Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bring it to Jesus...

Week 48:

Matthew 11:27-28 27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.  28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

For many, this time of year is exciting.  The holiday season brings in a sense of thankfulness, family, and blessing.  However, for some, the holiday season is stressful and full of bad memories. Yet, there is one we can bring all of our thanks and hurts to…Jesus.

No one knows…  The Father and the Son are the ones in the “know”.  At first glance, this seems tough for a control freak like me.  Yet, as I look deeper and meditate on the thought of “no one knows”, there is comfort in knowing that I do not have to have the answer.  All I have to do is trust and follow.  Yes, I have endured things that this cruel world has put in my path.  However, I know that God’s plan has worked for my good.  I have seen the silver lining.  It is in Jesus.

All who are weary and burdened…   The promise of Jesus is rest.  In the midst of all that happens, Jesus knows and is willing to give rest.  Jesus knows all.  He is in tune with the father and knows the purposes for which we suffer.  The key…”Come to me…”  To gain rest, I must bring it to Jesus.

Learn from me…  In the times that I bring it to Jesus, I find that He opens my eyes to what I have not seen before.  I see the purpose in things going on around me.  Some of those things are not pleasant, yet peace abounds.  Jesus is the great teacher because He knows the Father.  Jesus chooses to reveal that knowledge to us.

Gentle and humble in heart…  Jesus does not force His way on us.  We make the choice.  He is gentle in His handling of me.  I feel His grace every time I bring my burden to Him.  He does not rule over me like some tyrant god.  He is humble in His power and teaching.  He is tied to the Father and understands the Father’s authority. 

Find rest for your souls…  The soul ties it all together for us.  When things are not right in my world, my soul cries out.  However, when in the presence of Jesus, my soul is at rest.  Why is it that I stray from Him and His teachings when I know that my soul will be in turmoil?  Maybe I get comfortable and forget.  Maybe I let temptation to make myself into my own idol and become selfish.  Regardless, I know I have to come back around to Jesus for my soul’s rest and comfort.

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light…  It comes down to choice.  I can choose to live in turmoil and feed off of the “drama” of life; or, I can bring it to Jesus.  There is a risk to leaving the circus carousel of living in turmoil.  It may mean I have to give up some control.  It may mean I have to lose excuses for how I live.  Whatever the reason, it is worth the risk of bringing it to Jesus.  The alternative is much better:  Rest, learning, peace, mercy, grace, and love.


1.      What does it look like for you to “bring it to Jesus”?
2.      In those times, how has He helped you?
3.      Describe how you feel when your soul is at rest.
4.      Give an example of how Jesus’ burden is light.
5.      This week, find some quiet time.  In that time, ask Jesus to come to you and give you a message of rest.  Pay attention
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Monday, November 17, 2014

The "karma" of God...

Week 47:

Psalm 7:14-16 14 Whoever is pregnant with evil conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment.  15 Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit they have made.  16 The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads.

Karma is a loosely used term these days.  Like many other words, the over usage has taken some of the original meaning from this word.  The word was originally tied to both religions of Hinduism and Buddhism.  However, the idea of and action creating a reaction is not limited to karma.  In many places of the Bible, we see consequences of choices and God is a part of the consequence. 

Unfortunately, in order to relate to those who have little Bible knowledge, we sometimes have to use terms like “karma”.  But, this concept of “What goes around, comes around” shows up in the Bible in several places.  This passage in the Psalms is an example.  I know for my own life, I still pay some consequences for choices I made years ago.

With this in mind, I do note that there are some differences between God’s “karma” and what others believe about “karma”.  In the original definition, a person is assumed to be reincarnated as something different than a human being in a future life…here on earth.  What he or she has done in this life determines how he/she comes back.  We know that our afterlife is different.  And, we have two choices…believe and follow Jesus, or not.  It is not measured in what we have done or not done.  Our afterlife is measured through the blood of Jesus. 

Our “karma” happens here and now.  Some of it may stay with us through the rest of our natural lives.  David was an example.  His soul was with God, yet his choices created a life that was difficult in his later years.  Choices I make as a father in raising my children have consequences that are both desirable and undesirable.  I see some of the fruits of that now.  If I were to be the type of father that constantly pushed my kids away; if came across as if my children were a nuisance to me, then my children would likely avoid me in their adult years.  That would be karma on earth for me.  Does it affect my salvation?  No, I have the blood of Jesus for that.

For many years now, I have looked at God’s “karma” this way:  God is not constantly on the lookout for when I do something wrong so that He can punish me.  Instead, God gave me His Word through scripture and wise, prophetic people and circumstances.  From that offering, God has revealed how life works.  When I choose a course of action, it will open a set of reactions/actions appropriate to my situation.  If I choose to be troublesome, then my life will be filled with trouble.  God gave me a “warning” in scripture.   It’s like watching a child about to step on a rake that is laying spikes up.  You know that the handle will hit him in the face.  So, you warn him and he does it anyway.  You weren’t waiting around with an extra punishment for him.  He made a choice to take action despite your warning.  The action created a painful reaction.  No punishment involved or needed.    

God may put things in my path to get me to go a different direction.  If I read into His word enough, then I will see why those things are in my path.  I will see that He is not looking to complete a “karma” cycle for me.  He knew what was going to happen if I followed through.  If I listen, then I avoid the consequences that are painful.  However, God loves me through all the choices.  This is not the offer of the gods of Hinduism or Buddhism (or any other major world religion).

The “karma” of God is already set in motion.  The salvation is there as well.  Both are within my grasp.  I can choose salvation, make mistakes and experience “karma” and still be saved by the blood.  Hopefully, this keeps me remembering that I have a loving God, wanting what is best for me.    


