Wednesday, December 31, 2014



You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.
 Selah  (Psalm 32:7)

Years ago, the godly Corrie Ten Boom wrote a book—later made into film—called, “The Hiding Place.”  It documented God’s preservation of her life through years in a Nazi concentration camp.  She did find God to be her strength and shelter who preserved her.  If you have never read the book or seen the movie, I would encourage you to do so.

The fact is that this world is filled with foes.  Satan and his minions are continually seeking the downfall of God’s people.  We, however, have a strong tower—a place to hide from Satan’s fury.  The Lord God Almighty is our refuge.  We are secure in Him.  Trouble abounds, but God protects and preserves our soul from trouble.  It is true that our physical state may suffer.  Corrie Ten Boom did, and her sister died from the brutality of their imprisonment for the cause of Christ.  Some of God’s choice servants have not been immune from hardship and heartache.  Still, the real person who is promised to be preserved is the soul that indwells this body—our spirit that is in this world but not of it—if we have been born again.  My life is hid with Christ in God.  None can pluck me out of His hand.  Having come to Christ, I cannot perish!  God is our hiding place, and I run to His arms!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014



“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”  (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

How is your love life these days?  I don’t mean your relationship with your spouse—though that is important—but, I’m speaking to your romance with your Redeemer.  How is that?  That relationship is paramount.  That’s what the Old Testament teaches and in the New Testament Jesus affirmed as the most important commandment.  We may not have a spouse, but we must have a Savior.  A good marriage can sweeten our home on earth, but salvation assures us of a home in Heaven. 

Some marriages are struggling—the love life isn’t what it once was.  The hearth at home is cold where the fire has gone out.  Unfaithfulness will prove destructive.  So, may our love relationship with the Lord diminish and we may find ourselves drawn to the seductive voice of the world. 

Would you be honest today?  How is your love life?  Can you recall a time when you read the Bible with such delight as if gazing upon a love letter—and now it is rather boring?  Do you remember the joy of spending time in prayer—an hour would race by so quickly—and now you seem too busy to pray, or it’s just a routine?  Can it be that you used to have His songs in your heart and His name on your lips—pleased to gather with your church family to celebrate Him—and now you have other things on your mind, and more pressing matters on your agenda?  It can happen, but it doesn’t have to—guard your heart!  If the romance has faded, it can be rekindled.  Seek His face today!  Once more pledge your love to Him who has given His love to you!  Meditate upon His goodness.  Look to His Word and listen to His voice.  Get back to the house of God where you belong!

Monday, December 29, 2014



“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
And not have compassion on the son of her womb?
Surely they may forget,
Yet I will not forget you. 
See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me.”  (Isaiah 49:15-16)

Heartbreaking news stories sometimes come to our attention of abandoned and abused children.  We react with revulsion because that is against the natural order of things.  Any parent with an ounce of humanity cannot do this.  Feeble, failing human beings have a God-given drive inside of them to care for their little ones.  Dare we think a perfect Heavenly Father of infinite love would neglect us?  There is a song by the contemporary Christian music group, “Avalon” that says,

There are no strangers
There are no outcasts
There are no orphans of God
So many fallen, but hallelujah
There are no orphans of God.

To that I echo, “Hallelujah!”  It is true.  As a name tattooed on our skin would fix an indelible mark, so God has engraved His children’s names on His hands.  That is more than a metaphor, it is a literal truth concerning the scars engraved in the hands of the crucified Christ—perpetual reminders before the Father of the sacrifice of His Son that made us His children.  The only way that God would forget us is if He would forget the price His Beloved paid for the sin debt we owed.  He will not!

Isaiah speaks here of the walls of Jerusalem.  Those walls have at times been battered and even broken by invaders—and today are threatened by a host of enemies that encircle the nation of Israel.  Those sorrows have been due, not to God’s neglect of them, but their neglect of Him!  Sadly, the nation is yet in unbelief and faces more pain in the future.  This does not, however, mean God has forgotten His promise—quite the opposite!  His chastisement is a token of His love.  He uses the pain to correct and drive the people back to Him!  He has made a covenant with Israel.  He knows where the foundations of Jerusalem’s walls are.  They have been rebuilt in the past when the people repented and they will be in the future—most gloriously so!  Perhaps you feel God has forgotten you.  Might it be that you have forgotten Him—and He, like the father of the Prodigal Son, ever watches and waits for you to come back home.  He will embrace you with open arms.  “There are no outcasts, there are no orphans of God.”

