Saturday, October 31, 2015


Matthew 6:19-21 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

He is really directing our attention to the fact that even with and despite this perfectly justified care we can be unfaithful to God…when we take all these tasks and gifts…received from God…and thus give preference to the created things over the Creator. But in the language of the Bible this way of turning things upside down is called – idolatry….

We are anxious, for example, about food and clothing. Don’t we know that as God’s children we get them from God’s hand? …But often how indifferent we are to this giving hand compared with the gift itself. How typical it is of us: we do not worry about whether we remain in the hands of God or what this hand may do with us; we worry only about the means by which God is supposed to help us. I say “supposed,” for we have all got it in our heads that we are supposed to be helped in such and such a way. We must have food and clothing at this time, from such and such a source, and in such and such quantity. True, we understand that it is God who must help us and that we cannot get along without him (after all, we’re not atheists!), so we go ahead and ask him for the sources, the dates, and the necessary quantities. We decide, as it were, what “providence” shall be.  God is supposed to help us only by opening the door we are looking at and carrying out the program which we have planned for ourselves.

This is where Jesus sees the curse of care – that in care we are always looking to our own ways and not to the goals of God…So the first thing he teaches us is to fix our eyes on this goal: the kingdom of God, everything in which God completely realizes his higher thoughts and therefore where he will be all in all. Once we dare to do this, once we earnestly fix our eyes on God’s goal for our world and our life, then in every circumstance we will also be sure that everything else “will be ours as well,” that is, that then God will give us abundantly all the we need to gain this goal.

Life Can Begin Again by Helmut Thielicke, pg. 126.

Friday, October 30, 2015


1 Corinthians 15:35-36    But someone may ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?" How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.

            Paul is a masterful teacher to present this subject so well and with such charm. Here he painted such a beautiful portrait. He took what the world considers dead and created a picture of life. He used such ordinary and small objects – seeds and kernels in a field – to portray it. So when a person dies, we should view the process of dying in no other way than as a seed being planted in the ground. If the seed could see and feel what was happening, it would fear that it was ruined forever. But the farmer, if he could talk to the seed, would paint a much different picture. He would portray the seed as if it were already a growing plant with a beautiful stalk and tiny ears of grain.

            So we must picture in our own hearts that when we are buried under the ground, we will come up again and grow into a new existence and everlasting life. We don’t have to think of ourselves as dead and decaying but rather as planted. We must learn a new way of speaking about death and the grave. When we die, we are not dead; instead, we are seeds planted for the coming summer. The cemetery is not a mound for the dead but a field full of little seeds, which are called God’s seeds. They will one day blossom again and become more beautiful than anyone can imagine.
Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional, By Martin Luther. January 17.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


 Colossians 1:21-22 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation--

A Christian is righteous and a sinner at the same time – both a friend and an enemy of God. The philosophers will not admit this paradox because they do not accept the right way of becoming justified. That’s why they demand that people keep on doing good works until they don’t feel sin anymore. This teaching has caused many people to become very distraught, because they have strived as much as they could to become completely righteous but could never achieve it. Even among those who spread this godless teaching, countless numbers of them have fallen into despair in their hour of death. This would have happened to me if Christ had not mercifully looked upon me and freed me from this error.

In contrast, we teach and comfort troubled sinners this way: Dear brothers and sisters, it’s impossible for you to become so righteous in this life that you won’t feel sin anymore. It’s impossible for your body to become as bright and spotless as the sun. Though you still have wrinkles and spots, in spite of this, you are holy. But you may wonder, “how can I be holy since I sin and feel sinful?” Recognizing and feeling your sin is good. Thank God, and don’t despair. It’s a step toward health whenever a sick person recognizes his disease. “But how can I be feed from sin?” you wonder. Run to Christ, the Physician who heals the broken hearted (Psalm 147:3). He makes sinners holy.

Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional, By Martin Luther. January 25.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


John 1:29-30              The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’
 Okay, okay…. let’s get the people straight here. John, the writer of the “Gospel of John” is not John the Baptist. The gospel writer John was one of the twelve apostles. He is identified in this Gospel as the “disciple Jesus loved”, see John 13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7, 21:20, for this title. So every time in this Gospel you read the name “John”, the writer is referring to John the Baptist.