1.      Does the word “karma” make you uncomfortable?  Why, or why not?
2.      Describe an example of the “karma” of God in your life.
3.      Describe an example of the “karma” of God you have seen in someone else’s life.
4.      Do you see God as a punishing God or a loving God?  Explain.
5.      This week, read through the life of David and pay attention to how he is God’s man, yet struggled with the consequences of his choices.  Note any comparisons to your life.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Discount on Weekly Devotional Thoughts eBook

Soon, I will be releasing Volume 2 of Weekly Devotional Thoughts.  In anticipation of that, I have discounted the price of my original eBook to $4.99.  You can get your Kindle version HERE

Thank you to all who follow my blog.  Thanks also to all who have bought the first version of my book.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

No need for God...?

Week 46:

Luke 18:9-14 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’  13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’  14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
One of the biggest problems for the Pharisees was their self-righteousness.  I believe initially that the teachers of the law had the intent of leading Israel in following God.  Somewhere along the way, they took a wrong turn of being godly to being law-keepers.  They became so focused on the law and knowing the law that they became self-righteous.  When law and self-righteousness walk hand in hand; this creates no need for God.

In some ways, the western Church has become a law-keeping, self-righteous body.  Note, I am not saying all Churches, and all Christians.  What I am saying is that many times, we are caught up in the law, traditions, and doing things right so much that we have lost our thirst for godliness.  In our attempt to draw closer to God, we have become law-keepers in order to gain favor from God.  In some ways, this puts us in a place of comparing ourselves with others and their law-keeping ability.  Now, we have created in ourselves a self-righteous life.  Look at verse 11. ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.’  In the following verse the Pharisee lists his acts of righteousness.

Wow!  How often do I do this?  Somewhere, I take a wrong turn and begin to say to myself, “Look at all you have done for God.  And, compared to others, you have the knowledge, and the spiritual down.  You have it and they don’t.”  A self-righteousness of this kind is dangerous.  At this point, I have no need for God.  At least that is how I approach life.  I begin to rely on “my” knowledge, “my” righteousness, “my” abilities, etc.  I become distant from God.  I cease to have conversations with Him.  I’m headed for a crash. 

This parable is not so much another story about the Pharisees as much as it is a warning about self-righteousness.  Jesus is warning about a type of righteousness that has no need for God.  He warns in verse 14 of the crash through being humbled.  When that crash happens, I have two choices:  Turn back to God or try harder at my righteousness.  I’ve done both…and I’m here to tell you both are hard.  The try harder approach is just a denial of truth that leads to deeper problems.  The turning back to God is painful as I face the truth about my self-righteousness.  However, the turn back to God unleashes His grace and healing.  Whereas, the try harder has no grace and healing.

I need periodical heart and soul checks like this verse.  I am challenged this week to look at my self-righteousness.  It is time to repent and lay this before God…once again.  I may not like what I see, but I will like the result form the merciful, gracious, loving God of the universe. 


1.      Which one are you today; the Pharisee or the tax collector?
2.      How has law-keeping hindered your relationship with God?  How has it helped?
3.      Who do you compare your spirituality with?  What does that look like for you?
4.      Have you seen signs of this in the Church today?  Give examples.
5.      This week ask God to reveal any self-righteousness you may be carrying.  Let His grace, mercy, and love replace that self-righteousness.

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Anguish, lament, and the human soul...

Week 45:

Lamentations 3:17-26 17 I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is.  18 So I say, “My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the Lord.”  19 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.  20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.  21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:  22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”  25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; 26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

A few years ago, I was introduced to a video on anguish.  This video was a compilation of excerpts from a sermon by David Wilkerson titled A Call to Anguish.  It had such a powerful impact on me that I was moved emotionally.  That is saying a lot because at that time, I had become quite jaded and numb.  At that time, the Holy Spirit made a call to me, through this video, to bring my numb life to God.  I had already been seeking to hear God and follow His leading.  But, that day began the journey of transformation I am now on.

I have watched this video several times and have listened to the words closely.  In the moment I experienced this video and through some of my experiences in my soul work through The Crucible Project, God has helped me unlock parts of my heart and soul that have been covered for years.  It started in that place of anguish.

Anguish and lament is very much a part of the human soul.  As painful as they can be, anguish and lament actually unlocks our hearts for God’s love, mercy and grace to pour in.  I think the mistake that I made for so long was to believe that God causes or in some way encourages anguish and pain in my life.  When I believed that, I envisioned God as far away and disinterested in me.  When He was interested, it was only to correct me.  That is not the true God and that is not how anguish works.

Anguish and lament point to something not being right in my world.  I am either burdened with my sin or burdened with the results of sin around me.  I am saddened by the brokenness of the world.  When I look upon the lost souls searching the fill themselves with things other than God’s love, mercy, and grace; it pains me.  When I have pursued worldly things over God, I am left with emptiness. The only place to go is to a place of sorrow, lament and anguish.  It is in this place, where I face reality, and many times pain that I see God for who He is.  It is here that God shows me who I am.  In those moments, he replenishes my soul.

As long as I avoid my anguish…as long as I deny my anguish…as long as I hide my lament…as long as I repress my sadness, I keep god at a distance.  He is ready for me to lay my aguish and lament at His feet so that he may lift me up in His time and in His ways to fulfill His purpose for me.


1.      What comes up for you when you hear the words anguish and lament?
2.      Watch the video (Click on A Call to Anguish).  What is your reaction?
3.      Where has God helped you in your anguish?
4.      Have you denied or hidden your anguish?  Where was God for you in that time?
5.      This week, look around your world and see what needs to be mourned.  Allow God to open your eyes so that you may lay your anguish and lament at His feet.
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