January 2, 2017
November 7, 2016
Driving in to the office this morning I heard that many Americans are suffering from election anxiety. I’m glad to hear the official diagnosis. I’ve watched more than my fair share of the news channels over the last couple of weeks and I have to admit, I’m one who was suffering from election anxiety. The situation is rather anxiety producing, isn’t it?
Then these verses from the Stand Firm devotional during my quiet time: “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7, HCSB)
One of the advantages of being a Jesus follower is not having to worry about anything because our trust and hope for everything is in Him and nothing and no one else. Call it preparation for heaven, where there will be NO worries. What a great benefit! Why do we give it up so easily?
Truth is, anything we fixate on can become a source of worry and anxiety- the election, the stock market, our health, or even the weather. When we stumble on anything that produces worry in our lives, Scripture instructs us to turn that worry, and everything else in life, into a prayer and petition to God. Ask Him to take your concern and bear it as His, and then enjoy the peace of God.
You know what? It works. Take your worries and anxieties, turn them into a prayer, kick them to God, and leave them there. He knows more and can do more anyway.
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.” (Psalm 20:7–8, NIV)
Application for today: Some trust in donkeys and elephants and the electoral college, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They will be disappointed and wind up depressed, but we never will. Everything is His and He is everything. Anything that causes us to forget that truth robs us of our identity in Christ.
November 3, 2016
Next Tuesday is not going to be easy, is it? What should Christians do? First, we should pray for our nation. We should be grieved and concerned about any nation that falls to the point of having to choose between the leading candidates we will choose from Tuesday. Remember, WE have chosen these as the leading candidates. They are a reflection of where our nation stands today and it is pitiful. We’re in a mess. Jesus is our only answer.
Second, we should make the best choice we can as followers of Jesus. We should choose the most Godly candidate from the list of people who are, after all, sinners just like us. We should choose the least worstest, something we Louisianaians have practiced!
Deuteronomy was Moses’ swan song. He was preparing God’s people to enter the Promised Land and he knew he would not make the trip with them. Moses also knew that the people would choose a king in the Promised Land. This is what God said through Moses about the leader that would be chosen:
“When you enter the land that God, your God, is giving you and take it over and settle down, and then say, “I’m going to get me a king, a king like all the nations around me,” make sure you get yourself a king whom God, your God, chooses. Choose your king from among your kinsmen; don’t take a foreigner—only a kinsman. And make sure he doesn’t build up a war machine, amassing military horses and chariots. He must not send people to Egypt to get more horses, because God told you, “You’ll never go back there again!” And make sure he doesn’t build up a harem, collecting wives who will divert him from the straight and narrow. And make sure he doesn’t pile up a lot of silver and gold.” (Deuteronomy 17:14–17, The Message)
Based on what I know of the candidates, I don’t find much help here for Tuesday. I do, however, find some help in the next paragraph:
“This is what must be done: When he sits down on the throne of his kingdom, the first thing he must do is make himself a copy of this Revelation on a scroll, copied under the supervision of the Levitical priests. That scroll is to remain at his side at all times; he is to study it every day so that he may learn what it means to fear his God, living in reverent obedience before these rules and regulations by following them. He must not become proud and arrogant, changing the commands at whim to suit himself or making up his own versions. If he reads and learns, he will have a long reign as king in Israel, he and his sons.” (Deuteronomy 17:18–20, The Message, emphasis added)
The new leader was to write the words of Deuteronomy on a scroll and study it and learn from it. The new leader was to learn what it means to fear God. From the language, it’s clear the training would be on the job training. There might be a hint of help here for Christians next Tuesday. None of the candidates clearly demonstrate Godly leadership qualities at this point, but who has the most potential to learn Godly leadership on the job? I’ve heard it said, “If you can’t hire the best, hire someone who is going to be the best.” Maybe that perspective will help as we mark our Xs next Tuesday. Who is most likely to read and learn obedience to the Lord?
September 1, 2016
August 9, 2016
“I want more slow and deep in my life and less fast and shallow. . . . The Bible frequently calls on us to linger. The challenge to ‘remember’ or ‘think’ or ‘meditate’ is often an invitation to do so.” Lance Witt, Replenish
July 10, 2016
May 16, 2016
May 10, 2016
Oh the things that were laid before Moses, his for the taking. He was born with looks. He later had the opportunity to be a prince. The pleasure of sin was available to him. He could have counted the treasures of Egypt as his own. But he chose to forgo all of that. Scripture says:
- He refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.
- He chose to suffer with the people of God rather than enjoy the short-lived pleasure of sin.
- He considered the reproach because of the Messiah greater than the treasures of Egypt.
