Archive for the ‘2 Kings’ Category

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ELISHA EQUATION – Dec 7

December 7, 2014

“Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots and fire all around Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:17

mr finchIn a recent episode of Person of Interest, Mr. Finch was inquired as to his favorite equation. “What a fascinating question”, I thought. I don’t even remember his answer as I became lost in the consideration of whether I had favorite equation.

I really wanted to have a favorite equation. It seems such an intelligent thing to have. However, the opportunity for pride was quickly dispelled when I finally concluded that I know only a few equations worthy of being a favorite and those lacked the obscurity that pride necessitates in making others feel inferior. Nevertheless, I pursued the question of equation preferment.

As an engineer by education and profession, I have taken a lot of math classes. I survived mathematics not through any special abilities but through sheer determination. “Math for math’s sake” never intrigued me. It was only when I began to understand the beauty of its utility in physics that I began to enjoy it, which is probably why I am an engineer rather than a mathematician.

I have always been enticed by the ability of mathematics to describe the world we live in. The fact that we can use very simple and elegant equations to calculate the path of projectiles still fascinates me. The magnificent utility of a simple right triangle’s mathematics is fabulous.

I love mathematics that I can visualize in my mind; this mathematics makes sense with the physical world that I know.

We live in a 3-dimensional world. It is natural for us to visualize a 3-dimensional world. I even can understand the 4th dimension as space-time. It is the world of mathematics and physics beyond the 4th dimension where I become shaky.

The dimensions beyond the 4th are of an existence beyond our senses and the mathematics looses most of the simplistic elegance of Newton’s laws in my opinion. I guess that is why, beyond the 4th dimension, my ability to visualize the language of mathematics falls apart.

I really wanted my favorite equation to be one of quantum mechanics. As much as I long for the Schrödinger equation or Heisenberg equation to be my favorite, they are not. I don’t really understand them or the physics that they are calculating, no matter how much visualizing I attempt.

However, my lack of understanding does not diminish my belief in the existence of a 5th dimension. We are told that physicists are close to proving the existence of a 5th dimension. I have only to read my Bible to see that it exists.

What is it that you believe Elisha and his servant
saw along the horizon of Dothan? (2 Kings 6:8-19)

space horizon

Elisha prayed for his servant’s eyes to be open to see what existed but was beyond his ability to see. We know they could see their physical 3-dimensional world. We know that what they saw within the 4th dimension – time. They were looking into a world that existed beyond our physical world yet parallel with it.

Sort of sounds like the 5th dimension to me.

I believe that Elisha and his servant were given the ability to split the fabric of our dimension and peer into another to see its inhabitants – the servants of God. My guess is that there is some mathematics that describes the physical phenomenon that allowed Elisha and his servants to see this other dimension. I wonder if it has a name. I think I will call it the Elisha equation until I know its true name.

I sit at my desk and gaze out my window into the white fog. I can imagine it parting like a curtain to allow me to see what I know by faith is there. Unfortunately, I don’t know the Elisha equation and God is not doing it for me, so I will continue to live by faith.

However, I do find great comfort in the existence of the Elisha equation. I find great comfort in the reality that God and His servants are truly with me even though I do not see them. They know the Elisha equation and can aid me in any manner that is in accordance to God’s will. Therefore, Elisha’s words to his servant still ring true to us:

Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them. (2 Kings 6:16)

My favorite equation is the Elisha equation.

It is an equation that I don’t understand, cannot derive, nor even describe but I believe to be true. It is an equation that describes a condition in a world created by my God in such a way for Him to send His own Son from one dimension into another to condemn the sin of my flesh in order that the righteous requirement of His law might be fulfilled in me.

That is a pretty glorious equation and an incredibly glorious God.

star-trails-from-space-01

PRAYER: Father, thank you for creating the world as you did.  Thank you for being near.  Help me to remember that I am never alone and that even interstellar dimensions cannot separate me from You.  Thank for making me a child of God.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

 

 

 

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“THE DUESENBERG – PART 2” – Mar. 8

March 8, 2013

“And the king (Josiah) stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book.  And all the people joined in the covenant.”  2 Kings 23:3

“Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all that Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him.” 2 Kings 23:25

PART 2 – THE DUESENBERG

Read Part 1 here at “THE DUESENBERG – PART 1

Traveling SalesmanHis son, the fortunate man’s grandson, discovered that he was owner of the Duesenberg when the family attorney handed him an unfamiliar key during the reading of his father’s will.  “A Duesenberg” he snorted under his breath. “A car from a by-gone era, just like this empire my father has left me,” was all he thought.  The grandson was consumed with the worries of transforming a business in a vastly different economy than that of his father or grandfather. The years of prosperity were gone and he was fighting to retain the family’s wealth.  He had no time for an old Duesenberg.  The beautiful car was tucked into the back of the old carriage barn and covered.  The grandson forgot about the elegant car as the wealth of his grandfather slipped from his fingers.

