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February 2005 Archives

February 1, 2005

I Don't Get It!

My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure. Psalm 71:15

Though I know not its measure...

Even the psalmist couldn't comprehend the full nature of God. How is it that He loves His children as He does? How is it that He love me? I am so unworthy. I used to think the cartoon character Charlie Brown was modeled after me - wishy-washy - indecisive. Most of my life I've been on that proverbial fence - too afraid to jump fully into God's arms. I've spent so much time in the middle of the road, it's a wonder I am not road kill by now.

Yet He loves me still.

Nothing I have done wrong has made Him love me any less. Nothing I have done right has made Him love me any more. His love is so great that none could be added to it - none could be taken away from it.

Lord, I say it with my mouth and I think it with my brain, but I simply don't get it. Unconditional love is such a foreign concept to me. Oh, I can feel it for my children - they are a part of me, but to receive it... Why is it so difficult for me?

All You have ever done is love me. Even in the midst of trouble when I might have blamed You the most, Your loving hand held me. The times that I have been proud of my accomplishments, You have stood beside me - beaming like a loving parent over his child.

Thank You for your incomprehensible - Your inconceivable love. Help me to understand it more and more each day. Give me the courage to proclaim it to those around me.

I don't get it, but I sure know it's real.

February 2, 2005

Precious?

He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight. Psalm 72:14

It's a bit tough to imagine someone thinking my blood is precious. A gem is precious. Gold is precious. A small child is precious. But me, a sinner who lives with regret over so many wrong choices - how could anyone consider me to be precious?

Jesus does.

And that is enough. He paid the price for my blood with His own.

Lord, help me to see what You see. No man is perfect, but every man is loved beyond measure. You considered my blood as more precious than the blood of Your Son. How can I think any less? Jesus, pour Your cleansing water of forgiveness over me. Wash me. Help me to know - without any doubt - that I am clean. Help me to never wonder again about how precious I really am to You.

February 5, 2005

A Lost Foothold

Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. Psalm 73:1-3

Worldly prosperity can be so deceiving. The promises it makes of freedom - of joy - of acceptance are nothing more than shadows. Eventually, we will feel trapped, depressed, and rejected, for everything the world offers will fade. Only the glory of the Lord will remain.

So why do I envy those who seem to be enjoying all the world offers them?

Too many times, I covet the lives of the wicked. They seem to have it all. Anything they want, they take. Their wildest desires, they fulfill. Nothing is off-limits. Here I am, denying myself for the sake of righteousness, and those of this world seem to be so happy. But their happiness is an illusion. The image that is seen from the outside cannot reveal the truth.

Would I envy their loneliness on sleepless nights, their agony on the morning after, or their anxiety from waiting for some test result that could reveal an uncertain fate? The ways of the righteous bring true freedom, joy, and acceptance.

But as for me, there are times I have slipped; there are times I have lost my foothold.

Lord, help me to stand in firm places. Too often I have turned my eyes from Your salvation to gaze at the world. Nothing it offers can compare to You, but envy is my constant companion. Help me to remember - the wicked will perish. Today's illusion will be tomorrow's terror. Save the lost, Father.

Oh, how the world needs You.

February 6, 2005

Defiling His Dwelling Place

They burned your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your Name. Psalm 74:4

Defiling the dwelling place of God is no small crime. God doesn't take lightly those who disregard His house. Although He allowed the destruction of the temple, the attackers probably faced His terrifying wrath. If He took the life of a priest whose heart was impure, what fate would these men have?

Lord, if it were not for Your amazing grace, there would be no hope. Every man who has received Your Spirit has, at one time or another, defiled Your dwelling place. The sin in our lives is like a wielded axe - smashing the beauty of Your temple; it is like burning tar splashed on the walls of the heart.

Remember Your everlasting covenant. Rebuild what the enemy has destroyed. Make my heart Your dwelling place again.

February 7, 2005

What does He think?

No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man. But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another. Psalm 75:6

Ever since I was in high school, my wife (who was my girlfriend at the time) has been telling me I worry too much about what others think of me.

Oh, there is a healthy level of concern we should have about our reputations. I believe as Christians we should be mindful of how God is represented. How many times have you seen an Ichthus on the back of the vehicle that cut you off on the freeway? Don't you just want to pull over and jerk that thing right off their car? But that wouldn't be a very Christian thing to do, would it? I guess my mother was right: two wrongs don't make a right.

The truth is - the only opinion that truly matters is God's. He is the only One worthy of judging a man or exalting him. Our concern should be about what He thinks in all we say and do.

Even though I know this, for most of my life I have been seeking the praise of other men. As an adult, people are always telling me how wonderful I am. But as a child - like most children I guess - life was full of ridicule. Unfortunately, I didn't have an environment at home that countered what the world said to me. Before long, I believed their words. Now, as a man, I am still confused about who I really am sometimes.