Why? Moses made his choices based on what he saw. He took the long view. He was “looking to the reward.” His sight (or insight) extended to eternity. Moses saw “Him who is unseen.” Don’t you think you would live differently if you could actually see the Lord? Moses saw Him because his faith was that strong. Faith is the proof of things not seen. Faith is the conviction that what is invisible is visible and real. That’s how Moses saw. He saw beyond the lure of fake fame, pleasure, and treasure. He saw a Kingdom, eternal in the heavens and he invested himself there in and through the choices he made DAILY.
Everyday we’re making investment decisions about our life. We can invest ourselves in the fame, pleasure, and treasure of this world or we can do something different. We can do something significant. We can do something that will impact the eternity of others. We can invest our lives in that Kingdom.
When we invest our money, we do so with a measure of faith. We have faith that our money will remain and that our investment will actually grow. The same is true when we invest our lives in the Kingdom of God. We do so through faith. Do you need stronger vision? Do you need Kingdom in-sight? Feed your faith. Make good choices about how you invest your life.
“Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. . . . By faith, after Moses was born, he was hidden by his parents for three months, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they didn’t fear the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and chose to suffer with the people of God rather than to enjoy the short-lived pleasure of sin. For he considered the reproach because of the Messiah to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, since his attention was on the reward. By faith he left Egypt behind, not being afraid of the king’s anger, for Moses persevered as one who sees Him who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:1, 23–27, HCSB)
April 20, 2016
Are you living AWOL (a worn out life)? Many more are than aren’t. Somehow we’ve come to the wrong conclusion that busyness = importance and success and it’s killing us. It’s killing us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. A worn out life stems from a wrongly ordered life. In our zeal for living we’ve gotten the cart before the horse, again. Priorities are, well, a priority and we’ve got them ordered incorrectly. Gordon Dahl once wrote, “Most middle-class Americans tend to worship their work, to work at their play and to play at their worship. As a result, their meanings and values are distorted. Their relationships disintegrate faster than they can keep them in repair, and their lifestyles resemble a cast of characters in search of a plot.”
Worship gets whatever is left, if anything is left. You cannot live in relationship with the living Jesus (or anyone else for that matter) without spending time with Him. It will not work. God does not work that way. If you are too busy and worn out to spend time with Christ, then you are just too busy period. Stop. Let something go.
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” (KJV 1900). When you read those words, does your heart sigh? Do you yearn for a time to be still and know Him? Do those moments seem as far off as your annual “vacation?” If so, perhaps a reordering of life is in order. I love The Message paraphrase of Psalm 46:10: “Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.” (The Message) Step out of the traffic of life and look at Him.
Our lives should not build toward those moments when we take the luxury to be still and know Him, our lives should be built on those moments. Jesus understood it. He said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” (Matthew 6:33, HCSB) Rightly order your life by being still and knowing Him and all that stuff that keeps you busy will fall into place. Fifteen minutes alone with Him is far better than our best 50 hours in dealing with the current crisis.
Building your life on moments of being still and knowing God is revolutionary and life-changing. Start today.
April 19, 2016
Soft-shell crabs are a delicacy we know something about in South Louisiana! As many as 25 times in its 3-4 year lifetime, a crab sheds its hard outer shell so that a new shell can take its place. After shedding the shell and right before the new shell hardens, the crab is a “soft-shell,” and the entire crab can be eaten, often on a poboy with fries and a Barqs.
Crabs shed their shell for one reason: GROWTH. In order to grow, they must produce and fill larger and larger shells. It’s just a part of the life-cycle of the crab. They are designed to grow and occupy increasingly larger shells.
Christians are designed to grow as well. Scripture call us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18, HCSB) We are not designed to stay at the same maturity level. We move from baby believers to mature followers of Christ throughout the course of our lives, step by step, shell by shell. As the Holy Spirit grows us, we stretch and fill new roles as believers, just like the crab filling its new shell.
We progress from simply receiving salvation:
- To understanding more and more,
- To then passing on what we understand,
- To giving our resources,
- To serving,
- To being on mission,
- To evangelizing,
- To leading others and leaving a legacy.
Each step is a new shell. As we grow, we increasingly leave our old shells behind. Even if the Lord has to break our shells, He is faithful to call us forward in growth.
Somebody once said: too many of us want the thrill of hearing from God and being in His will without having to make any adjustments in our character. One does not happen without the other! We cannot follow Jesus and remain the same. When we work out our salvation, God is going to stretch us. We’re going to have to shed our old shells and occupy new ones.
“I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6, HCSB)
Shed those shells Christian! Be soft-shelled and allow the Lord to grow you. Occupy and fill those new shells. Anyone else hungry?