The grandson died sooner than others his age.  The stress of being the patriarch of a declining house had stripped years from his life.  He had compromised all of his ethics in search of the deal that would turn everything around.  He had built a reputation throughout the business world as that of a swindler due to his relentless desperation to hit it big.

His son, the fortunate man’s great grandson, inherited assets consumed by creditors. His first action was to prepare for the bankruptcy of the family businesses. He knew his family was bankrupt of wealth and hope.

On a sunny day, after a gray meeting with yet another bankruptcy attorney, the great-grandson took a walk through the family’s country estate; the home that his great-grandfather had built.  He poked through the various out-buildings in an attempt to ease his mind.  That is when his eyes were drawn down a shaft of sun streaking through some dilapidated boards of the barn.  The sunlight was illuminating a familiar form.  It was the forgotten Duesenberg.  He had remembered his father haphazardly showing it to him years ago when he was a boy.  Just the glimpse of the stately car as his father jerked the tarp back had been enough for him to fall in love with the automobile.  The Duesenberg had been the center piece in many of his day-dream adventures of his youth.

It immediately dawned upon him that he owned this Duesenberg.  This elegant masterpiece of craftsmanship was now his.  With an excitement he had not felt in a long time, he immediately set to the work of removing years of discarded debris to free the Duesenberg from its confinement of neglect.  He cleared a path through the collapsing barn, attached a chain to his prize and pulled the Duesenberg into sunlight for the first time in decades.  Time had not been kind to the old car.  It was broken down.  The finishes had faded and dulled.  The leather and fabric had cracked and fragmented.  The gears had bound and refused to turn.Olddues

The great-grandson was not detoured.  He knew what he had.  He had a treasure.  He could feel the rightness of this automobile and he could not wait to get behind the wheel.  He carefully opened the door and gingerly slipped behind the large steering wheel being careful not to cause any more damage.

He knew he had a treasure but he was unsure of what to do with it.  He inspection every inch of the car and become more enamored with it as he become familiar with its subtleties.

Dues OwnersHe cleaned the years of grime away.  When he was looking under the passenger’s seat, he saw an object that appeared to be a book tangled in the springs of the seat.  He reached the length of his arm and carefully removed the book.  He swiped the dust and spider webs from its cover and read, “Owner’s Instruction Book – Duesenberg – Model J.”  With delicate fingers, he opened the cover to the table of contents.  At the top of the page, in elegant cursive writing from a by-gone time, were the words,

“This is a treasure that you have been given.  I have chosen you for this gift.  You have not chosen me.  I have chosen you not because of who you are or who you will become.  I have chosen you because you are the least of all men.  I have chosen you for my own reasons.  You are blessed to receive this gift as will all the generations that follow you.  Only be careful to follow this owner’s manual.  This manual is a gift intended to help you and all subsequent owners to know how to care for this special blessing.  You are very blessed; never forget where you were.”

Duesenberg

Duesenberg (Photo credit: Venom82)

The great-grandson wept as he sat on the Duesenberg’s fragile running board.  He knew that the blessings of his family were somehow tied to this automobile.  He knew that his father and grandfather had not followed the owner’s manual.  They had not valued this incredible gift.  He resolved, as he wiped the final tear from his eye, that he turn away from the ways of his father and would walk in the example of his great-grandfather.  He called his son to him and opened the instruction manual and began to read, “Instruments and Controls…”The days rolled into each other as the father and son worked to restore the old Duesenberg.  They read the owner’s manual day after day and their gray pessimism of the future turned into golden rays of hope.

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Our Father in heaven has given all who are His, the gift of faith.  It is a treasure of indescribable worth.  The Bible, God’s Word, is our instruction manual.  His words are our guidance in how to follow Christ as we have been called to do.  Let’s not be like the Israelites who so neglected God’s instruction that they misplaced and lost God’s law.  Let us not neglect to follow the instruction that God has given us.  He has given it to us for our good.

May we be like Josiah and turn back to the Lord with all of our heart and with all of our soul and with all of our might.