But God knows. And He likes me just the way I am. He wouldn't change a thing - despite what others might think. He is the only One who knows it all, and He still loves me. He doesn't accept my sin, but He always accepts me - no matter what.

Wow! How cool is that? The God of the universe thinks I'm special! I'll bet He thinks the same of you.

Thanks, Lord, for loving me - just as I am.

February 10, 2005

The Sound of His Voice

At your rebuke, O God of Jacob, both horse and chariot lie still. Psalm 76:6

At the sound of God's voice, every war - every source of turmoil - every cause of fear or despair is silenced. Nothing can stand against Him.

Lord, this has been a tumultuous week. It has been good, for I have felt Your Spirit, but so many things have been turned upside-down. The roller coaster ride is getting a little rough, and I'm afraid to ask what else could happen!

Will you speak the words that can quiet the storms around me? Or will You quiet my heart, so I might find rest? Bring peace where the enemy seems to be attacking. Show Yourself, Spirit. Continue to hold me in Your loving arms.

February 11, 2005

Every Step

Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. Psalm 77:19

I just love footprints.

Every time I come across tracks in the snow or the sand, I find myself acting like a little kid - tracing them exactly. It is so much fun to walk in someone else's footsteps or try tracing my own.

Footprints are especially handy if you've ever been lost. There is nothing more frightening than realizing you've gone too far off a mountain path. All the trees start to look alike, then irrational thoughts of rescuers finding you deep in the woods days later start running through your mind. Discovering footprints that lead back to the trail is quite a relief. Footprints simply make life easier sometimes.

If only I could learn to closely follow Jesus' steps. I would never be lost again.

But what about the times I can't find His footprints? How often have I heard someone ask - heard myself ask - "Where was God when that happened?" Like the Footprints story, I sometimes wonder where God was. Was He really carrying me? Or are the footprints in the sand really mine?

Lord, I'm tired of getting lost along the path of Your will. Too many times I have strayed only to fall into dark and lonely places. Give me eyes to see Your footprints when others cannot see them. Help me to follow them. When others look at my life, let them only see the path You made for me. Like a child hopping from one to another, I want my tracks to disappear.

May every step I take be Yours.

February 12, 2005

Actions Speak Louder than Words

Yet he was merciful; he forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them. Time after time he restrained his anger and did not stir up his full wrath. He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return. Psalm 78:38-39

If we only knew the number of times God restrains His anger! It frightens me to think of the wrath I have deserved in my life. Like the Israelites, I have tried to flatter the Lord with words of repentance, while my actions of rebellion are speaking louder than my words. He has every right to slay me.

But His mercy is great.

God knows the weakness of man. There is nothing He hasn't seen. Think about it... How many times in our guilt do we seem to feel that no other man in history has sinned in this way? There may be a few who seem to have cornered the market; not many can compare to the likes of Hitler, of King Herod, of Judas Iscariot. But even they are not alone.

All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.

Lord, the enemy is crafty. He understands the power of isolation. If a man can be isolated in his sin, oftentimes he will stay there. There are so many who share his guilt - so many who live in slavery to sin.

Forgive me, Father, for the times I have hidden in shame. I am like every other man; I am flesh - a passing breeze - in need of Your mercy. Praise Your Name, You are quick to give mercy! Come, Lord Jesus. I long to be in Your presence.

February 13, 2005

The Fourth Generation

Do not hold against us the sins of the fathers; may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need. Psalm 79:8

There are many sins committed by fathers that affect their children. But the sin that brings a curse on the third and fourth generation is the sin of idol worship. Israel learned this lesson. They had become a nation of idols. Eventually, the land was overrun, and the people were taken into captivity. The idols they worshipped at their high places weren't worth the pain they suffered.

Unfortunately, we live in a country that hasn't yet learned the lesson. Everywhere you turn there are signs of idol worship. Tabloids display the faces of the worshipped ones. In public, the magazines taut to know the "sexiest man alive." In private, the magazines - and now most home computers - show idols of any kind. Unimaginable acts can now be watched through the turn of a page - the click of a button.

What are we doing to our children?

Lord, I want to be the fourth generation, and I want my children to be the first of a thousand. The sins of my father, my grandfather, and I expect my great-grandfather have plagued me for too long. Have mercy on me. Help me to turn from the idol worship of this age. I know that forgiven sin is forgotten sin, so help me to forget the sins of my fathers. Help me to seek You - to worship You alone.

Come quickly to meet me, for I am in desperate need of You.

February 14, 2005

A Place of Honor

Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand, the son of man you have raised up for yourself. Psalm 80:17

To be at God's right hand... What a place of honor. What a greater honor to have Him rest His hand upon you. What more could anyone ask?

