Sunday, 31 January 2010

Psalm 98:4

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; Breakforth into joyous song and sing praises!

Live the Psalms. Some people think we never get discouraged, but the fact is, when we do, we know where to run. Let your prayers be open and honest because God already knows our heart, He's just waiting to hear us spill it. And when we do, what starts out as heavy ends up becoming a song of praise. We may struggle, but each time it happens we grow in our understanding of God's faithfulness. Be a song waiting to happen.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Hang in there

Live fully surrendered to God's strange providence. He can take care of you & feed you in some very precarious places.

Hope & salvation are often found in the most unexpected places.

Isaiah 43:2-3
"Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you.
I've called your name. You're mine.
When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you.
When you're in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you're between a rock and a hard place,
it won't be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior."

Friday, 29 January 2010

Civil Engineering of the Mind & the Soul...

Roads with the most traffic get widened. The ones that are rarely used fall into disrepair. Dr. Harry Chugani

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don't try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he's the one who will keep you on track.
Don't assume that you know it all.
Run to God! Run from evil!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

It's SAD season...

Winter blues got you down? Try ruminating on these words:

Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Love wholeheartedly, be surprised, give thanks and praise -- then you will discover the fullness of your life.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Gratitude isn't an emotion - it's an action.

Gratefulness is the heart attitude of prayer & of hearing God's voice. But is is usually shouted down by by my wants, my needs, my desires & my dreams.

Give up on wanting to hear your 'I want it now' voice get louder - listen for the voice of God. Then respond.

What are you thankful for? Have you verbalized it today?

Philippians 4:4-5
Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you're on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

Monday, 25 January 2010

Listen to the Spirit.

Isaiah 26:3
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

"It's not that the Irish are cynical. It's simply that they have a wonderful lack of respect for everything and everybody."

On Friday night Conan O'Brien was officially booted off the set of NBC. In an act of class he said,

“…All I ask of you, especially young people…is one thing. Please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism — it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. I’m telling you, amazing things will happen.”

Way too often on my own journey with God I haven't heeded wise words like those of Conan. I have let myself become disillusioned, cynical & at times bitter. Jesus certainly wasn't bitter nor was the character of the early church. Jesus taught that we can live life with a childlike faith that trusts what the Father is up to.

The opposite of a childlike spirit is a cynical spirit. Cynicism is, increasingly, the dominant spirit of our age. Personally, it is my greatest struggle in prayer. If I get an answer to prayer, sometimes I’ll think, It would have happened anyway. Other times I’ll try to pray but wonder if it makes any difference. Paul Miller

I could think that It'd be easy to be less cynical is one were getting $35 million as a send off but I'd be missing the whole point. Busted!

Cynicism keeps us from trusting God & knowing His constant companionship. Give it up.

Matthew 18:16-17
"Let these children alone. Don't get between them and me. These children are the kingdom's pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in."

Saturday, 23 January 2010

dig deep

Galatians 6:10
So let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don't give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.

Friday, 22 January 2010

From whence doth your happiness floweth?

Matthew 5:1-11
When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought.

"You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.

"You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for.

"You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

"You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.

"You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom.

"Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

A hope-barometer...

1 Peter 3:13-18
If with heart and soul you're doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you're still better off. Don't give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you're living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy.

Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They'll end up realizing that they're the ones who need a bath. It's better to suffer for doing good, if that's what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That's what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others' sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Repentance is an ongoing process...

We are fond of coming to God & saying, "What are You going to do for me today Lord?" or "If You don't give me what I want then I am going to get mad and leave."

Maybe we need a change of heart instead, a turning from our ways & moving towards His ways...

Jeremiah 15:19

Therefore this is what the LORD says:
"If you repent, I will restore you
that you may serve me;
if you utter worthy, not worthless, words,
you will be my spokesman.
Let this people turn to you,
but you must not turn to them."

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

What's your key to success?

Isaiah 43:2-3
"Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you.
I've called your name. You're mine.
When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you.
When you're in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you're between a rock and a hard place,
it won't be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior."

Monday, 18 January 2010

Enter into a different attitude toward life - servanthood.

Matthew 20:17-28
Jesus, now well on the way up to Jerusalem, took the Twelve off to the side of the road and said, "Listen to me carefully. We are on our way up to Jerusalem. When we get there, the Son of Man will be betrayed to the religious leaders and scholars. They will sentence him to death. They will then hand him over to the Romans for mockery and torture and crucifixion. On the third day he will be raised up alive."

It was about that time that the mother of the Zebedee brothers came with her two sons and knelt before Jesus with a request. "What do you want?" Jesus asked.

She said, "Give your word that these two sons of mine will be awarded the highest places of honor in your kingdom, one at your right hand, one at your left hand."

Jesus responded, "You have no idea what you're asking." And he said to James and John, "Are you capable of drinking the cup that I'm about to drink?"

They said, "Sure, why not?"

Jesus said, "Come to think of it, you are going to drink my cup. But as to awarding places of honor, that's not my business. My Father is taking care of that."

When the ten others heard about this, they lost their tempers, thoroughly disgusted with the two brothers. So Jesus got them together to settle things down. He said, "You've observed how godless rulers throw their weight around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads. It's not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Out of denial & into God's grace...

