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November 2003 Archives

November 2, 2003

It's What We Learn in Between

The neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. Luke 1:65

Oh, there must have been quite a stir!

Over nine months earlier, the priest Zechariah had gone into the temple and come out unable to speak, and his wife, Elizabeth, who had been barren, was blessed with a baby. On the day of his birth, Elizabeth declared her son's name to be John. Those with her complained that she should pick a family name, so they turned to Zechariah for the answer, although he was still unable to speak. Upon writing the words, "His name is John," Zechariah's speech returned. Filled with the Holy Spirit, he prophesied and proclaimed the mighty works of God. Oh, there must have been quite a stir!

But, what happened in between?

During the time of Zechariah's silence, what was going on in his heart and mind? How humbling it must have been - to have seen and heard the angel Gabriel and to have doubted his words. Everything Gabriel told him came to pass.

How humbling it must have been.

Lord, too often I doubt the messages You give me. Like Zechariah, You could probably send an angel from Your throne room, and I would question, "How can I be sure of this?" You long to bless, and I choose to doubt. Forgive me, Father. Make me like Mary, who questioned how the miracle would take place but never doubted it would happen. I waste so much time and energy worrying about whether the blessings will be real that I miss out on the joy of receiving them.

Make me humble like Zechariah. It is no small thing to raise the man who would one day be called the greatest prophet ever to walk the face of the earth. Zechariah must have been special; God chose him for a reason. I want to be like him. He probably learned a great deal in those months of silence. Teach me to be humble and to believe - with my whole heart - that Your promises are true.

Mighty are You, O great and merciful God! You are worthy of all praise!

November 3, 2003

How can I forget?

But they did not understand what he was saying to them. Luke 2:50

At the age of twelve, Jesus stayed in Jerusalem as his parents traveled home after Passover. Oh, the panic Mary and Joseph must have felt! Every parent panics when a child is lost. When they found him, He very plainly told them that it was necessary to be in His Father's house, but they didn't understand.

How could they not?

Since before He was born, they had been told who He was. Jesus was the Christ. The shepherds knew it on the day of His birth. Simeon and Anna knew it at the temple when He was eight days old. There was such a buzz around Jesus. How could they forget that He was the Son of God?

Lord, how do I so easily forget as well?

I know that Jesus is the Christ, for Your Spirit has confirmed it within my heart. Yet I often choose to follow the world rather than the One sent to save it. Forgive me for not depending on You every moment of the day. Help me to understand Your words. Help me to walk with You today.

November 4, 2003

What defines you?

But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of Herodias, his brother's wife, and all the other evil things he had done, Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison. Luke 3:19-20

What extra sin will we commit that defines our entire life?

For Herod, it was locking John the Baptist in prison. For Judas Iscariot, it was betraying Jesus. For many in our day, it is some indiscretion that landed on the front page of the local newspaper. Why is it that we continually push the limits? When will we listen and understand? Sin leads to death - the death of a dream - the death of a ministry - the death of a soul without Christ.

So why are we as Christians still intrigued by sin's wiles and ways - knowing what we do?

Lord, today I acknowledge my unworthiness. Without the cross of Christ, we are destined to eternal separation and death. With the cross, we live eternally in Your presence. Help me to remember that my eternal life began the moment I accepted the gift of Your Son. Death is not a foregone conclusion; it isn't even an option.

Wash me in Your grace, Lord, so I am defined by You and Your unfailing mercy.

November 5, 2003

It isn't WHAT - It's WHOM

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. Luke 4:1-2a

How can anyone withstand forty days of temptation? I struggle with one!

Jesus spent forty days in the desert, where he was tempted by the devil. Sometimes, I get the impression that Jesus was only tempted three times because there are only three specific incidents mentioned in this passage of Scripture. The writer of Hebrews states that He was tempted in every way, yet was without sin. He faced the same struggles we do. Greed, pride - even sex. Jesus was a man in every sense.

So how did He do it? How did He resist the enemy? Many point to His use of Scripture, which is a vital weapon in the battle. But the key is not "what" He had in His arsenal, but "Whom." The Apostle John said it, "Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit..." The Spirit was His only means of overcoming; He is our only means as well.

Lord, help me to truly lean on Your Spirit. Without Him, I would fall at every opportunity. Spirit, fill me today!