 John the Baptist was a prophet in the days of Jesus. We would call him today an itinerant preacher, someone who traveled from place to place preaching, teaching and calling down “fire & brimstone” on his listeners. John spoke frequently form the book of Isaiah which fit his message. In the verses 19-34, we have the clearest picture of John. His person is defined by his work. He was a herald of the one who is coming after him, Jesus. John was calling people to repentant of their sins and turn to Christ, The Messiah, Jesus (see Mark 1:1-13). Like Isaiah who preached to the nation Israel when they had strayed from God’s path, John is calling out for the people of his day to do the same.

 Jesus is “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin” of people like you and I. John’s message was clear and to the point. His listeners are to run to Jesus for forgiveness of their sins. John did not view Jesus as a man. He viewed him as God Incarnate. No one else could forgive a person’s sin. John knew that. His message to the people of his day and to people reading this page is the same: Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near.  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


1 Corinthians 2:12-13     We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit.

Spiritual discernment is the ability to know what the Holy Spirit is communicating to you. It is the attentiveness you give to God’s  loving invitation to come close to Him and receive his help in life. This is discernment of His presence, power and peace. Out of this awareness you discover God’s divine intention for you in following His will in your life. This discernment of His purpose and priorities for you becomes a shared expression of His love for the world around you.

Where your heart is, there you will find your discernment. If you are like me, your heart needs daily re-alignment with the Holy Spirit. No one is exempt from this. The condition of our hearts directly impacts the process of discerning God’s will for our day. Take a few moments today to think about all which God has made possible in and through your life. Then live this day with thanksgiving, sharing your life with others.

Jericho Road Ministries Chapel,  2009.

Monday, October 26, 2015


   Luke 15:25-32     But the older son was angry and said to the father, Behold, so many years I serve you, and I have never transgressed a command of you. And you never gave a goat to me, so that I might be merry with my friends. But when this son of yours came, the one devouring your living with harlots, you killed the fattened calf for him. The father said to him, Child, you are always with me, and all of my things are yours. But to be merry and to rejoice was right, for this brother of yours was dead, and lived again; and being lost, he was found.

            There are two ways to be your own Savior and Lord. One is by breaking all the moral laws and setting your own course, and one is by keeping all the moral laws and being very, very good. Jesus shows us that everyone is dedicated to a project of self-salvation, to using God and others in order to get power and control for themselves. We are just going about it in different ways.

            The Gospel is distinct from these two approaches: In its view, everyone is wrong, everyone is loved, and everyone is called to recognize this and change. By contrast, elder brothers divide the world in two: “The good people (like us) are in and the bad people, who are the real problem with the world, are out.” Younger brothers, even if they don’t believe in God at all, do the same thing, saying: “No, the open-minded and tolerant people are in and the bigoted, narrow-minded people, who are the real problem with the world, are out.”

            But Jesus says: “The humble are in and the proud are out” (Luke 18:14). The people who confess they aren’t particularly good or open-minded are moving toward God, because the prerequisite for receiving the grace of God is to know you need it. The people who think they are just fine, thank you, are moving away from God. “The Lord…cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud” (Psalm 138:6 – New Living Translation).

The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller, pgs.44-46   

Sunday, October 25, 2015


Matthew 5:14-16       You are the light of the world… let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

 The mission field around the world, and even here in America, has not changed much over the centuries. Looking at civilizations and individual people who are apart from Christ, we see the same darkness and its manifestations as did missionaries of the past. The darkness is seen in many ways: the fear of death, panic about life’s normal challenges, the worship of created things or activities and the extremes of un-checked sinfulness.

The darkness Scripture speaks of is not a darkness found in activities or the absence of religious practices. It is speaking of a darkness that is within the soul. This darkness manifests itself in blindness to: the purpose of life, what lies beyond the grave and how to be certain if you are going to heaven. Centuries before Christ, Socrates was asked by his students if they would ever see him again after his death. He replied, “Who can know?” These are dark, dreadful and empty words. Such a soul is apart from Christ.

 Christians are comforted with the spirit-liberating, soul-quickening truth and light of Jesus Christ. The darkness within has been replaced with His light and life. The message of Christmas is a message of soul re-birth. It is an offer of hope for those lost in the darkness of this world and the bondage of sin.

