Sunday, November 30, 2008


"That is the highest and most profitable lesson, when a man truly knoweth and judgeth lowly of himself. To account nothing of one's self, and to think always kindly and highly of others, this is great and perfect wisdom. Even shouldest thou see thy neighbor sin openly or grievously, yet thou oughtest not to reckon thyself better than he, for thou knowest not how long thou shalt keep thine integrity. All of us are weak and frail; hold thou no man more frail than thyself."

--from The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Flying High

Let yourself go and fly high in the joy of your Heavenly Father today!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Slave or Servant

Black Friday is here, and the shopping frenzy has begun. The media claims that shoppers are a bit cautious this year, but that probably won't stop most people from overspending and getting deeper and deeper into debt.

Credit card companies and banks don't even bother to ask any more if you have outstanding debts as they try to get you to sign up for yet another card. They just assume you do and can't wait to transfer all of your balances from some other company's plastic to theirs (at a better rate of interest, of course). It truly blows their minds when you can tell them you are debt-free.

Yet really none of us are debt-free, even if we don't owe the bank a cent. All of us owe somebody. We are indebted to our teachers, our friends, our families, and countless others for so many of the things we take for granted such as our knowledge of how things work, our security in relationships, and most of our core values. We owe our very lives to our parents, and underpinning all of these life blessings is the grace of God which makes all good things possible for us.

Much as we would like to believe that we are lords of our own destinies, the reality is that we were not only born indebted but also into servitude. The good news is that we have a choice of who or what we will serve, and whether that can be defined as servanthood or slavery.

The words servant and slave have often been used interchangeably, but there is a key difference between the two. A servant is devoted to who or what he serves while a slave is dominated by them. Masters such as our addictions, financial debts, or even our own overriding passions dominate us, requiring us to meet their needs whether we choose to or not once we have submitted to them. In contrast, God asks for our devotion and love as we serve him and his kingdom, both of which are our choice.

Ultimately, the question is not whether you will serve or not, but whether your life will be that of a servant or a slave. You choose.

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

--Matthew 6:24 (NIV)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Sacrifice

The fall has to be the most nervous season of the year for turkeys, at least in the United States and Canada. According to figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, over 45 million of the birds are eaten in the States alone over Thanksgiving. Chickens are also heavily consumed, especially in expatriate communities around the world where turkeys aren't as readily available. In other words, it's pretty foul to be a fowl this time of year.

Of course, if you have ever spent a lot of time around turkeys you know that they aren't the brightest of creatures, so I doubt they spend many nights worrying about ending up on someone's dinner table. But imagine what it would be like to know that you were being raised to die, that your reason for living was to meet the needs of others. Imagine that your entire purpose in life was to be a sacrifice.

Jesus knew his destiny, knew that he was born to die for others. He went willingly to the cross to sacrifice himself for the world, providing the necessary bridge between God and sinful man. I sometimes wonder if we remember that Thanksgiving is just that, a time of giving thanks for all that God has done for us, from the cross to our families and, finally, to the feast before us. How easy it is to mumble a prayer and then dive in to the bounty on the table without taking the time to remember what we are celebrating, and Who provides it. As we reach this year for an extra helping of Thanksgiving goodies, may we take the time to reflect on where it truly comes from.

"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

--Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Getting married is relatively easy. Staying married is a lot tougher. Last night my wife and I saw Fireproof at the theater for the first time. Even though our marriage is in good shape, the reminders of how to nurture a relationship were well worth the price of admission. And for couples who are in crisis, or those who are looking at marriage in the near future, this movie is an absolute God-send. Check out the trailer below and then seriously plan a time when you and your life partner can commit to seeing this Christ-honoring, life-changing film. For our overseas readers, the DVD is scheduled to be released January 27, 2009.