November 6, 2003

Forgiveness Should Be Enough

When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven." Luke 5:20

If you grew up going to Sunday School, you will remember the story. The paralyzed man is lowered through the roof in hopes that Jesus would heal him. (I can just picture the flannel graph figures in my mind.) Jesus honored the faith of the man's friends, and He said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven." He didn't heal the man - He forgave him. Eventually, He healed the man in order to prove his authority over sin, but I wonder... the forgiveness should have been enough.

Jesus, so often I come to You for healing. My heart cries out, "Won't You just fix this broken part of me?!" But Your words are normally the same, "Friend, your sins are forgiven."

What did the paralytic think when You forgave him rather than healing him? What did his friends think? Were they disappointed?

How foolish we are! Forgiveness gives us life eternal. Healing merely makes us more comfortable.

Father, help me to be content when healing doesn't seem to come. Help me choose to rejoice in Your redemption. Forgive my ingratitude for the most important gift of all - Your only Son.

November 8, 2003

Where do you draw the line?

Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:35b-36

Where do you draw the line between enabling poor behavior and showing mercy? Jesus gave a long list of merciful things to the people: Do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you; pray for those who mistreat you. My human eyes look at His list, and in my mind I hear, “Allow yourself to be swindled – to be trampled – to literally be destroyed.” Is that what He meant? Is that what being a Christian is about?

Well… yes. The Christian life is about giving more than you get. Jesus modeled it on the cross. He gave Himself, so we might receive redemption. The Father only asks for ten percent, and we cheat Him while asking for more. His response is to bless us beyond our just deserve.

Lord, I really struggle with this. There are times I feel so cheated and underpaid for all my efforts. Teach me to show mercy and to trust Your provision. Make me a man of mercy. Make me more like You.

November 9, 2003

Loving Little

"Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven - for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." Luke 7:47

Do any of us have the right to "love little"? Jesus told Simon the Pharisee that the woman who washed His feet with her tears loved much for she had been forgiven much. Simon, on the other hand, believed himself to be righteous. The invitation to dinner was the extent of Simon's hospitality.

Lord, what do my actions reflect? Am I seen as compassionate and loving? Or do others believe me to be self-righteous? You and I know the full extent of the forgiveness I have received. In actuality, there is no one who walks the earth who has the right to "love little." We have all been forgiven much.

So why are there some in the church who are like Simon? How much compassion do we show for those who are lost? The prostitute living on the streets, the gay man searching for love from any who will notice him, the drug addict who feels he may die without another fix - how do we treat them? With contempt? With compassion?

Spirit, help me to love much for I have been forgiven much. Shine in my life, today and everyday!

November 10, 2003

The Thread in the Fabric of Life

The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasure, and they do not mature. Luke 8:14

When life presses in, how do you respond? Are you overwhelmed with worry? Do you cry out in fear because the ship may sink? Do you push away God's blessing because it frightens you? Or do you push through the crowd to seek healing? Do you listen to the Truth when the world laughs at your faith?

Lord, my mind is overwhelmed and my heart seems to be sinking. Sleep eludes me, so here I sit - waiting for Your Word to come to life. But the worries crowd in - I am distracted. What is it that You want me to see?

A name, Susanna, has caught my eye - an obscure name with no explanation other than being a follower of Jesus, who supported Him with her own means. A storm that was calmed - a demon-possessed man who was set free - a crushing crowd that couldn't stop a woman from seeking healing - a synagogue ruler whose twelve-year old daughter was brought back to life. What thread is woven through the fabric of each story?

Jesus.

He is the Thread. He is the One who brings peace, freedom, healing, and life. He is the One who calls us out of obscurity into His service.

Father, I long to be mature - to be able to face the worries, riches, and pleasures of life and not be choked by them. Be the Thread in the fabric of my life. You are my only hope. You are all I need. Bring peace to my heart and mind today.

November 11, 2003

On Whose Terms?

But Herod said, "I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?" And he tried to see him. Luke 9:9

Herod the tetrarch was a powerful man. It was at his command that John the Baptist was thrown into prison. It was again his words that sentenced John to death. When Herod heard about Jesus, he was intrigued. Luke writes that Herod tried to see Jesus, but I have a question: If Herod was so powerful, why do we not read stories about Herod arranging a meeting with Jesus? If he really wanted to see Him, wouldn't it have happened? (Luke later writes of their meeting on the day of Jesus' death, and we see Herod's motive. He had hoped to see a miracle performed. Interestingly, the greatest miracle of all time was performed that day: the redemption for all mankind. And Herod missed it.)

