(The devotional Teach Me To Pray is full of wonderful words from Andrew Murray that encourage us in our spiritual lives. Here is one of my favorites.)
Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you. James 4:8
It has been said that the holiness of God is the union of God’s infinite distance from sinful man with God’s infinite nearness in His redeeming grace. Faith must always seek to realize both the distance and the nearness.
In Christ, God has come very near to man. Now the command comes: If you want God to come still nearer, you must draw nearer to Him. The promised nearness of Christ Jesus expressed in the promise, “And be sure of this: I am with you always” (Matt 28:20), can only be experienced as we draw near to Him.
This mean that at the beginning of each new day, we must yield ourselves to His holy presence. It means a voluntary, intentional, and whole-hearted turning away from the world to wait on God to make Himself known to our souls. It means making time to allow him to reveal Himself. It is impossible to expect the abiding presence of Christ with us through the day without the daily exercise of strong desire and child-like trust in His word.
As you pray, let these words come to you with new meaning each morning: “Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.” Wait patiently and He will speak in divine power: “I am with you always.”
This is a fantastically creative story about time travel. The author does a great job of making it believable and entertaining. Yet the book is so much more.
The government puts together a research program to see if time travel is possible, and when it proves to be, they begin using it to not only research history, but change history so that our lives today are “better”. The author raises ethical questions about government power that we have long dealt with, but takes them to the next level. If we could change history, should we? Who is to decide what is better? Could we foresee all the ramifications of such actions?
These questions are set in a story that carries us along, rooting for the good guys. At times, the story bogs down in miniscule descriptions of numerous buildings in New York City, interesting only to the native New Yorker who loves historical architecture. However, this is a story I enjoyed immensely, as well as a story that got me thinking. The myriad of unpredictable twists and turns kept me turning pages to the very end, and I am glad it did.
The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at
your right hand. Psalm 121:5
In order for a tree or any plant to grow and bear
fruit, its seed must first be planted in the ground and die. In order for
spiritual fruit to appear in our lives, we must first be planted in the Word of
God and then die to self. In the face of chastening, adversity, discipline, and
affliction, God’s Word nourishes our lives and fruit begins to appear. But it
doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and patience.
Joseph would never have been of use to God had he not
been sold into slavery by brothers who hated him, and then wrongly accused by
Potiphar, who put him in prison. Even after he had told Pharaoh’s cupbearer he
would be restored to the kings’ court and asked him to tell Pharaoh of his
unjust imprisonment, Joseph had to wait two more years for release from prison.
As we wait upon the Lord, He may sometimes seem slow
in coming to help us, but He never comes too late. His timing is always
Are you in a season of waiting? Don’t let it be a wasted season. Study God’s Word so that your roots grow deep, and spend time in prayer so that you recognize His voice when it’s time to move.
Everyone is going through
a hard time in their life,
they have just come out of a hard time,
they will soon be in one.
Why is life always so difficult? Our own sin brings
many troubles our way. Satan also is a powerful source of life’s disasters. But
look closely at what God’s word says. “…to humble and test you in order to know
what is in your heart…” (Deut. 8:2 see below)
Why would God do such a
thing? God’s word once again says, “to teach you
that people do not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the
mouth of the Lord.” (Deut. 8:3)
God uses hard times to
humble us, to draw us closer to Him and to help us recognize His
If we read carefully, we
see that this comes with a promise. “…so
that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord
promised…” This is not only for the ancient Israelites, but also for us. God
has a “land” for us as well.
This promise also comes with responsibility. “When
you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he
has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God…”
He goes on to say, “Otherwise, when you eat and are
satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down,and
when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all
you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget
the Lord your God,…”
It all boils down to this –
in the Lord,
he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
Which stage are you in right now?
you in the midst of difficulties? Then Remember God, Turn to Him, and Trust
you just come out of trying times? Then Thank God, Delight in Him.
between hard times, enjoying some calm and rest in life? Then Follow Him. Be
8 Be careful to
follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase
and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors.
2 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in
the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what
was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He
humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which
neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live
on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your
clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know
then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines
the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering
him. 7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good
land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys
and hills; 8 a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig
trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; 9 a land where
bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are
iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.
10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God,…”
3Trust in the Lord and do good;
in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 4 Take delight in the Lord,
he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: 6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.
What I’m commanding you today is not too hard for you. It isn’t beyond your reach. It isn’t up in heaven. So you don’t have to ask, “Who will go up into heaven to get it? Who will announce it to us so we can obey it?” And it isn’t beyond the ocean. So you don’t have to ask, “Who will go across the ocean to get it? Who will announce it to us so we can obey it?” No, the message isn’t far away at all. In fact, it’s really near you. It’s in your mouth and in your heart so that you can obey it.