Lord, rest your hand upon me. I long to feel the warmth of Your embrace, to feel the strength of Your grip. Hold me close, so I may know Your love today.

February 15, 2005

I'll follow You anywhere!

If my people would but listen to me, if Israel would follow my ways, how quickly would I subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes! Psalm 81:13-14

I've heard people sometimes speak about the Old Testament as if it has nothing to do with our world today. They seem to be saying, "That is the way God was." Their only focus is on the New Testament.

What a foolish thing to believe! If I know anything for sure, it is the fact that the word "was" can never be used to describe God.

He always "IS."

There is so much to be learned from the lives of the patriarch. The Israelite journey to the promised land, their loss of it, and their eventual restoration bring hope to me. Christians are not immune to sin anymore than the Israelites were. Falling down is in our nature; we live in a fallen world. I have learned this lesson all too well. Another lesson that amazes me is how quickly God responds when we listen to Him - when we follow His ways.

Years ago, He told me that if I would follow Him, He could use me more in ten years than in a lifetime of trying to do it by myself. I listened for awhile, then I grew impatient. Taking back my destiny, I discovered that the enemy is ready to snatch us away. Here I sit, a decade later, wondering how I did it. How did I so easily turn back to the ways of the world?

Lord, come quickly to rescue me from the enemy. Restore what has been destroyed. Return what I have given away. Bring me to a new place of understanding that can bring greater glory to You that I could have imagined at the start of this journey.

I'll follow You anywhere!

February 22, 2005

I know nothing!

"They know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken." Psalm 82:5

No matter how much we might think of ourselves, the truth is: we really don't know anything.

Is God real?

Can we ever prove He exists?

Where is the missing link that God's followers can show to the lost to convince them that God is the Creator of it all? I can believe in Him. I can know beyond all doubt in my heart that He is in control, but do I understand enough to share the right words - the right facts - that can change the heart of a man?

No man can ever save the soul of another! Only God can reveal Himself. We are mere men.

Lord, I feel as if I have forgotten everything I have ever learned. If someone were to ask me to explain my faith in You, I fear my response would be a blank stare. The world has certainly run me over this past week. I know that You are my refuge, but I seem to have forgotten the path to Your door. The darkness has been calling me, and I fear I will answer. I feel like I have amnesia; I have forgotten who I am.

Reveal Yourself to me, Lord. The problems of this world will pass away, and You will remain. Lift me up above the crashing waves. I think I'm drowning.

February 27, 2005

I am so ashamed...

Cover their faces with shame so that men will seek your name, O Lord. Psalm 83:16

I have always believed my shame is an enemy. It longs to see me hide from the world. Under the cover of darkness, others cannot see what I am really doing - what I am really thinking. Shame keeps telling me, "If they really knew you, there are none who wouldn't reject you!"

Isn't it interesting, though, how one man's shame - the very thing that keeps him hidden in darkness - shines light for other men to follow? There are so many lessons that are learned that can bring hope and life to others - if only a man is willing to share them. The hope that one finds in the shame of another can be a path to righteousness, for knowing the pitfalls can often keep us from falling.

The challenge is: how many men trapped in shame are willing to share? The very nature of shame is to hide the truth. Sharing anything is contrary to what a man would choose. How can one who is lost in the darkness find the courage - how can he find the hope for his own freedom?

Truth can set any man free!

The blood of Jesus Christ was shed for the sins of every man. He bore our shame, so we can life. This is truth!

Father, help me to set aside my shame. Help me to see the light others are shining. Help me to follow the light of Your Son. Be glorified, O Lord. Use everything in my life - even the things I would hide - for good according to Your great purpose.

February 28, 2005

The Valley of Baca

As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. Psalm 84:6

Those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. Even the Valley of Baca - the valley of weeping - is a place where new life begins. Times of trouble will come in this life; this is certain. But God's hand is always there for those who turn to Him - guiding, holding, loving.

Lord, one of my greatest struggles is to trust You. It makes no sense. I am trusting of other people. Too often I naively approach human nature, and I am disappointed. But never, when I have trusted You, have I been disappointed.

There was a news story on television yesterday about the BTK killer in Wichita, Kansas. Capturing this man, who hid in plain sight, has brought relief to an entire city. However, one man shared a story that broke me heart. He admitted that he turned his back on God after finding his family murdered. He decided there was no God, and if there was, he wanted nothing to do with Him.

How sad.

Yet... How have I responded in devastating situations? As a child, my family was fractured by rage. My reaction was to hide within myself. Who am I to judge any other man for his response to something so horrible?

Father, help me to trust You. Give me eyes to see Your handiwork - even in the midst of confusing circumstance. Bring new life from pain.

Save this man who lost his family from the darkness that has enveloped him.

About February 2005

This page contains all entries posted to The Potter's Hand in February 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2005 is the previous archive.

March 2005 is the next archive.

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

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