My guess is that Herod wanted to see Jesus - but on his own terms. He probably tried to have Jesus brought to him rather than going to where He was. Everywhere Jesus went, there were crowds. He was, and still is, a very public figure. But to see Him - to spend time with Him - requires us to go on His terms - to set aside our pride - to place ourselves under His authority. Herod wouldn't do that. He wouldn't let go of his pride to have an audience with the Son of God.

Lord, my pride gets in the way sometimes. Just as I'm sure Herod did, I demand to see You on my own terms. But You won't be manipulated. To see You requires humility. It requires that I set aside my agenda to follow Yours.

Help me, Jesus, to pick up my cross today and to follow You. I long to see You, but more than that, I long for others to see You in me.

November 12, 2003

Living with Tomorrow in Mind

"However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." Luke 10:20

Sometimes the successes of today seem like they are enough, but we must remember: our future in heaven will be greater than we ever dreamed on this earth. No matter how satisfied we are with this life, nothing can compare to an eternity in God's presence.

So why do I get so caught up in temporary things?

To seek success and happiness in godly ways is not a bad thing; God wants us to experience joy. But am I living today with tomorrow in mind? Am I concerned more about the number of friends I have in my address book, or do I consider the number of them who will be worshiping with me in heaven? Do I do enough to share Christ - not so the world will be blessed, but so heaven will be blessed instead? We can never bring too many lost souls to Christ!

Lord, help me to live my life in such a way that success will be determined by the number who follow You for eternity, and not the number who follow me for today. Help me lead as You call, but help me to bring glory to Your name by leading them to You.

Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!

November 13, 2003

A Kingdom Divided

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: "Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall." Luke 11:17

Thoughts of a divided kingdom... Is that what is keeping me awake? Jesus spoke the truth: "Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall." We cannot expect to see great things in life - in marriage - in ministry - if there is disunity.

I was asked an interesting question yesterday about a music ministry in which I am currently involved. A newspaper columnist asked, "Where do you see all this going?" How could I answer? Could I be honest? There isn't really disunity... okay, there is. We don't see eye to eye on where all this is headed. My partner says it's about "ministry," but all indications are that it's about chasing dreams. There is no real direction. It has all been about grabbing whatever comes our way. In addition, it has been about putting all the proceeds of CD sales into funding the "ministry" without expecting the Body of Christ to share in the expenses. Just because it is ministry doesn't mean it is supposed to be given away completely. My time is worth something. My talent is worth something. Why is my portion being used to fund their "ministry"? What about my own?

So, how did I answer? My partner didn't know exactly what to say. "Well... we (she and her husband) are working towards full-time ministry." I'm not really in their equation. They are going to chase the dream - using my portion of the dime, I might add. I took control of the conversation for a moment and said, "We are trying to seek what the Lord wants a step at a time. We are both working towards full-time ministry, but we realize that God may have called us together for a season. Eventually, we may be in separate ministries. The key is seeking the Lord's will with every new opportunity."

Was I wrong? The world doesn't look kindly at businesses that say, "Oh, eventually we are going to split up." But how could we say anything else?

Lord, I am really in turmoil over this. The opportunities that are before us are immense! But will the expectation be to do more and more without compensation? Maybe I wouldn't mind if it were more about saving souls and touching lives than it is about being noticed. The ministry side of all this has been exhilarating. The business side of this has been miserable.

I want to be used by You, Lord - not by someone else. How do I change things? How do I stop the train? Eventually, my music partner's kingdom will be ruined because there is no real unity - no common purpose that includes me. In the mean time, help me to be used to touch the Body of Christ - to draw others closer to You. Help me to fight the bitterness that could destroy me. Shape me in Your image.

Come, Lord Jesus!

November 14, 2003

Worth More than Sparrows

"Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Luke 12:7

God is watching us. He knows everything there is to be known. When something goes awry, and a father has a heart attack - then surgery, God knows. When a mother is killed tragically when her fifteen year old son who is learning to drive is at the wheel of the car, God knows. We are worth more than many sparrows!

How can we see nature in all its splendor? How can we marvel at the birds and see how God cares for them? And feel that He has forgotten us?

Lord, forgive my indignation. You are here every moment, and You know every thought, every fear, every worry... Help me to trust You. Give me great faith to see the work of Your hand in the smallest of things.

I am worth more than sparrows. His eye is on the sparrow; I know He watches me!