Friday, December 26, 2014



Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
 And there be no herd in the stalls—
 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.  (Habakkuk 3:17-18)

At the time I write this, the Christmas tree may be empty beneath—all the gifts opened and wrapping paper shredded and trashed.  The sometime exhausting task of frantic shopping and preparations for family gatherings that bring an adrenalin high, may find us wanting to crash on the couch today.  Truth is, Christmas can bring disappointment.  Perhaps the gift you took such great pains to purchase and the hefty price you paid did not produce the reaction you desired.  Maybe when we opened our presents we felt more “Ho hum,” than “Ho, ho, ho!”  We may set such a high bar of expectations that it is almost impossible for the reality to measure up—and so there is disappointment.  Financial challenges, family conflict, physical ailments, and a host of nagging troubles can rob our Christmas joy. 

As the year winds down, another year looms on the horizon—and what will it bring?  Maybe we will move beyond being haunted by the ghost of Christmas past, and now fear the specter of Christmas future.  Disappointment may be supplanted by dread.  We are living in a fantasy world if we do not think that crises are looming in the New Year. 

Habakkuk, the ancient prophet knew that.  He had seen hard times that had brought disappointment, and he knew peril might escalate in the future and so he was tempted to dread.  However, he made a choice—to delight in the Lord!  God is unchanging.  He is on the throne.  His sovereign purpose has Him astride our yesterdays and our tomorrows.  God is working out His will—and it will be glorious! 

As a child of God, we have salvation!  What would it profit us to gain the whole world as a Christmas gift, and lose our soul?  That would be everlasting disappointment and eternal dread!  Instead, we may delight in the greatest gift of all—salvation!  Our past sins are blotted out and our future hopes are secure.  What more could we need?  If the Christmas stockings are now empty, yet our hearts can be full of joy.  Should the news headlines be full of evil tidings for the future, yet our souls can rest in confidence.  Make Habakkuk’s choice your choice.  It may not change your circumstances, but it will change your attitude!

Thursday, December 25, 2014



Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.  Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”  (Luke 2:8-11)

I saw the final movie in the Hobbit trilogy recently, that—along with the Lord of the Rings series—completes the Tolkien Middle-earth saga.  In Tolkien’s masterful works, he portrays a world where dark forces are persistently trying to enslave its inhabitants.  On that dark side there are goblins, orcs, trolls and such, and opposing them are dwarves, elves, men and the like—but the dwarves, elves and men are too easily corrupted by the offer of power and the lure of wealth.  They are too weak to save the world.  Therefore, the most unlikely of heroes is required—those who would be the weakest of all—hobbits!  The furry-footed little fellows, who much prefer gardening to soldiering, and whose hands are better suited to a spade than a sword, are the key to defeating the forces of evil. 

Doubtless, Tolkien was drawing out of his theologically informed worldview.  This storyline of the most unlikely doing the most heroic, and of the weak overcoming the strong, is a theme recurrent in Scripture.  It might be an eighty year old fugitive employed by his father-in-law—a fellow named Moses—who had flunked out on his one attempt to liberate his people that would be sent to finish the job—and he did!  Then, there was a timid soul named Gideon, who nearly jumped out of his skin when the Angel of the Lord appeared with an assignment to overthrow the Midianite oppressors, where he essentially would respond, “Who me?  You’ve got to be kidding!”  Then God sent him at the head of an army of 300 to assault a horde, armed with torches and clay pots!  Recall the least obvious of Jesse’s sons that would be anointed the next king?  His name was David—and the shepherd boy would go to fight the ten-foot champion of the Philistines, and kill him with a slingshot!  It would be a rag-tag bunch of fishermen, a tax collector, a member of a group advocating the violent overthrow of Rome, and others so obscure that all we know is their names, that would be selected as Apostles and help change the course of history!

However, the greatest example of the most unlikely heroes that would accomplish the most extraordinary task would be those featured in the Christmas story: a peasant carpenter named Joseph, a young virgin named Mary, a bunch of despised shepherds, and most importantly, a Baby cradled in a manger.  As Michael Card, and others have sung, “This Is Such A Strange Way to Save the World.”  Indeed!  That most unlikely Savior—God wrapped up in newborn skin—would grow up to exchange that cradle of straw for a cross of suffering, and through that scandalous execution would bring salvation—and in the act of His sacrifice crush the old Serpent’s head—assuring the overthrow of evil forever!  This is such a strange way to save the world!

