Tuesday, September 30, 2008


1 Peter 1:1-2 (NIV)
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia,
2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

We are all chosen by God, according to His foreknowledge. His foreknowledge is His provision of the way for us to come to Him, through His Son Jesus Christ. We are chosen and accepted by Him in our belief in His Son. All who answer the call of invitation, who raise their hand saying “Choose me!” are gladly received.

This is a work that requires ongoing action, from both the Father and us. Once we accept the sacrifice of Jesus, then we are to obey Him, which frees us from many burdens. God’s Spirit is given to us, continuing its sanctifying work: leading, teaching, and bringing confirmation of God’s presence to each and everyone. This is the grace and peace that is abundantly ours.

Only those who answer His call to “Whosoever” are chosen. Are you in that number? Do you qualify?

Monday, September 29, 2008


1 Peter 5:5-6 (NIV)
5 Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

God’s will for us is not so much a destination as it is a state of being. When we accept His Son and what He has done, we are awakened and reborn into the spiritual kingdom of God. The initial manifestation is within the believer and will fully come to all creation in the fullness of time. The Spirit begins a work within us that will come to full fruition when we are with the Lord.

That state of being, being in God’s will, is one turned toward God with an open heart. Being humble is a necessary prerequisite for this grace to be received and a requirement for the ongoing work of the Spirit. The humble in spirit are more able to see themselves and others in God’s light. They are more likely to hear the Holy Spirit whispering the word of God. They will be lifted up by the glory of God. This is a gift, the full measure of which is beyond our comprehension. Being humble with a thankful heart is the only correct response.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Place We Belong

Romans 12:5 (NIV)
5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

We are one in Christ. We belong to Him, and as such, we belong to each other. To this body alone do we belong. No longer are we part of or compatible with the body of the world. Even when we are tempted by some desire, sooner or later the reality and weight of being out of step with God will make itself known.

We are no longer our own, but Christ’s. We belong to the Other and to one another. Our “many” provides the diversity needed for the body to function. God made us unique creatures. When we come together, we experience the richness of God’s creation.

Our uniqueness in the body of Christ, equal and individual, forms the one splendid body. How blessed we are to know we are loved and have worth beyond question.

We have a place we belong.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Family Planning

Ephesians 1:4-5 (MSG)
4 Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love.
5 Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!)

This has got to be the ultimate family planning on record. Before creation He took delight in His plan and desire for us, that we would become part of the family through Jesus. Through Jesus, He expressed His love in the ultimate revelation of love and grace. The mystery of God’s purpose was revealed. We are the focus of creation. He had you and me in mind from the beginning.

This is family planning that is extravagant and inclusive. That’s God’s nature. God makes His love available for everyone because that is the nature of His love. It is the love He passes on to us. It is the love we are to pass on to others. By definition, it has no limits or boundaries.

He has given His heart to us. All He asks is that we give our hearts to Him in return. He wants us to be in the family, His family. We are unable to imagine how wonderful, how awesome that will be. We only have a taste of it now. It is the only family plan that makes sense.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Being Present

Genesis 22:1 (NIV)
1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied.

On the surface we might say that being present is a fairly simple concept and easily determined, but there is more to it than responding to a call of our name. In this verse, Abraham answers God in a way that is deeper than saying “Present”. He says “Here I am”. Abraham is fully before God, he brings everything he is to God and the moment. Nothing is held in reserve, or kept back out of fear.

“Here I am”.

It is easy to become comfortable in the routine, to be automatic and non-thinking in our living. We grow accustomed to the noise of the many voices in life. We are inclined to take things for granted. Truly living, the essence of really being who we are can be overwhelmed by the business of existence. Our being present to God and the moment is often compromised.

God calls to you and me. He is speaking to us from within and everything around us. We are given life as a present. We can only enjoy this and receive it if we are truly present. God is in this present moment. Like Abraham, our answer should always be:

“Here I am!”

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Perfect Forever

Hebrews 10:12-14 (NIV)
12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.
13 Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool,
14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

The priest spoken of is Jesus. In offering that one sacrifice, He did what no one else could have done. In sitting down at the right hand of God, He is doing what no one else could do. He waits beside the Father for those who would come. He will do what is only given to Him, to judge and deliver the world.