November 15, 2003

The Danger of Bearing Fruit

"'Sir, ' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.'" Luke 13:8-9

Bearing fruit is a dangerous venture. It requires great effort. However, with the appropriate pruning and care, fruit may come in abundance.

But what if the fruit never comes?

We risk being cut down! That is why bearing fruit is a dangerous venture, for failing to produce may result in the loss of everything we have.

Lord, am I bearing fruit for You to enjoy? Or am I facing destruction for holding back - for not doing what it takes? You are the God of second chances. You send others into our lives to fertilize and care for us. Bearing fruit isn't really an option. It is what You expect of us.

Father, forgive me for the many ways I disappoint You. There could be fruit on every branch, yet I am still too weak. Help me to bear fruit that blesses the Body of Christ this day and everyday!

November 16, 2003

Is it enough?

"But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." Luke 14:13-14

This morning I met a man. His story may have been true. He carried a police report as proof that he had been in an accident. Now, he was forced to beg for bus money so he and his wife could make the three-hour trip home. The social worker in me immediately bubbled out, and I recommended he try to locate the local Traveler's Aid Society. But still, I gave him a ten dollar bill and told him I expected him to use it for its intended purpose. He thanked me and asked God's blessing over me. Then he did something that in hindsight makes me feel like I didn't do enough.

He asked my name.

Why didn't I ask him the same when he first approached me? Why didn't I stop on the spot and pray with him that the Lord would provide the rest of what he needed? Oh, I don't think I've stopped praying for him since we parted. But why couldn't I boldly share the love of Christ with my heart rather than my wallet? Was I paying him to simply go away? Or was I truly seeking to serve him as Jesus would?

Lord, You challenge us to serve those who cannot serve us in return - to give to those who could never pay us back. But is that enough? If I haven't shared the Truth, have I done any good?

Father, place Your hand on this nameless stranger and his wife. Send someone along who is more generous than I. Help them to know You because someone was bold enough to proclaim You. Forgive my insecurity. Make me a generous servant who is unafraid to give what really matters.

November 17, 2003

Without a Second Thought

"He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything." Luke 15:16

There's a part of the Prodigal Son story that I have never understood. The lost son squandered all he had, there was a famine in the land, and he hired himself out in order to survive. He longed to eat what the pigs were eating - but... Wasn't he getting paid?

The story says, "no one gave him anything."

Isn't that the way of the world? "Go ahead. You can work for me." We expect that we can survive on our own - away from God - because we have been told we will be paid. In reality, the way of the world will use us up without a second thought.

Lord, why do I so often chase those who would use me up? Why do I think I can survive without You? I know that feasts await me in the comfort of Your arms. Help me to flee the distant lands. Help me to come home.

November 18, 2003

Modern Inventions

"It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law." Luke 16:17

Manipulating the Word of God for our own purposes is not a modern invention. So many in our day have attempted to replace the requirements of the Law with the gift of grace. Yet grace doesn't release us from the pursuit of righteousness. In fact, it requires more of us.

Now... we know better.

Jesus faced the issues of the people picking and choosing which laws to follow as He dealt with the Pharisees. Although they were strict in their tithing, they loved money - just as we do. Like today, divorce had apparently become commonplace; otherwise, Jesus may not have stated that a man who divorces and remarries commits adultery. Materialism and selfish greed left no room for generosity. He walked among a people who were corrupt - despite all appearances of propriety. They didn't learn the truth from Him - even after seeing Him rise from the dead.

When will we?

Lord, we live in a country that continues its shrewd distortion of the truth for personal gain. What You have always said to be wrong is being made right in the eyes of the people. Protect me - protect my family from the distortions of the enemy.

Give me compassion for the lost.

November 19, 2003

Simple Physics

"If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him." Luke 17:3b-4

Sin is not an easy topic. We all sin. We all cause another to sin at times. Others cause us to sin at times. It's the nature of relationships. There will be times that we miss the mark - times that we choose wrongly - times that we fail. But it doesn't have to end there. Sin doesn't have to be the end of a relationship. If every relationship was ended because sin entered the picture, we would be very lonely indeed. So, what are we to do? If we are sinned against? Or if we have caused it?

It's simple physics. To every action there is a reaction.