This Christmas season, be watching for the many needy souls around you who are in need of the light of Christ, and be praying for those who are announcing that same message of light around the world.

Saturday, October 24, 2015


Romans 16:17-18      I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.

But whether it is older or newer understandings of sin we resist, and however preachers, teachers, and politicians may assist us in the resistance movement, each of us possesses one last defense against the knowledge of sin – a defense so strong, supple, mysterious and private that even veteran sinners cannot track its ways.

            Self-deception is a shadowy phenomenon by which we pull the wool over some part of our own psyche. We put a move on ourselves. We deny, suppress, or minimize what we know to be true. We assert, adorn, and elevate what we know to be false. We prettify ugly realities and sell ourselves the prettified versions. Thus a liar might transform “I tell a lot of lies to shore up my pride” to “Occasionally, I finesse the truth in order to spare other people’s feelings.” We become our own dupes, playing the role of both perpetrator and victim. We know the truth – and yet we do not know it, because we persuade ourselves of its opposite. We actually forget that certain things are wrong and that we have done them. To the extent that we are self-deceived, we occupy a twilight zone in which we make up reality as we go along, a twilight zone in which the shortest distance between two points is a labyrinth.

Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin. Cornelius Plantinga, pg. 105

Friday, October 23, 2015


Mark 10:28-31   Peter said to Jesus, “We have left everything to follow you!” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age…and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

Remember earlier that Jesus himself commanded Peter to leave his fishing nets behind and follow. Jesus is not condemning Peter because of his laments over lost time with family and friends. Rather, Jesus is helping Peter, and us, see the act of self-denial not as a badge of honor. We are not to boast of our qualified standing as ministers or missionaries for Christ. Nothing in our leaving the secular world for ministry life earns us special favor with God; after all we are only being obedient in doing what he has commanded.

Understand that our leaving the life we have always known is a journey in receiving from Jesus a life so staggeringly full of grace and glory that any sacrifice made to obtain it pales by comparison. If we leave our family behind, we gain a new family of disciples. If we give up our possessions, we gain the right of sonship in the new kingdom. Give up your house and you gain a mansion in heaven. Lose your life and you gain a new one.

Following Jesus is not about giving up all that you have in this world. It is about gaining the abundance of eternal life both now and forever more. This is the double movement of discipleship, leaving behind and receiving abundantly, the two sides of the one coin.

Jericho Road Ministries Chapel,   2010.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


 Genesis 32:7-8   In great fear and distress Jacob divided the people who were with him into two groups, and the flocks and herds and camels as well. He thought, "If Esau comes and attacks one group, the group that is left may escape."

            The young woman recounted that as she left a parking lot the other day, she pulled into the lane toward the exit and didn’t see another car coming. The driver had to swerve to miss her. The woman threw up her hands in apology and mouthed “I’m sorry” but the driver pulled in front of her, blocked her, got out, ran toward her gesturing and yelling obscenities and began pounding her hood with his fist. She was ready to dial 911 when his passenger coaxed him back inside.

In his book, The Enigma of Anger, Garret Keizer writes: “You will notice how often your day-to-day anger arises when you’re in a rush. Hurrying lowers the threshold of your frustration, even as anger urges you to hurry more. On some visceral level, it makes sense that the engines we employ to give us more speed so often sound angry.” (pg.105)

Toad Hall, By Margie Haack. Summer-Fall 2011.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


 Psalm 65:1-2   Praise befits you, O God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled. O you who hear prayer, to you all men will come.

            Martin Luther had a barber named Peter who asked Luther “How do you pray?” Martin Luther answered with a not so unusual forty page letter. It was published in 1535 under the title A Simple Way to Pray, for a Good Friend. Listen to this opening paragraph:

                        Dear Master Peter,
I give you the best I have. I tell you how I pray myself. May our Lord God grant you and everyone to do it better.
A good clever barber must have his thoughts, mind and eyes concentrated upon the razor and the beard and not forget where he is in his stroke and shave. If he keeps talking or looking around or thinking of something else, he is likely to cut a man’s mouth or nose – or even his throat. So anything that is to be done well ought to occupy the whole man with all his faculties and members. As the saying goes: he who thinks of many things, thinks of nothing and accomplishes no good. How much more must prayer possess the heart exclusively and completely if it is to be a good prayer!