"May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth."
--Proverbs 5:18 (NIV)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Loving the Unlovely

Morning is the great equalizer. No matter how primped and polished you are during the day, unless you sleep in some form of plastic wrap you probably wake up looking like everyone else--a mess. Hair plastered down on one side and sticking up in all directions on the other, little chunks of "sleep" crusted to your tear ducts, and maybe even a bit of dried drool at the corner of your mouth. Yep, you look PRETTY! Thirty minutes later, though, you've got your new look on, the one designed possibly to impress or at the very least blend in with the rest of groomed humanity.

Do you ever get tired of the act? Look your best, speak the right words, fit into the expected niche that society has for you? You're not a sociopath; you don't want to deliberately offend anyone. But sometimes you wish the world could just accept you as you are: unshowered, unshaved, uncombed, and slightly smelly. Other than the possible exception of your spouse (who still prefers you wear some deodorant) the only one who wants you as you truly are is God. He actually prefers you without the pretense. Now how cool is that?

A great artist some short time ago had painted a part of the corporation of the city in which he lived, and he wanted, for historic purposes, to include in his picture certain characters well known in the town. A crossing-sweeper, unkempt, ragged, filthy, was known to everybody, and there was a suitable place for him in the picture. The artist said to this ragged and rugged individual, "I will pay you well if you will come down to my studio and let me take your likeness." He came round in the morning, but he was soon sent about his business; for he had washed his face, and combed his hair, and donned a respectable suit of clothes. He was needed as a beggar, and was not invited in any other capacity. Even so, the gospel will receive you into its halls if you come as a sinner, not otherwise. Wait not for reformation, but come at once for salvation. God justifieth the ungodly, and that takes you up where you now are: it meets you in your worst estate.

--from All of Grace by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Monday, November 24, 2008

True Love

Here is a reminder today of what true love looks like. It's not a love of convenience or one based on momentary infatuation. True love is deep rooted, full of a passion that ages well over time, and is not dependent on physical perfection. It's romance combined with devotion, a love not afraid to get its hands dirty in life's hardships. It's a love like Christ has for us.

True Love

One day when I was in Brooklyn, I saw a young man going along the street without any arms. A friend who was with me, pointed him out, and told me his story. When the war broke out he felt it to be his duty to enlist and go to the front. He was engaged to be married, and while in the army letters passed frequently between him and his intended wife. After the battle of the Wilderness the young lady looked anxiously for the accustomed letter. Fora little while no letter was received. At last one came in a strange hand. She opened it with trembling fingers, and read these words: "We have fought a terrible battle. I have been wounded so awfully that I shall never be able to support you. A friend writes this for me. I love you more tenderly than ever, but I release you from your promise. I will not ask you to join your life with the maimed life of mine:" That letter was never answered. The next train that left, the young lady was on it. She went to the hospital. She found out the number of his cot, and she went down the aisle, between the long rows of the wounded men. At last she saw the number, and, hurrying to his side, she threw her arms around his neck and said: "I'll not desert you. I'll take care of you." He did not resist her love. They were married, and there is no happier couple than this one. We are dependent on one another.
Christ says, "I'll take care of you. I'll take you to this bosom of mine." That young man could have spurned her love; he could, but he didn't. Surely you can be saved if you will accept the Saviour's love. If God loves us, my friends, He loves us unto the end. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

--from Moody's Anecdotes and Illustrations by Dwight L. Moody

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Digging for Diamonds

One of the main goals of this blog is to expose readers to some of the spiritual giants of the past through their writings. Many Christians have heard the names of Spurgeon or Moody or Murray bandied about, but how many have actually read them? Quite frankly, there are many gems waiting to be unearthed from some of the foundational books of the past. Here is one for today from A. W. Tozer that summarizes what we are trying to do here.

Come near to the holy men and women of the past and you will soon feel the heat of their desire after God. They mourned for Him, they prayed and wrestled and sought for Him day and night, in season and out, and when they had found Him the finding was all the sweeter for the long seeking.

from The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer

In your journey today in the Lord may you also mourn and pray and wrestle and seek, because as difficult as the process may be the reward of a closer walk with Him is more than worth it.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday Special

Welcome to the weekend! This Saturday's special is a selection from one of my favorite books, The Imitation of Christ. For those of you unfamiliar with this classic work, you are in for a treat. Few writers in my experience can pack as much spiritual punch in so few sentences as this 14th century monk. Enjoy!