We are made perfect forever. What a beautiful truth and promise we find in verse 14. If we are in Christ, we take on His perfection in the sight of God. Imagine God’s love and joy in Jesus, the delight He takes in His Son. God has that same love and joy for us because He does not see our imperfections, but the perfection of His Son. He sees you and me as part of His family and household in Christ.

We are being made holy, we are a work in progress, but no matter where we are in our walk with Him, Jesus makes up the difference where and when we fall short, if our fall brings us to His feet. We are already perfect in the eyes of God the Father. By His hand, we are perfect forever.

Monday, September 22, 2008

When We Come Together

Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

When we come together as the body of Christ we have an opportunity to see beyond the boundaries of our own life to the bigger picture of life in Christ and what that means. What it means is an inexhaustible kingdom of love that will always provide more to explore and experience.

If our going or not going is only a habit, we are not embracing the full measure of the gift that God so freely offers. We are not fully alive to or in the life of Christ.

Both the church and the body of Christ are diminished when you and I are not present.

Being present encompasses the physical and spiritual. It includes the place we worship and where we live. A life given to Christ includes the whole person: body, soul, mind, and spirit. His light is to shine where we are, not just within our church walls but in the world where we find ourselves.

The time involved is consecutive in nature, not occasionally, but from one moment to the next, from one glory to another.

Coming together is more than taking a seat beside someone else. It is joining our fellow believers in celebration of our awesome God. It is encouraging and loving each other. It is growing in and coming closer to Jesus. It is part of the journey that leads to eternal life. We are given a taste of that eternal life when we come together at the table of Christ.

The phrase “getting it together” really takes place when we come together with each other and with Christ. Love enables this to happen.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Church Service

It might be useful for all of us to be reminded that there is a reason the time we come together on Sunday mornings is called the worship service. It is easy to lose sight of the fact that the purpose is to worship and serve God. This is an individual and collective act. It is more than simply being present physically. Each individual is to come with all heart, mind and strength to serve the Lord. Together we express the body of Christ with praise, thanksgiving, and love. Together we come into the presence of the Lord, to give Him the glory. We come to feed on the bread of life and drink the wine of the new covenant.

Showing up for any other reason, or with a different attitude, does not serve God. In fact, it may be more self-serving if we fail to enter with a servant attitude. If we gather to be entertained, or to pass the time, we are missing the point. The church service is part of our service to God.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Be Generous

Matthew 5:15-16 (MSG)
15 If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand.
16 Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

We have been given the light. God intends for us to let His light shine from our new life, that the fire of His Holy Spirit within us might warm those around us, even spreading that fire to hearts struggling with darkness.

Wherever we find ourselves, that is the place we are to shine. We are faithful and show our thanks to God in that way. It may not always be clear how the Spirit is working, but we must be careful not to be a hindrance to the flow of His love and grace. If we hold back we are may be in danger of resisting God.

Be generous as He is generous
Be light as He is light

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

So That We Are Able

2 Corinthians 1:1-4 (NIV)
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God in Corinth, together with all the saints throughout Achaia:
2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

Being a Christian is about sharing Christ with others. The peace and grace we receive from Jesus enables us to see others in a different way, the way He sees us. The compassion and comfort given us by the Father comes not to us alone, but should overflow into all creation. The abundant life becomes more abundant as we give of what we receive. The more we seek, the more we find. The more we give, the more we receive. The more we love, the more we become love.

This is how we serve God. This is how we love God and our fellow man. It is because Jesus loves us that we are able.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Knowing the Time

Revelation 1:4 (NIV)
4 John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne,

God is the One Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come. This speaks of the One Who says He is “I Am”, the One outside of time and not part of creation. Here we see confirmation of His eternal being. From outside the boundaries and constraints of creation, He sees everything at once. He sees the beginning and the end of the creation that we think we understand, and knows the purpose and the outcome that conforms to His plan. That plan is that we would choose to be with Him, that we join the One Who is to come in life everlasting.

The sevens spirits before His throne remind us of the fullness and perfection of His Spirit. It may also imply that the presence of the churches is before Him in spirit. One day we will be before Him not just in spirit but with new, incorruptible bodies.

