Thursday, March 26, 2015

I am created...

Week 12:

Genesis 1:26-31 26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”  27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.  28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”  29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

As much as I hate to admit it, I am influenced by the theory of evolution.  I am a believer of creation by God.  I believe the Genesis account of the origin of creation.  I believe that God set in motion our existence.  I believe that there is an eternity beyond the current life and body I now have.  Yet, I do not always live life this way.

This recently came to light for me as I was leading one of my men’s groups through an exercise of reflecting on the little boy inside each of us.  As I was taking part in the exercise for myself, the phrase “I am created” came up for me.  In fact, once the phrase surfaced, I could not get off of that phrase.  It was then and there that I realized that I do not always live life as if I were created. 

So, what is the difference?  In a nutshell, those who do not believe the creation story basically believe that we are just colliding atoms and chemicals melted together into the being we are.  When we die, that is the end of us.  Everything we do is based on selectivity and survival of the fittest.  Those of us who believe we are created by God basically understand that there is a creator; we have a purpose; we have an eternal soul; and when we die, there is an eternity. 

What I realized during the exercise was that I forget at times that I am created.  I tend to live life as if I am just a bunch of chemicals colliding and trying to survive life.  I will wander aimlessly, acting out a victim’s life in my world.  I let my circumstances dictate my life too much at times.  It is in these moments that I have bought into a lie that I am not created.  At the core of this thinking and lack of belief, I no longer have purpose.  I cease to have power in my life.  At that point, I have checked out. 

When I live life as if I am created, I begin to see my purpose (or at least that I know I have a purpose).  I live life as if I am loved.  I wander less.  I treat others as if they are created.  I recognize the gift of life.  I have hope for eternity.  I feel, I decide, I love, I desire, I live.  I am reminded that I am created in the image of God and His Son.  And at the end of that day (the sixth day of creation), He said, “…it was very good.”


1.      How do you connect or not connect with this article?
2.      Do you catch yourself not feeling created in life?  How so?
3.      When do you feel most “created”?
4.      What are some examples of how you know you are created?
5.      Spend some time this week in silence, reflection and meditation around the phrase “I am created”.  Notice what comes up for you. 

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Believing vs. believing in...

Week 11:

Matthew 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

Romans 2:13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

James 1:22-25; 2:18-24 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”  Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.  20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
Proverbs 20:24 A person’s steps are directed by the Lord.  How then can anyone understand their own way?

What is the difference?  Is there a difference between believing and believing in?  When it comes to faith in God and in His Son Jesus, the difference shows up in several ways.  I know in my own life, I get caught in belief rather than believing in.  It is a matter of faith in action.  So toady, join me in reflecting on the following differences between believing and believing in:

·         Believing is acknowledging there is a God.  Believing in is following that God.
·         Believing is listening to God’s Word.  Believing in is applying that Word to everyday life.
·         Believing is recognizing God’s presence.  Believing in is taking action on His presence and what His presence is calling one to do.
·         Believing is the knowledge that God has a plan.  Believing in is the knowledge that I/you are a part of that plan.
·         Believing is hearing God’s call.  Believing in is acting on that call.
·         Believing is the knowledge that His Word is true.  Believing in is acting in obedience that His Word.
·         Believing blesses me.  Believing in blesses God.
·         Believing allows me to know what is righteous.  Believing in makes me righteous.
·         Believing unlocks a guide to life.  Believing in becomes a guide to life.
·         Believing unlocks wisdom.  Believing in is wisdom gained and put into action.
·         Believing is listening.  Believing in is doing.
·         Believing is general, vague and anonymous.  Believing in requires commitment and produces fruit.
·         Believing means I believe in God.  Believing in means I walk with God.

As I walk through this faith of mine.  I jump back and forth between believing and believing in.  The challenge to me is believe in daily.  Why wouldn’t I?  It produces every time.  Yet, as flawed human, this is still my challenge.  How have you been challenged today?

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Friday, March 13, 2015

The fear of being unclean...

Week 10:

Luke 10:30-31  30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 

This passage is a part of the bigger story of the “Good Samaritan”.  In this story, Jesus describes three different people coming upon a beaten man and how they each handled this situation.  I wanted to focus on the priest in this devotional thought this week.