May the value that we place in the gift of our faith be demonstrated in the diligence of our adherence to the instruction of the Bible, our owner’s manual.

PRAYER: Lord, I find it hard to comprehend how a people could lose your law but it did happen.  I know that it can happen again.  Father, write your words upon my heart and the hearts of my family.  Lord, give us such an appreciation for your gift of faith that we will love your word.  Create in us an affection for your word that we desire to keep it near to us at all times.  You have give us your instruction for our good and enjoyment.  Spirit, guide us in the word.  Lead us back to you and your word with all of our hearts and all of our souls and with all of our might.    Amen

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“THE DUESENBERG – PART 1” – Mar. 8

March 8, 2013

“And Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the law in the house of the Lord.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it…Then Shaphan the secretary told the king (Josiah), “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it before the king.” 2 King 22:8, 10

“For great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.” 2 Kings 22:13b

PART 1 – THE DUESENBERG

English: 53227(293) Works Progress Administrat...

English: 53227(293) Works Progress Administration: unemployed shown at volunteers of America Soup Kitchen in Washington, D.C., 1936. (27-0637a.gif) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There once was a man of poverty who struggled to find his daily meals.  The gray of the days of a prolonged depression matched his pessimism of the future.  Tomorrow was bleak for this man of poverty.  Hope was indeed dim for a man without means.  That all changed for him in a soup kitchen at the lonely end of a long table.A strange figure silently approached this man of poverty as he hunched over his charity soup.  This well-dressed man, who quietly sat dawn opposite him, inexplicably stretched out his arm.  At the end of his hand, there dangled a key.  “It is yours my fortunate friend; only be careful to follow the owner’s manual,” was all that he said as he dropped the key into the palm of this bewildered beneficiary.  The man of “means” lead the man “without” to the edge of the street.   With a sweep of his arm, he said, “She is yours; only be careful to follow the owner’s manual.”  The desperate man’s eyes followed the long sweep of his arm; from shoulder, to elbow, to the tip of his fingers.  What lay beyond was a dream.  A Duesenberg; it was the quintessential car of luxury and speed.

Duesenberg Convertible SJ La Grande Dual-Cowl ...

Duesenberg Convertible SJ La Grande Dual-Cowl Phaeton 1935 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He stood in amazement. He slowly turned to his companion, hoping a coherent question might form by the time he faced him, only to discover that he was gone.  He stood on the sidewalk in stunned astonishment as the crowds pushed around him.  “This must be a prank; how can this be real?”, he thought as he rolled the key in his now perspiring palm. Finally, he reasoned that he would play along even if this were a mischievous joke.  At the least, he would get to drive a Duesenberg.  Therefore, he slipped into the driver’s seat, across the custom-made interior of the most elegant automobile he had ever seen.  He started the car and pulled away from the soup kitchen with acceleration and power that he had not known were possible.This fortunate man discovered that he wasn’t the punch line in a cruel joke.  No one ever came for his Duesenberg.  It was his and he cared for it with a passion.  He followed the owner’s manual with precision for he knew the treasure that he had.

He found that owning a Duesenberg changed everything in his life.  It was generally assumed that he was a man of means due to his ownership of such a car but he knew it was something more.  Other men of ability and wealth befriended this fortunate man and opportunities were soon laid at his feet.  Prosperity changed his gray pessimism into a golden hope of the future.  As years slipped by and his wealth accumulated, he never forgot his poverty and who he was under all the fine clothes.  He was appreciative of all that he had been given and he cared for his Duesenberg with a devotion that none in his family could understand.  He followed the owner’s manual in such detail that he had it memorized.  His efforts were evident.  When he lay grayed, wrinkled and dying, the Duesenberg looked the same as that fateful day when a key was dropped into his youthful hand.

English: Duesenberg J Murphy Convertible Coupe...Just before he died, this fortunate man dropped the key of his beloved Duesenberg into the youthful hand of his eldest son. He whispered to his son in a voice stolen by age and illness, “She is yours; only be careful to follow the owner’s manual.”