Now, could it be that even as God used shepherds to be the first to proclaim this Gospel, that He would use people like us to do the same in our time?  That is most certainly God’s plan for His people today.  You may think you have little ability to stand against the vast forces of darkness that are arrayed against the church, but the reality is that God is not looking for ability, so much as availability!  On this Christmas Day, standing on the threshold of a New Year, with challenges abounding and evil growing, let us bow to the One born in a stable and share the message of good news to a world filled with bad news.  Victory is near!  What a strange way to save the world!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014



Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.  And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.  (Ephesians 5:1-2)

Sometimes I look in the mirror and wonder, “How did my father get in there?”  I have had people walk up to me and talk to me thinking I am my father.  My Dad has been a Gospel singer and songwriter, and they will tell me how much they enjoy my songs.  But, I am a preacher and not a singer.  The resemblance in our features, however, is undeniable: like father, like son.  It should be that if we have had a second birth into God’s family that we should bear His likeness.  Paul commands us here to imitate God!  How can we do that? 

There are attributes of God that are unique to Him, and that I cannot share.  He is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent.  That is only true of God, and believers will never attain those, or else we would become God ourselves.  There are other attributes, however, such as holiness, righteousness, justice, and veracity that we can share and should strive to attain.  While we won’t exhibit them perfectly, we can express them progressively as we seek for them incessantly.  The preeminent attribute of God that we can and should seek to imitate is love.  God is love, and we are to become like our Heavenly Father.  Paul calls us to a walk in love.  When you walk you are getting somewhere—and we truly start making progress as God’s people when we are practicing love as a lifestyle.

Like Father, like Son—and so Jesus is the model Child.  His love was both vertical and horizontal, as the beams of the cross, where He offered Himself to God and for us.  His love was expressed vertically in being lifted up to the Father—the Beloved Son in Whom He was well-pleased.  The fragrance of Christ’s love permeated the atmosphere of Heaven and the Father accepted that loving sacrifice.  It culminated a life of loving obedience to His Father.  But, there was also the horizontal dimension—Christ sacrificed Himself in our place.  He loved us and gave Himself for us, so that we can be accepted by a Holy God in Him.

Like Father, like son, similarly means that we are like Jesus and love God with all our being and our neighbor as ourselves.  Of all God calls us to be, imitating Him in this is the chief thing.  It is the supreme mark of a Christian.  May the world know we are Christians by our love!

Monday, December 22, 2014



I will sing to the LORD, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.  (Psalm 13:6)

I can carry a tune…that’s about it.  No one is going to hear me sing and say, “You ought to go on one of those TV talent shows—you could win!”  But, I am convinced God enjoys my singing.  Perhaps when I am belting out a hymn as I shower in the morning, my wife puts a pillow over her head, and my dog starts howling, but maybe the Lord smiles and says to the angels, “Stop and listen to that!  Isn’t it great?”  It is precious to Him because it comes bubbling up from my soul…a heart brimful of love that demands to overflow in a song I cannot contain!  Our Minister of Music does not need to prod me to sing.  It would not be worship if I could not express myself in song, and be caught up in the singing of others.  While carnal motives could lead me to simply seek to be entertained, and my focus might be misplaced on being awed by the talent of others, the reason I am caught up in song is that I am captivated by my God!

The gift of music is a precious blessing bestowed by our Creator.  He has woven such creativity and skill into the fabric of our souls.  Supremely, music is a means of exalting God’s greatness as we sing to Him, and exclaiming His goodness as we sing of Him.  How can we help but sing as we reflect on His character—and our love relationship with Him?  God is good, and I am glad!  From a mind consumed with gratitude I will make melody in my heart, and raise His praise from my lips!  Why, the little birds greet their Maker in the morning with sweet songs, and shall I do less than the fowls of the air?

I will sing!  Won’t you join me?

Friday, December 19, 2014



Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  (James 1:7-8)

We have as much of God as we want.  We also experience victory over temptation to the degree we desire.  Reaching for God will effectually result in resisting the Devil.  There is no cause to blame God if He seems far away—He is where He has always been: near those who seek Him!  The issue is that I have moved.  My heart has not been diligent to pursue God.  Should I complain that God has not given me the power to overcome sin, then, I am again shifting blame to the wrong source.  God made a way of escape, but rather than running from the temptation, I was drawn to it by my lustful heart.  James had earlier said this,

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.  But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.  Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.  (James 1:13-15)

I cannot enjoy the presence of God and the pleasures of sin simultaneously.  The sad reality is that the same person can do both—just not at the same time.  Why would I want something other than God?  His presence is the great joy—here and hereafter.  Sin, although sweet to the taste, is poison to the soul when swallowed.  It doesn’t lead to the good life; it brings death.