            This is Luther talking to his barber! This is counseling. Luther puts his counselee up and himself down. Humbly he stands under him and therefore “under-stands” him. He places himself in Peter’s world, and this enables him to pick up Master Peter where he is.

Martin Luther’s Quiet Time, By Walter Trobisch, pgs.3-4.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Matthew 4:7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

            If we don’t use the resources available to us but instead want other resources we don’t have, then we’re testing God. This is what Satan wanted Christ to do. Satan told Jesus to throw himself from the temple when there were steps he could have used to climb down. Someone who doesn’t wear proper clothing in cold weather but expects God to miraculously keep him from freezing is also testing God. This is like the Jewish leaders who ignored the signs they had been given and waited for a different one from heaven. In the same way, people who sleep when they should be working are testing God. Because God promised to take care of them, they assume that God will find a way. But in Proverbs, God told them to work: “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth” (Proverbs 10:4).

            God’s work is accomplished when we use the resources given to us. He wants us to use our resources but not put our trust in them. While it’s true that hardworking hands bring wealth, it’s also true that only the Lord’s blessing brings it. As Solomon said, “the blessing of the LORD brings wealth” (Proverbs 10:22). When people use weapons to defend themselves, God is still delivering them. Without God’s help, people who attempt to deliver themselves will fail. As David said, “I do not trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; but you give us victory over our enemies” (Psalm 44:6-7). God will use weapons to deliver people if weapons are available, but he can still deliver people even if they aren’t available. Therefore, we should make use of what we have but not rely on those things. We must trust in God alone, whether we have the resources we need or not.

Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional, By Martin Luther. February 6.

Monday, October 19, 2015


Hosea 14:1-2      Your sins have been your downfall. Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.”

Some of our staff become deeply troubled and discouraged when clients “fail” our New Life Program. They forget that each of us fail at times, too. We fall into sin and disappoint our sponsor, Jesus Christ. We too sin against God. This subject comes up often here at the Mission.

These failures are disturbing and will bother us. They will discourage us and cause us to ask ourselves where we may have failed in helping the client. We should carefully monitor our programs and actions. But the question remains: “Why do people (clients) fall back into the sin from which God has saved them?” Are they to be listed as hopeless?

To put this into perspective, consider a few things. First is that each of us sin each day and fail our Father. Bad attitudes, an angry voice and a lustful glance can be a daily event that needs our repentance and prayer for forgiveness. Consider the number of prominent Christians who have fallen into immoral acts, theft from their churches or have battered their spouses. When these leaders fall to the bottom, they have fallen as far as some of our clients. Remember King David in the Old Testament who lusted enough to have Bathsheba’s husband killed in battle because of his orders. Jerry McAuley, the “Father of Rescue Missions” fell back into his alcoholism over and over before one day finding the power of God’s grace to never touch a drop of alcohol again in his life.

Be encouraged that all of us struggle along with our clients. Do not take light their sin or your own. But do not be overly discouraged by your own or the client’s fall back into sin. Remember we have Jesus, our ‘high priest’ who can sympathize with our weaknesses. He, too, was tempted in all things as we are, yet never sinned. To Him we can draw near with confidence knowing His grace provides us mercy in our struggle to overcome and our desire to be forgiven, again.

Jericho Road Ministries Chapel,  2011.

Sunday, October 18, 2015


John 10:14-15       I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep.

If you could be any kind of animal, what would you choose? Would you choose a bird, dog, horse or elephant? Most people, when asked, would not choose to be a wolf, snake or goat. Interesting that throughout Scripture followers of Christ are described as sheep. People opposed to Him were labeled goats, vipers or wolves. As sheep, Jesus also claims his title as our Shepherd. How then are we like sheep? And how is Jesus like a shepherd?

Sheep, by nature, are dumb animals. They cannot do tricks like dogs or horses. Unlike cats, sheep will eat anything in sight. They are also very nervous animals. The will scatter for fear from a fluttering leaf, gust of wind or sudden noise. Each will run in their own direction. Besides lacking intelligence and bravery they are also stubborn. It takes prodding by someone to get them to move, each one requiring a poke. Anyone can get them to move, leaving them vulnerable to a bad shepherd or dog. In summary we can say that sheep are easily misled, easily duped and easily in trouble. Sounds like us.