This young man loved his father.  He grieved long and hard at his passing.  It took many years before he could even look at the Duesenberg because all he saw was a father, whom he missed dearly.  However, that become the reason the son grew to love the Duesenberg.  It reminded him of the man he loved.He would go into the expansive garage and just sit in the Duesenberg, which was now relegated to the last stall since it was rarely driven.  He maintained the car to keep it functional.  He would run it regularly to keep the myriad of mechanical parts well lubricated.  However, he perused the owner’s manual mostly to see the clear and decisive handwriting of his father in the margins.  He remembered the times with his father of caring for this car.  The time when his father stopped him while he was cleaning the upholstery and said, “No my son, that is not how the manual tells us to clean the leather.”  He then quoted from memory exactly how the process was to be completed and he concluded with, “we must be careful to follow the manual. It was given to us to help us keep this wonderful automobile.  If we are careful to follow the manual, this automobile will be a blessing to countless generations of our family.”

The son faithfully followed his father’s instruction but without his father’s earnestness, which he never fully understood.  The years passed and the son died after owning the Duesenberg for half a century. 

Continue reading “THE DUESENBERG – PART 2

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“THE WAR OF TRUSTING GOD” – Mar. 6

March 6, 2013

“He trusted in the Lord the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him.  For he held fast to the Lord, but kept the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses.” 2 Kings 18:5-6

True statements can lose their value in the simplicity of their delivery.  Many of us have been encouraged when slogging through a difficult time with the words, “trust in the Lord.”

“Trust in the Lord” can seem so insufficient against the weight of an oppressive reality.

“I have stage 4 cancer.” – “Trust in the Lord”

“I lost my job” – “Trust in the Lord”

“My child has been hit by a car and is in the emergency room.” – “Trust in the Lord”

“My spouse left me.” – “Trust in the Lord”

“My unborn child is deformed and I am told to abort.” – “Trust in the Lord”

“My brother is addicted to meth.” – “Trust in the Lord”

“I am bankrupt.” – “Trust in the Lord”

“My child has turned her back on us.” – “Trust in the Lord”

“I am in an Iranian prison for the gospel.” – “Trust in the Lord”

“Trust in the Lord” can seem trite but it most certainly is not.

“Trust in the Lord” may sound easy but it most certainly is not.

Trusting the Lord in our time of greatest need may be the most significant act that any of us will ever to do.  Trusting in the Lord beneath the oppression of despair may be the most glorious act of our faith.  Trust is the sharp tip of faith in a spiritual war.  Trust is an action that reveals faith.  The battle to trust God is a faith battle that must be won.

Trusting in God demonstrates our faith because it displays our conviction that God can handle whatever we are facing.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

This does not mean that trusting in God is easy or effortless.  It is the direct opposite.  It is a war against our flesh and our flesh fights dirty.

We need to comprehend that placing our trust in the Lord may be one of the hardest things any of us will ever have to do.  We are engaging the horrible reality of the “seen” with our conviction in the “unseen.” That is going to conflict with every fiber of your natural flesh.  It is a conflict that must be engaged in all seriousness in order for us to be victorious.

King Hezekiah is a great example of what trusting in the Lord looks like.

The King of Assyria came up against Judah and had defeated all of their fortified cities.  The Assyrians were known for their brutality and torture.  They were the military superpower of the time.  They taunted Hezekiah’s trust in the Lord with the reality (seen) of their military conquests.  Hezekiah faced an enemy that had destroyed more powerful nations.  An enemy that had already dragged Israel into captivity.

However, Judah’s most important battle in their war with the Assyrian Empire did not occur on any hilltop or in any open plain or from behind any fortified walls.  The greatest battle for Judah occurred in the heart and mind of King Hezekiah.  I think it is insightful to consider how King Hezekiah fought this battle of faith.

He grieved and was distressed but immediately went to the Lord and sent for  God’s prophet:

“As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the Lord.” (2 Kings 19:1)

“They said to him (Isaiah), “Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth.” (2 Kings 19:3)

King Hezekiah did not deny that he was in a battle.  He acknowledged that the situation with the Assyrians was distressing.  He did not try and act like nothing unusual was happening.  In the same way as Hezekiah, we need to be real with our grief and distress and not try and hide if from our brothers and sisters.  It is foolishness to erect the facades of normalcy when we are being rocked to our core.  No battle has ever been won by ignoring the fact that it is happening.

King Hezekiah called for reinforcements.

He immediately went to the house of the Lord and called for the prophet Isaiah.  The Lord gave Isaiah a prophecy that encouraged Hezekiah to continue in his trust of the Lord.  Hezekiah used the sword of the Word of God to engage the enemy in this battle of his faith. In the same way, we need to humble ourselves and seek out our Pastors and teachers and fellow believers and allow them to speak words of truth into our darkness.  We need encouragement that we are doing the right thing when we place our trust in God.  We need to be reminded of our source of strength while we are at our weakest.  We need to take these words of truth and fight back.

