Monday, September 14, 2015


"But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds so they will understand them, and I will write them on their hearts so they will obey them. I will be their God, and they will be my people." (Hebrews 8:10, NLT)

I heard a message regarding this passage in 1984. I was serving on a Baptist Student Union mission team in Detroit, Michigan. I can't tell you the name of the church, but I remember clearly my BSU Director, Scott Brewer, bringing this message.  I've preached it myself a few times over the years.  To have God's law in our minds means that we know what to do. To have God's law in our hearts means that we want to do it.  Scott called it, "The know-so and the want-to".  The Spirit of God will guide us to know what to do and better yet, will give us the desire to do it.  Over the years, I've found this to be true.  I've experienced it--though I've also, at times, rebelled against it.

Today, let's be open to the Spirit's directives.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015


"Until the time came to fulfill his word, the Lord tested Joseph's character. Then Pharaoh sent for him and set him free; the ruler of the nation opened his prison door. Joseph was put in charge of all the king's possessions." --Psalm 105:19-21)

I love this description of Joseph that we find tucked away in Psalm 105.  Here we find a revealing of purpose--the reason for Joseph's dry season.  Joseph had languished in prison, serving time for a crime that he did not commit.  Why would God allow such a thing?  Where is justice? 

Don't we ask the same questions when we suffer?  Why wasn't the heart attack diagnosed earlier? Why would God allow ten days of suffering? Why?  Psalm 105 answers with one clear word--CHARACTER!  It's of note that Tina's heart attack went undiagnosed for ten days. Ten is the number of testing.  I shared with the men that I meet with on Tuesday night that this experience has redirected my focus.  I'm much more attentive to Tina than I was before.  I'm committed to making sure that every day is special, a day of love and laughter and not taken for granted.

What about you?  How will your times of suffering grow your character?  As Tina is fond of saying, "God never wastes a hurt!"

Tuesday, September 08, 2015


"Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised." (Hebrews 6:15)

The New Testament uses the word "patient" to carry the meaning of, "persevering patiently and bravely in enduring misfortunes and troubles".  Like Abraham, we are to persevere difficult circumstances while awaiting God's promise.  It's usually not easy to patiently wait on God's deliverance but it's the preferred way.  Instead of stepping forward to solve a problem in your own strength, find out what God intends to do and wait for Him to do it.  How do you get a promise from God?  Read the Bible, asking God for insight into your situation.  Look for corrections that you need to make.  Look for revelations of God's character.  Finally, look for promises.  What does God say He will do? 

"The anchor of hope (Heb. 6:19) actually keep us afloat; the anchor of self-pity, self-righteousness, or self-anything, will drown us." --Scotty Smith

Wednesday, September 02, 2015


"You must warn each other every day, as long as it is called 'today,' so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God." (Hebrews 3:13, NLT)

Sin is deceptive. The scriptures speak of it as a trap, a lure, and an enticement.  That's why we need to "warn" each other.  Otherwise, we may fall prey to the addictive nature of the desires of our flesh.

The word, "warn", in the text is the Greek word paracaleo.  the King James Version translates it "exhort".  The New American Standard Version translates it as "encourage".  The literal translation of paracaleo is, "to call to one's side".  Included in the meaning is the purpose of admonishing, begging, consoling, strengthening, comforting, and teaching.  The way we warn each other every day is by coming alongside each other and speaking truth and love. 

Let's think about it this way:

Today I will . . .

Walk with you. I will come alongside.
Affirm you. I will remind you of how God sees you.
Rescue you. Your problems are my problems.
Nag you. I will speak the truth in love over and over again.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015


"He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He ransoms me from death and surrounds me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things." (Psalm 103:3-5)

I like the verbs in these verses: forgives, heals, ransoms, surrounds, and fills.  It's almost like there is an outline of the progression of grace. 

He forgives sin.
He heals disease.
He ransoms from death.
He surrounds with love and mercy.
He fills with good things.

He moves us from our sin and it's consequence (disease and death) to what we don't deserve (love, mercy, and good things).  This is the Gospel and the unmerited favor that Jesus lavishes upon all who will call  upon His name. Sin deserves death but through God's great love and mercy, we receive "good things".  Praise The Lord!