Psalm 16
Keep me safe, O God, I've run for dear life to you.
I say to God, "Be my Lord!"
Without you, nothing makes sense.

And these God-chosen lives all around—
what splendid friends they make!

Don't just go shopping for a god.
Gods are not for sale.
I swear I'll never treat god-names
like brand-names.

My choice is you, God, first and only.
And now I find I'm your choice!
You set me up with a house and yard.
And then you made me your heir!

The wise counsel God gives when I'm awake
is confirmed by my sleeping heart.
Day and night I'll stick with God;
I've got a good thing going and I'm not letting go.

I'm happy from the inside out,
and from the outside in, I'm firmly formed.
You canceled my ticket to hell—
that's not my destination!

Now you've got my feet on the life path,
all radiant from the shining of your face.
Ever since you took my hand,
I'm on the right way.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

What are you praying for?

Ephesians 3:14-21
When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Friday, 15 January 2010

The only way to live...

1 John 2:25
Stay with what you heard from the beginning, the original message. Let it sink into your life. If what you heard from the beginning lives deeply in you, you will live deeply in both Son and Father.

This is exactly what Christ promised: eternal life, real life!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

JUST DO (whatever) IT (takes)

So Mark McGwire finally came clean about steroid use (sort of - seems Jose Canseco still has a few questions for him).

Lane Kiffin just left Tennessee to go coach USC & when asked about Kiffin's rule-breaking, USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett said, "We're talking about secondary infractions and secondary infractions aren't major. Everybody makes secondary violations."

We've long known there will be some fast & loose playing with the rules in sports but this is getting downright ridiculous.

We're prone to the same temptations to cut corners about the truth, to fudge some results, or to outright cheat to win. Is it really worth it?

Luke 16:10-13
If you're honest in small things, you'll be honest in big things;
If you're a crook in small things, you'll be a crook in big things.
If you're not honest in small jobs, who will put you in charge of the store?
No worker can serve two bosses: He'll either hate the first and love the second
Or adore the first and despise the second. You can't serve both God and the Bank.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The Revenginator

We've all been hurt before, betrayed & stabbed in the back. Our natural state is to want to lash out but Jesus shows us a new way.

Hurt people hurt people. Healed people heal people. What's your choice?

Romans 12:14-21
Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody.

Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it."

Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he's thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Go Tell It On The Mountain!

Don't be a quitter or a camper - keep climbing all the way with God! The view is worth it....

Isaiah 52:7-9

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"

Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the LORD returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes.

Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the LORD has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Hang in the battle. No matter what you're facing...

Isaiah 41:10
Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm your God.
I'll give you strength. I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Light It Up This Winter!

Matthew 5:14-16
"Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you?

I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Be a Winter Light. Edmonton needs it.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

The Spiritual Life For Dummies

Ecclesiastes 12:12b-14
Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:

Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

How's your spiritual life operating?

Friday, 8 January 2010

Ya, I bought one...

Mark Batterson's new book Primal, " an invitation to become part of a reformation movement. It is an invitation to rediscover the compassion, wonder, curiosity & energy that turned the world upside down two thousand years ago. It is an invitation to be astonished again."

We certainly all can use a refresher in the ways of Jesus. He came to turn the world upside down by using misfits & crazies like you and me!

Jesus belongs to a place where God reigns, not self.
It is a place where people are measured by character, not pocketbook.
It is a place where righteousness is always the rage.
It is a place where confession is prized and pride is poison.
It is a place where servants wear crowns.
It is a place where beauty has nothing to do with skin.
It is a place where grace is the currency and everyone is rich. (D. Kraybill)

When God wants to initiate a new movement in history, God does not intervene directly, but sends us dreams & visions that can, if attended to, initiate the process. Walter Wink

Thursday, 7 January 2010

christians are often viewed as heartless...

... so writes Mark Batterson in his new book, Primal.

That hardly seems like the way Jesus would have wanted us to be known.

Maybe we need to get back to a simpler way, something more primal than just being right & having it all together?!

Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love. Gandhi

Mark 12:29-31
"Which is most important of all the commandments?"

Jesus said, "The first in importance is, 'Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.' And here is the second: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' There is no other commandment that ranks with these."

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

are you aware of the fragility and preciousness of life?

2 Corinthians 1:3-11
All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.

When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. Your hard times are also our hard times. When we see that you're just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you're going to make it, no doubt about it.

We don't want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn't think we were going to make it. We felt like we'd been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he's the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he'll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation—I don't want you in the dark about that either. I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God's deliverance of us, a rescue in which your prayers played such a crucial part.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010


Romans 8:26-27
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God's people in accordance with the will of God.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Why do we make mistakes when we look into our future and try to decide what will make us happy?

I choose joy... I will invite my God to be the God of circumstances... I will refuse to see any problems as anything less than an opportunity to see God. Max Lucado

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Ephesians 2:7-10
Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role.

If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

Saturday, 2 January 2010


It's hard to celebrate when you're too busy pointing out what's wrong with others & with life in general.

Philippians 4:4-5

Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you're on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

Friday, 1 January 2010

Most of us desire transformation but are terrified of change...

God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing. C. S. Lewis

There is humility in growing & learning. We don't know-it-all, nor should we.

Give up on self-sufficiency & journey with God.

Ephesians 4:30

Don't grieve God. Don't break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don't take such a gift for granted.