The war for the heart of Hezekiah was not won in one battle.  The Assyrians did not pack up and march away at the pronouncement of the prophecy of Isaiah and the resolute stand of the King of Judah.  They came back and once again challenged Hezekiah’s trust with an affront of their accomplishments.  King Hezekiah once again engages the spiritual battle but this time in prayer:

“And King Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said…So now, O Lord our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Lord, are God alone.” (2 Kings 19:19)

This time King Hezekiah did not call for reinforcements.  God just sent them.  Isaiah, led by the Lord, prophesied, “Therefore thus says the Lord concern the kind of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mount against it…For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.” (2 Kings 19:32,34)

Prayer is the natural response of a person who is engaging in the spiritual battle of placing their trust in God.  That is how it is done.  Trusting in God is not some mindless metaphysical state.  It is an active seeking of Him in whom we have our conviction.  It is intense intercession with God because we know He is our true and only hope.  Trusting God is a conscious commitment to set our mind on the things of the Spirit through prayer.  Our response to challenges, suffering, grief and distress is prayer.  We fight our enemy with the scriptures and prayer.  Prayer is our act of faith that demonstrates our trust in our Lord and Savior.

Also, there is no need to wait for an invitation when we see a brother or sister struggling in their faith.  Just as the Isaiah sent word to Hezekiah without being sought out, we need to be sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit and seek to be a constant source of encouragement to those who are burdened.  Their challenge to trust in the Lord is typically not an afternoon event.  It may endure for weeks, months or even years.  Encouraging our brother or sister to continue to trust in the Lord is not merely a Sunday pat on the back and speaking a brief, well-worn, Christianized slogan.  That child of God is in a war.  We should act like it.  Encouraging someone to trust in the Lord is holding their hand in the darkness, it is helping with other burdens, it is surrounding them with love, it is speaking truth to them, encouraging them to pull the truths from scriptures, engaging in prayer with them, and lifting their eyes up to their Savior.  It is picking up our sword of the Spirit and engaging the enemy on their behalf while they are getting back to their feet.  We need to be ready to encourage our struggling brothers and sisters in real and practical ways through their entire crisis and help them persevere to the end.  We don’t want to leave anyone behind.

“Trusting in the Lord” is not easy and it certainly is not trite.

 “Trusting in the Lord” is spiritual war. 

There is nothing trite or easy about a spiritual war. “Trusting in the Lord” is gritty and messy.  All battles will have set backs and miserable lows.  It will often be grinding, arduous, and confusing. It will require a perseverance and fortitude that you never thought that you had.

However, it is a war that must be won; it will be so worth it.

The Lord is the only place to put our confidence.  As Hezekiah prayed, “O Lord the God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth.” (2 Kings 19:15)  Our conviction in the Lord God of Israel is a hope well placed.  There is no better.  The victory is already ours as long as we persevere to the end.

Trusting in the Lord is how our faith is refined.  It is often through our suffering when our faith grows in magnificent ways.  We will see the Lord work in miraculous and unexpected ways when we place our trust in Him. Our faith in God is what sustains us through those difficult times when God is pruning.  Mighty servants of the Most High come from battles in which they are pruned into beautiful heirs of the King.

Trusting in the Lord shows to the world around us that our Lord is God alone.  It is when we put our faith on display through difficult times that people see God and that brings all the glory back to him.  Everyone can recognize a victory and know its source.  Trusting is the Lord is so worth it.  It is one of the most significant acts of faith a follower of Christ can do.

Therefore, brothers and sisters trust in the Lord;

MAKE WAR. 

PRAYER: Lord, you are God; you made heaven and earth; you can bridle and turn nations to whatever direction that you desire; nothing is too hard for you.  In you O Lord I place
my trust.  Lord, I know that days of trial are on my horizon.  I know that I will be challenged to trust in you.  Lord, may you be my strength.  Prepare me now for those days of trials.  Help me to trust you well to your glory and praise.   Father, give me eyes to see those brothers and sisters who are now struggling to trust you.  Lord, use me to encourage them to make war and to fight the good fight.  Thank you for the victory; bring us home Lord in a mighty way.    Amen

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“GREAT INTENTIONS” – Mar. 5

March 5, 2013

“Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.” Acts 8:35

I have been asked a couple of times, “Why would you want to do that?” after explaining my goals for the coming year.  These goals include:

A few (at least two) triathlons; one of them being Emmett’s Most Excellent Triathlon.