Where I have sinned, it is time to come in brokenness before our God.  The cleansing fountain that flowed from Calvary has not lost any efficacy to wash my dirty hands.  My heart problem can be healed by the Great Physician, if I will but seek Him rather than my sin.  I can enjoy God’s presence today to the degree I will reach for Him.  I can experience His power over temptation in the amount that I will resist the Devil.  Vitality and victory are my birthright as a child of God.  What folly it is to choose the opposite!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014



For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ  (Philippians 3:20)

A Christian is a citizen of two kingdoms.  Being born in the United States, I am an American citizen with all the rights and responsibilities that come with that status.  But, being born again from above, I am now a celestial citizen, belonging to the Kingdom of Heaven!  While I still pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, my ultimate allegiance is to the Lord God and His precepts.  My citizenship on earth will fade like the colors of the Star Spangled Banner, and eventually dissolve in time.  My citizenship in eternity will never cease and only becomes increasingly glorious as its fulfillment nears and is experienced forever.  The Bloodstained Banner of the Cross is the flag I now joyfully follow.  Although there are foretastes of Heaven down here, we know that this is nothing compared to what awaits us when Jesus returns.  Someday—and I pray today—our King will come.  Let us have our convictions, conduct and conversations in anticipation of that great reality.  The charge is sometimes made that Christians are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good.  The truth is that those who have made the most significant impact in the world have been those motivated by the reality of the world to come.  C.S. Lewis put it this way, “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”  If you have not bowed to the Lord Jesus Christ, pledge allegiance to Him today.  If you have—live like it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014



The LORD is righteous in all His ways,
Gracious in all His works. 
The LORD is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.  (Psalm 145:17-18)

We are dear to God, and, therefore, He is near to us.  As a father hears the cry of his child—responsive to the need—so, our Heavenly Father hears our desperate plea.  If we call out to Him with a sincere heart and pure motive, we may be sure that He comes to our aid.  We may not perceive Him as clearly as we would wish, but He has promised to be present—and He cannot lie!  We cannot always count on human fathers.  At our best, we are still flawed—and we are not always at our best.  We are imperfect and impotent to know what to do and to be able to do what our children need at times.  Mortal men have their limitations.  The nicest father on earth may be powerless to provide, even when he wants to respond in love.   What if my child falls and gets hurt on the school playground, while I am on a business trip halfway around the world?  I might even be in a location where I could not even receive a cell phone call!  Should word reach me, how long might it take for me to reach my son or daughter?  If I got to them, would I be able to help them?  Maybe they had severed their spinal cord or sustained a brain injury that would be fatal—what could I do even if I were there?  Our Father in Heaven has no such limitations.  Because He is infinitely wise, He always knows what needs to be done.  Since He is infinitely holy, He will always do the right thing.  So, the Psalmist declares, “The LORD is righteous in all His ways.”  Being infinitely loving, we can depend on Him to desire to help His child. He is, “Gracious in all His works.”  Being ever attentive, He responds promptly to our sincere cry, “The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.”  He is the LORD, and so all-powerful to deliver us!


Monday, December 15, 2014



Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

There are some things you can’t choose.  For example, you cannot choose your parents, your height, or your circumstances in all seasons of life.  Some of the situations we find ourselves in are indeed products of our decisions, but many are not—they are the results of choices others make that affect us, or what providence deals to us.  The present conditions I am in may not have been what I would have chosen for myself at all—they could be harsh and hurtful, difficult and potentially deadly.  But, it may well be that I have no choice in experiencing them—they have come, they are real, and unavoidable.

There is a choice I can make—and should at all times—the choice to rejoice!  Joy is deeper than happiness.  Happiness is an emotion that depends on happenings—if what is happening to me is perceived as good, then I feel good, but the feeling quickly fades when I experience what I consider bad.  Joy is of stouter stuff—made of the work of the Holy Spirit in me.  He produces that supernatural fruit as I yield to His perfect and pleasing will.  In my heart, I know this truth: God is unchanging and always good, even in the changing circumstances of life, whether good or bad from a human perspective.  He has promised to work all for my good (Rom.8:28), and faith lays hold of that in choosing to rejoice in Him.

Unwavering praise is informed and inspired by unceasing prayer.  I spend time with an all-wise God and bring my needs before an all-power Lord who can either relieve my pain or give me grace to endure—and He will do one or the other.  Prayer isn’t persuading God to do what I think best, but bringing my desires into alignment with His designs.  He might change my situation, but what He wants most is to change me—and make me more like Jesus.  This He has promised to do—and in this I can always rejoice.  As Jesus prayed that most important prayer in Gethsemane, “Not my will, but Yours be done,” so I should pray. 