Jesus, our Shepherd, will do everything in his power for us. He even will give his life for us. He will not mislead us. Manipulation is not his game, either. When we find ourselves in trouble, Jesus is only a word away. These are things that make Jesus a Good Shepherd. When we listen and follow Him, our fears, insecurities and troubles disappear. Now that’s Good News.

Jericho Road Ministries Chapel,  2011.

Saturday, October 17, 2015


Luke 2:16-20 The Shepherds hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

            The Bethlehem mystery will ever be a scandal to aspiring disciples who seek a triumphant Savior and a prosperity Gospel. The infant Jesus was born in unimpressive circumstances… His parents were of no social significance whatsoever, and His chosen welcoming committee were all turkeys, losers and dirt-poor shepherds.
            The Shipwrecked at the stable are the poor in spirit who feel lost in the cosmos, adrift on an open sea, clinging with a life-and-death grip to one solitary plank. Finally, they are washed ashore and made their way to the stable, stripped of the old spirit of possessiveness in regard to anything. The Shipwrecked find it not only tacky but utterly absurd to be caught up either in tinsel trees or in religious experiences – “Doesn’t going to church on Christmas make you feel good?” They are not concerned with their own emotional security or any of the trinkets of creation. They have been saved, rescued, delivered from the waters of death, set free for a new shot at life. At the stable in a blinding moment of truth, they make the stunning discovery that Jesus is the plank of salvation they have been clinging to without knowing it…. [they]come to the stable seeking not to possess but to be possessed, wanting not peace or a religious high but Jesus Christ.
            Do you hear what the Shipwrecked are saying? Let go of your paltry desires and expand your expectations. Christmas means that God has given us nothing less than Himself, and His name is Jesus Christ. Be unwilling next Christmas to settle for anything else. Don’t order “just a piece of toast” when eggs Benedict are on the menu. Don’t come with a thimble when God has nothing less to give you than the ocean of Himself. Don’t be contented with a “nice” Christmas when Jesus says, “It has pleased My Father to give you the Kingdom.” Pray, go to work, play Trivial Pursuit, eat banana bread, exchange presents, go caroling, feed the hungry, comfort the lonely and do all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus, By Brennan Manning, pg. 204-209.

Friday, October 16, 2015


Isaiah 53:2-3     He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

            The glory of Jesus’ obedience becomes more wonderful when we realize who he was who perfectly obeyed God. Jesus was none other than the Son of God made man.

He, who was in heaven above all and Lord of all, lived in the world having no earthly glory or reputation, obliged to obey the whole law of God perfectly. He, to whom prayer is made, prayed himself night and day. He, whom all the angels of heaven and all creatures worship, fulfilled all the duties which the worship of God requires. He who is Lord and master of the house became the lowliest servant in the house, performing all menial duties, He that made all men, in whose hand they are all as clay is in the hand of the potter, observed among them the strictest rules of justice, in giving to everyone his due, and out of love giving good things to the undeserving.

This is what makes the obedience of Christ so mysterious and glorious.

The Glory of Christ, By John Owen, pg 59.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


John 15:15   I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

I often hear people say, “I’m spiritual, but not religious”. It is a popular and cloudy expression. Although the meaning is unclear, what is clear is that the speaker has in mind a clear distinction between being “spiritual” and being “religious”. To this person it is good to be spiritual and not so good to be religious. One is to be embraced and the other to be avoided. The distinction is quite prevalent today in our society.

What we do not hear from people are the words, “I’m religious, but not spiritual”. It is possible that a religious person does not see anything wrong with being spiritual. They may even see themselves as spiritual because they are religious.

The word ‘religious’ is from a Latin root word meaning “to bind”. Religious practices are what bind their beliefs to God and to others. The religious unite their spiritual quest with practices that together bind the heart, soul and body to God and others in love. To be “spiritual” without being “religious” does not tie you to anything. It leaves you flapping in the wind like an un-tethered flag on a pole. God intends that we be complete human beings grounded in Christ and sensitive to His work in us through the Holy Spirit. In love we are obedient (religious) and faithful (spiritual).