Cycling the 4 summit challenge and riding a century (100 miles).

Running a 10K race.

I realize that these activities are not what many will list on their recreational itinerary.  They are not on my recreational itinerary either.   On my list of preferred activities, the endorphin rush has yet to displace the sedentary sedation of a shade tree and glass of iced tea.   Physical endurance activities can be satisfying but anything that involves some sort of physical discomfort is hard for me to categorize as fun.

I did not pick these goals to be a source of entertainment.  I set these types of goals so that I might achieve a very specific and important long term goal.  My long-term goal is to be fit.   I simply feel better when I am in shape. I prefer to live the type of lifestyle that being in shape affords.  I hope that my later years of life will be blessed to be very active.  I want to be that guy who people consider helping across the parking lot but are then blown away by him on the ski slope.  I want to be that grandpa who can teach his grandkids what a hard day’s work means.  I want to be that old guy who everyone in the Church under-estimates his age by twenty years.  It is unlikely that I will have an active future if I exist in the sedation of a sedentary present.  The best way of realizing that future me is to start working on this present me.

When is the right time to get into shape?

I am full of great intentions. We all have that image of the person who we want to be.  I think that the day-dreams of our youth still reside in most of us but have been relegated to the mental trash heap of the unrealistic to be compacted by the weight of adult responsibilities and expectations.  I wonder what the younger you would think of the older you?  Great intentions need a push to transform into anything else.  I have learned that I must be intentional for an intention to become a reality.  There are so many distractions that can sidetrack good intentions into the languishing world of unrealized dreams.

It is important for me to make a goal in order to push intention into intent.  My intent motivates me to prepare for these shorter-term goals and the shorter-term goals do the transforming work of achieving the longer-term goal.

I think that we stay spiritually fit in a similar manner.  We should have shorter-term spiritual goals to help us stay on task for our primary goal.  It is so easy to allow our good intentions of getting serious about our faith to languish as an unrealized dream while we are distracted by a pursuit of entertainment and the weight of adult responsibilities. We need to evaluate our lives and determine those areas where the Spirit is leading us to get serious.

When is the right time to start glorifying God and enjoying Him?

It is important for us to move from intention to intent.  Most of us know what we should be doing.  Most of us have great intentions but we are caught in the spiritual sedation of busy lives.  We need to allow the Spirit to lead us from our great intentions and motivate us to prepare for these short-term, realistic goals and these shorter-term goals will transform us into our true desire to glorify God and really enjoy Him for forever.  Aren’t you tired of living with unrealized intentions?

EvangelismI don’t know what the most glorifying things we can do for God are but I have to think that evangelism has to be very high on that list.  There is a celebration in heaven for each soul who is born again.  That should tell us how big a deal evangelism is from God’s perspective.  I don’t know how I can love God with all that I am without the wonder of my Savior spilling into my conversations.  I don’t know how I can love my neighbor as myself without telling him about the most loving act that has ever been done for him.  It is actually unloving not to tell someone about Jesus.

It seems to me that evangelism should be part of the life of every follower of Christ who is striving to glorify and enjoy God.

I think that evangelism is one of those great intentions that many Christians have but don’t act upon.  I have heard many folks talk about sharing the gospel in terms of “I could never do that.”  The context is often relegated to the realm of  “giftings.”  Those who have the “gift of evangelism” are the ones who should go about sharing the gospel.  I believe that God has gifted some brothers and sisters with a wonderful and unique ability to proclaim the good news about Jesus.  However, I don’t believe that gets the rest of us off the hook.  Just because one servant is gifted such that they bring in a ten-fold harvest does not make it right for me to bring in no harvest.

Many people steer clear of spiritual conversations because they do not feel confident explaining the “good news” and their faith.  They often are disappointed when they see an opportunity float by and are uncertain what to say.  It has happened to me.  I don’t want to be like that.  I have let too many opportunities drift past due to an insecure hesitation.

I want to be like Philip.  Philip was great at glorifying God.   Philip could engage a conversation, jump into the scripture, open his mouth, and explain the good news about Jesus.  I want to be like Philip; that is my great intention.  I want to be ready to open my mouth and let the Lord take a conversation where He wills it to go.   I want to glorify God.  I want to bring in a harvest of some kind.Evangelist Ray Comfort open-air preaching at a...