The only relevance of time is the time we have been given to choose life. Our days here are short. Do you know the time?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Grazing in the Grass

1 Peter 1:22-25
22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For,

"All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25 but the word of the Lord stands forever."

And this is the word that was preached to you.

We are brought into a new life through the word of God, a life that takes on the same characteristics as that very word: living and enduring. That is the nature and power of the word because it is the expression of the living God, our enduring Father. If this word takes root in our hearts then we are connected to the One Who said He is the vine and we are the branches. If we stay in the word we will grow with the fruit of the Spirit. It is life imperishable, and without end.

If we do not receive this word, then we are not connected with the vine of life. Without that word within us, we are merely grazing in the grass.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Priests in the Kingdom

Revelation 1:6 (NIV)
6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father--to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

Jesus has not only saved us, but has changed us, elevating all who believe into priesthood of the kingdom of God. We serve God, Who has become our God and our Father, for we have become brothers and sisters in Christ. Through the gift of God we are cleansed from sin and lifted equally before God. No person is above another and no person is below another.

The kingdom is expressed in love: in the love we receive and in the love we give. We can only share of what we have. As we seek to fill our cup, it can then overflow to others. This is the kingdom in motion, the ever flowing living water of life.

We, as the priests of this kingdom, serve as expressions of that love. Doing this we proclaim the glory of God and demonstrate His power.

So it is, so shall it be

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Love Overcomes

John 3:16-17 (NIV)
16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

The world was already condemned through sin exposed by the law. That is why the Son came into the world. Our condemnation is complete and without excuse, for we are unable to meet the requirements of God on our own.

God could not turn His back on us. He could have started over, He could have done anything. Yet He did the unexpected and, for many, an unbelievable thing. He sent His Son to save us. It doesn’t make sense. All that He requires is that we believe and accept what He has done. How could that be? It is because love overcomes all things.

Making sense is the problem many people have with God. He hasn’t and doesn’t act like we would, in a way that makes sense to us. But isn’t that a reason for hope and joy? We don’t have to understand the why. He gave us a most precious gift in His Son. It is to His delight if we accept His invitation to join Him in eternal life.

Put Your Trust in the Lord

Psalms 3:3-4 (NIV)
3 But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.
4 To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. Selah

Put your trust in the Lord
He will not fail
He speaks words that are not empty
All His promises will be fulfilled
He hears our every word
He knows our unspoken thoughts and desires
He is present in the midst of trouble and despair
He is ever with us
He does not forsake His own
Put your trust in the Lord

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

White Noise

Without a moral compass
A foundation based on God
It is impossible not to drift
Lost in words
Mired in vague concepts
Living in the weeds
With eyes fixed on blades of grass
Oblivious of the surrounding world and heaven above
Passing wonder in the midst of the mundane
Missing the music of creation
For the white noise of the meaningless

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Under Construction

Genesis 11:1-4
11:1 The whole earth had a common language and a common vocabulary. 11:2 When the people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. 11:3 Then they said to one another, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” (They had brick instead of stone and tar instead of mortar.) 11:4 Then they said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens so that we may make a name for ourselves. Otherwise we will be scattered across the face of the entire earth.” NetBible

The people devised a plan to make their own way. Seeking fame and security they began to fashion bricks for a tower that would reach into the heavens. Not only did they have a common language, but they shared a common desire to make a name for themselves. God intervened, confusing their language and scattering them: the very thing they sought to avoid. That confusion remains.
Though this story is from long ago, it speaks to us today. The tower of Babel is and always has been under construction. Everywhere we see men at work, making bricks out of the mud of self and attempting to create their own world. Like the tower of long ago, any efforts that deny God will not succeed. The tower will not stand.
There is another construction underway, one that will last and achieve what we all seek. Jesus said that He would rebuild the temple in three days. He has done just that. The new temple is built with you and I as the stones, not with the mud of human endeavor. Jesus himself is the cornerstone of this new temple which does bring us into heaven, into the kingdom of God. This is God’s doing, His grace and love at work.