You have a choice to make right now.  Make the choice to rejoice!

Saturday, December 13, 2014



And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.  (Jeremiah 29:13-14)

God does not want half-heartedness.  To be partially faithful is to be wholly unfaithful.  How do you think your spouse would react if you said, “Honey, I will love you 364 days out of the year, but on just one night I am going to share my love with someone else”?  Yet, we often have divided affections when it comes to the Lover of our souls.  The truth is that we have as much of God as we want.  The only issue is—do we have a passion for Him?   God’s Spirit, by His Word, summons us to seek Him today—particularly and persistently.  He promises the great delight of Himself in His fullness when we do!  I am a fool not to do that.  The world promises much, but the pleasures of sin are a cheap thrill that leave us emptier than before we indulged.  It is like trying to quench your thirst by drinking water from the ocean—the more you swallow, the thirstier you become—and it leads to madness and death.  Only God can satisfy our soul—and He does it to overflow!  He gives rivers of living water flowing from our innermost being.  Lord, forgive us for our unfaithfulness.  Renew our focus on You as we repent of our carnal distractions.  Today, we set our heart on You alone!  Let us be “all in.”

Friday, December 12, 2014



But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”  But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.  (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)

Often verse nine is misapplied, taken from the context, and made to speak of the unimaginable marvels awaiting believers in Heaven.  That such future glory is beyond our finite capacity to comprehend is true, of course, and yet this is not what the passage is teaching.  As you examine it carefully, you discover that these are the deep things of God—buried treasure, if you will—that are in the Word of God and taught by the Spirit of God.  It is the work of the Holy Spirit called illumination.  It isn’t new truth, but it has a fresh and gripping reality to us as we study.  The light comes on!  Has that ever happened to you?  These are things that are written on the page, but our eyes had not seen them.  These are messages which had been unheard until the Apostles proclaimed them—now they can be known by us in this New Testament dispensation.  Imagine, that even men like Abraham and Moses—friends of God—did not know what we may know!  The Bible is God’s love letter to His Bride.  The truths it contains are for her eyes only.  While they may seem as nonsense to those who are blinded by sin, they are precious realities to those who have come to the Light.  Digest the Book, savor each morsel, meditate on the message—it is for you!

Thursday, December 11, 2014



LORD, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting,
You are God.  (Psalm 90:1-2)

Before there was anything, God already was, and when things consummate, He will always be!  This time and place are temporary—only a spot to camp out, in this tent we call the body, for a season.  That is why the heart of the child of God always is a bit unsettled, even in the best of days.  There is a longing for something more—something this world can never satisfy.  We are created with the capacity of fellowship with God—to dwell not only with Him, but in Him!  While we may delight in the privilege of communion with Christ now, it is far from being all that we know it will be—when we leave behind all the hindrances that this sinful environment brings.  Yes, we are camping out and in a war zone!  Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15—the great resurrection chapter—that eventually God will be all in all.  The mountains that the Maker molded will someday crumble into the sea, but our security is settled in heaven.  In the midst of this world’s turmoil, we know there is a place of rest, and we groan for glory.  The Spirit that we have received draws us irresistibly—He has implanted in us a heart for home.  In heaven, we will be at home in Him!  Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Oh, I want to see Him, look upon His face,
There to sing forever of His saving grace;
On the streets of glory let me lift my voice,
Cares all past, home at last, ever to rejoice.  (R.H. Cornelius)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014



Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.  But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.”  (Acts 10:34-35)

There is no partiality with God.  Now, that doesn’t mean that we are all the same—the Creator didn’t use a cookie-cutter—but, it means, for one thing, that we must all come to God the same way, and that we can all come to Him without distinction.  We are all in the same boat—one that is sinking in sin—and there is no hope to fix the leak.  There is only one way of rescue, and that is through Christ, irrespective of who we are.  No matter whether we are religious or irreligious, rich or poor, young or old, male or female, short or tall—or any other way that we classify people—we cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven unless we are born again!  What we are concerning our natural birth is universally under condemnation.  What we must have is a spiritual birth that brings our conversion.  There is no partiality.  That is what Peter, a Jew, told to Cornelius, a Gentile. 

Then, without favoritism, yet in His sovereign purpose, God distributes varied gifts, capacities, and callings for His children.  Nevertheless, all God’s children are gifted children.  We are equally accountable to God for the particular stewardship of that assigned to us—not in relation to someone else’s responsibility, but to our own.  It is not a matter of comparison and competition with other saints.  It is about an impartial Judge weighing our faithfulness or lack thereof against the design He has for us. 