Now, here is my reality.  I am more of a writer than a conversationalist.  A long conversation can easily exhaust me of words and land me in the world of awkward silence.  Meeting new people is as uncomfortable as a dental appointment for me.  I am not a quick thinker.  I like to ponder and mull over my responses.  I do not have the gifts of what I think an evangelist should have.

However, I still want to be like Philip.  How will I push my intention of sharing the gospel into the reality of doing it and glorifying God?  I will probably always fight my insecurities of real-time conversations so the best way for me to be like Philip is to prepare to be like Philip.

I participated in CRU when I was in college.  I think that they prepared us very well to be like Philip.  They had us practice our testimonies.  We wrote out our own personal stories of how God transformed our lives and then we memorized it.  We were prepared to tell our own story of Christ’s grace and mercy in a concise, non-rambling, logical manner.  I need to go back and update my testimony and know my story of personal transformation. 

We practiced sharing the gospel.  We practiced by using tracts and we practiced just talking about God and bringing it back to the good news of Christ.  I shared the gospel a lot more when I was prepared.  I was better prepared when I was involved with other people who were preparing with me.  Preparation and accountability resulted in actually doing what we wanted to do.  I need to practice making a clear presentation of the gospel and find some folks who are wanting to do the same thing. (Ray Comfort has some excellent tools to teach us how to share the gospel at the Way of the Master.)

I believe that being intentional about preparing and sharing the good news about Jesus is a wonderful way to realize the good intentions of a desire to glorify our Lord and Savior.  We get the blessing and enjoyment of participating in the miraculous work of the salvation of the lost.

That is the life I want to live.  That is the life I want when I am old.  That is the life that I want now.  Let’s get spiritually fit and bring in a harvest that we always intended but have never thought possible.  All things are possible for those who are the Lord’s.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for giving us such incredible news to tell this world about.  Thank you for using us to preach that good news.  Use me Lord.  Prepare me Lord.  Give me eyes to see the opportunities that are floating around me.  Give me confidence to open my mouth for your glory.  Lord, I want to see your word go forth; I want to see lives transformed; I want to see your Kingdom expanded and souls saved.  Father, I love You – use me as You will.    Amen

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“INSTRUCTION THAT MATTERS” – Mar. 3

March 3, 2013

“And Jehoash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all his days, because Jehoiada the priest instructed him.” 2 Kings 12:2

What will be the words written on my son’s epitaph?

How will a generation who has yet to touch this earth’s soil speak of my daughter?

My children will have a legacy.  They will be known for something.  I wonder what it will be.  Every life is known for the particular fruit that it bears. What will be their fruit?

I have a specific hope for them.

We invest a lot of time instructing our kids in academic subjects.  I will be deeply satisfied if they become known for their intellect…but that is not my specific hope for their legacy.

I coach my daughter’s basketball team.  It will be a blessing if she receives a college athletic scholarship…but that is not what I hope she is known for.

My son has participated in speech competitions and done very well.  I will be very proud of him if venues are filled to hear his oration…but that is not the legacy that I pray will be his.

My children may gain all the accolades of this world.  They may climb to the top of a variety of ladders.  Their resumes may drip with awards and accomplishments.  Success may follow them like an obedient pet.

However, what have they gained if their legacy is a forfeited soul? (Matt. 16:26)

Every legacy has an origin.  The foundations of my children’s epitaphs are being formulated now.

My hope is that, Lord willing, long after I am gone, it will be said of my son, “he loved the Lord with all that he was, for all of his days, to the glory of God Almighty; he was a good and faithful servant of his Savior.”  That my daughter will be a virtuous woman of God whose remembrance brings forth smile as it is said, “she loved her Savior with all that she was, for all of her day, to the glory of God; she was a good and faithful servant of the King.’ old school

I have no control over the legacy of my children.  Their faith is a gift from God to them.  However, this is not to suggest that my wife and I’s instruction is not without importance.  Jehoiada the priest was greatly used in the life of King Jehoash by instructing the young King.  We are told in proverbs, “train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6); Instructing a child in the Lord’s ways does matter.

As Matt Chandler has said, we are stacking kindling around our children with every Bible study, every encouragement in spiritual disciplines, every time we rely upon the Word, every prayer, every example of faithfully walking in the Spirit.  All of our instruction is spiritual fuel around the base of our children’s hearts.

There is no better sound to the ears of a child of God then to hear the “whoosh” of the Spirit sparking a mighty blaze of a passion for our Savior in the heart of our children to the praise and glory of our King.