"What doth it profit thee to enter into deep discussion concerning the
Holy Trinity, if thou lack humility, and be thus displeasing to the Trinity? For verily it is not deep words that make a man holy and upright; it is a good life which maketh a man dear to God. I had rather feel contrition than be skilful in the definition thereof. If thou knewest the whole Bible, and the sayings of all the philosophers, what should all this profit thee without the love and grace of God? Vanity of vanities, all is vanity, save to love God, and Him only to serve. That is the highest wisdom, to cast the world behind us, and to reach forward to the heavenly kingdom."

-- Thomas a Kempis from The Imitation of Christ

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wispy Wanderers

I saw my breath this morning, not an uncommon occurrence here in late November. The vapor from my mouth, though, reminds me of a couple of things. First, what we say has substance and form, and whether we can see it or not our speech has the power to impact others as surely as a physical object. True, mundane phrases like "Where's the newspaper?" may not have a profound effect on our listeners, but an "I love you, kid" to your six-year-old just might have a shelf-life longer than you have.

The second thing the vapor brings to mind is how short our lives are here on earth. From an eternal perspective we have a few seconds, at most, to swirl in the air and hopefully provide a bit of warmth to those around us before we fade out of this world. Our brief existence would seem pretty pointless if we didn't know from scripture that we have a loving Father who cares for and values us anyway, and has a heavenly home for us "wispy wanderers." One of the finest praise songs that I've encountered that touches on this is by Robin Mark. Enjoy the music video of his song below.

Robin Mark - Be Unto Your Name

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Age Gauge

How old are you on the inside? Rarely do our calendar years correspond to the age we feel in our mind's view. That's why the 70-year-old grandma can't figure out who that old person is in the mirror. After all, she can see past the wrinkles and gray hair to the 21-year-old college girl within her. Why can't other people see her in the same way?

The truth is that our physical age is irrelevant. We are eternal creatures, designed to live forever with our Creator. These bodies grow, age, and eventually wear out, but the inner child of God lives on, hopefully growing daily in the knowledge and wisdom of his Lord, slowly but surely conforming to Christ's image. Take time to recapture that child-like spirit as you reflect on Him today.

"The Image of Christ that is forming within us--that is life's
one charge. Let every project stand aside for that. "Till Christ be formed," no man's work is finished, no religion crowned, no life has fulfilled its end. Is the infinite task begun? When, how, are we to be different? Time cannot change men. Death cannot change men. Christ can. Wherefore PUT ON CHRIST." -- Henry Drummond

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Heavenly Minded

So often we stumble along through our days, caught up in the cares of the moment, never stopping to realize that there is a bigger picture beyond our circumstances. How often do we take the time to stop, look up, and consider the wonder that is God's love for us? Our minds are mired in thoughts of ourselves and the tyranny of the urgent. How much better and more peaceful an existence we can have when we take on the mind of Christ.

"But there are many who, though they frequently hear the Gospel, yet feel but little longing after it, because they have not the mind of Christ. He, therefore, that will fully and with true wisdom understand the words of Christ, let him strive to conform his whole life to that mind of Christ." -- Thomas a Kempis

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Limb Logic

Ever feel you've crawled out on a limb, and the ground seems so far below? Perhaps you're stuck, not sure whether to go forward or backward, and "home" is a long ways away. If this describes you today, just remember this:

His eyes are always on you. There is nowhere in Heaven or earth you can go to hide from his loving gaze. He waits patiently for you to cry out for help in your indecision and fear so that he can reach out his hand to steady you on your journey and to guide you back "home" to him. Trust him, little wanderer, to make your path sure and your steps straight.

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