If you have not received Christ and His salvation, what will you do with this great privilege to come to God?  Do not debate the need—we all have it.  Do not hesitate over the possibility—we all can come to Him.  There are those who waver by wondering, “What if I am not one of the elect?”  Dear one—you would not have the desire for God unless He desired you!  You would not want righteousness, unless He is drawing you.  This is what Peter means when he speaks of those, in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness.”   

For those who have come to Him, what will we do with this immense potential to serve our God?  Will we not reverence our Master?  Will we not work for Him who has worked salvation in us?  I cannot imagine someone who has God’s grace in them, failing to evidence it in their character, conduct and conversation to some degree.  Without exception—Christ brings a change in us!  That is the Spirit’s fruit—and if there is not fruit from God, then there is no root in His life.  God, without partiality, will judge such as counterfeit Christians.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014



The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 
I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.  (Psalm 18:2-3)

When a life is founded upon Christ, there is stability in the storm.  When a life is fortified by Christ, there is security in the strife.  He will deliver His people from their fears and their foes.  The implication cannot be missed—that our sojourn on earth will be filled with difficulties and fraught with dangers.  Yet, we have the strength of the Lord to lean on and His salvation to look to in these perilous times.  God is our shield, salvation, and stronghold, the Psalmist testifies.  The author, David, had certainly experienced God in these ways.  The superscription of the Psalm gives the context. 
A Psalm of David The Servant of the LORD, Who Spoke to the LORD The Words of This Song on the Day that the LORD Delivered Him from the Hand of All His Enemies and from the Hand of Saul.

No wonder as his heart fills with these realities that he erupts in profuse praise!  How can we do otherwise?  It is madness to think we can make it on our own.  Our lack of prayer is an expression of arrogance, and our absence of praise is a testimony of ungratefulness.  May it never be!  Each morning should bring an awareness of our desperate need for God—all He is to meet all I need.  Let this day dawn with me crying out to Him, and the sun will set with me celebrating in Him!  I don’t know what you are facing today—but, I know this—God is worthy to be praised!

Monday, December 08, 2014



No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.  (John 15:15)

I am a friend of Jesus…and I will be His friend forever!  He has called all His followers, “friends.”  That Jesus would describe me that way is a source of wonder.  He says that we are invited into His inner circle of confidants—that there is a superlative intimacy we may enjoy with Him.  Friends share their very heart.  There are no secrets between them.  So, we find in the first disciples, John, leaning on Jesus’ chest, hearing the very heartbeat of Christ.  We read in the Gospels of Mary’s repeated station at Jesus’ feet—learning from Him.  That is our privilege too!  As His friends, we may rest on His breast and repose at His feet—both now bearing the wounds of His affections for us—the price required to provide sinners like we are access to His holy Presence!  When I should be treated as a foe, He talks to me as a friend!  This reconciliation came through the blood of the cross.  Shall I disdain such a sacrifice and refuse to return His love today, by busying myself with trivial pursuits, rather than seeking His heartbeat by drawing near in prayer?  Could I be so cold as to shun an opportunity to sit at His feet and learn His deepest secrets, by the distraction of the world’s media instead of abiding in His Word?  God forbid that I do so!  My Forever Friend, I run to You!

Friday, December 05, 2014



For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.  (Ephesians 2:8-9)

I never want to “get over” the grace of God!  We call it “amazing” and it is!  For some, that may only be part of a song, without any depth of meaning—familiar words and as the old saying goes, “Familiarity breeds contempt.”  God forbid that it ever be that way!  How many times I have sung about it, preached on it, prayed for it, shared it and pondered it, yet, for me, the experience of God’s grace remains breathtaking!

Look at it this way: a sovereign God—infinitely holy, yet utterly loving—reached out to a filthy, hopeless and helpless sinner with love that lifted me!  He didn’t need me, had no reason to want me, had no cause not to condemn me—but solely by grace did all He required to fit me for eternity—and at what a price!

What did I have to do?  Just believe in Christ—and even the knowledge of Him and the capacity to believe in Him was His choice before I made my choice.  My boast will ever be of the cross!  My worship will be for the Lamb that was slain as eternal ages roll by!  To God be the glory!  I cannot help using so many exclamation marks because His grace is still amazing!

Thursday, December 04, 2014



Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.  (Hebrews 10:23)

The faithfulness of God calls us to faithfulness for God.  We have a hope for tomorrow that is unfailing, so let us not fail to live as those who have such a hope today. Professing it is good, but possessing it is what turns the claim into reality.  The Lord will be true to His promises to us, so I should be true to my commitment to Him.  His hand holds me strongly, so I am challenged to hold His steadily.  The former grace of God to me enables the latter good to be accomplished by me.  We have strength for today and hope for tomorrow because of the great faithfulness of God.