As some may know or remember, a priest would be considered ceremonially unclean if he touched this man.  He would then have to be separated for a time from his people and experience rituals common to becoming clean again.  This would take some time and effort, and he could not perform his duties as priest during this period.  It makes sense that he would want to avoid the beaten man.  Knowing this background, it changes my view somewhat in a couple of ways:

·         I have judged the priest harshly since first hearing this parable.  The parable focuses on what constitutes a good neighbor.  For years, being a Jesus follower, I have been focused on the negative of this story and that focus has been directed toward the Priest and the Levite.  I had not put together the priest’s actions being directly related to his position.  I have associated the priest with the Pharisees and negatively judged the priest.  I now understand better why he did it in light of his position.  This doesn’t mean I condone his actions.  It does mean that I identify with the inconvenience caused for a man in his position.
·         I am more like the priest than I would like to admit.  I cannot say that I would have acted any differently.  I hold a position in life where if I associate with something unclean, the inconvenience of any kind of ritualistic cleansing would lead me to avoid the situation.  Obviously, I do not have to go through any process to become clean.  However, if it was observed that I was in association with uncleanliness, I would have some explaining to experience with those in my larger religious circle.

This revelation to me is convicting.  I work hard on being authentic.  I want to be the same in character everywhere.  I desire to serve without caring what others think and pleasing only the Lord.  Yet, I still avoid situations where I could be a good neighbor in order to save my Christian “image”. 

I commonly advise students who ae struggling with fitting to examine the group they are trying to fit in with.  I make note that if this group cannot accept him/her for who he/she is and who he/she associates with, then that group is not who he/she should try to fit in with.  Wow!  I need to take my own advice!  If helping a “sinful” person through his “stuff” and pain is going to reflect badly on me with a certain group, maybe this is not the group I need to associate with. 

The challenge I receive from this is to serve where God leads.  The call is there, and I need not worry about image.  From this I am reminded of James 4:17 “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”  This includes helping those what might cause me to be viewed as “unclean”.  Yet it is God I am pleasing, not man.


1.      How were you challenged by this thought today?
2.      Which of the three passers-by would you say you are?  Explain.
3.      What are your thoughts about the priest being inconvenienced by having to be cleansed?
4.      Where do you disagree with this article?
5.      What action do you need to take this week in light of what you have read today?  What is God calling you to do?

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Now Available through PDF eBook: Weekly Devotional Thoughts

Weekly Devotional Thoughts on eBook is now available beyond the Kindle version!

Only $4.99.  If you want this downloadable version, then click the "Buy Now" button below.  I will send you a a PDF version shortly.

Thank you to all who continue to follow my blog!


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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Connecting with the human side of Biblical characters...

Week 9:

Numbers 20:12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”

Like many others, I have looked upon the characters of Biblical stories as super-human.  The humanity of these characters just doesn’t show up in a Sunday school class.  This is not what I saw on the flannel-board.  As I have matured spiritually, God has revealed the human side to these characters.

Moses is a great example for anyone to realize how a holy and righteous God works with a man or human.  As I read through and look at the life of Moses, I can see that he was flawed.  He made human decisions and human mistakes.  Seeing those actions, make my walk with God different in several ways.

·         I can question…  Moses asked questions of God that make most Church-people uncomfortable.  Moses asked God “Who am I” when God told Moses he would lead Israel.  Moses asked God to go with him in leading.  Moses asked God if He wanted other nations to look badly upon the chosen nation of Israel. 
·         I can doubt…  Al throughout the life of Moses I can see the doubt.  There were times he doubted God.  There were times he doubted the people.  Much of the time, he doubted himself.  Yet God stayed with him.
·         I can fail…  There were times Moses took things upon himself to do for God.  When that happened, it did not go as planned.  Yet God still blessed Moses.  In fact, the passage for this article references a time where Moses misused God’s power.  He paid by not entering the promise land.  Yet, he was still blessed by God all the way up until his promised consequence of death.

Moses is not the only example of human interaction with God.  Joseph had flaws and made mistakes.  David is probably the most noted of those who made mistakes and yet God blessed him.  Abraham told a half-truth and was impatient with waiting for a promised heir.  Isaac flat-out lied about his wife being his sister.  Jacob was a deceiver and a manipulator.  Elijah had an inferiority complex.  Peter was a hot-head.  The list can go on and one. 

I take great comfort in knowing that these men (and others) were imperfect instruments of God’s purpose.  It is also comforting to know that God looked upon the whole of each one’s character and heart and noted goodness.  That is how I want to be known by God.


1.      Which Biblical character do you identify with and why?
2.      Whose flaws do you identify with the most? 
3.      In what areas of your life do you feel too flawed for God?
4.      This week, spend some time in silence and pay attention to where God speaks to your heart.  Pay attention to where He points out your goodness.  Write down your thoughts.

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Second guest post article for The Crucible Project

This is my second blog submission in a rotation of blog articles for The Crucible Project.  You can read Four Essential Characteristics of a Leader” now.  You can also find a version of this article on my Growth Resources Website.

Go and visit the 
site.  If you have not attended a Crucible Project weekend, then I highly encourage you to do so.  If you have a man in your life that is searching for a deeper walk with God and a Spiritual challenge, encourage him to go.

Thanks again for following my blog.


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