Jericho Road Ministries Chapel,  2011.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Ecclesiastes 1:16-18      I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.

I was like the Rich Young Ruler who came to Christ carrying all his wealth and proclaiming his own fulfillment of the Law. I did everything the world's view of church required. When our first child was born I began attending church. I listened to the sermons, agreed with the message and walked away each week feeling "good"! The messages seemed to tell me there was more to just agreeing and paying "lip service" to God's teaching through Christ. But I continued struggling with worldly priorities of wealth, status and meaning of life as the world and church were telling me. I was finding it harder to listen to the both voices in my head.

I came to a point where the ways of the world were not satisfying
my inner needs and desires. I turned on a Christian TV station and asked Christ to lead me. I told him I would try his way, but that I needed his help.

Struggles continue in my life as God molds me like clay, brings me into conformity to his Will not my own. It's not easy to relinquish control over your own life; to allow God to rule as Lord and Savior. I always try to hold back something for myself. Gently, God, through the gospel of Christ brings me along in knowledge and truth. Each day is a new beginning, a fresh start daily.

Grace Presbyterian Church,  June 12, 1993

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Isaiah 9:6    And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

ELOHIM:       The Creator – Genesis 1:1
John 1:1       In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

JEHOVAH – ROHI:             The Shepherd – Psalm 23
John 10:11       I am the Good Shepherd; the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

JEHOVAH – M’KADDESH:            The Sanctifier – Exodus 31:13
John 17:17-19       Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth…for them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

JEHOVAH – RAPHA:          The Healer – Exodus 15:26
John 7:23        Jesus said: “If a child can be circumcised on the Sabbath…why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath?”

JEHOVAH – NISSI:                         Our Banner – Exodus 17:13, 15
John 3:15        The Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

EL SHADDAI:           Our Sufficiency – Isaiah 1:11
John 4:14        Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

JEHOVAH – TSIDKENU:    Our Righteousness – Jeremiah 23:6
2 Corinthians 5:21      For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin: that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

JEHOVAH – JEREH:           Our Provider – Exodus 22:13-14

John 1:29       Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the Sin of the world.

Monday, October 12, 2015


John 12:24-26     I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

The “death” we are called to die as the condition of fruitfulness may well be less dramatic than martyrdom. Nevertheless, it is a real death, especially for cross cultural missionaries. It may be for them a death to comfort and ease, and a separation from home and relatives; or a death to personal ambition as they renounce the temptation to climb the professional ladder, being content to remain in a humble servant ministry instead; or a death to cultural imperialism, refusing to exalt their inherited culture (despite it being part of their identity) and identifying instead with the culture of their adoption. In these and other ways we may be called to “die” as the means to a life of fruitfulness.

The Radical Disciple, By John Stott, pg. 123.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Luke 10:36-37            Jesus asked: “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robber?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise”.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan teaches us to give of ourselves and our possessions. The Samaritan places himself in God’s service to another human in need. Service can be in desolate and dangerous locations or it could be in your neighborhood or workplace. The Samaritan responds when others of more worldly or pious beliefs are not willing to respond. He not only gives of himself but also his possessions. He provides for others out of the bounty that God has given him. His spiritual maturity allowed him to stop and address the need of others. His material blessings were sufficient to meet the need of another. Enough was given to the innkeeper to allow the injured man to stay there for two months. At the end of the parable Jesus says to us “go and do likewise.”

The Parable of the Lost Sheep reflects the sacrifice of time given to find the lost. Our availability should not be limited or place. The needs of the lost sheep were great enough for the Shepherd to leave the entire flock to find the lost sheep. By faith he leaves the flock to search, knowing God would oversee the flock’s welfare. The fellowship of others has been set aside to find the one who is lost. It may take much in the way of strength and possessions to find the lost, but it is our duty.

Saturday, October 10, 2015


Romans 10:14-15       How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

“I love to tell the story, Of unseen things above, Of Jesus and His glory, Of Jesus and His love….I love to tell the story, ‘Twill be my theme in glory, To tell the old, old story, Of Jesus and His love.”