The response to sin is rebuke. If we do not rebuke a sinner, have we not determined the sin to be acceptable? With rebuke should come repentance. Only a fool receives rebuke and doesn't change his way. Sin leads to death. Praise God, we have friends who are willing to rebuke us! Without them, death is certain. The response to repentance is forgiveness. If we withhold forgiveness from a repentant brother, are we not sinning in return? Forgiveness is not only given for the sake of the one who committed the wrong, but for the one who was wronged.

Sin, rebuke, repentance, and forgiveness - following this process can save a relationship. Following this process can save us.

Lord, there are times in life that I must rebuke - there are times in life that I must repent - there are times in life that I must forgive. Help me to be a builder of relationships. Give me the courage to rebuke sin, the determination to repent of it, and the compassion to forgive. Make me more like You!

November 20, 2003

SHOUT All the More!

Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Luke 18:39

What do you do when the whole world seems to hold you back? In truth, the world system is unjust. The law doesn't always seem to protect the innocent. The rich always seem to get richer. The poor always seem to feel helpless. Those who govern seem to lose sight of more than a few special interests.

What is a man to do?

A little persistence goes a long way, so SHOUT all the more!

The blind man on the road to Jericho was pushed aside. Those who led the way tried to stop him from bothering Jesus, but he wanted to see more than anything. So - he shouted all the more, and it paid off! Like the persistent widow who received justice from an unjust judge - like the tax collector who received mercy for his humility - like the children whose parents brought them to Jesus against the wishes of the disciples - the blind man received that for which he longed. He received his sight. Nothing held him back. What did he have to lose?

Father, my entire life has seemed like a battle to overcome the world. I know I am not alone in this conflict, but why do I so often feel pushed aside, pressed down, and quieted by others - by my own heart? As a child, I felt lost in the crowd. As an adult, I feel trapped by the expectations of others and the shortcomings of my flesh. Will I ever get there? Will I ever get to that place of confidence where I don't care what others think? To that place of self-control where I don't fear toppling off the pedestals I build? In reality, what do I have to lose?

Help me, Lord, to never give up. Help me to be persistent. Help me to shout all the more, so I might see Your purpose fulfilled through me!

November 21, 2003

Hanging on His Words

Everyday he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. Yet they couldn't find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words. Luke 19:47-48

The people couldn't get enough of Jesus. They hung on his words.

Have you ever done that? Have you heard someone speak, and you didn't want him to stop? Time begins to drag on, but it is of no concern. You simply want to hear more. I have a friend who recently heard former president George H.W. Bush speak at a luncheon, and that was how he described it; he could have listened for hours.

Lord, I want to hang on Your words, but sometimes they wear me out. Did Your disciples grow weary from trying to understand? Every parable has a deeper meaning; every word is life-changing. But sometimes it seems to be more than I can handle.

We expect Your kingdom to appear at once, and You tell us to wait. You call us to give more than we receive, and we will be rewarded in heaven.

I just want Your Word. Pour it into me today.

November 22, 2003

The Gift of Brokenness

"Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed." Luke 20:18

I read an article yesterday that spoke of a statue that was recently repaired in a local cemetery. It is a statue of Jesus standing with open arms. His hands had been broken off, and the face had been severely vandalized. Amazingly, a sculptor had rebuilt the hands and face using identical materials, and he bolted them in place, bringing the statue back to life. Rather than crushing the statue completely and creating a new one, the sculptor was able to repair it. Now, generations can be inspired by the work of not only one artist, but two. Can brokenness be a gift? In the case of this statue, it was. Repair was still possible. Brokenness was not the end.

For most of my adult life, I have been broken. Somewhere along the way the statue was smashed, and I have spent the better part of ten years trying to put the pieces back together again. Sometimes I have used the proper materials. Sometimes I have grabbed what I thought would help, but it only caused me more pain.

Amazingly, the Sculptor hasn't quit on me. Rather than crushing me completely for my failures, He has carefully rebuilt the broken parts and continues to bring me back to life.

Jesus, thank You for standing with opens arms to receive me. Thank You for rebuilding that which I thought would be destroyed forever. Forgive me for opening my heart to the ways of the world. Worldly solutions can never repair what is broken. Ultimately, they only cause more damage.

Refrain from falling upon me, Lord. Forgive my sin, and make me whole again.

November 24, 2003

Decide Ahead of Time

But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. Luke 21:14

How much time do we waste worrying about how can defend our faith? I hear it all the time: "I'm so afraid I won't know what to say!" In our anxiety, opportunities are missed to share the truth of Jesus with those around us. We shut down any chance of being a witness by avoiding those situations that may require us to testify.