My children’s legacies have begun.  The period of influential instruction is now.  Therefore, I want to be wise and focus on instructing them in those areas that will have eternal value and will result in an epitaph that will be a pleasing fragrance to our Father.

Now is the time of diligent instruction.  It matters.

PRAYER: Father, I know that the salvation of my kids is in your hands.  I pray Lord that you will save them and keep them.  Protect them from the evil one and lead them to persevere in their faith.  Father, I know and accept the responsibility that you have given me as a parent.  I know that I am modeling to them how to follow you.  Lord, give me the wisdom, understanding, and passion to show my kids how wonderful you are.  Father, take my kids and use them for your glory.    Amen

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“DEALING WITH TROUBLES” – Mar. 1

March 1, 2013

“Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” Psalm 90:14

English: The restored courtroom of the 1903 Ki...I awoke this morning troubled. 

I had one of those very vivid dreams that is hard to shake.  It was a dream that has lingered much too long into my rising.  I had spent most of my time of rest trapped in a courtroom expressing my displeasure at the injustice I have felt toward those who are threatening to sue my company.  I presented evidence, countered arguments, spoke eloquently of ethics, all from a diner booth in the back of the courtroom (it was a dream after all).Empty Booths

I awoke indignant. 

I have written about this issue that has troubled me in the past (BUT I DON’T WANNA BE SLAPPED).  There is nothing that has changed in the status of my troubles.  I have continued to give it to the Lord and rely upon Him.  However, my dreams may be revealing that my troubles are holding onto me more than my “stiff upper lip” reveals.

I opened my Bible this morning with a desperation not felt on most mornings.  I really needed the Lord to help me give all of this to him, once more.  These are the passages that were waiting for me from my Bible reading plan:

“He said, “Do not be afraid for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.”  So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:16-17)

“So they took his advice, and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.  Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” (Acts 5:39b-42)

 “The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away…So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Return, O Lord! How long?  Have pity on your servants! Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil.  Let your work be shown to your servant, and your glorious power to their children.  Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” (Psalm 90:10-17)

Every person who walks this earth has had and will have toil and trouble.  Toil and trouble are not fun.  They can be disturbing and distracting.  We have all seen and been afflicted by that which is wrong and evil.

We who are in Christ have no need to despair in the toil or the troubles that we may face.  Our Father is greater than all that faces us.  He who is in us is greater than those who are against us.  God is in control of all things.  There is nothing that is too hard for him.  All that we walk through is for His greater purpose.  The toils and troubles of this world remind us that our satisfaction cannot be found in this world.  Our satisfaction comes from one place – God.  His steadfast love is the source of our satisfaction.  It is because of His unending and unquenchable love that we can rejoice this day and all of our days.  God’s steadfast love is greater than any toil or trouble that we may face.

Therefore, we need to keep our troubles from distracting us.  It is very easy to allow time to slip away as we are preoccupied with legitimate problems.  We only have a limited number of days.  We need God to teach us to number those days.  The Apostles experienced beatings and went straight back to the work of the Lord.  Their troubles did not distract them.  They rejoiced in their troubles because they had been counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.  They could rejoice because they knew the steadfast love of the Lord and it was greater than any beating they would receive.  They did not allow their troubles to lose a day for the Lord.

I pray for the Lord to change the hearts of these men that seem so determined to go to court against me.  I pray that it will be clear that the Lord changed their hearts for His glory.

If it is the Lord’s will that we go through this trouble and even lose all, I pray that my family and I will be faithful to our Lord and Savior for His glory.  I know that it will be for a greater purpose.  I pray that we will not be distracted; that we will not lose a day for Christ.  That He will establish the work of our hands.

I praise God for His steadfast love.  It is sweeter than anything that I know.  The favor of the Lord our God is more satisfying than any peace or prosperity that this world may offer.  I will gladly lose all these worldly possession to be counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.  May our Lord be glorified.

It is time to get back to work and not lose a day!

PRAYER: Father, thank you for your word.  Thank you for lifting my eyes and reminding me of your steadfast love.  Thank you for showing me that my hope is not in this world.  My security is not in this world.  My reputation is nothing compared to the surpassing worth of your favor and steadfast love.  Thank you for the days that you have given me and the troubles that are in them.  I long to see your work and glorious power in what is transpiring.  You are good and will work all of this for your glory.  I look forward to the day when my eyes are open to see it all.  Lord, I am in your hands.  Mold me for your purposes.  May you establish the work of my hands for your glory.     Amen

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