            When we think of the millions of people around the world or the thousands in our own communities who have never heard the story of love, an urgent challenge possesses us to take it to the ends of the earth so all might hear. To go to the ends of the earth requires that we first pass through our own neighborhood, city, state or country. This is where we begin to learn and train ourselves to share the story of Jesus and God’s love.

            The preparation has begun by God’s planting the seed of life in us. As it grows we develop a natural hunger and thirst to speak of the story and to hear it repeated by others more mature than us. This old song will someday be made into a new song, but the message will always be to the glory of our Savior who died to give us eternal life. Have you shared with others the old, old story of Jesus and his love?

Friday, October 9, 2015


Isaiah 9:2-3    The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest.
The word radical can mean “of the root” or “going to the foundation, source or basis” of something. It could even refer to an extreme change or commitment.  
When you think of Christmas in this way, it is a truly “Radical” event. The world had fallen into sin and distanced itself from God. Yet He loves his creation so much that he sent his only begotten Son into our fallen world. Now that is radical. The Creator of the universe intervened in a personal and basic way. His Son comes with a mission to draw us back to Himself. The mission could be no more extreme. It is radical.

The Christmas story reflects the radical love of God. Love is his essence, the root of his nature. We, on the other hand, are sinners at our core. It is the root of our every problem in life. Whether we sin against others directly or find ourselves the victim of another’s sin, our daily struggle is against sin. With these realities in place, God so loved that he sent Jesus to be born into the world and to take upon himself the work of bringing fallen man back to God. Radical God helping a radically fallen race.

The story of Christmas continues through us. Having been radically saved, we are sent to continue Christ’s mission. Christmas continues as we seek to find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the cities and nations, to bring peace among brothers and to share the joy of our hearts. Until Christ returns, may we live radically for Him as we work to extend His blessings this Christmas season.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Learning By Doing

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

Remember when the education technique called “sleep-teaching” was popular? The idea was that by listening to records or tapes while you slept, you could learn great amounts of information and your life would be improved. Some people tried listening to records of foreign languages, expecting to speak fluent Spanish in the morning. Other people listened to diet records, expecting to wake up slimmer, or at least with a hatred for all things chocolate.

This technique did not work very well for a number of reasons. One reason it failed was that people did not learn unless they practiced what they heard. Many people like me have listened to baseball games on the radio for years, but still can’t hit the ball past the infield. On Saturdays I watch the fishing shows on TV and still can’t catch a fish larger than my bait!

Some Jews felt tht they were righteous before God because thay had heard the law of God read or discussed. Hearing the Word of God does not make us Holy. Even Satan has heard all of the scriptures and can even quote them to Jesus. He is not justified before God by his hearing of Scripture. The reason is that he refuses to do what the law of God commands.

We are never going to be disciples of Christ just by listening to sermons, reading the Bible or spending time each day in this devotional. We must act on what we hear and read. Our lives must reflect the teachings we have learned and appropriated into our daily activities. We do not become disciples by sitting in church. Disciples take what they receive from reading the Word, listening to sermons and fellowshipping in church and then practicing it in their normal daily lives.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Romans 12:2       Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Our beliefs have physical, emotional and spiritual consequences. When we hold on to these beliefs we find ourselves committed to a life of physical exhaustion, emotional instability and burn-out? Think about it.

I am responsible for the success of my career, marriage or ministry.
I need to earn God’s approval by working hard, giving everything, and expending myself. It’s my job to fix everything and everyone. Every need is a need I must meet. My identity is eclipsed by my marriage or job. Asking for help is a sign of weakness. People will love and accept me if I am perfect in their eyes. My worth is based on how hard I work and the praises I receive. Whatever I do, it won’t be enough. When I am liked or needed, I have value. I can’t trust anyone else to do it right.

It is tiring to just read those words isn’t it? I know firsthand that changing this “stinkin thinkin” can take time, tears and persistence. The Bible teaches us that meaning in life, peace of mind and life fulfillment is available to us. It is not a mirage. It’s not a lie. But you will have to make some changes in your beliefs.

