Archive for July, 2013


Long Distance Love

“We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.”
(1 John 4:16 NLT)

With the advantage of social media and online dating opportunities many people are falling in cyber love. The successful long distance romance requires effort but good communication goes a long way. Feelings are first exchanged by writing emails or text messages. Affections progress verbally through telephone conversations and then eventually the two lovers will embrace in person face to face. The Lord Jesus loves us with an everlasting love. He first expresses his feelings for us in writing through the promises in the Bible. We communicate verbally to the Lord in dialogue which is called prayer. If we have put our trust in the Lord we will one day see the lover of our souls face to face spending all of eternity with him.

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Renovations

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me.”
(Psalm 51:10 AMP)

Renovating an old house can be accomplished from the inside out or from the outside in. Interior renovation projects can be performed slowly and carefully over time without significantly disrupting the living routines of the occupants. Exterior renovation projects can be very disruptive to family life with the use of powerful tools and noisy equipment. Spiritual disciplines are like the tools used in a renovation project and they develop Christlikeness in believers. Practicing spiritual disciplines such as Bible study, prayer, worship and fasting slowly renovate a person spiritually over time from the inside out. God has given people the spiritual disciplines as a gift to renew a right spirit within them. If we voluntarily choose not to practice the spiritual disciplines to get closer to God then he will permit external circumstances to arise in our lives to accomplish this goal from the outside in which is often a more uncomfortable process. Much pain and associated life disruption coming from external personal trials may be avoided if we voluntarily work on interior spiritual renovation ourselves.

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No Longer Afraid

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
(Psalm 56:3, 4 NIV)

Little children are afraid of the dark and cry about every unexplained noise as they run towards the security of their parents. When the child grows older their understanding improves with regard to life’s circumstances and they are no longer afraid. Like little children new believers in Christ may be fearful of every unexplained problem that arises and tearfully run to God for security. With spiritual maturity comes understanding. Understanding the truth of the Bible liberates believers to live without fear trusting in the promises of God’s Holy Word.

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So Tasty!

“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.”
(1 Peter 2:11 NIV)

I had a patient come into my office during the holidays with a container filled with freshly baked chocolate desserts. Of course I was very tempted to quickly devour the tasty pastry immediately but instead I decided to take them home and put them all in the freezer out of sight so that I would not be tempted. The sweet flavor of milk chocolate makes one crave another bite but by avoiding the initial tasting experience altogether the temptation to indulge remains under control. In life our sinful desires can be tempted every day with much more serious things than chocolate. Carnal appetites of the flesh are never satisfied but by avoiding the initial sin altogether the temptation to indulge in useless behaviors that damage our soul is decreased. The temporary tastiness of sin is not worth the sweet savor of our eternal salvation.

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Lighten Up!

“The next day, as gale-force winds continued to batter the ship, the crew began throwing the cargo overboard. The following day they even took some of the ship’s gear and threw it overboard.”
(Acts 27:18, 19 NLT)

I grew up on a lake and I was always out in my little sailboat. Fortunately I never got caught in a bad weather storm. In Acts chapter 27 of the Bible there is a report of the Apostle Paul’s sea journey which is known as the most accurate account of a sea voyage that has come to us from ancient times. We gain more knowledge of these ships from this story than from any other source. They encountered a terrible storm on the Mediterranean sea. During a severe storm the sailors lighten the ship by throwing all non-essential items overboard that will not be required for survival. The Lord permits severe storms to arise in our personal lives which cause us to throw overboard all the useless attitudes, behaviors and selfish agendas that will not be required for our eternal destination in glory with Christ Jesus.

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Useful Noise

“Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn; praise him with the lyre and harp! Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes! Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals. Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord ! Praise the Lord ! ”
(Psalms 150:3-6 NLT)

Everyone has many reasons to be thankful and the natural result of thankfulness should be to praise God. We can praise God with wind, string or percussion instruments. We can praise God softly or loudly. We can praise God using a fast tempo or a slow tempo. We can praise God with our vocal musculature in singing or with our skeletal musculature in dancing. All musical rhythms, beats and genres can praise God. If we are breathing and moving we should be worshipping and praising. Make a useful noise to praise the Lord with whatever you have and with everything that you have!

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Gleaming

“As all of us reflect the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces, we are becoming more like him with ever-increasing glory by the Lord’s Spirit.”
(2 Corinthians 3:18)

The sun dawns into a new day shining more brilliant with each passing moment. The Lord Jesus gives new life to all those who trust in him and they will gleam with his ever-increasing glory for all eternity.

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Power-Filled Tools

“But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord.”
(Micah 3:8 NIV)

I was doing a wood working project recently and was having a difficult time. I forgot my power drill so I had to put all the wood screws in with a screwdriver. My arm soon became fatigued forcing me to give up and go look for the drill. Turning a screw manually with a hand tool into hard wood is difficult and the screw may not even go in. Using electrically powered tools makes the screw penetrate the hard wood much easier. Getting the truth of Jesus Christ to penetrate the hardness of someone’s heart is difficult and they may never receive the Good News but by using Holy Spirit empowered messengers the Gospel truth can penetrate even the hardest of hearts.

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Divine Motivation

“For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.”
(Proverbs 24:16 NIV)

A construction employee that falls down while climbing picks themselves up and continues working if they are committed to their employer and are motivated to complete the construction project. If they stopped working their employer would soon hire someone else to complete the work. Believers who fall into sin while serving in the Kingdom of God rise up, ask God for forgiveness and continue to serve if they are truly committed to King Jesus and motivated to complete the Great Commission of preaching the Good News about Christ to all nations.

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Promises Don’t Expire

“All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it.”
(Hebrews 11:13 NLT)

No one likes to wait especially for a promise that has not yet come true. The years may pass by and nothing changes. We may be tempted to give up hope but this is the reason for faith. Faith is the confident assurance about what we do not see. The Bible mentions many people that had faith. Abraham was promised offspring as numerous as the stars but never lived to see them. King David gathered all the materials to build a magnificent temple but he died before the construction even started. Like the life stored in a seed that grows into a large fruitful tree God can bless through the people we invest time in developing. It takes faith to consider ourselves blessed even though we may never see the blessings on this earth but God’s promises are eternal and they never expire.

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