Monday, September 8, 2008

He Gave All of Himself

Galatians 3:6-9

6 Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." 7 Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8 The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you." 9 So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. NIV

Abraham, a man no different than you and I, is remembered today because he believed God. One might ask then why his faith in God is held in such high regard by God that all nations would come to be blessed by through him?

It is because he believed with all his mind, with all his soul, and with all his strength. When God told him to go he went, without a clear destination. When God told him, a man of advanced age, that he and his wife would have a son: he believed. Even when God told him to go and sacrifice his son, he obeyed.

Believing God is acting in faith and with full trust in God. It is obeying Him when it does not make sense to us. It is going ahead when we can’t see the end. It is obeying, no matter how difficult it seems. It is waiting on God when the waiting sometimes feels maddening.

God asks the same thing from us, to believe in His Son. In doing so we are blessed with the saving grace that Jesus brings. He gave all of Himself to make that happen. That is love. Abraham is remembered for that same reason: he gave all of himself.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

It Is Love

Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'
31 The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."

Jesus sums up God’s will for us with these two sentences. Love is the common denominator, love that returns to God and embraces those around us. In loving God with our total being we begin to experience true love. It is a never ending stream that fills our cup to overflowing, spilling over into all creation. The more we drink from that stream the more we will grow in that love, in the receiving and sharing. Following Jesus and becoming like Him means loving and becoming love. Love is what God is and what we are meant to be. The Word of God and our experience here on earth allows us to find this truth. It is all before us.

It is not just a mindset, but a heart set.
It is not just knowing, but giving and living.
It is love.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

He's Got Us Covered

Genesis 18:13-15
13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, 'Will I really have a child, now that I am old?' 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Gen 18:13-15Sarah will have a son." 15 Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, "I did not laugh." But he said, "Yes, you did laugh."

Being afraid causes us to do many things to hide and protect ourselves. Our guilt or shame, whether it is real or imagined, separates us from God, others, and our true self. Fear is the opposite of peace. In the garden story in Genesis, fear immediately arises from disobedience causing Adam and Eve to hide when they hear the Lord coming. Peace is shattered.

They try to cover themselves with a leaf under the Lord’s gaze. Here Sarah tries to cover herself with a lie, the leaf of choice outside the garden, but it is of no avail. God sees through all our attempts to hide, cover, or excuse ourselves. He is intimate with all our secrets.

Instead of despair, this is a cause for joy and relief because nothing is too hard for the Lord. Just as He gave Sarah a son according to the promise given Abraham, He gave you and I a Son that enables us to overcome fear and have new life. In Christ we find at last the cover and peace we seek. That’s what it means to be in Christ. He’s got us covered.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Gal 3:6-96 Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." 7 Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8 The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you." 9 So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Abraham was not perfect, none of us are, but he believed God. He believed enough to listen to God and obey what he heard. He placed his full trust in God, and in doing so was judged as righteous. Did he have doubts along the way? Did he wonder how in the world or when things would be accomplished? You know he did, but still his trust remained in the Lord. If he had been in the Garden of Eden perhaps that story might have ended differently.

Because of that faith, God revealed to this man how He would lift up this fallen world. All those who place their faith in Him would be blessed, just as Abraham was blessed.

We become children of Abraham if we believe as he did, and thus we become children of God. Lack of belief caused the world to fall. How fitting it is for belief to be the only way back to God.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Tree Replanted

Psalms 1:1-3 (MSG)
1 How well God must like you— you don't hang out at Sin Saloon, you don't slink along Dead-End Road, you don't go to Smart-Mouth College.
2 Instead you thrill to God's Word, you chew on Scripture day and night.
3 You're a tree replanted in Eden, bearing fresh fruit every month, Never dropping a leaf, always in blossom.

I like the imagery here used by Dr. Peterson. A tree is often used in the Scriptures as an analogy for people and Eden represents the presence of God. Our return to the garden is a return to God; no longer are we separated from Him by sin.

We are replanted in the rich soil of God’s Word. Our hearts and understanding are opened by the tender work of the Holy Spirit. We take root, reaching down to the water of life. What was naked is now clothed in the leaves of righteousness. What was barren now brings forth fruit. Our true self richly blossoms.