            Start with this. “In the beginning, God….” are the four opening words of Genesis. Everything begins with him. Life begins with God. So remember that your success in life and the transformation of your beliefs comes from Him. That is good news for me, and for you! Do you believe it?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Matthew 13:1-1       Jesus replied… This is why I speak to them in parables: The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’

Every Saturday night, four good friends get together. When Jerry, Mike, and Pat arrived, Karen was sitting in her living room writing some notes. She quickly gathered the cards and stood up to greet her friends at the door. They followed her into the living room but as usual they couldn’t agree on exactly what to play. Jerry eventually took a stand and set things up. Finally, they began to play. Karen’s recorder filled the room with soft and pleasant music. Early in the evening, Mike noticed Pat’s hand and the many diamonds. As the night progressed the tempo of play increased. Finally, a lull in the activities occurred. Taking advantage of this, Jerry pondered the arrangement in front of him. Mike interrupted Jerry’s reverie and said, “Let’s hear the score.” They listened carefully and commented on their performance. When the comments were all heard, exhausted but happy, Karen’s friends went home.

            What are Karen and her friends doing? Can you guess? Do you need more information? Is there more than one activity that comes to mind? If you ask your friends to read this, will they come to the same conclusion as you? Try it.

            When some people read the Bible they have trouble understanding what is being said. Like the story above, people struggle to see the real picture being drawn by the words. People are confused by the story, the parable or the depiction presented. Remember that without a complete understanding of Scripture and the context of the passage many will fail to see or hear the message. In fact, without the Spirit’s work, many will remain un-seeing and un-hearing of the message we know as the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Noah's First Response

Genesis 8:20-21          Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.

What is our first response to disaster? It is to “thank God” and begins to put our life back in order. Yes, we are thankful but we do not go to the “extreme” of stopping everything, run to church and commence a worship service. I suppose that is more than most of us are capable of, besides the deacons and elders would frown on all of us coming to church for worship throughout the week. It just isn’t done that way.

Noah had been put through a lot. God led him to prepare for such a day of disaster that no one had ever seen. He trusted God at his word and made the ark. Then he filled it with family and animals as God directed. Then for one hundred and fifty days they waited, watched and wondered at the immense scope of the flood. Did he sweat a little when the waters lifted the ark off of dry land and into the motion of the searching flood waters? I would, so yes, he probably did. The nights were dark and longer than he normally experienced. But that is the nature of trials and tribulations. They work at you and make a simple hour feel like a week.

Despite the experience, Noah’s first response when the waters subsided and the ark settled onto dry, solid ground was to worship God. Every other need and want was set aside to give worship to his God. What a wonderful example trust in God. That is what true faith exhibits. What a joy it is for God to see us worship him. Not just on Sunday mornings, but every day. Not just when we have overcome a disaster, but every waking hour. If you are not amazed by your relationship to God, you may not worship him as often or as thankfully as someone like Noah.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Be Blind And Toothless

Matthew 5:38-42         But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person.

Punishment and revenge are two different things. Punishment is the penalty or price we pay for having done wrong by breaking a rule. Steal a car, go to prison. Punishment is simple enough to understand as it applies to the ruling authorities around us. Revenge is different. Revenge seeks additional punishment for the wrong-doer. Revenge is handed down not by the courts but by individuals who are not satisfied with the law’s prescribed penalty. They want more punishment.

Pharisees believe punishment extended beyond the courts for deserving wrong-doers. Punishment extended into the realm of personal relationships. We would call this revenge. Jesus did not agree that the court’s punishment was the basis for allowing personal revenge.

Jesus believed that punishment was the basis for justice in the courts. He knew it as the foundation for civil society to exist. Although the courts did have the power to exact punishment for a crime, it also could exact a lesser punishment as it saw fit.  

 Jesus uses four examples to illustrate the extent to which the Christian should go in order not to seek revenge. The Christian when struck should turn the other cheek; when sued, give more than required; when forced one mile, should go a second and when asked, should give freely. We are not to let this be an excuse for others to take advantage of us nor for us not to exercise the reasoning and intellect God has given us when dealing with others. This is not a reason for pacifism or a prohibition against force. If it were it would contradict the very judicial system God has given to us. The state is to punish those that ignore the laws given by God. The punishment is for the ungodly who are not conforming to God's will.

 In our personal lives we are to resist retribution and revenge. For these actions are not ours but are God's as He deems appropriate. We are commanded to return the evil directed toward us with love. Love is to be our response in all circumstances not revenge, hatred or retaliation.

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