Today I’m giving you a choice. You can have life and success. Or you can have death and harm. I’m commanding you today to love the Lord your God. I’m commanding you to live exactly as he wants you to live. You must obey his commands, rules and laws. Then you will live. There will be many of you. The Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to take as your own.
Don’t let your hearts turn away from the Lord. Instead, obey him. Don’t let yourselves be drawn away to other gods. And don’t bow down to them and worship them. If you do, I announce to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You are about to go across the Jordan River and take over the land. But you won’t live there very long.
I’m calling for the heavens and the earth to be witnesses against you this very day. I’m offering you the choice of life or death. You can choose either blessings or curses. But I want you to choose life. Then you and your children will live. And you will love the Lord your God. You will obey him. You will remain true to him. The Lord is your very life.
Deuteronomy 30:11-20 NIrV
The choice is not between a list of do this and don’t do that on one hand and freedom on the other hand. The unbelieving world often sees it that way. The truth is; it is a choice between choosing love (life) on one hand and separation from God (death) on the other hand. God is waiting to shower blessings on you and your family. He is waiting for you to make your choice. Talk to Him – He is listening. Listen to Him – He has much to tell you. The Lord is your very life.
Teen-agers turning to drugs. Single mothers floundering
in depression. High-ranking business men sneaking out for extra-marital
affairs. Lonely people marginalized by society resorting to deadly violence.
We all hurt in one way or another. What is it
that we do with that hurt? How can we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps? Where
do we go for help?
Reach Out to God
God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
Christians readily acknowledge this fact. However, we
must come to the realization that God also created all the resources we
need. He also created the principles by which we live – healthy
principles that benefit everyone. He also created purpose for our lives.
God is the source of Everything.
God is the source of healing and help in every day-to-day
situation. He has provided what we need, not only live, but to thrive
throughout our life. When we need to be restored, we must go back to God. He is
the one who created life in the first place and it is only He who can bring
life back into dead circumstances. We cannot do it on our own.
In Matthew 6, Jesus told us to seek first the
kingdom of God, and all the things we need will be given to us.
Reach Out to Others
God has also provided the Body of Christ to lift one
another up, to encourage one another. We need them: a support group, a
Christian counselor, a sincere Bible study group. We need a place where we can
share our deepest needs, fears, and temptations. We need someone to meet with
regularly as well as someone we can call on at a moment’s notice. Ask God to
provide this support for you.
Reach up and reach out. The God of hope will fill you
will all joy and peace as you trust in him. Romans 15:13
These thoughts come from the wonderful book by Dr.
Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend titled How People Grow, What the Bible
Reveals about Personal Growth.
I have just finished reading John Adams by David McCullough.
What an amazing read!
Though I do enjoy history, I do not care for politics. David
McCullough did a masterful job of weaving Adams’ biography with the detailed
politics of the early United States. It was a compelling narrative that kept me
engaged to the very end.
The author leads us through John Adams’ studies to become a
lawyer, his early law practice, both the Continental Congress sessions, his
time oversees as an ambassador, his vice-presidency, his presidency and his
retirement. Adams’ personal diary and his thousands of letters give us great
insight into not only what he did, but how he thought and how he felt. It was
John Adams was a major player in the building of our
nation. He was incredibly intelligent while still maintaining his personal
integrity. His thorough understanding of world politics, philosophy and human
nature were paramount in his adamant stand for America’s independence and
continued strength. He worked tirelessly to build the ground work for our
“I fear that in every elected office, members will obtain an
influence by noise not sense. By meanness, not greatness. By ignorance, not
learning. By contracted hearts, not large souls… There must be decency and
respect.” John Adams
“He who loves the Workman and His work, and does what he can
to preserve and improve it, shall be accepted of Him.” John Adams
“The longer I live,
the more I read, the more patiently I think, and the more anxiously I inquire,
the less I seem to know…. Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. This is enough.”
Texas. Ohio. Nevada. Florida. Georgia. Colorado. North Carolina. Arkansas. Alabama. Virginia. Connecticut. California. Oklahoma. New York. District of Columbia. Missouri. Maryland. Indiana. Tennessee. Rhode Island. Kentucky. Mississippi. Michigan. Oregon. Wisconsin. Pennsylvania. Washington. Louisiana. Michigan. Iowa. South Carolina. New Mexico. Massachusetts. Hawaii. Nebraska. West Virginia. Vermont. Minnesota. New Jersey.
We are a
nation in mourning. The senseless killing continues. We Must do something.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
promise is an If, Then promise. If people do this, Then God will do that. Our
step comes first.
from Wicked Ways
“He has shown you, O man, what is good.
does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
the Bible, Ask God what he wants in your heart and in your life.
Please, Stop and Listen.