So what can I do? How can I overcome fear and anxiety to become salt and light to the world?

Jesus said to decide ahead of time not to worry. He didn't say to decide how we might avoid awkward situations; He expects us to face them.

Lord, help me to set my heart on You and not on the worries of this world. I may not know what to say if I am challenged, but You do. You promise that You will give me the words I need.

Be glorified in all I say and do!

November 25, 2003

Sifting

"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." Luke 22:31-32

What a frightening thought. Satan asked to sift Peter as wheat. I wonder how many times Satan has stood before God and inquired about me? And I wonder how many times Jesus has prayed on my behalf.

The interesting thing is: Jesus didn't pray against the sifting. He prayed that Simon's faith would withstand the test. My guess is that Jesus has often prayed the same for me. Sifting has a purpose. It separates the coarse from the fine. Ultimately, it purifies, but the process of refinement can be a painful one.

Lord, do I have what it takes to strengthen my brothers after the sifting? Or will I be ashamed by my lack of faith? You know the many times I have been sifted. You know the lessons I have learned through failure, then those I learned through turning back to You. But I am afraid. I fear rejection. I fear the sieve awaits me again.

Purify my heart, so I may follow You. Purify my heart, so You may be glorified!

November 26, 2003

Remember Me

Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Luke 23:42

Have you ever considered the immensity of the criminal's request of Jesus on the cross? "Remember me when you come into your kingdom."

This condemned man showed greater understanding and faith as he hung dying on a cross than even Jesus' closest disciples. The very night before, an argument broke out over who would be greatest in the coming kingdom. They still believed Jesus would establish an earthly kingdom, and they wanted to vie for a place beside the king.

Yet, this man was given a place beside the King, and he seemed to recognize that the kingdom of God was not of this world. He knew that despite His impending death, Jesus would still reign.

Lord, how can we still miss the truth about Jesus? We see Him as so much less than He is. Like Herod, we want Him to perform miracles for us. Like the disciples, we want Him to give us a place of high position. Like the Pharisees and teachers of the Law, we want Him to prove His authority over us. We seem to live our lives as if we are in control of our own destinies.

Jesus, forgive my short-sighted view. Help me to see that You reign over every aspect of my life. You will reign forever!

Remember me in Your kingdom.

November 29, 2003

An Open Mind

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. Luke 24:45

Why is it that some days reading the Bible is like trying to read a German newspaper? I might be able to sound out the words, but I gain very little from it. In order to understand the true meaning of the words for either a foreign newspaper or the Bible often requires the same thing: someone to explain it to me.

That's where the Holy Spirit comes in. Without Him opening my mind to the Scriptures, the meaning always eludes me.

Lord, there are so many days that I open Your Word, and I am like a child attempting to read an encyclopedia. I forget to invite Your Spirit to open my mind, so the concepts, the insights, and the deepest understandings never seem to come. I am lost without You.

Fill my heart today. Open my mind to the Truth, so I might share it for Your glory!

God's Kind

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

God created every living plant, every creature in the ocean, on the ground, and in the air according to its kind – until He created man. Nowhere in Scripture does it say man was created according to his own kind. For we are not of this world. From our very beginning, we are of God’s kind.

Interesting… The noun spelled k-i-n-d in the English language refers to a group that is unified by common traits; God created each creature according to its own kind. But the German word k-i-n-d seems to make more sense when considering the creation of man. Kind (kēnd) is translated “child.” Adam was God’s kind (kīnd) and God’s kind (kēnd), as am I.

Lord, help me to remember that I am created in the image of the Triune Almighty God. The world attempts to tear me down, and I too often believe the lie. I am Your kind. I am Your child.

Save me from myself.

November 30, 2003

The Authority to Name

Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. Genesis 2:19

The authority to name... Who has it? Parents name their children. An inventor names his inventions. A songwriter names his songs.

Just think about it - God gave man the power to name all of creation. With this authority and power comes great responsibility. Do we take this power seriously? With a name or a word, we can curse or we can bless - because God has given us the power to do so.

Lord, help me to grasp the awesome responsibility of calling others out - of naming them - of blessing them. My children gain their identity from what I call them. My wife is either built up or torn down by the power of my words. Let others hear Your voice when I am speaking; let them see Your hands when I serve.

Name me what You choose, Father. I am Yours.

About November 2003

This page contains all entries posted to The Potter's Hand in November 2003. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 2003 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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