Paul exhorts, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”  (Ephesians 6:10)  The soldier of the cross is called to stand strong, yet we have no strength of our own—we must rely on Omnipotence.  His power is all we need, but we need it desperately.  We will surely fall unless standing in His strength alone.

How much power is available?

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.  (Eph.3:20-21)

God can do so much more than we have ever dreamed!  Our finite minds cannot grasp infinite power.  We glorify Him when He works through us by that limitless might.  The church has the opportunity today to manifest the greatness and the glory of the Lord as we become equipped by His strength and proclaim the hope we have in Christ.  Jesus came to redeem us from our vanity to bring us to victory.  Now, may we pray according to His purpose as Paul expressed it in these verses.  This is our high calling!



Wednesday, December 03, 2014



For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  (2 Timothy 1:7)

There is a darkness that can creep into the mind—a dread that lengthens as the evening shadows.  Deeper and darker it grows, until our soul is shrouded by it—what has been called, “the dark night of the soul.”  Hope seems to eclipsed.  Such feelings can overwhelm, and incapacitate us—if we yield to them.

We dare not!  We may be sure that if a spirit of fear has gripped us with its malevolent, icy fingers, that this is a spirit from Satan and not from God.  We may refuse it, resist it, and rebuke it by God’s grace—for what He has for us is power to sustain us in our difficulties, love to reassure us in our doubts, and a sound mind to focus us onward and upward against the distractions that dread places in our path.

There are going to be dark times to deal with—as sure as there is day, there will be night.  This world we live in is a dark and dreadful place.  Yet, consider the promise of God, “Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness; He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.”  (Psalm 112:4) 

There is this caveat, however—we must be gracious, compassionate, and righteous if we would walk in the light with Him who is the Light of the World.  Christ is all of that in perfection, and to walk with Him is to manifest this in progression.  The upright are those who stand erect—no hanging the head in despair, or sagging the shoulders in self-pity.  His spine is straight, and he steels himself against compromise of convictions.  He or she refuses to sit down and sulk—having a pity party—but stands up tall and walks ahead with fortitude.  The upright are not uptight.  The one who is upright will do right!

Such an upright man has three characteristics that mark him as one who reflects these qualities that stream from the Lord of Light.  He is gracious—brimful of God’s grace and being a channel dispensing the same to other weary souls.  He is compassionate—a deep and abiding care for others redirecting his thoughts from the problems he faces and focusing instead on the needs of others.  He will be righteous—a man of integrity, who doe the right thing.  With such, God is pleased to shine His light on to warm them, to cheer them, and to guide them.  He dispels the darkness of dread.

            Dear God,

You know the fear that arises in my mind, at times—the dread that can grip my heart in its darkness.  Drive it away!  Instead give me a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline—soundness of mind in a world gone mad.  Remind me that the darkest hour is just before the dawn.  Make me a man of grace, compassion, and righteousness so that Your light may bring the dawn of hope.  I bless You for Your grace abundant, compassion unfailing, and that You always do right!

I pray this in the Name of Christ, the Light of Life,


Tuesday, December 02, 2014



And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.  (Romans 8:28-29)

This is a precious truth that is promised—one we ought to know and have indelibly inscribed on our soul.  It is an established fact and unequivocal truth that can be known and believed.  All things—without exception—work together for good to God’s beloved child.  Paul does not say that all things are good—for there is both good and bad that we experience in life—but, the Apostle declares that all things are working together under God’s sovereign direction to bring about a good result. 

It is like trying to eat the ingredients of a chocolate cake individually—salt, baking powder, cocoa, sugar, flour, shortening, milk, eggs, and sugar.  Some would be good, but a lot would taste bad.  Stir them together, put them in the oven, and out comes something good!  That is what God is doing with the individual experiences we go through.  Are things mixed up?  Are you going through some bitter times?  Do you feel like the heat is on?  You are not done yet, but the results will be sweet!

Not every person experiences such good, sadly.  The promise is only to those who have heard the gracious wooing of a loving Savior and have responded by entering into a love relationship with Him.  This personal intimacy has a purposeful intention.  The God who knew us from eternity has predestined us for eternity.  God is shaping us into the image of Christ.  Everything that works is to this ultimate good end, and all for His glory!  God cannot lie.  He never makes a mistake.  What He says He will do is always done.  This is the fixed purpose of God.  All the demons of Hell—Satan included—cannot thwart Him.  No matter the rebellion of wicked men on earth, God moves all according to His providence.  Even our own depraved heart cannot prevent the Lord from accomplishing what He has planned for us.  The work God begins He always completes (see Phil.1:6).