“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.”
has been unusually busy, but it has also been extraordinarily rewarding.
Last summer a fledgling library was started in my rural community. We squished a
few donated book shelves into a small store on main street. The store owners
graciously allowed us to use their store, and we began accepting used books of
every kind. This tiny town had never had, in its entire history, a library. The
county library is 30 miles away for some of our residents, not convenient enough
to make use of. Books poured in. Fiction filled half our space, but we also had
sections for history, travel (if outdated tour books of Mexico count), pets,
and of coarse self-help. A few people wandered in occasionally. More books were
sent our way. And more books. And more.
It became obvious
that we needed more space – and more patrons. We launched a community meeting
and began looking at empty spaces around town. In our one traffic light town of
1,200 residents, there were not many options. We quickly ran into the ever-present
wall: no money. The great thing about a small community is that everyone talks
to everyone. News travels faster than a speeding bullet. We simply mentioned to
a few people that we needed non-profit status and to begin fundraising. The
very next day we were told that we had non-profit status under a community services
non-profit in town. Someone had told the president, the president had sent out
an email, all members voted in the affirmative by email, and it was done. They
had become our umbrella.
our eyes and shook our head. “Wait! We aren’t ready.” It doesn’t matter. It was
a done deal. Then the money began pouring in. People would stop by and hand us
$100. “You are doing a great thing here!” they would say. And the books poured
went by in the arduous task of looking for – and agreeing on – the new
location. Though I hated the process of heated debate, the needed evaluation
and discussion were very valuable. It was also a huge turning point for us. We
went from a tiny store corner to our very own building. We also had to look
into the face of a monthly commitment to paying rent and utilities. That was
scary! We are just a tiny group of people in a tiny town. Many times, someone
in the group would say, “We don’t have to move. Let’s stay here. We don’t have
the money.” And it was true, we didn’t have the money. We only had a vision of
what could be.
civic club handed us a check for $5,000. We put on a fundraising dinner and
earned another $1,000. We were off!
was June 1. People came out of the woodwork to pack and move boxes of books.
There we were, standing in a large open room – with only a couple of tiny mismatched
bookcases. Now what were we going to do?
president of the board stepped up and said he would build them. He designed,
built, stained and clear coated each bookcase. We were all amazed! As soon as
he set a finished bookcase in the new library, we would fill it with books.
More books poured in. One trailer brought 30 boxes! We now have over 6,000
linear feet of book shelf space and we are still building.
library is still a work in progress, last Saturday we were overflowing with
visitors. A local celebration brought many people to town, and they all had to
come and see their new library. Little ones found cute board books, pre-teens
found chapter books, grandmothers found new fiction to read and the history
buffs had more than a myriad of titles to choose from. The library’s copier,
computers and internet access now give low income residents a place to connect
with the world for no cost. Anyone can now walk in the door and engage their
love of reading. Where there was once nothing, now there is a warm hub of
friendship that links us with literacy.
And the best part of it all? When we volunteers are long gone, new generations will walk in this door and take a book off the shelf.
How have you invested in your community? What do communities need more of these days?
When God created the world, He did so with Relationship at
its core. Humanity was created in order to be in Relationship with God, and
in Relationship with one another.
If either one of these Relationship Dynamics is off track,
then our emotional, mental and spiritual health is out of balance. We begin to
try to fill the holes with many other things: money, sex, material possessions,
power over others … the list goes on.
If both of these Relationship Dynamics are in good working
order, then we are able to grow into mature Christians, who are in turn able to
give to others who are in need.
Those are the simply basics of how life works.
When God created Adam and Eve, there was perfect union with
both God and with each other. The two people walked with God in the garden,
talking with Him and being open and honest with each other. Genesis 2:25 says, “The
man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” This is not only
about no clothes. This is two people being completely intimate physically, but
also emotionally. They were in harmony. They were vulnerable with each other,
not hiding anything. They “knew” each other completely. There was no shame.
We were created to be in that kind of Relationship with both
God and others. To be open and honest. To be intimate. To be accepted.
Someone once asked Jesus what the greatest commandment in
the world is. Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and
with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest
commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matt
Everything in life comes down to these two Relationships.
We must be reconciled to God. We must ask His forgiveness
and we must cultivate a daily relationship with Him.
We must reconnect with others. We must care for each other,
forgive each other, reach out in love and support for each other.
So how do we do this? Jesus gives us this very important directive
in living our lives. “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
James tells us, “You do not have, because you do not ask
God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that
you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
We know what God wants for us and what we need – Intimate and
We know the first step in getting those Relationships.
Prayer. Talk to God. Admit that you need Relationship and ask Him to help you
That is asking in Jesus’ Name and He will do it.
Is there a Relationship in your life that needs restoring?
Start working on it today.