is His story that testifies to His faithfulness.  Luke 24 reveals something profound to me about the way in which God works.

This is an interesting story.  We have two of Jesus’ disciples on the road headed to Emmaus.  They are perplexed by what just happened.  They have spent a considerable amount of time following this man they thought was the Messiah, and now he has suffered and died.  Then we see Jesus come alongside their journey and interject himself into their conversation.  Verses 15 and 16 are very interesting because while Jesus is present with them in body and conversation, the text says their eyes could not recognize who he was.  So Jesus walks with these men and explains to them about the suffering ways of the Messiah.  The story then reaches a climax in verses 30 and 31.  Jesus gathers these two men around a table, breaks bread with them, and it is in this moment that their eyes are opened and they recognize Jesus.

It is fascinating to me how God reveals himself.  It is the announcement of a king, but not an announcement from the palaces of Rome or even from the temple in Jerusalem.  God announces his kingdom coming to shepherds in a field.  It is an announcement of a king that has been born in a backwater village in the tiny insignificant town of Bethlehem.  And on top of that, this king of the world has been placed in a feeding trough.  God has finally come and established his dwelling among humans, and he has done it in the form of a human.  It is simple.  It appears foolish in some regards.  However, it is the simplicity of the coming of God that is so complex and profound.  God reveals himself through the form of a human, born of a teenage virgin outside of the realm of significance in the ancient world, and placed in a cow’s drinking dish.

So, at the end of Luke’s story, it is fitting that it is in the simple and yet so complex setting of table fellowship that Jesus reveals himself to his disciples.  These two disciples struggle to see Jesus for who he is.  They struggle to recognize a suffering Messiah who has been crucified like a criminal outside of the city gates and placed in a borrowed tomb.  And to reveal himself, Jesus does not invite these two to see him on his throne.  Rather, he invites them to gather around his table.  When he breaks bread with them, their eyes are opened.  It is in the simple act of table fellowship and bread breaking that the disciples see the Lord. 

This, I believe is why we commune.  This is why gathering around the Lord’s Table every week is so important to me.  Sometimes it seems rote and emotionless.  Other times the moment swims with meaning and feelings.  Every time, Jesus meets us in that moment.  God is revealed to us.  We look around while we eat the bread and drink the cup and we see a diverse group of people gathered around one table.  Everyone has enough.  No one goes in need.  All are welcomed and all have their fill.  No one is greater or lesser than another.  We gather around the table and get a glimpse of what it looks like when God’s future becomes a present reality.

So, we come to the Lord’s Table in a seemingly simple act of breaking bread and Christ is revealed to us.  We are shaped a bit more into his image to better live into his mission.  We are filled with his presence.  We then leave that table with a picture of what it looks like to welcome, to share, to be hospitable, and to love.  We leave filled with Christ in order to go and be Christ.  As the men in this story, we go and tell how God’s world has been made known to us in the breaking of the bread.

1.      Where has God revealed Himself in way you did not expect?
2.      How do you normally approach the table of communion?
3.      In what ways have your eyes been opened around the breaking of bread; like the two disciples with Jesus?
4.      Next time you gather around the table, pay attention to how God shows up.  Look at how Christ reveals himself to you. 
Click HERE to purchase Weekly Devotional Thoughts: Weekly Applications of God’s Word on Amazon Kindle and write a review.
Don't forget to visit my Amazon links.  General purchases:  Click on the Banner at the top of the blog.  For a list of my favorites go to:  http://astore.amazon.com/weekldevottho-20

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Beginning with the oldest...

Week 23:

John 8:7-9 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.  At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.

The older I get, the wiser I become.  It is not because of age necessarily, but because of the experiences I have gained during my aging.  What does this have to do with the chosen passage?  Well, in a training recently, this passage was used as the basis.  While the group being trained discussed aspects for the passage, one man repeated “…the older ones first…”  And it was repeated by yet another in the group.  At this moment, I thought to myself, “There is something in that.” 

This passage has a focus on both the faults of the Pharisees and the grace and mercy of Jesus.  And it should be.  My pulling this piece out and going somewhere different than the story is sometimes where God speaks loudest to me.  I am continually amazed from where He speaks to me so unexpected.   To me, as long as a passage is not going against the character of God, it is useful for building me further and deeper into the man He intends me to be. 

With that being said…notice how the Pharisees, men full of themselves and self-righteous have no answer for Jesus.  And, the ones who notice first are the oldest.  These men lead the way.  Life experience has told them that this is not the hill they are willing to die on.  Jesus has them and they know it.  Even in self-righteousness, the Pharisees see their own sin and cannot argue against Jesus’ reasoning.

One of our former preachers once said, “When I was young I sinned all I want.  Now that I am older, I sin more than I want.”  The experience of living a number of years has told me much the same.  Three things come up for me as this passage finds it’s landing on my heart.

First, the wisdom of the advanced aged person is not so silly and binding as it once was when I was younger.  I am now beginning to see why patience is a virtue.  I was frustrated by how the older generation would “wait and see” how situations would unfold before making a decision.  Now, I am beginning to learn how valuable “wait and see” is in life.

Second, “older ones” still lead, and lead well.  Yes, there is a large subset of the current young generation that looks upon the “older ones” as silly…and even holds contempt toward them.  Yet, as I see life unfolding and how God works, I notice how the younger generation still follows the “older ones” just like in this passage.  I could imagine the conversation between the two generations after they walked away.  I bet there was even some divisive talk.

Third, I am finding myself growing more and more fond of the “older ones.”  I have learned much even when I disagreed with those ahead of me.  And now that I am on the cusp of that next tier of life, I am beginning to see the wisdom of what I used to think were questionable decisions.  There is just no replacement for wisdom and experience.  It is a great tool in replacing youthfulness. 

The challenge for me…and you is to look to the “older ones.”  Even among the self-righteous, they showed true wisdom.


1.      When this article drilled down to the thought around the “older ones”, what did you think and/or feel?
2.      What other thoughts did you have as you read both the passage and this article?
3.      Where have you discounted the “older ones” in your life?
4.      What have you learned since then?
5.      This week, find one “older one” in your life and bless him/her for his/her life, experience, guidance, and wisdom.

Click HERE to purchase Weekly Devotional Thoughts: Weekly Applications of God’s Word on Amazon Kindle and write a review.
Don't forget to visit my Amazon links.  General purchases:  Click on the Banner at the top of the blog.  For a list of my favorites go to:  http://astore.amazon.com/weekldevottho-20