Now, I am to live out in this world conduct that is suitable to such a noble calling.  Consider Paul’s prayer and let us make it our own:

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;  (Col.1:9-11)

It isn’t enough to say we love Him—we must show it.  God’s purpose expressed for me needs to be embraced by me.  This love relationship is an intimate one that enables me to increasingly know His will and walk in the same path He is traveling for I journey in fellowship with Him.  The One who will be pleased with the finished product of His good work, ought to be pleased with the fruitful produce of my good works.  This is abiding in Him—as Jesus described it in John 15—His very life flowing into me and powerfully giving me the stamina to continue my journey to its final destination, becoming just like Jesus!  This is God’s good work—and whatever comes today, He is working it for our good.  Bless His Holy Name!

Monday, December 01, 2014



“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”  (Matthew 7:7-8)

We cannot learn to pray effectively without persevering in the discipline.  Any skill we develop requires persistent practice—and that is true in the spiritual realm as well.  What comes easily is valued cheaply.  That will never be the case with prayer.  Prayer is work.  It is how God accomplishes great things in the world—so a corresponding intensity is required when we pray.  Prayer is warfare.  When we enter the prayer chamber, we will get Satan’s notice—and the victories are hard fought.  The enemy of our souls will see to that.

We ask, and go on asking—not because God is deaf.  He knows what He will do and what we will say before the thought even enters our minds, much less escapes our lips!  Rather, it is to our benefit to focus our minds and mouths upon great spiritual concerns.  Far better to persist in thinking about God and speaking to God than being distracted by the seductive appeal of this world.

We seek, and continue to seek—not that God is stingy.  Our Father loves us and is eager to answer us, but He desires our love in return.  Our prayers may be seeking what His hand may give us, when He wants us to seek His face—to find delight simply in spending time with Him—for nothing else can satisfy our soul.  God alone can meet the deepest need of the human heart, and when we seek Him first, everything lesser is thrown in!

We knock, and keep knocking—not that God is aloof.  He sees our approach—and has, in fact, sent the invitation!  The knocking is not to beat the door down, but to break down a spirit of self-sufficiency in us—the very rotten core of the forbidden fruit that Adam and Eve consumed.  We are reduced to the level of beggars, pleading with a great King to open the door to His palace.  That is a good thing, for it is in that state of desperation that God has us where He can bless us and not ruin us.

So, just remember, delays are not denials in the economy of God.  The prayers are a matter of our time—and it is time well spent on earth.  The answers are a matter of God’s timing—and He will do it on the schedule that best suits the ultimate in bringing Him glory and the good of ourselves and others.

Prayer is spiritual, therefore, making them eternal.  Some of our prayers may not even be answered during our lifetime—yet, they remain in effect, reserved in Heaven’s chambers, until that blessed day that God moves to respond according to His sovereign purpose.  So, let us not faint—but once more ask, seek and knock.  Then leave it in God’s all-wise and all-powerful hands to take the seeds of prayers we have sown, lying dormant, and to cause them to germinate according to His perfect and precious will!

Saturday, November 29, 2014



But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.  (Proverbs 4:18)

God gives us light for our next step.  If we take it in faith and obedience, He gives more light.  As we mature spiritually, by walking in His light with Him, the path becomes brighter and the way clearer.  We come to recognize God’s leading—the path clearly distinguishable by our familiarity with it.  Best of all, we know that it ends in eternal Day—the brightness of God’s radiant glory, enveloping us in Heaven!

Today is the dawn of a new day of opportunity.  Did I take a detour into darkness yesterday and stumble in unbelief and rebellion?  God will forgive—if I repent—and set me on the right path today.  In a time of such darkness that befell a nation in rebellion against God, the Lord gave His prophet this shaft of light breaking through the clouds:

Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not. 
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.  (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Even if I have been unfaithful, I find God is faithful still.  His mercies are as a dam restraining the flood of His wrath that I merit.  This new day I am awake and alive with opportunity for a fresh start.  God is great and nowhere is this more evident than in the infinite glory of His grace toward me!

I can join with the Psalmist in affirming, “This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.”  (Ps.118:24)  Here I have a gift unwrapped—this special day, uniquely designed by God.  It is a day unlike any other day and will never be exactly replicated again.  I choose to begin this day with God!  In this day, I rejoice and am glad!

The hymn has been sung countless times, but let its message stir your soul again:

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.  (Charles A. Miles)